As you read through my entries from the first two weeks of March its positively chilling to watch how we go from oblivious, to mildly concerned to WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE! in just two weeks. In retrospect we should have been on high alert a lot sooner but without clear direction from the top we were all just guessing and feeling our way forward.
Monday March 1st, the day after the Skyway 10k.
No running for a week, my body needs some recovery time. House cleaning, laundry day. Lee is gone this week so I’m on my own except for the dogs of course.
Tuesday March 2nd.
Took the dogs to the dog park, then took a Pilates class at the spa. Each teacher is different, but the basic emphasis is always on a strong core. It’s hard! I finally have to buy a new 10 day pass to the spa, $250! I think it’s gone up $100 since 2 years ago. Now that the house is clean its back to quilting. I'm going to try going to Whistlestop and sitting at the bar for a grouper bowl and some alcohol by myself tonight
Thursday March 5.
I did go to Whistlestop for dinner on Tuesday. NBD as they say. Sat at the bar. Their bartender is nice, friendly, works hard. I got the baja bowl with grouper. It was delish. And a $5 margarita cause it was still happy hour. Lots of women at the bar, singles and in pairs. A single took the stool next to me. We chatted until the guy on her other side started flirting with her, ha. Several people wanted to know what I was having.
On Wednesday I did my PT exercises as usual. I’m still doing something called The Foundation exercises for my back. They are on YouTube. I have to follow along with a video because they are somewhat complicated. I did the basic exercise for a month and now I’ve added the second step. They do stretch out my back, and counterintuitively make it sore, but that’s just because I’m learning to use those muscles. It’s improving my posture too. Interesting.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a bike ride. It was ferociously windy and sunny. Answer to question, should I wear sunscreen for an afternoon bike ride? Yes! The wind made it into a hard workout. I had a headwind for three miles. Then along the causeway I had a side/tailwind for 4 miles that was actually blowing salt spray on me. Turned around and then had a side/headwind for four miles. This was really hard, but I just put myself in a lower gear and kept pedaling. It was warm but I drank a lot of water and the wind kept me comfortable too. Little plovers sat in groups along the bike way facing the wind, scattering when I approached. I wasn’t the only one out there either. Crazy Floridians!
I went to Whole Foods and got a rotisserie chicken for dinner. That plus a baked potato and a salad made a good dinner. I don’t know what to have for dinner tonight, maybe leftover pasta.
Today is still windy, and warm. Took a yoga class at the spa and then to be sure I got my money’s worth for the day I went to the pool in the afternoon. Read in a lounge chair, cooled off in the pool, got an alcoholic beverage. Very nice!
Friday March 6.
Cooler today, feels great. Starting to itch to run. My hip feels good. I think about going for a bike ride but it’s still really windy so I pass. Run errands, wash truck, get a Bahn Mi sandwich for lunch. Around 2 pm Lee gets home. Yay! We hang out for the afternoon, go for a long dog walk. Try Gigglewaters for dinner. Good drinks, great beers, cheery waiter.
Finish watching Ford v Ferrari. Good movie, you can’t help but get caught up in the racing. Favorite scenes were the ones with Henry Ford II, especially when Shelby gives him a spin in the race car so he sees what it’s like.
Saturday March 7th.
Spring training! Phillies vs Sox. Beautiful day, but a bit chilly. I’m cold on our bike ride to the stadium but warm up nicely in our sunny seats. We are non partisan, cheer for good plays, just watching the game, the sun, the clouds. The left side of my neck starts to feel a little burnt but there is free sunscreen in the bathrooms, nice Floridian touch. I have a cheesesteak and a hard lemonade for lunch, but nothing will ever surpass that cheesesteak I had after the Philadelphia Marathon! The people next to us are native Philadelphians and start to tell me where the best places are to get a cheesesteak. I should have taken notes!
Sunday March 8.
Lee is leaving again for the week. Boohoo. I’m going to go for a run when he leaves, first one in a week. I’ve got my training plan for San Francisco. I’m excited. I paid Luke Humphrey of Hanson's Marathon for a plan specific to San Francisco with all those hills and my age, goals and abilities. He’s got me running 5 days a week instead of 6, fewer miles, plenty of hill workouts, plus all the other Hanson components. I can’t wait to start it, but I won’t begin until we’re back in Minny. He thinks I can break 5 hours. I’m hopeful, but will aim for 5:05 (hours) for now because that’s what my best 10k time this winter projects in the race calculators. We’ll just see how it goes. Around week 10 or so was the breakthrough point for me last year training for Chicago (when I started to be able to hit my paces and have confidence that I could meet my goal) so I won’t make any adjustments in the pace goals until then. San Francisco is a much harder marathon in some ways because of the hills, but sometimes hills work to my advantage so we’ll just see. I know I need to strengthen my quads!
