I wish I could say that I’m immune to the allure of setting New Year’s resolutions. But I think just about as long as I can remember, I’ve set some kind of goal come the first week of January. And like so many who make a list of wishes and goals, I set at least one fitness-related resolution.
For the last five years or so, one of these goals (if not more) has been centered around running: run a 10K, then a half marathon, then a full marathon, then get faster, qualify for international races — the list goes on. Some of these goals I’ve attained, others I haven’t. But as the year ends and it comes dangerously close to the time to make new goals, I find myself less than enthusiastic about setting any fitness goals — namely running goals — for 2021.
There’s, of course, the practical reason: we simply don’t know what will happen in the coming months, so setting goals tied to organized racing seems impractical. But beyond that, there’s the mental weight of it all. Typically, setting my New Year’s fitness goals is fun for me. I’ve spent a whole year working toward my goals and I’ll spend the next working toward the new ones.
However, I’ve learned to adjust to canceled races, a fully remote work life that’s caused me to adapt my home into a fitness studio, a living space, and an office, and socially distanced runs where I actively try to avoid others — not to mention a forced training break. I’m not the same runner who sat down this time last year with a laundry list of boxes to check off. I’m not faster. In fact, I’m much, much slower. I didn’t run a single race this year — a first for me in eight years. I haven’t been able to tick off any of my “big” goals for the sport.
I’m a runner that’s no longer motivated by setting PRs at races, collecting medals, and sub four-hour marathons. Sure, those will still be things that I strive for one day long in the future. But not now. Instead, I’m a runner who just misses her sport. Like so many, I’ve had to take a break from the thing I love. While there have been some highs (no one likes a 20-mile training run, trust me), there have also been some lows. Seeing what you love no longer look like it once did is hard. At first I thought it was just my training plans that were changing, but I soon realized that it was me who was really changing.
Running, in some capacity, will always be there for me if I seek it out. The way in which I enjoy my sport and the milestones that surround it may look different, but the consistency and mental clarity that lacing up my trainers and running gives me will always be there — with or without a marathon on the calendar.
People in need of dental treatment should not be put in the “invidious position” of being forced to pay for private treatment because of a backlog of NHS appointments due to the coronavirus shutdown, Scotland’s chief dental officer has said.
Tom Ferris, who has come in for criticism from NHS dentists over a lack of communication about why they had to be shut while private dentists could operate safely, said it was not yet “business as usual”. But he said all dentists were now able to “offer the full range of dental care that was offered pre-Covid”, if to a smaller number patients per day.
He also said the appointment backlog created by NHS surgeries not being open for months would be dealt with through the “clinical expertise” of dentists.
READ MORE: Dentists warn poorer patients in Scotland will lose their teeth under Covid-19 restrictions
Speaking on the BBC radio show Call Kaye yesterday, he said dentistry had changed dramatically, with staff now wearing enhanced PPE, ensuring there was enough time between patients to make surgeries infection free, and ventilation improvements in surgeries.
Challenged about the length of time it took for NHS dentists to be able to offer routine treatments while private surgeries were open, he said: “The amount of private dentistry is relatively small. I was trying to plan the reopening of 1,100 dental practices across Scotland.
“Some practices were able to get PPE at an enhanced rate and passed that charge to patients as part of the private fee. I was trying to get every practice access to PPE to allow them to all open at the same time which was a much bigger logistical problem.”
He added: “Private dentists don’t work to different standards, but a private arrangement with a dentist and patient is between the two of them. The NHS system takes in 94 per cent of the Scottish population, and is over 3,000 dentists, so the scale is much bigger.
“We were going safely because had it gone wrong in a private practice and caused a cluster of transmission, it was a very small number of individuals involved. Had it happened systemically across the whole of NHS dentistry, that would have been a much more difficult issue to deal with. We had to be cautious.”
Asked if the problem had been supply of the right PPE to NHS dentists, he added: “We have the PPE, it was the logistics of getting it out to 1,100 different practices which was the issue. The NHS has never provided PPE to practices before March. This is a new way of operating.
“And because the PPE supply was so disrupted in the early months of the pandemic, we were very reliant on Chinese suppliers. We now have Scottish suppliers so the supply chain is much more secure and we have that PPE going out to dental practices.”
Mr Ferris also denied that people were forced to go private for
For the health of the nation, shouldn’t Johnson’s medical fitness for office be scrutinised? | Boris Johnson
Just six words, Doctor Who said, would be enough to bring down the unprincipled prime minister Harriet Jones. “Don’t you think she looks tired?”
Would it work on a man? Time to find out. “I have read a lot of nonsense recently, about how my own bout of Covid has somehow robbed me of my mojo,” Boris Johnson said in his party conference speech. Was he thinking of the Daily Telegraph, where he appeared“strangely out of sorts”, or of the protracted lament by a former fan, the Spectator’s Toby Young: “What on earth happened to the freedom-loving, twinkly-eyed, Rabelaisian character I voted for?” Young cited one theory, “that the disease actually damaged his brain in some way”.
Covid-19 damage featured again in a Times report detailing the exhaustion of a miserable and forgetful prime minister, who was also struggling with his latest infant, whose exact age recently escaped him. “Physically, I think Covid has had huge impact, definitely,” a source said.
