Well, we made it. The calendar rolled over and we are done with 2020. I actually don’t have a lot to say for my year in review. Races didn’t happen for most athletes, gyms closed, and we learned to run in masks. Before the pandemic locked us all down, my sights were only set on a sub 3 hour marathon. I was really excited for my first trip to Europe to race in my husband’s home country, Latvia. That was cancelled. All back up races were cancelled. My anxiety over the illness mounted each day. Going to the grocery store was panic inducing. I couldn’t fathom racing in crowds…
I quickly shifted gears to focus on short distance time trials. After all, running itself wasn’t cancelled. I tried a few mile runs on the track – just for fun and to see what I could pull off. (Spoiler alert; it wasn’t terribly impressive!) I attempted several 5ks and a 10k, all of which were a little lack luster. But really, without competition, these distances are even harder than they already are. I rolled all this summer speed up and threw it at a solo half marathon time trial on my birthday in the fall. I had actually put in a lot of really good training for it, so I had big goals. But I also knew that running it alone, on the road with traffic, and a touch hilly would make for a struggle. With the support of my husband and kids as a make-shift aid station at the side of the road, I ran an impressive 13.1 miles and snagged a meager PR. I also managed to pull off a 100 day run streak during this time. I then backed off my mileage for some rest & recovery and promptly got sick.
The entire month of November was dedicated to recovering from the flu. And then the month of December was dedicated to recovering from my recovery and attempting to build back some semblance of fitness. But, by the end of the day on New Year’s Eve, I had accumulated more miles than ever before (even if it wasn’t as much as I had intended way back in January) and had climbed more elevation than ever before. I also ended the year healthy and without injury.
2020 may not have been the year I had hoped for, but I did walk away from it stronger and faster – even if I had to race just myself and a watch. I learned a lot about patience and the grit involved with solo running. I learned to become my own cheering squad and push myself along with positive thinking. I’m hoping that we’ll all get to race again, for real and in person, in the Fall, but I also think I’ll be alright if we don’t. It ended up not being quite as soul crushing as I thought it would be.
My goals for 2021…
1. Stay alive. This means continuing to socially distance, mask wearing, & lots of hand washing.
2. Stay healthy, stay injury free. This means continuing my form drills, strides, listening to my body, taking rest days, eating well, hydrating, foam rolling, etc.
3. Faster time trials. This means a bit more prep for the 5k & more distance specific workouts in the summer.
My strategy for 2021…
I’m honestly not too sure how comfortable I am with in person racing just yet, so I’m not looking at spring races at this time. What I am doing is building up to two half marathon time trials, one in March and one in May with the latter being a “target race”. I’d really like to hit a sub 1:24 – though I do accept that running a solo time trial will be difficult and a lot of things may change between now and then. My build up for these halves will be similar to marathon training so if there is a race and I am comfortable, I’ll be prepared enough to jump in. The summer will be a focus on a mix of speed and long run endurance with (fingers crossed) a trip to Europe at the end of the summer for some more running. I want to tackle a marathon in late October/early November, though I have no idea how the world will look at that point so it may be an actual race, a virtual race, or a solo effort. Time will tell.
I am happy to move on to 2021, though with reserved optimism. I am happy to tackle some specific goals and to build myself up even faster and stronger than before. I have a lot to offer this year and I intend on giving it my all.
Run happy and stay safe, Friends!