Christmas this year will look different than expected for many of us. After all Christmas during a pandemic with a virus that easily spreads between people who are breathing the same air especially when indoors means we must take precautions.
This holiday season is a year of loss. This is a holiday theme in my life, nothing new this year. I wrote about navigating ambiguous loss and estrangement during the holiday season in a blog a few years ago and this year isn’t a whole lot easier.
I am a champion of sorting out “alternative plans.” Unfortunately, this year, having alternative plans is much harder to figure out. Travel isn’t recommended as is gathering with people who don’t live in your house. Ideally I’d be on an airplane to visit my dear friend Jill and her amazing mom Joan in Los Angeles, California. I love spending a week in LA with Jill and her mom over this family time holiday. Especially since I don’t spend this holiday with any of my biological family. Sadly, venturing to LA at this moment is simply not smart.
In Minnesota I will stay. I’m taking two full weeks off from my University of Minnesota job and from my Great River School CAS consultant job. My focus for these two weeks is writing. I pulled out my book and realized I love what I’ve written so far! Not only that, I discovered that I am still excited to put this book out into the world. The working title is Find Your Inner Endurance Athlete. Which given my passion for fitness and health, makes sense that I still have energy to make this book a reality.
Fear grips me in the most unexpected ways. I wish I could plan for fear, but in my case, that is not how it works. I needed to work through layers of fear around putting this book into the world. In part because I reveal my story and my truth in one fell swoop. All the difficult and ugly parts. The parts I was taught to always hide and deny.
The other morning fear gripped me as I was getting ready to go on my longest run since October 2012 when I did the Twin Cities 10-mile race. On my plan was to run 9.2 miles, using a 3 minutes run/30seconds walk Jeff Galloway pattern of running. My triathlon pal Jenny agreed to run the whole thing with me. Thankfully she loves to plan routes and she planned a fun Minneapolis lakes route for us.
We invited Nadine, Marie and Monica to join us for any and all of it. Nadine runs between 8 and 9 minute miles so she started later and she ran a bit more than 10 miles! Marie went off her celery juice daily plan for about 5 days and her joints were hurting, so she did 5 miles with us. Monica stayed up late the night before because she’s a super dedicated high school social studies/advanced placement teacher, so she did a few miles with us. Jenny miscalculated the route a bit so we ended up running 10.3 miles.
Talking to the fear
Before the big run, as I was eating my chia pudding with fresh berries for breakfast, fear hit me square in the chest. I got scared and I felt the fear course through my body like a blast of painful lightning. I took several deep breaths and I stretched my arms over my head. I nodded at the fear and reminded it that I was strong.
I told the fear that it could come on the run with me if it wanted. I reminded the fear that I had been running three times a week and that the run-walk-run system I’ve been using for more than 3 months works magic on my ability to go for long distances.
The fear loosened its grip and by the time I got to our start point it had left for the time being. Apparently going on a long run wasn’t interesting for that bit of fear. As I stepped out of the car and masked up to meet Jenny and Marie, I felt strong and ready.
Run completed! 10.2 miles!!
Completing the run took about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Jenny and I average about 13 minute miles with our 30 seconds of walking every 3 minutes woven in there. Feeling my strength and sense of accomplishment along with feeling joyfully connected to my athlete friends as we socially distant celebrated our run with a coffee and snack from the Sparrow Cafe, reminded me that I will navigate through Christmas 2020 just fine.
I am strong and I am connected. And I have lots of good writing time wrapped all around!
For good measure, I do have a phone call and maybe a Zoom session planned with Jill and her mom Joan!!
I wish you all a very Merry Holiday! What are you doing for fun and joy? Sending love to you from Minnesota!
Have you joined my email list yet? I love to stay connected! Join now and you’ll get a free self-care guide I designed just for you!