“Of course,” Johnson told conference, “this is self-evident drivel, the kind of seditious propaganda that you would expect from people who don’t want this government to succeed.” This seems unnecessarily harsh on some recently prized supporters, yet more unkind to the elderly huntsman Sir Humphry Wakefield, father-in-law of Dominic Cummings, who reportedly said that Johnson is so unwell he will step down in months and should not have gone back to work early because you’d never do that with a horse.
Johnson added, presumably for the benefit of the imaginary seditious propagandists to whom, in dreams, he shows scant mercy: “I could refute these critics of my athletic abilities in any way they want: arm-wrestle, leg-wrestle, Cumberland wrestle, sprint-off, you name it.” And if protecting the population in a pandemic ultimately came down to the prime minister’s victory in next summer’s Lakeland Games, while a non-catastrophic Brexit depended upon the physical humbling of Michel Barnier in a series of tap-room challenges, hopefully excluding the more cerebral skittles or darts, that might indeed have been one of Johnson’s more impressive performances since, well, maybe that time he identified as the Incredible Hulk?
Alas, the most convincing rebuttal of unkind post-Covid-19 “Don’t you think Johnson looks tired/sick/thick/dishevelled/shifty/dandruffy/unRabelaisian” commentary is the one line Johnson can’t deploy: what the hell did you think he was like before?
As it is, Johnson’s affirmation of undiminished mojo seems to have been roughly as effective as reports of Donald Trump’s alleged plan to prove his potency by ripping off his shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt. Like Trump’s accompanying protestations of perfect health and eternal youth, the (unrealised) stunt only added to his critics’ case for invoking the 25th amendment, which allows Congress to rule a president unfit for office. Regular medicals, even if these duly descended into farce under Trump, also mean that, at least in theory, US politics legitimises public interest in a leader’s physical and intellectual fitness for the job.
However idiotic, Johnson’s boasting about Hulk-level athleticism suggests a measure of respect
I’m isolated home because of a pre-existing condition, and my mother needed to protect her own health. So she was forced to make an impossible choice.
On the night of Sunday, Oct. 25, my stepfather died of COVID-19. He died of pneumonia. He died of a stroke. But most importantly, he died alone. Because of President Donald Trump.
It didn’t have to be like this. How many lives were lost or ruined, that didn’t have to be? As White House chief of staff Mark Meadows put it, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” He said that just hours before my stepdad passed away.
For over 20 years Randy has been a big, bold part of my life, and I can’t quite grasp yet what this life will look like without him in it. In my quiet, Midwestern and introverted family, he stood out with his exuberance and his stories that you could never quite tell which were wholly true. He shook up my family’s world, and repainted it in brighter colors. Now those colors are fading to black.
He suffered a stroke in early September and moved to a nursing home on Sept. 30, after a stint in the hospital. By Oct. 10, he had a fever and, on Oct. 12, a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Pneumonia set in a few days before he died. The nursing home didn’t allow any visitors because of the pandemic. Period. Mom was sometimes allowed to FaceTime him during this time, but that was all. She was able to mask and glove up and see him briefly in the end, but she could not be there when he finally left us forever.
Tired of impossible choices
Because of how we’ve failed to handle this pandemic, my mom had to choose whether to risk her own life to be in the room to say goodbye to her dying husband. His son and daughter couldn’t say their goodbyes in person since they live many miles away in California, and my sister and I are helpless bystanders several states away.
Due to the incompetence of this administration, we’re forced into an impossible dilemma: our family versus our own safety.
Randy Cavanaugh and Kathy Carlson Cavanaugh, Laura Packard’s mother, on April 18, 2018, in Cookeville, Tennessee. (Photo: Family handout)
Trump may be “tired” of hearing about coronavirus, but we have to live with the consequences of his actions and inaction. Even after his own diagnosis, he continues to hold rallies, unmasked, around the country, leaving a trail of likely super spreader events behind him and in the White House. After all the sacrifices our country has made, he sacrifices nothing.
I’m tired too. Because of the raging pandemic, there is no completely safe way to travel across the country right now that doesn’t carry germs with me. I cannot bear the possibility of infecting my mom, and
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Closing schools for months at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic was a mistake that won’t be repeated, and only students who develop symptoms should be isolated, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.
During a visit to a charter school in Jacksonville, the governor said over 60% of the state’s 2.8 million students in pre-K to 12th grade are getting in-person instruction, and it’s an increasingly popular option because infection risks are low.
“Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table,” DeSantis said. “They don’t do anything to mitigate COVID, but they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental and social well being of our youth. Let’s not repeat any mistakes of the past.”
The governor said that after two months of most schools in the state being open, there have not been major outbreaks or causes of concern about the virus spreading among students.
“It’s obviously even more clear now that schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus, and schools need to be open,” he said. “It is a bad public health policy to have schools closed.”
When asked about schools that have had cases of infected students, DeSantis said it doesn’t make sense to force their classmates to quarantine for two weeks unless they are having virus symptoms.
“You should not be quarantining healthy students,” he said, adding that schools shouldn’t “throw in the towel” and close because of a few sick kids.
Joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, DeSantis did not mention statewide teacher union opposition to school openings, amid concerns about risks to faculty members.
“Now pretty much everyone acknowledges that having schools open is the right thing to do,” he said.
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