In the time of covid-19, when many of us have extra time on our hands, why not give something new and different a chance? From rafting to running, from competing to showering, there are so many adventures within your reach.

A few years ago Lynn and I joined a rafting trip on the Selway River in the central Idaho Frank Church Wilderness Area. With pristine waters, gorgeous mountains, and friendly company, this trip created so many fantastic memories. This year we are sailing down the Salmon, again in FC Wilderness, and though it is supposed to be a calmer river, I know good rapids rest ahead. Originally we planned this with TW, Kelsey, and grandkids Dayne and Bryn, but they had to cancel due to corona, the start of school, and potential quarantine when we return to Nevada. Disappointed as Dayne and Bryn had both reached the required rafting age, I pondered who I might invite. My first thought – my niece Lisa and her husband, Roger. Lisa immediately agreed, called Roger who said he’d always wanted to take such a trip but did not know if Lisa would like six days of camping. Lisa texted me, “Thanks for getting me to step outside of my box – to enter a wonderful journey of peace, excitement, and memories. She’s giving it a chance…

A friend consulted me about running. “I just can’t get into it,” she sighed, and so I asked her to explain her routine to determine how I might help transform her mindset into one of running joy. Well, she started each run uphill – no! On the sidewalk – no, no!! And for three miles – no, no, no!!! First of all, uphill takes more energy, more oxygen. Uphill removes the opportunity for your lungs to adjust and for you, the runner to look around and absorb the beauty of the day. Start downhill, not steep as this may cause toe and calf pains. With a block or so under your feet, now jog on the flat as you move to a gentle uphill. You may be saying that in our area, hills and flats can be elusive. Take a walk, study the ground, determine a solid but moderate route.

While you are checking things out, find asphalt, gravel, or dirt. Each of these surfaces is kinder to the step – and your knees and hips. Sidewalk is the hardest surface and pounding it can cause shin splints and other negative states. Above all, decide on a route of about 1-mile. Rome was not built in a day. Neither is stamina. Lung development and distance require time. In addition to outside conditions, do you have excellent, springy, light running shoes? Essential. Next, do you have comfy, soft socks? Finally, are your clothes light, especially in the current heat, and when you need to bundle up, do the bundles offer ease of movement and removal if the temperature rises?

After training, adding miles, producing joyful thoughts and energizing positive attitudes, you are ready for giving competition a chance. Sign up for a run. Whether it is the running leg of our Winnemucca sprint triathlon September 19th or an 8K Turkey Trot November 26th, you will be prepared as you find running enthuses your body and brain.

Have you ever taken a shower out-of-doors? At our cabin in northern Idaho, we have an outside shower. With four sturdy wooden walls that surround the changing area that leads to the shower, there is nothing more glorious. Warm water splashes as you look up at towering trees and feel the touch of golden sunlight. When done, not only are you clean, but I promise your spirit will soar with the magnificence of this freeing act. A relative recently complained to a neighbor about our “hillbilly” ways. The neighbor was shocked to learn that our structure was actually a shower as she agreed that the thought of showering outside disturbed her. All I can think is that her intense negativity arises from never having experienced this bathing miracle. As I will be at the cabin soon, I hope to provide “the other side of the story.” Once I sense a surety that she is not doubting my sanity, I will invite her over to enjoy the exhilaration our shower offers as I suggest that she, “Just give it a chance.”

Are you enjoying new adventures? Taking awesome chances? If not, please do. It’s revitalizing – something we need right now. 

Gini Cunningham is a regular contributor for Winnemucca Publishing.