Running in the time of Covid

East side entrance to Newton Lake Park, Collingswood, NJ

We’ve been encouraged to continue to exercise in this time of Covid. For a runner, it means getting outdoors and running familiar routes, but staying clear of others out on the trail. I’m fortunate to have some rather beautiful parks to run in, and thankfully they have not been closed. What I’m finding, is that, for the most part, walkers, strollers, families with baby carriages, and other runners are definitely aware of the rules of separation, and are complying with them. As I approach a person or group, we give each other wide berths, more than six feet, and continue on our way. While I am a strong proponent of wearing a mask while in public, one just cannot do that and still run. Plus, the mask would soon get wet with the humidity of my expired air (perhaps I should have used a different word than expired…). I have seen far fewer people out on the trails than normal, and that, too, helps with social distancing. There is the occasional yahoo who walks right down the middle of the path without a mask and without moving to an appropriate distance. Those I give even more room.

I think the most common person I come across on my runs now is a fellow runner, followed by a dog walker, then a single person walking, then a person or couple pushing a stroller. It must be particularly frightening to be raising a young family at this particular time.

The trees are in bloom, with cherry and pear blossoms everywhere. Other trees are just now starting to leaf out, which of course means a great deal of pollen everywhere. I learned in an obituary today of the death of William Frankland, at age 108, scientist and renowned allergist, who developed the idea of the pollen count, among many other accomplishments. I highly recommend reading the linked obituary, which is very interesting and entertaining. Pollen makes my nose run like crazy, and makes me cough when I finish a run. It makes me a bit of a pariah today. Fortunately, my wife is aware of this and does not get scared.

In the course of my run I came across this beautiful egret in the bushes.

Egret in Newton Lake Park, with a nice reflection in the water. There is also a goose in the photo. Can you spot him?

Today, these plants bursting from the ground had a paleo-biological look to them, in the wet runoff leading to Hopkins Pond.

Plant life in early spring, Hopkins Pond, Haddonfield, NJ

Now for the reward. Running has its benefits, good health, cardiovascular fitness, the opportunity (when this is all over) to participate in races, but one of great importance is breakfast. After I ran this morning I treated myself to pancakes, made from Gormly’s Buttermilk Pancake mix, and, of course, some Vermont maple syrup.

A good friend of mine, Simon, who lives in London, contracted what is probably Covid, although he was not tested, just told to hole up in his flat until he got better. After being inside for more than two weeks, and suffering a lot, he took a walk along the Thames today in the sunshine and said it felt great to be outdoors. A bit of good news, to counteract the really bad news we’ve been inundated with.

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4 Comments

  1. BRANDON HAMILTON

     /  April 4, 2020

    Good read. So glad you are getting out. I have been trying to get out early but it has been hard because of my sleeping schedule. David’s been having some small seizures overnight so I have been up with the alarms going off. Can’t wait till this is all over with and the world can get back to normal.

    But on a positive note I am switching to a 10 day training cycle because I know I am not a hot weather runner and will need some extra recovery days for Boston in Sept. I actually think it will be a fun experiment. I’m actually in great shape right now so look forward to being able to even improve more with more recovery.

    I miss our runs. Stay safe Frank.

    Brandon.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Brandon. It really changes things to have Boston switched to the fall. I like your plan. I hope David’s issues resolve.

      Reply
  2. Daniel M. Bikel

     /  April 6, 2020

    Nice post, Frank! I can attest that the number and *proportion* of yahoos here in NYC seems to be much larger. Running in Central Park can be a fraught exercise (pun intended), given how narrow the paths are coupled with the number of people trying to use them. I don’t like running near anyone when I’m sweating and exhaling so much, but it’s next to impossible sometimes. And certainly, being a slow runner, I get passed by runners who come closer to me than I’d like.

    Today, I hope to get out for a bike ride (also in Central Park), hopefully staying far enough away from people.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Dan. Not surprising re runners, etc. in Central Park. Yet, it is the best you have. I suppose you could run along the river, but that, too, might have the same issues. By the way, you are not so slow, but NYC has some truly fast runners.

      Reply

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