Marathon Mom Adjusting to the New Normal: Life Under COVID-19

Adjusting to the New Normal: Life Under COVID-19



So after the “COVID-19 Daily Schedules” came the links to websites and apps for homeschooling. I didn’t have big expectations, but did want the kids to spend some time doing some sort of learning. After lunch we’d sit at our island in the kitchen with our iPad and two laptops, ready to do something productive. But much of our “homeschooling” became trying to log on, creating or trying to remember usernames and passwords, getting past ads, finding grade appropriate content, and waiting for websites to load. Our patience was lost and I settled with, “Do whatever you want that you’d call learning.” Good enough. Worked for me.

I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum on this recent topic. There are people who say, “be their parent, not their teacher” and, I can’t recall the source or when I read it, but some went so far as to say that trying to homeschool your kids could be damaging (or something like that). Then there are parents who are strict and diligent, determined that their kids will get educated. Most of us are somewhere in between. Fortunately for us, our children go to a private Christian school and our teachers had distance learning programs ready for them the day they were to return to school after the March break. So that means that during March break, our teachers were working while the rest of us weren’t so much. We have already picked up some of their school books and supplies. Each teacher has been using Google Classroom and been available throughout the school day to chat and answer questions. Our grade 8 teacher, who teaches ESL to Chinese students, is very experienced with on-line teaching, which we have greatly appreciated for our 14-year-old. We’ve established a routine where after breakfast and some morning chores our kids get to their school work. They were almost craving it and took the initiative on their own. It has taken no coaxing and we’ve commended them for the skills they are developing that will benefit them when on their own at college or university someday.

The necessary time to complete the assignments has been appropriate and most of their work is completed in the morning. After lunch they’ve been going outside to work with my husband who recently cut down a tree in the backyard. It’s a good time-consuming project. Now I realize that most children attend public schools that have not yet provided online learning for their students. So I’ll quote the advice from a friend who is a local hockey dad and school principal, “What can students do while it is all being put together? Read. Maintain regular sleeping patterns. Eat well. Exercise. Get outside. Know that curriculum is coming but the work habits and study skills vital for learning are more important to student success than having the right textbook.” 


Our burrito meal last week was so good that we decided to do it again. I am only making necessary grocery trips, and have never been one to run out for one or two items anyway, so we plan ahead and use what we have. My 14 year old son made guacamole again, this time without cilantro but it tasted nearly as good. We cooked some ground turkey with lentils, which was  flavoured with taco salad seasoning that I made from my food blogger brother in law’s website, “The Black Peppercorn”. I made 4x the recipe and put it in the cupboard for our next Mexican meal. I had some cabbage, apples and carrots in the fridge so chopped them up and added some walnuts to make a big waldorf salad.  My 12 year old son made cookies last night that were absolutely delicious. But with the price of butter at $7.00 we will have to pace ourselves in the baking. I found some chopped apples in the fridge that I froze a few months ago because we had so many so we will likely make some applesauce and apple crisp.


The volume and intensity of training has decreased as we have no races in the near future but I’m still enjoying my near regular running routine. After my coffee(s) in the morning and time to catch up on the news and social media, I head out the door before anyone is awake. The spring weather has been wonderful with much sunshine and I have been enjoying less traffic on the now quiet streets as I head out of town.

When recently speaking with Mark Sutcliffe for an iRun Radio podcast, I explained that I am seeing this break as one similar to a pregnancy or serious injury. With three babies and one broken leg I’ve sat out of 4 different seasons over the years. I learned that I could recharge mentally while maintaining a good amount of fitness. Each time I returned with an incredible passion and was faster than ever before. I ran a 2:32 (Rotterdam 2012, F9), a 7 minute personal best, in my first marathon back after our third child who had just turned 13 months. And I ran my second fastest marathon, a 2:29 (Rotterdam 2015, F2) that got me my Olympic standard, 11.5 months after fracturing my femur. 

Our bodies will remember what to do when we train and race again.