Earlier this year, just before the pandemic hit and altered life as we knew it, Cassy Stone was crushing her workouts.
“When this all started, I was in the gym twice a week,” said Cassy, a northern Michigan runner, cyclist and mom of three, and full disclosure, one of my most favorite humans. “I was also cycling three times a week and I was in the pool trying to learn how to swim to prepare for IRONMAN Traverse City 70.3.”
But then life changed in what felt like an instant, unfolding in so many new, strange and challenging ways as COVID-19 took hold in the U.S. In mid- to late-March, schools temporarily closed. Spring events, including beloved races, were postponed or cancelled outright. Jobs were lost. Then came Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s initial stay-safe-stay-home order for all Michiganders on March 24. What’s followed has been a two-month quarantine that’s sadly led to further closures and heartbreaking cancellations and losses. As of this writing, northern Michigan and the U.P. are set to reopen this weekend, with some stipulations, so there is some light at the end of this tunnel … perhaps. There’s still so much we just don’t know.
“I am feeling for sure that I am going through a mourning process of setting a huge goal and that may not happen for me. And trudging through the process of losing a job, too,” she says.
“When this all went down, I crumbled. I stopped moving, I stopped exercising, I wasn’t really sleeping all that great. And I went from being this really focused person … setting this huge goal to, I kind of crumbled. Then I thought, maybe I’m not the person I thought I was. Which is crazy.”
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And yet, as Cassy shares, this experience is teaching us things. Things maybe we knew and had forgotten, and things that are new and eye-opening. Just as we push through a tough, sweat-drenched workout, or dig deep to find the strength to just keep moving to reach the finish line of a big goal race, we’re moving forward. It may not be exactly how we envisioned it, but we’re doing it. And right about now, I think many of us are letting out a deep breath, accepting what is and isn’t (we’ve all been hearing about the “new normal”) and thinking about what we can do to take care of ourselves, our families and communities as life continues to unfold in ways we couldn’t have imagined even a few months ago.
As Cassy so eloquently says, “I have had obstacles before — we’ve all had obstacles — and obstacles don’t block the path. They are the path. Truly. And this is what it is. Things are going to go on.”
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A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.