Monday, March 16, 2020. On that day Governor Gretchen Whitmer mandated that all gyms were to be closed indefinitely in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
When I heard this news, I was immediately disappointed. I belong to a Planet Fitness gym nearby, and I loved to go there to meet with my friends and work out. The gym helped me stay healthy and release stress. It was my favorite place to go after a long day.
For the following week after the gym closed, I did not exercise because I could no longer go to the gym, and I do not have much exercise equipment in my house. This sedentary lifestyle that I had suddenly adapted left me feeling sluggish and irritable. I needed something more in my day than doing schoolwork and Netflix. I needed to exercise.
One day in late March, I decided to do something for the first time this year: run outside. I sometimes ran on the treadmill at the gym, but I did not run far and I never enjoyed it. However, with the lack of options, I put on warm clothes (appropriate for Michigan’s weather) and I ran through neighborhoods nearby. Although I was exhausted when I finished the run, I felt the best I had felt since the beginning of quarantine. It was like I was back at the gym.
Since then, I've ran almost every day. I built up to run longer distances and started running different routes. At the end of March, I gave myself a new goal. I wanted to run one hundred miles in April, which meant I had to run over three miles every day to meet my goal.
Starting April 1st, I began recording how far I ran in my journal. This journal motivates me to run on days when I feel tired and shows me how far I have come since I started running. At the beginning of April, I was only able to run a few miles at a time, and now I can run ten miles. Now that there are ten days left in April, I have twenty four more miles to run before the month ends, and I am on pace to hit my goal.
Since the beginning of April, I have recorded the distance I run on my Quarantine Calendar, which hangs on a wall in my kitchen. This calendar serves both as my motivation to run on the days when I do not feel like running and as a visual tool to measure my improvement. When I see this calendar, I see that I have been able to run longer distances as the month progressed.
I plan to continue running every day after April, after I hit my goal. I first started running to stay healthy and productive, but I found that I enjoy it much more than I expected I would. My daily runs are the best part of my day. Although this international pandemic has brought fear, isolation, sickness, and death, it brought something positive into my life: a new passion.