covid-19, Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon, Goals for 2020, Running

2020 Running Year in Review

This year in review may not look like many others that I have written, and that is okay. I don’t have any awesome running adventures with friends to reminisce about. There aren’t many races or personal bests to share. Even though it is different, 2020 was not a waste of a year for running. I learned a lot about myself, about how I want to prioritize my time, and how running fits into all of that. In 2020, my relationship with running became the best that it has ever been. I learned when it was needed, when it was okay to make it a priority, and when I had to set boundaries with running. So here we go, my 2020 Running Year in Review.

Final Stats of 2020 (for those who don’t want to read the full recap and just want the highlights)

  • Total running miles: 902.9
  • 8k personal best 2/1/2020 at Winterlaufe – 52:08, 10:30 per mile pace
  • 25k personal best 5/10/2020 at COVID 25k (at home race) – 3:06:21, 12:00 per mile pace
  • 1 mile personal best 6/24/2020 – 8:48 per mile pace
  • In person races: 1
  • Virtual races: 10+ (there were a few that I did that I didn’t get any swag or sign up/pay for, so I can’t really remember how many I did!)

January 2020 – 50.0 miles

I started off the year with a huge goal in mind: I wanted to run a sub 5 hour marathon. I had my sights set on either doing the Grand Rapids Marathon, Detroit Marathon or Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. My first goal was to train for and run the Riverbank 25k to get an idea of where my fitness level was. I didn’t start that training plan until February, so January was a little bit of “run whatever and whenever you want.” I’m not sure if I had any races planned, but I definitely didn’t run any. Looking back on my workouts, I did a lot of treadmill runs, so the weather must have been rough in January.

February 2020 – 78.6 miles

I ran the only in person race that I did in 2020 on 2/1/2020 – Winterlaufe. I actually ended up with a PR (52:08 – 10:30 per mile pace). I started my training plan for the Riverbank 25k. Lots of indoor running again.

March 2020 – 84.3 miles

March marked the end of running with other people for a while. My very last group run was a really great one, though, where I got to see a friend that I hadn’t seen in years and had never actually run with for any length of time. I did a tempo run the morning that we started hearing buzz about race cancelations and I found out that the NBA season had been canceled, meaning that my husband would be unemployed until further notice. I ran with a friend the day before the Stay at Home order was put into place, and from that time forward for several months I ran by myself – occasionally Ken would join me on his bike or I would run “with” friends via Facetime. I was still keeping up with my 25k training plan.

April 2020 – 96.4 miles

Sometime in March or April I found out that the race I was training for had been postponed to October. I hadn’t signed up yet, so I was faced with a decision – keep training and run on the date of the race anyway? Change my goal to train for a 50k (thanks to inspiration from a neighbor that did a backyard ultra)? Just run whatever I felt like? At the beginning of April I decided to switch over to a 50k training plan that would have me running 33 miles for my 33rd birthday. Friends were really excited about the idea and offering to run with me. I’m not sure how long I kept up with this plan, but I ended up changing my mind due to the realization that things would not be going back to “normal” anytime soon.

May 2020 – 83.3 miles

I decided to run the 25k the weekend it was originally planned. I ran it in the format of five 5k loops near my home. My friends supported me in the ways that they could, from decorating my windows to sidewalk chalk drawings, and a few even showed up and cheered me on from their cars. I got a personal best time of 3:06:21, average pace of 12:00 min/mile. I also ran a virtual 5k for mental health awareness. I successfully completed my annual run streak for mental health awareness. I completed a “mini Murph” on Memorial Day with a couple of friends virtually.

June 2020 – 72.5 miles

In June I started a marathon training plan. I had not signed up yet, but was still holding out hope for one of the marathons I had wanted to run. The idea of a sub 5 hour marathon was out the window, and instead I just hoped I would be able to run with my friends again. In June a wind storm came through our area and knocked down a few trees in our yard, and also cut off our power for a few days. This was when I officially ran with another person besides Ken for the first time since March. At the end of the month I accomplished my second, and final personal best: I ran my fastest mile ever! 8:48 min/mile.

July 2020 – 84.0 miles

I continued with marathon training and Ken joined me a lot more on my long runs on his bike. The big races were starting to announce their plans to go virtual and I was faced again with a decision – should I continue marathon training? Should I go for a bigger goal? Do I want to run a race of that magnitude virtually? Should I just run whatever I feel like? Earlier in the year I had absolutely dismissed the idea of doing a virtual marathon, but was inspired around this time by a post about how running a marathon on your own without any support or cheering crowds would represent how hard you worked in a difficult year despite the circumstances. By the end of July I had made up my mind to do a marathon, one way or another, and was just waiting to see who was going to offer the best virtual option.

August 2020 – 94.7 miles

By the end of July or early August, the big races had made their announcements about what they were planning to do for virtual options. When the Detroit Free Press Marathon made their announcement, I decided that was the one I was going to do. I was entertaining the idea of doing their Supreme Challenge (1 mile + 5k + marathon), running it all at the same time and adding on a mile to make it 31.3 miles (a 50k+… 31.3 to represent the Detroit area code, 313). I ran a virtual half marathon (a really, really sucky one) in the beginning of August for my birthday and continued my crazy 50k training until 2020 reared its ugly head once again and my husband was hospitalized. I stayed with my training plan, even after that, until the end of the month when I realized I once again needed to think about my priorities.

September 2020 – 50.1 miles

I decided I needed a bit of a break from running. I called off my plans to do the 31.3 miles… the marathon… even the half marathon for Detroit. I decided that the time it would take to complete training and the money it would cost were not my priority that fall. I focused on yoga, and it was a really great experience that actually brought me closer to one of my friends. We encouraged each other to complete a yoga program together virtually. Even though I knew it was best for me, I was feeling the FOMO from not doing a fall marathon. I decided to ask a few friends if they would be interested in doing a virtual marathon relay with me. We originally hoped to do Detroit but that option sold out by the time I had this idea, so we signed up for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon Relay.

October 2020 – 53.7 miles

In October I completed another virtual race for mental health awareness… a friend and I actually ran from Michigan to Wisconsin for that one! The end of October I faced yet another decision. Since 2019, I have been planning to run the Little Rock Marathon in 2021. 2020 really threw all of my plans for a loop and I still wasn’t feeling very positive about an in person race in March 2021. The marathon training plans I was considering were 20 or 18 weeks long… which meant I’d start training at the end of October or start of November. Did I want to start training for a race I wasn’t sure I would do?

November 2020 – 69.3 miles

I decided to do a beginner marathon training plan that started on November 2nd to train for Little Rock Marathon. I also decided to incorporate two other plans into my training for some “at home” races I had dreamed up: I would try to follow a training plan designed for the Dopey Challenge and one for a 50k. Once again a wrench got thrown into my plans when my husband was hospitalized again for a few days over Thanksgiving. He had surgery coming up, too, so I kept him as my number one priority while still continuing to train.

December 2020 – 86.0 miles

I followed my marathon training pretty much to a “T” and I made things work even with my husband having surgery. It was a tough month with work being very busy, no normal holiday parties and group runs to look forward to, and my husband’s impending surgery being the week of Christmas. We made it through though, and I am still on track.

It’s officially 2021 now and I am looking forward to what the year will bring. You can check out my goals in my last couple of posts:

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