She said to me, Isioma, we have a problem. It’s been 15 months since these words were first uttered to me. I still remember them like yesterday. With all the pain those words caused, with all the anger and despair, we have been told only time will heal. Or trying running now and then. So I did. Today a perfect blue sky, the lightest of the color blue, glided my way as I ran through the pain of losing Angie to cervical cancer.

An innocent peace flooded my heart too. This run, something I haven’t done in awhile, was the gift I needed today. I thank the heavens for opening up. Rain, the softest of drops, fell along the way, as flowers, in perfect pink colors greeted my way. I fell into a trance and listen to the queen remind me of the spirit within. I listened and watched the heavens open, surely as rain turned to tears.

The past year has been trying. Cries, led to change, which led to moving on as if death had the final say always. Within my grief, I let words lead, some I never knew was within me, some I remain in awe off. Either way, a year of grief, is slowing turning around, slowly plowing our fears, even our audacious dreams, into change I never expected. Beyond your death, beyond your cervix that had the last word, beyond even these words I write, know that you will live. Angie, you will live and as sure as I run through this rain, so shall this pain, turn around for good. Your life, even in death, will be a gift to many.

My run for today. I remember when during the pandemic, all I did was run. Here is to praying I can keep this up through pain. Amen.

Homeschooling 2020 came to an end on Thursday/Friday. This keep is in praise of all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncle and even friends of families that helped make it work. It’s also in praise of all children, their courage, resilience through this pandemic of a lifetime. Many may assume that because children are home that schooling should be easy. I beg to differ. We struggled, though beautifully with our homeschooling experience. There were many ups and downs and my children did their best to adapt to school now being at home. Prior to the start of the fall, I was not eager to start homeschooling knowing that I would also have work obligations occurring during this period and my anxiety levels were high. Of course as is typical of work, and with the exception of few fearless leaders, most meetings and obligations occurred during this period as if our children weren’t home. I choose not to be distracted by work, given that we were living through a pandemic. Homeschooling was more critical for me and my children.

So in praise of our survival, I went running yesterday. My typical 4 mile weekend race. It’s also my release and reflection time. As I ran, I reflected on how we made homeschooling work for us, our way. Homeschooling for us was assertive, loving, full of long sweet memories of art, nature, poetry, reading, religion, science, learning and questions, lots and lots of questions. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In the end, for homeschooling 2020, we did it our way. As 2021 approaches, as we all look forward to the return of regular schooling, homeschooling is an urgent reminder once more to keep running my race through life, my way. It’s my suggestion to whoever reads this. Life is too short to not do it your way.

Today I ran my very first 6mile race. I reached a plateau with running 10miles a week last week. In fact rather than achieving my health and weight loss goals with running, I was moving in the opposite direction. Apparently this is a common running phenomenon known as train gain. Just when you start ramping your running mileage, you start to gain weight. I love running but setbacks like this can be discouraging. After coming to terms with the fact that running wasn’t working health or weight-loss wise as I had imagined, I gave up running my goal of 10miles a week last week. I only did 4 miles. There was no motivation to run. I didn’t even feel any commitment to my goals.

But this morning, I got up determined to rethink my strategy. For starters it meant that I had to be honest with myself. The reason why I wasn’t achieving my weight loss and health goals despite reaching my running mileage week after week was because I increased eating unhealthy things. Like Andy’s frozen yogurt in the stolen brownie and peacans flavor or red velvet cake from Whole Foods. Honestly any cake from Whole Foods has as soft spot in my heart. Then they are the endless supply of dark chocolate and salted caramel filling or plantain chips, lots and lots of salty plantain chips. My junk food eating habit has increased tremendously since I started to run.

So today I made a new goal. I made a commitment to myself to run 12 miles a week. I also ended my love affair with Whole Foods and their deserts. It had been a wonderful summer. I am recommitting myself to drinking at least half a gallon of water every day and trips to Andy’s frozen yogurts have now ended. I intend to keep running because I actually love it. And for deep change to occur, I am equally committed to living a healthy lifestyle so as to ultimately surpass all your goals.

I am a long distance runner. I figured this out this past month. For the last 30 days, I have some how managed to achieve a goal of a 10mile run each week. Some weeks I did close to 12miles, but for the most part I completed my goal each week to a big surprise to myself still. I never knew I could run 1-2miles let alone 4miles.

A successful 4+mile race.

When I started running back in graduate school it was for 1mile or less. Since life took a hold of me, I stopped running altogether. Though I may run occasionally with my husband, it was never with a goal in mind. We just ran. He on the other hand is a short distance runner. He loves to sprint really fast, and stop. I used to be able to keep up with his style of running until I couldn’t do so anymore. I would get tired so easily. At times I just give up and start walking while he sprints away.

That was until I picked up running again this past month, my style. I set a small goal at first, at least one mile. Then slowly, it became another mile, then another and now I can comfortably run at least 4miles a day. I was in awe with myself. Then my hubby, Zobam joined me one day and started to sprint away fast. I tried to keep up and I couldn’t run. One mile was tiring, 2 miles painful and I practically gave up by the third. That was when I realized we both had 2 very distinct running styles. He likes to sprint fast in short distances and stop, while I am more comfortable with long distances.

Understanding my running style also made me realize the lesson with today’s post. Keep sprinting race through life your way. That’s it. We all have our own races to run and something it may require that we complete short tasks, other times, longer task. The key is to do what works best for you and those who support your race your style, in my case my Zobam. To compromise, on some days we run short distances. I still get easily tired with short distances. On other days, we run long distance and I am in heaven. Keep sprinting your own race with those that matter, for life is to short.

A successful 4+mile race.

I started to run again. It was favorite thing to do during graduate school. Life since graduating got in the way so I stopped running. Sure I run occasionally, but not as consistently as I did during graduate school. Since homeschooling started this fall, I wanted something that I could do consistently so that I keep up with the demands of teaching 3 kids at home. Running was the only thing that made sense again. I set a target to run 10 miles at least 3 times a week. I have consistently met the target except this week.

This week, my second child started his own Zoom lessons. Imagine keeping a 6 year old 1st grader focused on Zoom and doing school work at the same time. My 8year old is a pro now and is enjoying every moment of it. My three year old loves his worksheets and reading time with no Zoom. But my 6 year old who was fine at first with just doing the worksheets, became tired of learning all together when Zoom began. I was tired too. Adding Zoom this week was erratic not just for him but for me also. And it almost stopped me from running mid-week to achieve my goals. I came up with every excuse I could come up with to justify why I shouldn’t run and it all made sense. I was tired and I needed a break. I was tired of waking up earlier than normal to start the Zoom process for him. The weather seems to be changing and Fall is in the air and I am tired. All of the excuses are okay these days. Yet I knew that running was for me.

Running has allowed me to stay focused. Running, especially running consistently with a goal in mind, has allowed to see homeschooling from a different lens. Running allowed me to choose joy this school year. Even when I get tired with the first mile of every run, I keep running. Even when the skies are gray and pelters of rain are felt on my skin, I keep running. Even when my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of my never ending to-do lists, I keep running. Even when my knees start to hurt by the third mile all the way to the end and I feel like giving up, I keep running. I keep running so that I accomplish my own goals. I keep running so that I stay sane through homeschooling. I keep running because it’s my favorite thing to do once again. I keep running for the flow of it. I keep running because I choose joy. I keep running for me.