From GORUCK Nation: WFH and Home Schooling Amidst the Chaos

In the past few days a lot has changed. I live just north of Seattle, close to where some of the largest amount of coronavirus has hit. I have two friends that have been laid off from their jobs, other had their hours slashed to almost nothing and seen so many small business owners that have had to shut their doors.

For the next six weeks, all three of my kids are doing “home school” due to schools all over the state closing. They have the best teachers ever who are doing what they can to keep all of the students in the district engaged during this time. They are reaching out to us and making sure we know all of the resources available and doing their best to get class websites up and running so the kids can continue to stay caught up during the break.

When I got home today I saw the look in my daughter Elliot’s face when she knew that the state gymnastics meet that she worked so hard to get to had been canceled.

The changes at work have also hit me hard. I was told Monday morning at 9am that the option to work from home was no longer a suggestion but a requirement. For the foreseeable future I must spend 80% of my work hours at home and only come in when absolutely needed. I am an aerospace engineer and working full time. My husband is a stay at home dad. When I’m home the kids want me to do everything and help with everything it seems. There are times I have to lock myself in the bedroom to do online meetings and calls. My oldest turns 13 next week and is in 7th grade. He is on the autism spectrum and has a condition called hydrocephalus. He is very independent and our main goal with him is making sure he is working on the correct things and not just trying to play games! I have two daughters ages 10 and 7 in 5th and 1st grade. They have been amazingly self-motivated for the moment. They know how many hours of school work they need to do and spend a lot of time working on math and reading through their favorite site. I take breaks every so often to help with meals, break up arguments, etc. It’s been a big adjustment this week for all of us.


Many people also know that I am training for GORUCK Team Assessment which at times feels like a whole part time job on its own. Before all of the coronavirus hit, I was training very early in the morning before I went to work and then in the afternoon a couple of days a week. I have done a lot of strength training and right now I am focused on more of the endurance side. I work with a trainer locally that was a big part of me getting ready for two HTL’s last year. He defines my plans for the morning and afternoons and incorporates a lot of sandbag and ruck work. Right now at home I have 40, 60, and 80 lb sandbags and a Rucker with one 30 lb plate, two 20’s and the 10 lb plate my daughter is using. I am using the 40 lb sandbag for more of the endurance work, the 60 lb bag for upper body strength work and the 80 lb bag for PT test work.

With gyms and facilities all over the area closing, I am working with my trainer to come up with new methods for training two to three times a day at home using my ruck, sandbags, and body weight work to stay on top of things. We are getting back to basics to be sure that even with the barriers I still stay well on top of the fitness level I need to maintain to do well in June.

I am rucking with my kids to stay active and also to help with my training. I know that I can take 20 minutes for a ruck or walk and engage the kids. My youngest isn’t as into it as my middle child right now! I know that I need to get rucking miles in during the week to train for Team Assessment. My 10 year old has the goal to complete a Light Challenge this year. We head out during lunch time and I usually ruck with between 30 to 40 pounds while my 10 year old rucks 10 pounds. Honestly, I am using what could be an issue and seeing it as an opportunity to ruck with my daughter and help her get ready for her Light.

A lot has changed over the past few weeks but to all my close friends dealing with this all I can think of is adapt and overcome. This is just a new challenge and one we didn’t ask for at all. This new world we are living in will challenge us all to rethink how we see the world and remind us of how resilient we really are. It will remind us who are closest friends and allies are and we will stick together through it all.

I’m not exactly the most outgoing person and I really suck at reaching out to people sometimes but please hear this. I will always be there if you need me. If you just need to get out I’ll be around. During this crazy time I will always be there for my friends.

About the Author

Virginia Nickelson is an aerospace engineer and an avid rucker. She has completed two HTL events and two 50 miler Star Courses in addition to several Tough and Light Challenges.

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