Friday, March 13, 2020

What is a planner supposed to do when they can't plan?

These are incredible days we are in right now. It feels like every few hours the situation with COVID-19 is changing and impacting everyone's lives in a big way and huge impacts in the race world. I have been going through many different emotions and stages with this rapidly evolving situation. I have felt sucker punched. I have felt sadness and tears when I hear about whole race seasons canceled. I have felt fear and anxiety over where our income will come from and when. When planning future races into the summer and fall, I have felt mildly like the band playing on the Titanic deck as it is going down. Really, I am talking about what shirt colors we will have for our October race? I have felt sick to my stomach when hearing about layoffs in the industry already happening. I have felt panic. I have felt worried for all the businesses that we rely on to support our races, like the restaurants that donate food, the stores that host our packet pickups, the local shops that donate prizes and the nonprofits that we partner with. And mostly I feel like we have all been living in a scifi movie.

But the not knowing piece is the worst for a planner like myself. My job is to know and plan for all foreseeable situations. I have a plan for every possible contingency and a back up plan for those plans. But, how do I do my job when I have no idea when this will all end, how bad it will be, what will be the new normal, how deep the impacts will actually be? What is a planner to do when they can't plan. And, why did I not see this coming? I am a planner. But I cannot plan for this insane situation.

So far we have had 1 race we were hired to help with course set up cancel, one race where we were doing race photography cancel, and of our races, one postponement, one outright cancellation and another race still up in the air. I am so thankful that Leap Day happens on February 29th, right before the real madness set up and we we able to successfully pull off Extra Day 5K. That might be our last race for months. I definitely have done more dismantling work than planning work.

I just hope that as we all move through this together we can all be kind to each other and understanding that this is having an impact on everyone's lives. I am looking forward to the day we can all look back at this in the rearview mirror. Please, if you have the resources, sign up for races in the future, and sign up for races that have been postpones, and do it now while race companies are hurting.

And for the love of all things holy, is it 'Cancelled' or 'Canceled'!!!!?? I have written it both ways about 400 times in the last few weeks and still can't make up my mind which I like better. If you have strong thoughts on this matter please tell me what to do.

Also, I have spent a lot of time dismantling races this past week. Why is 'mantling' not a word?