Will there be a bust?

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Photo by Martin Robles on Unsplash

Boom. That’s what the running community is calling the trend. The general media is using the same four-letter word to describe what’s happening to running during the pandemic. Locked down, zoomed in, stressed out, socially-distanced folks all around the world have been going outdoors for one of the safest forms of exercise during the crisis. COVID has created a very historic running boom.

RunRepeat’s study from June shows exercise numbers are up 88% in the category covering people that usually worked out a couple of times per week. The New York Times reports city park paths overcrowded with runners, making social distancing sometimes difficult. …

Running with your spouse

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Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

When I typed running with your spouse into the all-knowing search engine, the results on the first page brought warnings of pending relationship drama. First of all, my search didn’t auto-fill spouse as a keyword. Running with your pre-loaded: dog, phone, cell phone, smartphone, mouth closed, arms behind you, with the word boyfriend being the final dropdown. Once I entered the full search, the first page returned the following titles:

Running together without frustration or fighting.

Why couples should never go running together.

Three keys to running with and not away from your spouse.

The six rules of couples running, is running a threat to your relationship?

Your kitchen is the perfect place to start

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Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to reduce and alleviate the accumulated stress of our daily lives. Through a simple awakening to the beauty of each moment, we can use the power of focus to enhance every day experiences, both great and small. Thankfully, being more mindful does not mean we need to spend vast sums of money on courses, retreats, or certifications.

I struggled through first attempts with mindfulness and meditation and had enormous difficulty in the practice of clearing my thoughts for any length of time. My first steps towards genuine meditation was practicing being more mindful in every day tasks of my life. I still use this pursuit, with much joy and great effect on my well being. …

And some things I don’t miss at all

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Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

I miss the starting line. I miss it very much. The line brings clarity and focus, and it means the hardest work is already done. At the finish, I’ll find confirmation, but at the start, I’ll linger in splendid peace and self-acceptance that I am a runner.

There’s nothing in this vast universe like the energy at the line. Regardless of corral or wave assignments, we are one at the line. Once they let us go, we’ll scatter the course as individuals. Every one of us carrying our personal baggage, our demons, our angels, our intensely solitary reasons for being on the course that day. …

And why you should read the food labels

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Photo by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash

I grabbed the package of cupcakes on a whim. Leftover from a recent office function, my first thought was to save them for staff. In the comfort of my office, reading the long list of unpronounceable ingredients made it clear that I wasn’t holding cupcakes at all. I was holding something that food science had made look like cupcakes. My wife and I both like to cook, so I knew first hand that a decent cupcake didn’t need over thirty components. I thought for moment about what might happen if I kept them for a while.

I decided I would do an experiment. I put the date on a little sticky on the container, took a photograph from above, and gave it a comfortable place on the office book shelf. The cupcakes were chocolate, wrapped in paper as you’d expect along the bottom, with chocolate icing swirled on top, and coated with multicolored, round shaped sprinkles. The package was clear plastic, with nine individual cupcakes nested in their own spots, covered with a clear plastic snap lid. The lid clicked closed with two tabs on the front edge, but once the seal was broken for the party, the container was by no means air tight. The little cupcakes were from a local grocery store, part of one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. A volunteer with the organization purchased them for the office pot lock from their bakery, found on display in one of those center cap tables filled with packaged goodies and sweets. …

And there’s nothing to achieve

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Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash

The reason for my discomfort becomes obvious when I realize I’ve put my shorts on inside out. My shirt seems okay and I’ve managed to at least match my socks. I check my Garmin to see how far I’ve run and it’s not on my wrist. It hasn’t been a very mindful morning.

It began badly, with my banana falling onto the floor mid peel. It was the last banana, so my morning run ritual was interrupted with an irksome minute of trying to pick off tiny bits of aging tile grout from the only decent pre-run carb left in the house. Now I’m two miles from home wanting, needing, to run home before the early dawn light reveals my sartorial slip. …

And men need to start talking about why

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Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

The two women runners were heading north, and I was running south. First light painted the scene in a beautiful predawn palette of soft pinks and blues, with the sky burning umber and the trees dripping the darkest of greens. The women’s clothing reflected the streetlights and oncoming cars in bright white lines of reflective, high-visibility sheen. As we passed, I offered my preferred minimalist interpretation of the runner wave; lifting my left hand slightly with opening fingers, palm up. They didn’t wave back. I am not surprised. They never wave back, and they never will.

We share a familiar walking and bike path along a busy main road. It’s wide, pretty well lit, and offers several miles of easy navigation. As morning runners, I’ve seen these friends running and chatting for several years. Their rule is pretty simple — they don’t wave to me. Most of the time I don’t try, but the lighting and the wonderful temperatures had me in a positive mood that morning, and I lifted my hand once more. …

At least, this is how I think I did it

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Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I was shocked when I crossed the 10K mark. I triple checked I wasn’t making some sort of mistake. My trusted timepiece agreed with the digital clock in the street, so I embraced the truth I was moving that fast. It had been eight months since my last half marathon and now I was indulged in a fantasy about beating that race’s time by half an hour.

Let me first clarify my interpretation of speed. That race from eight months previous was my first half marathon. As a newbie running on a freezing, rain-filled mid-March morning, I managed to haul myself from start to end in 2:31.51. An average pace of 11:35 minutes spent enjoying each mile. I was pretty pleased with myself that day, for I had missed my goal time by only a pair of minutes. I felt doubly proud as the run took place in a torrential nor'easter storm that brought enough rain and wind to turn the 9,000 scheduled runners into 6,000 at the line. …

Don’t let the pandemic stop you

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Photo by Thomas Dils on Unsplash

Now is the perfect time. You’ve thought about it, you’ve wanted it, and you know you can do it. So do it. Take your body and mind to the next level, and run your first half marathon.

The fall racing schedule offers a good number of fun, unexpected options. Yes, the calendar is overflowing with postponements and cancellations, yet many race organizers are effectively responding to the crisis with creative ways to get back on the road. That’s why the timing works. There’s no pressure, and lots of good choices. And don’t forget one important fact; you don’t have to sign up for anything. I’m training for a self-created half marathon run this season. No cost. No virus worries. I’ve designed a trail run for my private race, taking advantage of a beautiful State Park near my home. The course mixes flat, open paths with narrow, hilly routes along the way. …

Three life lessons trauma taught me

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Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Twenty five tons of tractor trailer changed everything. A split second in time when the truck’s wheels grazed the center line at the same moment my small convertible did the same. From North and South a vicious force of momentum and steel was unleashed. My body surrounded, engulfed in the fury.

In one’s life, there are crossroads. Places of profound change. Moments where the direction of everything you knew, you understood, transform. The path once yours suddenly obliterated.

For my life, for this life, it was a road accident. Small car meets large truck. …


William Hazel

Writer. Runner. Mental Wellness Advocate. I believe in ghosts, yoga, local beer, food trucks, and great coffee.

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