Stranger Days #22: Running During a Pandemic

Estimated Reading Time: 2.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  
A selfie with a blue bandanna on my head and an orange bandanna covering my face.
Getting ready to run?

In changing times, determining proper etiquette is tricky.  Recently, we were all encouraged to way masks--even cloth masks as a means of trying to contain the spread. But even before this, I witnessed an interesting discussion occurring online and, of course, on Nextdoor--that social media platform that can be a motivator to think about moving.  

The question is, what should runners do when running outdoors to reduce the potential spread?  It is a good question, because generally speaking, no one wants to be spreading the Coronavirus.  However, much of the posts I was reading put a lot of the responsibility on runners and none on the walkers--even though, both groups of folks were putting one another at risk by being outside in places where others were.  And don't get me started on folks who walk in the middle of side-walks or bike-paths; in general, it's always annoying but now so, it just creates situations where people have to come into closer contact than they would otherwise.  

So putting aside that, there are the considerations that a runner (or cyclist) may be breathing faster and heavier than a pedestrian. That is worth considering and when I thought more about that, I decided to do my best to map out runs that were less likely to have people around. Knowing enough of the local terrain, that wasn't hard to do.  If I need to use some space where there's more foot-traffic, I try to find places where there is a space to go beyond the sidewalk or path.  This allows me a wider space to maneuver and hopefully keep everyone safe.  

But then last week, the masks guidelines came out and this is where it gets hard for me. I've tried running with a mask as you can see with the photo. It lasted about a mile, after which I was both winded and had a face full of mucus (ewwww---I know!  Aren't glad you're reading this?).  When I run, my nose often runs. I always have a handkerchief to blow my nose as it needs it every half-mile or so.  But running with a mask or coverage of my face, did not allow for that to happen in any effective way that didn't undermine the mask in the first place.

So for now, I'm going maskless when running because it seems to be the only way I can run.  I also aim for times when it seems like there are less folks out there in general (in the morning around 5:30am) or other folks like me who are getting in their work out.  

What about you?  Are you exercising outside?  If so, are you adjusting when, where, and what you wear when doing so?

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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