Striving for Rhythm in the Midst of Uncertainty

On finding rhythm in our running through our changing present moment.

By on April 10, 2020 | Comments

AJW's TaproomIt’s been just over a month since my world changed dramatically overnight–a shift that has happened for each of us, just at slightly different times. As the spread of the new coronavirus ushered in a new period of school closures, shuttered businesses, and stay-at-home orders in my state and town, I was, at first, paralyzed. My little corner of the world had become a brutal place and the depressing news from around the world additionally brought me down. I felt lonely, confused, and unquestionably unmotivated to do just about anything. It all seemed so hopeless.

About a week into this downward spiral, one which I could feel was happening to millions of others around the world, my wife, Shelly, ever the constructive nudger, said one morning, “You know Andy, I think it would be good for you to start running again, just to clear your head a little and give you the time you need to sort through stuff. Getting back into some kind of rhythm is always better for you.”

Of course, Shelly was right.

With that, I clamored out of bed, strapped on my running gear, and soldiered through an extraordinarily slow but surprisingly refreshing five miler. The next morning, I got up and did it again, and then again, and then again. While the news was not getting any better and my mood was still pretty maudlin, I was finding a bit of a groove and settling into a place that was familiar. In the midst of this crazy and unpredictable time, the daily ritual was once again providing me with a foundation upon which to build.

After another few days, I further settled into a pleasant seven-mile daily out-and-back from my doorstep in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, a route which I have now traversed every day for the past two weeks. The simple route, which is a blend of paved road, gravel track, and muddy trails between the ubiquitous cotton fields, has become my sanctuary in the midst of the crisis. My daily sojourns have opened me up to an amazing world of chirping birds, springtime flowering trees, and the revving up of the local agricultural economy which, thankfully for many out here in this part of the world, has been deemed an essential business.

Uncertainty still rears its head on a daily basis and I don’t really have any purpose or direction in my training. But I do have purpose and direction in my life and my daily jaunt has helped me to rediscover that in a time when it is fleeting for many. I, of course, am not sure how long any of this will last and that can be profoundly unsettling, but I am happy to say that running has, as it has done for me so many times, given me a place to call home. And that’s good enough for now.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Lost Forty Brewing in Little Rock, Arkansas. They recently released a new sessionable IPA called Dirt Surfer IPA which they plug as a “playful IPA brewed for adventure.” And playful it is! Pleasantly hopped and surprisingly crispy, Dirt Surfer is one of those IPAs that just feels right. And these days, we can all benefit from feeling a little bit more right each day.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Are you finding rhythm with your life and exercise in our ever-changing present time? If so, can you offer a thought on how you’ve found it?
  • How does exercising daily or near daily help you during the COVID-19 crisis? Does it offer distraction, calm, a moment of normalcy, a few minutes of freedom, or something else for you?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.