I know we say this every year but...WHAT A FUCKING YEAR. I could probably spend an inordinate amount of time navel gazing on the shit show of 2020, but I won't. It's all the same story for everyone, and I salute us all for making it through it with some sanity (Seriously, that was close).
This is also not a big oo-rah about 2021 and doing all the things. I'm not there yet. I'm eyeing 2021 with utter caution, defensive humor, and as much flexibility as I can. I'll keep ya posted on how that goes.
This post is about...running. And the long haul. I know, big shocker.
So....backstory. Three years ago, on January 1, 2018, I got out my cool dry erase marker and wrote a big "6" on my white board. As in, 6 miles I had run that year. With a big goal to run 2018 miles in 2018. Seven months later, the shit show of Ironman Lake Placid happened and I lost my mojo. I finished the year with a marathon, but fell short of my 2018 miles, landing around 1700 miles.
In 2019, I began the year with another big mark on the ole whiteboard. I finally joined Strava (I know, none of my runs prior to 2019 even counted), had a really amazing year for everything sport related , and around October, managed to sideline myself with a minor injury and then took a much suggested respite from running. End of year mileage = 1864.
Then, mid March hit. I don't think I need to say more, right?? Our first race of the season was cancelled, foreshadowing a year that none of us saw coming. We did a housewarming party and made our own race.
COVID hit. Big time. I remember doing a long run mid April with a sense of foreboding...only to come back and find out that my Ironman in August was cancelled. And with that, I knew the season was done. I spent a few weeks low key running and wallowing, and then, as I always do, came up with a plan B. Or.... several plan B's. With all of my summer races quickly following the same suit that my Ironman did, I turned to some challenges that I never would have.
Sounds silly, but it got me through what was a really tough time....kids out of school....lock down....and such uncertainty. Through it all, there were my running shoes.
Summer came. I logged a nice amount of miles with my buddy Matt, and we spent many Friday afternoons laughing, eating cheese, drinking err....water, and talking about life. With the start of tri season....or um, not....I needed another thing to turn to. Enter in my friend Lauren, whose brother Brad was planning a crazy challenge by running 266 miles in 7 days to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. I got to pace him on day 6 - that darkest day before the dawn. I drove down to Catt county at 6am one morning in July, not knowing anyone but "sorta" this guy, and ran 42 miles through the hilliest country I'd ever seen.
Over the course of 12 hours I made more friends than I ever have in a day, that, 6 months later, I am so thankful I've met. It reminded me of the intrinsic joy of running as we joked through the countryside, running for such a wonderful cause.
Halfway through the year and spot on to make my 2020 goal. The rest of the summer was full of riding bikes with the juicy tri fam, running solo and with friends, with no races whatsoever planned.
I had joined a virtual challenge to race across Tennessee - 1000k in 3 months. This aligned perfectly with my run mileage goals, supported a great cause through a local food bank, and was orchestrated by the great Laz Lake, who RD's the most ridiculous race in the world I'd love to do someday - the Barkley Marathons. I crossed the "finish" line for the race on August 8th, my 11th wedding anniversary with my favorite partner in crime, my husband, who started me in the world of multi sport and running, and remains my biggest supporter for any crazy idea I think of.
What will 2021 bring? Who knows. And that's a post for another day. But after three years, I FINALLY ran the year. Success is just as sweet even during a pandemic....maybe even more so!