Nice for Rice

While COVID-19 has impacted daily routines, Administration and Planning HR Generalist Shannon Rice says she’s found a silver lining during the pandemic.

Rice spends countless nights with little sleep, attending to Anthony, her teething 9-month-old son. Whether it’s changing diapers, getting him a bottle or rocking him back to sleep, parent duties always call. While getting workouts has been challenging, she has found much-needed time for physical fitness during the COVID-19 break.

“He’s sleeping all night, so I can wake up at 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m. to go out and run,” Rice said.

She’s been part of a national running group, Moms Run This Town, since 2018.  Rice connected with a fellow group member, Navy Veteran Becky Sunday, to run a 5k every Monday, Wednesday and Friday around a golf course in New Albany. For Rice, the running group gave her accountability and something to look forward to. Rice says they don’t talk about work or COVID-19. It’s just social time, giving each of them a much-needed break from life’s challenges.

Rice works full-time and Sunday is a student, which doesn’t leave room for much free time.  “In that small window,” Rice said, "you can get a little bit of socialization in and it kicks the day off in a nice way.”

“Shannon is amazing!” Sunday said. “There are some mornings when we meet up, and she may have had only a few hours of sleep, but she manages to find the inner strength at 5 a.m. and get some miles in with me.  Another thing I like about Shannon is that she is always so positive,” Sunday said. “She’s definitely my accountability partner, and, even though most people may think those 4 a.m. wake-up calls are crazy, for us they are vital for our health and mental well-being.”

Staying safe while running is another priority for Rice and her jogging partner. She says the course is well-lit with paths, and no one ever runs alone. They also maintain proper physical distancing when on the paths.

Rice encourages her fellow A&P staff to get involved in physical fitness.  “Anything they can do to change life right now because there’s not a lot of structure,” Rice said. “It gives you something to look forward to, and it gives you energy.”