It’s Been Awhile

A lot has changed since I last posted on my page. The world looks much different than it did a few months ago. Yet some things still look the same. My perspective has changed with regard to some things I used to take for granted.

Let me start with my own personal concerns, as this is a blog about my own personal journey.

For one, traveling. I had so many plans to do that this year, and it is beginning to look like that won’t happen, though I’m glad I was able to get some travel in at the beginning of the year before everything shut down due to COVID-19. Hello, Austin, TX, and Nashville, TN, you were both SO FUN!

There is also the whole school thing. I never in a million years would have thought I’d need to be responsible for taking care of my children, and work, and, of course, make sure they learn, all at the same time, for over two months! No amount of money could have even changed this, either. There literally was no way to put them anywhere but keeping them home. Initially we couldn’t spend time with other family-forget grandparents, who would have been the next logical source for care. Thankfully, my sister helped as she happens to be a teacher so was not going into school-but that was certainly not ideal, as she had her own responsibilities to teach her class.

Thankfully, that’s all over-for now. It appears as of now, my girls can start sixth and third grade normally-well, at least mostly normally (with masks), because online learning is not ideal for elementary and middle school children!

Our summer is not the way it was supposed to be. Luckily, there is a place for my youngest (who has been in daycare this entire time, by the way) to be, as well as my middle child. However, my soon-to-be sixth grader is “too old” for the school’s Kidzone program, and all of the other summer programs I had enrolled her in had been cancelled. So, as this summer has progressed, she has alternated between spending time at home with some scheduled chores to do, as she thrives on a schedule, time with grandparents where she has learned some sewing and gotten better at baking, which is something she loves to do, and time at this place in town called “CodeNinjas” where she has learned some computer programming type of things. She was able to go to CodeNinjas two weeks total, for half days, and be around other children her age, which she loved. Not an ideal summer, but better than nothing.

This summer arrangement has not come without some growing pains. My oldest certainly has had her share of emotions with regard to the way things have turned out. I have turned these complaints into teaching moments as much as possible. You see, I grew up in a time where there weren’t a plethora of camps or things to entertain me, and I wasn’t constantly signed up for activities, because there just wasn’t the money for it, or my parents were unable to take me and my sister to them, and had nobody they could regularly rely upon to get us to them.

This is where I believe there has been an opportunity for my oldest child to learn, and for my husband and I to think outside the box with regard to having her spend her free time. Previously her life was filled with constant things to do, with very little break to just relax and figure out ways to entertain herself. I discussed with her how my life was spent, at her age, filling my summer with figuring out ways to entertain myself, often including time outside riding my bike, and suggested to her that now is a great time to spend time doing the things she says she enjoys doing, such as reading, writing, baking, and craft making. She has spent time doing baking and sewing with her grandmothers, and even playing card games and doing puzzles. Of course, despite all of that, she has expressed feelings of boredom. Thus, my husband and I have been able to successfully step up and give her some other constructive ways to spend her time, and she has had a few days where she has been home, mostly on her own, working on such things. She has even learned how to do laundry! Of course, since she is 11, we do not feel pushing chores like laundry on her constantly is necessary, so it has been something that she has been able to learn, but also something that we are not expecting her to do on a full time basis. Still, having her be able to help us out has been nice! Plus, she has gotten better at keeping her room neat and tidy, as she enjoys having it that way.

Then there is running. I haven’t ran a “real” race (i.e., one with lots of other people running together towards a finish line, in person, live), since March 7th when I ran the Leprechaun Chase 10k. About a week later, everything shut down. Live races turned virtual. Some were cancelled, or postponed to a later date. Fast forward to today, and the Boston Marathon has been cancelled, and I’ve deferred my second marathon, Indy Monumental, to 2021.

Little did I know that when I was doing a training run 10 miler on the treadmill on March 14, 2020, that not only would I be unable to run on a gym treadmill again until June 1st, but I would be injured and unable to actually run my 10 mile race, which, of course, would turn virtual. Two days before my 40th birthday, my leg started having issues affecting my knee. This was March 17, 2020. Luckily, the race director for my 10 mile race let me submit my 10 mile treadmill run time, so I could get my medal for that race once I explained my injury. A positive plug for things turning virtual!

