Running to the new normal

Photo by on

The races are coming back and it feels amazing. Previously only imagined, our society seems to at last be on the down slope of one of the most horrific tragedies of our lifetime. Everyone knows the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over, but with our nation’s adult vaccination rate now at 50%, the feeling of establishing a new normal is unmistakable.

My inbox is overflowing with a wide range of in-person running and racing events for the coming months. The return of the is dominating the news feeds, serving as exclamation the big races are…


My references are aging faster than I am

Photo by on

I made a Hitchcock reference to blank stares. Six people at the table in awkward silence. In that precious moment, I was as old as the pyramids.

It happened during a meeting at work. I was the boss, and I could see the younger faces at the table biting through their tongues instead of asking for clarification. I was surprised at first, then a bit saddened to know these bright and talented people had never seen The Birds. They probably never will. Nor are they ever likely to sit through Rear Window…


Lessons learned in the hospital gown

Photo by on

Trauma taught me many things. I learned about pain. I learned about resilience. I learned about healing. In retrospect, one of the most cherished places of personal enlightenment was the hospital hallway.

It was a big deal to make it to the hallway. Really big. My journey had taken me through weeks in the ICU. My recovery then allowed the hard earned step up to step down. The Step Down ward meant you could get food through something other than a tube. …


Or in my case, how not to

Photo by on

Right now is a wonderful time to start a running club. The COVID running boom has many new runners longing for connection instead of isolation. Running clubs offer opportunities for creating these personal connections, rather than returning to gym workouts hiding under headphones. Small, outdoor gatherings also make social distancing easy, comfortable, and safe.

If you are thinking of starting a running club, success can be yours by putting a handful of crucial elements in place. I’m highlighting in hindsight of what makes clubs successful in my area, and from my own experience in attempting to establish a running club.

Start the club before you start the club.


The life benefits of getting on the mat

Image by from

A tractor trailer introduced me to real pain. After suffering a major trauma in a collision with a vehicle ten times bigger than my own, I began a long, painful recovery from multiple injuries, including the wrenching of almost every muscle and tendon in my back. This place of pain continued as center point of my every day life long after returning to normality.

Once recovery was thought complete, I restarted my life acquiescing pain as companion. My lungs, lacerated and collapsed in the crash, continued with soreness for years. Deep breathing always proved difficult. The pain that most often…


The peacefulness of letting go

Image by from

The nurses were packing me in ice. I could see more people coming into the room with more ice. I didn’t feel cold. I didn’t feel hot. I felt relaxed and calm. I became aware I was no longer feeling pain. The terrible pain was gone. The knifing, burning pain that had turned my body’s insides to fire for weeks was gone. This is so nice, not being in pain, I was thinking. So nice.

And the nurse seemed so kind. So thoughtful. She was shouting at me. I could tell by the way her…


A race review

Photo by on

The Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon is a worldwide series of running events, with 31 races currently listed on their calendar. The massive tourism event takes place annually in my hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia in early September, drawing between fifteen to nineteen thousand participants. Having seen the race for years, my wife and myself were excited to be part of the show in 2018.

The huge events are managed under the Ironman logo, that’s the big World Triathlon Corporation, owned by an even bigger conglomerate called Advanced Publications. In other words, big players have invested a lot of money…


Five things to remember

Image by from

I work with a Millennial. There’s a conversation starter that’ll get immediate reaction. Those reactions will be widely varied, of course, depending on the age of the folks you’re tossing it out to. I confess to entertaining myself at times by making the statement when I’m with folks, how shall I put it, my age.

While working at a small nonprofit, I worked with a Visitor Services Manager who fit smack in the middle of a generation that’s now a driving societal force, both culturally and economically. The majority of the organization’s interns and volunteers were…


A running fundraiser idea

Photo by author

My colleague’s face went completely blank. The pause felt long, then very long, and longer still. And then a slow, broad smile became his involuntary expression. He realized it was a good idea. A really good idea.

The 0.0K.

The man wearing the smile was Adam Swansen, a Senior Event Manager at . For a number of years Adam was head of timing and scoring at Virginia Beach based J & A Racing. His experience ranged across 700 events, including the area’s massive , which draws tens of thousands of runners every year. Swansen’s…


Will there be a bust?

Photo by on

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.

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 reports city park paths overcrowded with runners, making…

William Hazel

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store