Running on Cape Cod During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Running in Cape Cod, Gretchen Zelek unwinds from the stresses of the pandemic while immersed in the memories of the place.

By Gretchen Zelek

Isolating with my husband in our summer home on Cape Cod, after taking what we thought was a short visit back east to see our newborn grandchild, I have a new respect for the joy of running on the back country roads of the Cape.

A few months ago, in Santa Monica, where the weather was gorgeous and the trails and beaches were kind to runners, I, instead, did a majority of my running indoors with 20 other runners. I ran on a treadmill in a studio complete with pulsating lights, high tempo music, and a lively coach who danced back and forth, high fiving and providing eucalyptus chilled towels at the end of class as we cooled down.

A Circuit of Memories

Now it’s just me running and, if I am lucky, it’s not colder than 35 degrees in the spring morning. My breath is visible and I am layered up until I throw my jacket into the bushes, to retrieve when I loop around. I run by the house my parents lived in, I turn the corner by the house of a dear friend who has tragically passed, by the house of a friend who has become a grandmother for the 4th time, by the house of a friend whose son, a surprise who arrived well into her 40s, will finally be graduating from high school. I see new houses built, and I am comforted by old familiar ones still standing. While I know the road like the back of my hand, every day is different. Sandy road, flat stretches, and rolling hills alternate throughout the run. I don’t wear a mask and I like to run as far as I can for about 45 minutes, hoping I have no human interaction on the way.

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Gretchen loves to write about fitness, running, and lifestyle over 50. Gretchen, 63, has been married for 35 years and is a mom to 4 grown children. She enjoys volunteering for charities in the Los Angeles area, loves running, and never misses her daily zoom corebarrefit class.

About Gretchen