The half marathon I had hoped to PR at was not going to be-it, too, went virtual. Another positive: I had until May 31st to try to complete that distance. Thanks to being consistent with my PT exercises and carefully working my way up to the distance, I was able to knock out the half the weekend before the deadline-though it certainly wasn’t a PR! It helped having a couple of my running friends with me to keep me going because a virtual race is certainly not as much fun as a regular road race with people at it, especially for the 13.1 mile distance! After that, I completed another virtual race through Virtual Strides which was appropriately called The Coronavirus Relief 5k, and came with a medal as well as hand sanitizer. 😉 I’ve ran a couple of other virtual races too, but my latest race that included a medal was the Sweaty Sparkler 5k. It was a 4th of July themed 5k like the live one I ran in 2019, though obviously not as exciting since it was virtual-and my time wasn’t as good. Still, I’m not complaining! 😅 Note: this blog entry photo is a display of the four virtual race medals I’ve earned thus far!

As to running friends-I kept my distance there for awhile, too. Many people have said if I was going to be injured, better to be that way right now when everything is being cancelled anyway, which I can certainly see as a great point. However, it was terrible having everything as you know it completely change, and not even be able to run to alleviate stress!

I’ve gradually made my way back to being able to run with more friends. I wish we could run in larger groups, though for now, it has been great being able to run with the people I have been able to run with. One thing is for sure, I feel even more blessed to be part of this local running community now that we are going through all of this!

Then there was my husband’s and my 40th birthdays. My husband’s birthday wound up falling on the day everything began to truly shut down in our city. No going to restaurants. No going to the gym. The children must stay home. We must stay home. Do not interact with older people (such as your own parents), or people with compromised immune systems. Wash your hands! My son is now better about washing his hands at the age of 3 then I think I ever was until I was about 8!

My husband and I had to cancel our joint 40th birthday party. My birthday was on March 19th and wound up being pretty great thanks to Face Time, great friends, and a great husband. We are tentatively going to have a joint 41st birthday party-hopefully there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 by then, or at least it will have already ran its course.

Statistically, people are not dying from this virus, and our country started to reopen in May, with restrictions. Some states are more open than others at this point. Some of the mask decisions are strange in my mind. For example, you must wear your mask in public, unless you are in a bar or restaurant, but that depends on what state you live in (insert my emphatic eye roll here). The plan is to get sports back, especially football and soccer. Swimming has yet to begin again for my oldest, so she has opted to play recreation soccer for her school in the fall so she “has something to do”. Baseball and basketball began again in June, so some parents are, once again, quite busy. Nobody seems to be complaining about that anymore. I am certainly not. My middle child started back with in-person gymnastics in June and I am completely okay with that. She starts club soccer this week.

This is a crazy time, but can be viewed as a positive time as well. Which brings me to the Black Lives Matter movement, and I’m sure if you’re reading this, you are already aware of the details surrounding it. In summary, because this is a running specific blog, we can make changes, and we should. All of the good police out there need to set an example for positive change so that we do not have what happened to George Floyd ever again. This starts with proper education of our police force, and, of course, some changes in our laws, which I hope will be forthcoming.

The Black Lives Matter movement is something that is not new. This was sparked a couple of years ago due to a similar situation with police brutality, and I will admit, I was ignorant of my privilege as a white person at the time. I didn’t understand it like I do now. Perhaps it is because I’m a bit older, perhaps it is because I have more time to reflect during this time of COVID-19, or perhaps it is because I’m actually taking the time to listen. I am guilty of not listening, or being consumed with my own life with my family and everything going on over here in my bubble. The fact is, what happens to others does have a domino effect on us. If what is going on right now doesn’t tell you that, then you are not just living in a bubble, but you are living in a soundproof room with no way to see or hear what is going on outside of that room.

What can I do as someone in my position? For me, it is speaking out against any form of racism that is happening. There is a stigma that was created centuries ago, with regard to anyone seen as “different” in our society, and while it has slowly gotten better, we still have a ways to go. Of course, this happens with many other groups seen as different, but relevant right now is the Black Lives Matter movement, and I do hope that it meets the goal of creating a permanent positive change.

As a mom of three, I hope to set a positive example for my children. As a parent, it is important to cultivate the attitude of acceptance through example, so that future generations will be positively impacted. We need to end the vicious cycle of hate and racism. As relevant to this blog, a black man should be able to go out for a recreational run in any neighborhood, without fear of being shot and killed.

If I have learned anything during this time, it is to keep an open mind, really listen, and continue to be kind and patient. I hope regardless of your feelings surrounding our world today, you too can see that.

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