by Pamela Chapman Markle

Life has always produced challenges for me.  I have learned to try and look at the positive that I can pull from adversity as it is something we will always have to deal with.  I feel that changing my current daily rituals will bring a stronger, more positive outlook for what I call, “A Pause and Reset”.  

With all the cancelations of the Ultra Running Races since the COVID-19, I have had to change up my typical competitive routine {Racing every 6 weeks}.  The most important balance in my life is health and that is a daily routine for me.  Because I am a 64-year-old female who runs like I am 25 years old this break could be used as a healthy reset for my aching body.  What I have missed with my busy life are all the things about healing my body that I should spend more time focussing on. I now have time to sleep a full 8 hours. Proper stretching after my 2-3 hour runs have helped tremendously. I have eaten healthier home cooked meals and taken the proper vitamins and minerals I may have missed from my food. I have done 20 minutes daily of mobility work before my workouts and have been able to fit in strength work each week. The yoga tapes I own have gotten dusted off and I actually look forward to using them! I am spending time focussing on my recovery, which is so important to running high mileage with no injuries. I am still running 75-90 miles a week right now and feel stronger than ever. I believe this is because I am using this time to incorporate new aspects into my work outs and trying to adjust things that I will continue post quarantine.

As an Ultra Runner, the things that have been taken away mostly involve the competitive aspects of ultra-running; the anticipation that I feel when training for a specific race, the excitement of competing in a race and the camaraderie that I have developed with other members of the ultra-running community. Instead, I train in solitude for an unknown race, trying to motivate myself despite not knowing when I will be able to compete again. This requires willing oneself to find the motivation without the external reward of a busy race schedule. In years past, I ran at least ten ultramarathons per year and always found myself recovering from one race and then training for the next. This year, I have had three races in a row cancelled due to the virus. This requires me to rely on my inner strength and motivation more than ever.