Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a long-time is a longtime ultrarunner who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She teaches for NOLS Wilderness Medicine, coaches, directs the non-profit Band of Runners, and drives her kids around in a minivan.

April 2020
« Mar    


Books and messages


I was a good runner today and stretched. I did it twice. That’s twice more than I’ve done all year. You know times are desperate when… My hamstring was bothering me a bit, and as my sanity and good humor depend on running daily, I took drastic measures.

I also listened to an actual book on my run instead of a podcast. Stretching AND “reading!” I hope the pandemic gods are satisfied.

I imagine most of you are familiar with the Stockdale Paradox, but I wasn’t. Admiral Stockdale was a POW in Vietnam and told the author Jim Collins (That’s not the book I was reading.) how prisoners who were optimists didn’t make it out.

“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end–-which you can never afford to lose–-with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Clearly, this stay-at-home pandemic life can’t be compared to the experience of a POW. Still, Stockdale’s message feels very  applicable especially if you’re isolating with grumpy little kids right now. There is no reason to be optimistic that your kids will get less grumpy or emotional tomorrow. Just keep the faith that you will survive. 🙂

Running: 80 minutes easy

Does it look taller today?


Comments 2
  • Sarah
    Posted on

    Sarah Sarah

    Reply Author

    Thank you for sharing that perspective.

    • Liza
      Posted on

      Liza Liza

      Reply Author

      Thanks, Sarah. I wanted to write more, but I was so dang tired by the time we put Ruby to bed last night. I think the idea that you should not be optimistic about your children’s behavior during the pandemic is weirdly soothing.