The last few days have been anything but normal. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and the world has turned topsy-turvy. Our social gatherings, school, competitions, and work have been cancelled in favor of embracing “social distancing” and “self-quarantine” -- foreign phrases to us just a short week ago. Our hands are dry from incessant “20 second protocol” hand washing. Our grocery stores are overrun with people hoarding Lysol products, soap, and toilet paper (which I will never fully understand).
On a personal note, my upcoming races have been cancelled left and right, and like many of you, I am left wondering what the next few months of my life will look like. Will there be a track season? Will the Olympic Trials be cancelled? It is hard to wrap my head around the idea that what I have worked all year for may disappear in another haggard news report. I am feeling the effects beyond running too- my best friend’s wedding, scheduled for next weekend, was suddenly cancelled. Several of family members in Switzerland have developed fevers and coughs after close exposure to confirmed cases. It’s unnerving.
All of my other work has come to a complete stop. My projects with Stanford Athletics put on hold, as all of the students have headed home for the remainder of the academic year. My Courage to Run 5k that I have poured hours into planning has been postponed for an indefinite period of time. My city of Bend email is filled with messages from concerned citizens on how to function during this health crisis. I have become the shepherd for bad news, announcing updates to the Bend public through Mayor Sally’s social media accounts. It seems that most other city business has come to a screechy halt in order to triage for coronavirus.
Oh- and I tweeted about a tender moment outside a grocery store with an elderly couple, that ended up getting seen by nearly 40 million people. To this day I have been on CNN, Good Morning America, CBS, PBS, Fox News, plenty of local news stations, and in articles ranging from the local Bend Bulletin to Access Hollywood and the Washington Post. I have had opportunities to talk with politicians and celebrities that I never could have dreamed of exchanging two words with. Just to talk about this small act of kindness. Wild.