Striving for Rhythm in the Midst of Uncertainty

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?

There are 6 comments

  1. Chuck Edwards

    “Striving for rhythm” is a good way to put it. Like a lot of folks, it felt like the bottom fell out when my race was postponed. Hearing the same sentiment from others was, paradoxically, heartening; it meant that the feeling wasn’t from an excess of wussitude on my part. Getting back into the rhythm helps a lot.

    I’m including the hashtag #keepinmymojo on my runs and rides in Strava. :)

  2. AT

    You said something on a podcast just before all this Corona craziness, something along the lines of helping your athletes find that rhythm or purpose for their daily run/training.

    “As long as you get that 40 minute-1 hour run in, the rest of the world might be falling apart but at least you know you got your run in.” I laughed out loud initially at the quote, as that’s been my life long philosophy with working out. Now that quote carries even more weight. Keep steady ya’ll!

  3. Rok Bratina

    Running out on trails put me into order, it enables me to escape from chaos, the world is facing in these days. It remembers me, who I am and what I love to do. I like to train hard and fast. I can find motivation even if I am aware of the fact, that there are no race on the schedule. Who cares? I just like to imrpove myself, to be every single day better and more prepared. I think in those time of uncertanity, running is the only thing, beside reading and writing, that keeps me positive.

  4. Tony Mollica

    I had gotten out of the habit of running and into the habit of working a lot. On March 1st I started running again, although if the truth be told it’s more waddling than running. I ran 17 out of 31 days in March and 9 out of 11 days iso far n April.

    It’s still a struggle, but it’s way, way better than not running. Most importantly it’s something I can count on and look forward to in these uncertain times. To me it’s important to try to make something positive happen out of something negative.

  5. Mark T

    Fantastic article.
    The world’s upside down. What helped me was the one thing I could always count on

    Lace up the shoes , get my black lab and hit the pavement / trial

    Five miles turns to ten and a sense of calmness
    I’m in a place where we can still get out to run

    So if you can , run- be extra nice to those you see on the path – a smile goes along way

    Better days are ahead. Do not underestimate science

  6. Ignacio

    Lastima donde vivamos no nos dejen salir a corre y solo estemos aun más presionados por la carga de este mundo derrumbándose a nuestros pies sin poder alejarnos. No sabía lo que necesitaba correr, hasta que he dejado de hacerlo, era mi salud física, pero más aún mental. Aquellos que aún podéis, correr!

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