Wednesday March 11th
I had a very nice bike ride yesterday. Made it all the way to the big rise on the Causeway, 15 miles total. Not windy, just an all over nice ride. I wonder why I find bike riding more boring than running though. I wonder if someday when I can’t run anymore it would be a decent substitute.
I went to Whistlestop again for dinner. I sat at the bar again, chatted with the girl next to me, and the bartender. This time I got a grassfed Florida burger and sweet potato fries, and a margarita.
Slept late today. Woke up at 6:30 and actually went back to bed but only for around 15 minutes. I dilly dallied around, did my exercises, talked to Daniel and Lee on the phone. Then I went to lunch with the woman next door with the bad dog that got loose and charged our dogs earlier. She felt very bad and she’s a nice lady. He’s a rescue and they’ve worked with a trainer but he obviously has a ways to go. He’s young, only 2. Just keep him away from a Cos!
Thursday, March 12th
Today I was sad for all my friends that were planning on running the Boston Marathon. Although it’s not yet official it’s almost certain that the marathon will be postponed at the very least. And those of us with other marathons later in the year are wondering if those could be cancelled as well, if this pandemic continues into the summer, or beyond.
So I’m thinking about running. I’ll start training for San Francisco in April as planned and will continue unless/until something changes. So what would I do if San Francisco is cancelled? It’s hard to find many summer races, it’s not a big marathon racing time because in most places it’s pretty warm. There are some trail races though maybe I’d do something crazy and find something like that. Or maybe I’d run a virtual race.
And I also thought this: once upon a time I just ran. The thought of running a race, even a 5k, stressed and alarmed me. For the first 12 years of my running life, I went out there and ran when I could, 2 or 3 times a week. I didn’t know how fast I was, or how far I ran. I didn’t have a fancy watch. When the iPod came out I listened to music, but that’s about it. Mostly I ran 1-3 miles, in my neighborhood in Missouri, on the University track, and later around Town Lake in Austin.
Could I go back to just running and not race? Could I at least go back to that attitude? Probably not entirely, but maybe a little more “living in the moment” running would not be such a bad thing.
Saturday, March 14th
On Friday we learned that the Boston Marathon has been postponed until September, as has the London Marathon. In Florida the governor has prohibited gatherings larger than 250 people so most of the small local races have been cancelled as well, along with all kinds of events.
Lee came back from his work trip last night. He had been having some symptoms (shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in his chest) that we were afraid might be heart related, so while he was in Minnesota he went to a cardiologist. He had an EKG which showed some abnormality, but they did an echocardiogram and it was fine, so he hadn’t suffered a heart attack or any muscle damage to his heart. On Wednesday he had a cardiac CT scan and we got the results on a Friday. He’s fine, no blockage, no valve problems. That’s certainly a relief. Of course we don’t know what caused his symptoms or why he had a bad EKG, but hopefully we’ll figure that out.
Last night we went out to eat at Water Oak again. It’s a very popular restaurant and it was definitely not full. It’s so strange to question whether it is ok to do something as mundane as go out to eat. Who knows. I’m questioning whether it is wise to go to the spa for an exercise class. If I do I think I will take my own mat, just to be safe. Everyone has to just take this day by day.
Sunday March 15
After a nice run this morning we went for brunch at Athens, the Greek breakfast/lunch place on Main St. We ate outside, so good social distancing and lots of fresh air. I got banana-pecan pancakes, mmmmm. Then later Sarah and Leo FaceTimed. Leo was busy doing stuff and didn’t really have time to talk. Sarah was baking cinnamon rolls, so we chatted while they were browning in the oven. She’s feeling good, hoping the virus stays away long enough for her to have this baby without any difficulties.
Monday March 16
The news just keeps getting worse and worse. Restarant and businesses closing around the country, San Francisco, New York and Washington under lockdown, people cutting vacations short, getting a bit anxious to get back to Minnesota. Most races now cancelled for April, even into May.
I went on a 16 mile bike ride this morning. Beautiful morning. A headwind on the way out slowed me down and of course sped me back up on the way back. Then texting with the kids and Daniel gets after me for going out because I’m old. I don’t know what’s the right thing to do but it’s just not that simple. I’m trying to be sensible, not panicking, not being too blasé. Over the weekend I thought I would still go take classes at the spa if I brought my own mat but today the thought made me too anxious so I did not. I’m still getting my hair cut tomorrow, I have to, I’m a shaggy beast.
Tuesday March 17
It’s St Patrick’s Day but you sure couldn’t tell it in downtown Safety Harbor. It’s not deserted buts it’s very quiet. Without clear direction (yet) from the top businesses are making their own decisions. Some places are closed, some are serving carry out only. One bar was having a party like what’s-a-corona-virus-never-heard-of-it-party but even that seemed sparsely attended. People are out walking and running but not to extent they usually are, and the usual rush hour mini traffic jam on Bayshore Dr, was non existent.
I did go get a haircut today. I studiously did NOT touch my face until I got home and washed my hands. Will I go get my hair colored when we get back to Minny? Things are changing so fast, I just don’t know.
