H-Town Run Tourist

Practicing gratitude through 30 more days of social distancing

Photo by Wongyulee.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. Read her blog, HTownRunTourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy

It has been over a week now that we have been ordered to stay home/work safe. Last night, we just found out that we can expect another 30 days of social distancing. It has been quite the adjustment with no end in sight.

But, if you take a couple of deep breaths and look closely, you can see how there is much to be grateful for. Here are the reasons why I have chosen to practice gratitude during the COVID-19 crisis:

Our focus is on the more important things.

Being ordered to stay home and only leave for necessities has made us aware of what is truly important. Making sure that we have steady income that we can do while staying at home and making sure we are safe and our families are safe has taken number one priority.

We have time to take our time and relax.

If you are anything like me, time is a precious commodity. The cause for a lot of anxiety for most of us is not having enough time to do the things we want and definitely not to do what we want to do well. I took all last week to catch up on much needed sleep. It has definitely been nice to take it easy and know that I am doing exactly what I need to do.

We have the time to make our health a priority.

How many times have you wanted to start that workout routine and something came up? How many times have you wanted to meal prep and run out of time? Because our days have less distractions, we have time to go for a walk, run, or bike ride outside. We have time to cook our own food.

We can let petty things go.

If someone has ticked you off or something upsetting happened, you have permission to let it go. Because we really have no way of knowing when and how this crisis will end, it just does not matter. If you find it hard to forget right away, don't worry, you have time to practice.

We have time to read, learn, and take courses.

There are so many podcasts that I listen to in my car, that I would love to sit down and take notes on and really take time to listen to them. I bet there are so many books that you have been meaning to read, but have not been able to start because you are too busy.

We have time to start that big project we have been wanting to start.

Whether it is spring cleaning, organizing the closet, or start writing your business plan, we all have one thing that we always wanted to start but never had the time. I have been working on a blog that I have wanted to start for over a year now. You can check it out. It is called HTownRunTourist. It is about how I got into running and why I started running internationally. It is not your mama's running blog. Although, it is not for everyone, I hope you enjoy it. Post are being released now.

We have the opportunity to start over.

Is there something about your life prior to COVID-19 that you wish you could change? Did you want to practice a habit like being better organized, you have time to do that. Personally, I need to lose some weight. You better believe it is one of my main priorities. Did you want to end toxic relationships? Now, you can. Use COVID-19 as an excuse why you didn't keep in touch and never look back. If it is not important now, it is not important.

So, let's choose relaxation over stress. There is definitely plenty to be grateful for. Let's start this practice so when we can get back to normal, we can hit the ground running!

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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