Perspective

I woke up Monday morning gauging my day as an immediate success when I found toilet paper on Amazon. Granted, not a Corona-Style lifetime Costco truckload, but a week’s worth is estimated to arrive between April 1 and April 7. It’s was a great way to start the week.

In addition to the hygienic score, I went for an amazing run along the Old Columbia Highway early in the week. Deserted as it was on that sunny 60 degree day, I found wonder in the wildflowers. These little gems were covered in snow just a few days prior. The world is obviously confused at the moment.

Spring Flowers in the Columbia River Gorge

The pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus looming around every corner and personal interaction has left me trying to figure out what our new world will look like. This week I registered my kids for homeschooling. I have always been an admirer of parents who took on the awesome responsibility of homeschooling their littles, but I was the one who sighed and said “I just don’t have the personality for that. I could never do it.” The government shutting down our public schools never crossed my mind, so I am going with the flow and adapting my personality to suit the times.

Our community pool closed last week and we are no longer able to participate in early morning masters swimming. The river is measuring a brisk 42 degrees, so I am focusing on running and biking while thinking about my training and race schedule for this year. I already signed up for the Maple Valley 70.3 in September and was contemplating the full Cozumel Ironman in November, along with lots of supported rides and fun Olympic races. That was the plan and I am continuing to train as if there might be some races in the future.

My first outdoor bike ride of the season this week lended some open roads. Tourism in our normally busy little town has slowed down, although there seem to be holders-on who are taking advantage of their time off to recreate on the Columbia River Gorge’s trails and waterfront. My friend and I zoomed eerily along empty country roads. We marveled as the sun warmed our backs and the wildflowers peaked through the tall grass, but felt like the world was simultaneously suspended.

New etiquette certainly applies to training with others during this social distancing era. I am forever grateful for my logical and genuine training friends who keep me sane during this crazy time. I’m hopeful that we will still be able to get outside and see each other. As a slower and slightly traumatized rider from witnessing a few crashes last year I am usually 6 feet behind others, so I have that one covered.

*FYI. The social distancing recommendation does not cover snot rockets. These little gifts seem to travel at an incredible velocity and distance. Since the hospitals are unable to obtain enough personal protective equipment, I doubt the bike stores will be flush (or open). Maybe social distancing on road bikes should be side by side on empty roads or at least 10 feet?

Lots of Space for Social Distancing

Running with a few friends this week provided ample opportunity to gab while maintaining an appropriate distance from each other. It helped that we were running along the waterfront early in the day with no cars or crowds and could spread out.

The Columbia River

I have been trying to limit the amount of social media consumption during this crisis. I do enjoy tapping into triathlon-specific groups and reading tips and stories from other athletes. The COVID scare and repercussions for races and organized events is taking a toll on everyone.

Today the first-world worries about whether or not races will be cancelled came into perspective for me. I dropped off a few care packages for some residents at the local assisted living facility and care center. I have known these people for several years, and knew that I would be stopped at the door with “STOP. NO VISITORS” signs. When I rang the doorbells at both facilities, I looked inside and saw no movement in either place. The residents are quarantined to their rooms and unable to receive any visitors. No friends or family. Meals are being served on trays 3 times a day and medications are delivered, but that is the extent of human interaction. Eventually a staff member came to receive the packages with gloved hands and whisked them away into the silence.

As I made my way home, I saw people running in shorts and listening to music. Cars drove by with mountain bikes hanging from racks. Kites were up in the air as people were getting into the water for some spring kitesurfing. Life looked normal. It was such a stark contrast from the news and my experience 5 minutes prior. My brain could not take the disconnect as I tearfully pulled into my driveway.

One of the strangest things about this pandemic has been the wide spectrum of responses. I see pictures of spring breakers playing on the beach, cars lined up heading out of Portland for the weekend, and the Fox News commentators minimizing the problem and telling people to go get tables at empty restaurants or take advantage of cheap airline tickets. In the meantime, my friends in healthcare are terrified to be putting themselves in harms way each day without the necessary gear and equipment, countries are shutting down and their militaries enforcing in shelter mandates, and people are fighting over toilet paper.

A few minutes ago, I checked my email to find an update from the County Health Department. One COVID-19 case was identified in a Hood River County resident. We knew that it was coming, and believed that it was probably here. Unfortunately, the numbers are probably higher than we know because we have no way of testing everyone who should be tested. Even last Monday seems like a lifetime ago. In retrospect, a calm before the storm.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Don’t waste time on thoughts, people or situations that don’t matter.
  2. Have immense gratitude every day when we can get outside, be with the people and pets we love, and make our own meals .
  3. Order a bidet.
Enjoying the Warm Weather Together at a Distance
Springtime & Mt. Hood

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