Wednesday March 18th
This morning we made the decision to leave Florida early. Things are changing so quickly that we just want to get home. We don’t want to risk getting stuck somewhere in a general quarantine, or not be able to see the new baby when it comes.
I talked to both my kids today, everyone is well, just feeling uncertain. Sarah is worried about the hospitals restricting who can be in the room when she gives birth. Right now they are saying one other person, so they can’t use the doula they hired. Hopefully they won’t start saying no one else can be in the room because that would mean no Erik.
A quiet day in Safety Harbor, no one is out. I went to Walgreens earlier and Lee went to the grocery store. This afternoon we went to get our 2 pm coffees. They have a carry out window so we don’t have to go inside or anything like that.
Friday March 20
Safety Harbor is pretty much shut down. The beaches have closed in Pinellas County where we are. I think the pictures on social media shamed them into doing something. Most restaurants are closed, but some are serving carry out. And tonight we heard that Illinois governor has issued a shelter in place order, like California and New York. Will other places follow soon? Who knows. We have to drive through Illinois to get home, but the highways and interstates are open so it should be okay. We’ll definitely get a full tank of gas before we leave Kentucky however!
Paula says her nursing home is running out of protective gear. One of my friends in New Hampshire has tested positive for Covid-19. Its just so surreal. We thought we would get carry out from Whistlestop tonight but they have completely shut down. Barfly Downtown is still doing carry out, but Wateroak is closed as well. We ended up getting a carry out pizza and a salad from Nona’s.
Saturday March 21
Lee went and got the RV right when the storage facility opened and we were on the road before very long. The roads were busy all through Florida and southern Georgia. Lots of trucks, lots of RVs, lots of everything. I think everyone is going home as quickly as possible. We stopped three times for gas (the truck chugs gas when pulling the RV), always at a truck stop because they are more accommodating in general to large vehicles. Every time I went inside to pee most people were trying very hard to practice social distancing. And people were washing their hands religiously and using a paper towel to exit. I know we were very careful.
All day long I would periodically have a jolt of fear because my post nasal drip from allergies would make me cough. Then I would get warm so I was running a fever. Of course it’s 85 degrees out and if I turned the air conditioning vents on me I felt fine. You can see how this could trip into mass hysteria if we aren’t careful.
Around 1 pm we did a teleconferencing call with the kids. We tried to use zoom, but we were in rural Georgia and our bandwidth was insufficient so we changed to FaceTime and then we were fine.
Dan and Kelsey are fine, going a little stir crazy in their tiny apartment, but at least they can get outside to exercise. Sarah is ok too, waiting anxiously for this baby to appear. They actually looked into a birthing center but because she is a VBAC she is semi high risk and they want you to sign a malpractice waiver because in an emergency she would have to be transferred to a hospital. It’s just not worth it, so I just hope and pray that they don’t change the rules and Erik can be with her.
It’s nice and quiet in this campground, even if they are almost full. People are friendly, just keeping their distance. The management just brought us cookies! That was very sweet.
Sunday March 22
There was a lot less traffic today. The gas stations and restaurants stops were less crowded too. The warning signs on the highways now say “avoid travel, stop covid-19”. I keep muttering in answer, we will, we just need to get home. We are at Prizer Point, near Cadiz Kentucky, in the Kentucky Lakes region. It’s very pretty, but it’s raining a little. And chilly! 50 degrees, my wimpy Florida bones don’t like it. I also feel like trotting around somewhere, but that will have to wait a few more days.
Tennessee seemed pretty much business as usual. It didn’t seem like everything was closed, although again Sunday so a little hard to tell. Kentucky on the other hand seems to have shut things down hard. The campground is pretty much shut down except for their campsites. No restaurant or indoor pool, not that we care. They gave us a pass good for one free night any time in 2020, too bad we won’t have a reason to use it.
Monday March 23
Today was a long day of driving but we stayed on eastern time last night so we were up and on the road by 7:30 AM. It was a mostly uneventful day. Illinois was quiet, Missouri was also. Iowa is so very rural that it’s hard to say what’s up here. Much less safety and social distancing here but maybe it just hasn’t hit home here yet. We were just as careful in Iowa as we were everywhere else so it didn’t really matter to us.
The biggest part of the day for me was internally. I kept imagining that I was getting sick. It really made me feel crazy and fearful. Am I? I have a bit of a runny nose, a bit of a cough, a bit of the beginning of a sore throat. Maybe just allergies, maybe a slight cold, maybe the beginnings of covid 19. Or maybe nothing.
When we got to our campsite in Iowa we discovered that they did not have their water turned on yet. This would not have normally been a problem. All we needed to do was fill up our water tank, which Lee proceeded to do. But then we discovered that our pump wasn't working so we have a tank full of water and no way to get to it. Lee worked on it to much frustration and no success. So we bought two gallons of water and that will have to do for the night.