Well, we're heading into the third month of what we all recognize as a new normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed our lives and our perspectives in numerous ways.
I think we've all wrestled with the negative emotions associated with this virus - the anger and frustration of losing sports seasons and graduations and more.
But it struck me a few weeks back while out running that there is a silver lining in all of this.
The number of folks who wave and smile as we cross paths - opposite sides of the street, of course - has increased. The rush of daily life seems to have slowed, as people realize that what we once thought was ultimately important really pales in comparison to the real blessings in our lives.
Spending more time with our families is, in my mind, the greatest gift of all.
So, I thought it was an important time to pause, and challenge all of you to think about what the pandemic has done for you.
This week, I want you to flood my email inbox with your answer to this phrase:
"This pandemic has made me more..."
...and follow with 1 or 2 sentences that explains your answer. Think of this phrase as an athlete, coach or parent first; if you want to respond from a personal perspective, that's fine, too.
Send your response to melgares@LetsGoRun.com. I will print every response in next week's column (within reason).
As noted, it might be easy to meander to negative emotions...anger, frustration, rage, resentment or others.
But, it's time to come out the other end of this. How did we grow through this experience? How will we be better because of it? How much more hot will the fire burn the next time you get on the track?
Think of words like courageous, resilient, hungry, optimistic, appreciative, loving, understanding...
Logue, a four-time Kansas state champion in cross country and the 3200 meter run, has been sharing her workouts, life and positive attitude while living back home in Girard during the pandemic. In losing the outdoor track and field season, she had every reason to be angry, coming off a 2019 cross country season where she earned NCAA Division I All American honors.
Instead, she is a great example of a bright light, a person who looks adversity squarely in the eyes and finds the best way forward. I think it's tempting to believe that great athletes win races because they're so physically talented but maybe - probably - it's because they are pretty good at shutting off the mental demons.
For those of you who have already read Cailie's blog posts, do you have any doubts that she's gotten stronger physically, mentally and maybe even spiritually during our stay-at-home time?
As for me, it's easy to know how I'd respond to the phrase above.
"This pandemic has made me more appreciative."
Being able to slow down and see the simple things in life has opened my eyes to the things that have lasting meaning. Going forward, I'm going to stress less about things that are not in my control.
Send me your own thoughts. I hope that we all will come through this stronger.
10 Years Ago This Week...
There was a pretty great distance race at a class 6A regional between Shawnee Mission Northwest teammates Keaton Jones and Aaron Thornburg - who had led their team to the cross country state championship the previous fall.
Jones won the regional title in the 1600 meters with a time of 4:22.30, fighting off Thornburg by a half-second (4:22.80). Thornburg rebounded to win the 3200 in the weekend's best time (9:39.36).
Nic Giancana of Topeka West won his class 5A regional in the high jump with a leap of 6-10, and Terrence Williams of Dodge City won a regional title in the triple jump at 46-5.25; and Paola's Skylar Hawkins won a class 4A regional title in the long jump at 23-2.5. Both of those marks were about a foot better than anyone else in the state that week.
Among Kansas girls, Machala Wesley of Topeka West, the No. 1 ranked sprinter in the state at the time, smoked 11.49 and 24.07 to sweep regional titles at 100 and 200 meters. A week later, she added the class 5A 200 title, and was third in the 100.
The best relay race 10 years ago this week happened at a class 6A regional, where Shawnee Mission East's girls won the 4 X 800 in 9:37.18, to edge Blue Valley Northwest (9:39.23) and Shawnee Mission West (9:40.75).
Five Years Ago This Week...
Cailie Logue swept class 4A regional titles in the 800 (2:26.54), 1600 (4:59.19) and 3200 (11:12.51) meter runs, setting the stage for state titles in the two longer events.
Moorea Long of Paola and Madi Rollins of Chanute each cleared 5-4 at their regional meet, but Long got the win on fewer misses. Demi Murray of Decatur won a 2A regional title with the state's best throw in the javelin, 146-7; she won the class 2A state title the following week.
Among Kansas boys, some of the great efforts that took place five years ago include regional wins by Independence's Evan Speicher in the shot put (54-11.5), Louisburg's Connor McMullen in the discus (169-3) and Parsons' Isiah Taylor in the long jump (21-8).