I went on a run today. Voluntarily. That’s what this has all come to. The first day of sunshine since the world has been on quarantine and I go all Brittany Runs a Marathon. I mean, yes, I do work out five days a week. But I am not a runner. Yet being quarantined in my home with three other people – even three other people I love dearly – has taught me much about myself. Namely, I need alone time. And apparently I need it enough that going on a run sounded like something I should do.
I’ve also decided that while holing myself up with all the Cheez-Its and making Netflix my new full-time position does have its appeal, I don’t want to come out on the other side of this social distancing (and straight into swimsuit season) weighing more than when I went in. So I’m trying to kick my ass as much as possible with all the time I got back not having to drive my kids everywhere. If we do end up getting to take our Hawaiian vacation later this summer, my plan is to be in a two-piece with the message “Brought to you by COVID-19” across my backside.
But back to that run. In order to help me power through, I decided to play a little game with myself. Our neighborhood was built in the early 1970’s, and there are pockets that still look, well, like it’s the 1970’s. Clearly, the logical thing to do was to find a 70’s playlist on Spotify and pretend I had taken a little trip in a time machine, jogging down sidewalks circa 1974. Behind each door I passed, I imagined dads with big ass side burns and even bigger ass pointed collars sitting in recliners and reading newspaper articles about Watergate…housewives in turtleneck sweaters and wide-leg polyester pants whipping up tuna casseroles in their harvest gold and avocado green kitchens…teenagers with feathered hair and bellbottoms listening to 8-tracks of Bachman-Turner Overdrive…little kids watching episodes of The Electric Company and Fat Albert while drinking Tang and eating Jiffy Pop. And obviously, I was basically Marcia Brady just trying to stay in shape for the upcoming head cheerleader tryouts (cue Davy Jones singing “Girl, look what you’ve done to me…Me and my whole world…“). I mean, my brother Greg is the chair of the selection committee, but I want to win fair and square. And my main competition is Greg’s new girlfriend, who calls him “Greggy.” Someone should throw a football at her nose.
What? No one else does this? Imagines they’ve transported themselves into another decade, conveniently ignoring the Kia Optimas and Chevy Suburban SUVs in driveways, just so they can think about anything besides how much running sucks? Just me? Okay then.
Pretending to be Marcia Brady on a jog only got me so far anyway. As it turns out, a fact I conveniently decided to ignore before leaving on my run was that two days ago I completed 420 alternating lunges and 9.5 minutes of wall sits. Because apparently coronavirus quarantine has turned me into one of those people at Guantanamo Bay with a “special set of skills,” which I foolishly use on myself. So as I approached what appeared to be a long, steady incline, my legs were ready to give up.
That’s when I saw this on the sidewalk in front of me:
Followed by these:
It was just what I needed…in more ways than one, since stopping to take photos of these little surprise packages of motivation allowed me a breather while still saving face. *The only reason I’m stopping is to document this adorable act of kindness. Otherwise I’d totally still be running up this steady incline with zero difficulty at all. I just want to make sure all you people who might be watching me from inside your houses realize this. You can go back to reading about Watergate and making your tuna casseroles.*
Once I snapped my photos, I picked up the pace again, this time with a little smile on my face. Suddenly, my legs didn’t hurt quite so much. My breathing wasn’t as labored. And all I needed to keep me going was the jaunty guitar licks of America’s Sister Golden Hair rockin’ out of my earbuds. Because I can do it. I am able to stay positive. I am awesome. And everything will be okay, dammit. It will.
Obviously, these brightly colored chalk messages apply to much more than my run, and that wasn’t lost on me either. It applies to the whole reason I was on the run in the first place. To keep myself healthy, busy, and sane during this unprecedented and uncertain time. We are all feeling it in our own ways. We will all have our moments when this whole thing will seem like a steady incline with no end in sight, and our legs just don’t have anything left in them to keep putting one foot in front of the other toward a destination that is still unknown. But we can do it. We are able to stay positive. We are awesome. And everything will be okay, dammit. It will. (Just stay the f**k home, y’all.)
So basically, today really did turn out to be an episode of The Brady Bunch, happy ending and all. Like, it may as well have been a music video for the song Sunshine Day:
I think I’ll go for a walk outside now
The summer sun’s callin’ my name
(I hear ya now)
I just can’t stay inside all day
I gotta get out get me some of those rays
Everybody seems so happy today
It’s a sunshine day
I’m going to go ahead and keep pretending I’m Marcia until bedtime, even though I’m probably more of a Jan if we’re being honest.