Running Highs and Lows of 2020

Every year I write a post to summarize my running for the year with all of the races I ran and the highs and lows for the year. I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone how different this post is going to be from every other year I’ve written these. Yes, 2020 sucked when it came to races because of all of the cancellations, but it wasn’t all low points when it came to running for me.

As you may or may not know, I’m on a quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states and only have three states left, which I was supposed to run in 2020. My remaining states are New Mexico, Minnesota, and Iowa. All three half marathons were cancelled in 2020. No idea when they will be rescheduled or what will happen in 2021 with those races or quite honestly anything at all at this point.

So what did happen in 2020 when it came to my running? Well, as I said in my post Running Highs and Lows of 2019, last year was a stellar year for me with only highs and no lows. I continued on that high early this year when I was training for what I thought would be my half marathon in New Mexico in April. Then I hit my first low point for the year when the pandemic started and my race was postponed until November 2020. Little did I know back in April that this pandemic would still be in full force in November and registered runners would have the option to run the race virtually in November or (hopefully) run it in April 2021. I opted for the latter since the whole idea is for me to run a race in all 50 states.

For most of 2020 I averaged around 130 miles each month. May was my highest mileage month with 186 miles. May was also near-perfect running weather where I live and one of the most stressful months so far for the year (although little did I know June would be much, much worse). I kept running to clear my head, get outside to enjoy the weather, and keep healthy.

Even in June, when I was supposed to run my half marathon in Minnesota, I still thought that race might happen right up until about a week prior (yes, I know it seems crazy now). The race director for the half marathon in New Mexico had been excellent with his communication, letting us know the plans for the race so we could plan accordingly. However, the race director for the half marathon in Minnesota was terrible. The website was not updated and when I tried multiple ways of contacting him, he didn’t respond. Finally at the last minute I found out the race was postponed until September. I decided to not run that race at all, even if it did actually happen in September, which was doubtful. Not being able to run my second scheduled race for 2020 was another low point for me.

Still, I kept running, ever hopeful (naively) that I would still be able to run the half marathon in Iowa in September. The race director stated that the race would go on even with the pandemic; that they would figure out a way to put on the race safely. As you already know by now, this did not happen. Yet another running low for me.

Running on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina with my daughter was a high point!

Not to give you the impression I don’t or didn’t understand why all of these races were cancelled. I fully understand that obviously there could be no races when states had limits on the number of people who could be together, some as few as 10 people. No race director in their right mind would have wanted to have a race and risk spreading the virus throughout their city and state and have runners come in from out of town on top of that. Only when it was deemed safe to have bigger groups together did in-person races start resuming and even those were more common in some states than others.

In September the town where I live hosted a virtual 5k, with what I thought would include race swag, an online leaderboard, and prizes to the top finishers in each age group. On top of that, it was free. Normally not one for a virtual race, given all of the above listed, I entered and ended up running my fastest 5k yet, I Ran My Fastest 5k, but Does It Even Count?. I was the top female finisher for my age group but I was told by the race organizer that prizes weren’t going to be given out after all, and I could download my finisher certificate. Um, great! Thanks! This one was a high point for sure since I hadn’t even trained for this distance but was able to run 3.1 miles much faster than I ever had before, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to not get an age group prize like I thought I was going to. Would I have pushed myself as hard as I did if I knew there wouldn’t be prizes? Nope. I’ll fully admit I need that carrot out there to really push myself.

When October hit, my mileage and motivation slipped but I continued running until I started having hip pain. It was something I had experienced before so I was confident I knew how to treat it. For starters I had to take at least a solid couple of weeks off of running and even long walks. This was a bit of a low point for me because October is one of the best months for running where I live. The weather is perfect and the autumn leaves are in full display. To not be able to run or even walk in that was tough.

I really love checking out all of the fall foliage when I run!

The time off and babying my hip paid off, though, because I was able to run again in mid-November and still enjoy that gorgeous fall weather. The first time I was able to run again without pain was definitely a high point. It felt great to be outside running again, even if it was a struggle because I had lost some fitness during that time off. When I worked my way back up to six miles for a long run, that also felt great.

December has been mostly spent getting my fitness back and watching my pace split times gradually drop. With no races in sight, I plan on maintaining my fitness throughout the winter and to keep running moderately. I’ll probably try to run around 6-8 miles for my long runs and run a few times during the week. With all of the holiday baking I’ve done lately, I also need to make sure I don’t add any holiday pounds!

Overall, 2020 has had plenty of running lows for me but also some running highs. I’m a pretty optimistic person and I like to try to find the positive in most things; running is no exception. Even though I wasn’t able to run any of my planned half marathons this year, I know I will eventually be able to run them. I’ve been able to keep running for most of the year and was only sidelined for a small portion of the year with my hip injury. For sure, running has helped with my mental health and dealing with the pandemic and that has been priceless.

What about you? How did your running go this year? Any running highs or lows you’d like to share?

Happy running!

Donna

Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

14 thoughts on “Running Highs and Lows of 2020”

  1. Awww…such a shame that you didn’t get an award for your PR 5k. Especially since the race director indicated awards will be given out. I am looking forward to reading about your races in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Mexico in 2021. I kept thinking the pandemic restrictions would not last too long. Who could have foreseen in March that we would still be facing severe restrictions in December?

    My long runs have suffered, slipping back to around 8 – 12 miles. There is just nothing to train for!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Being able to run pain free is always a high! Running definitely didn’t go as planned for me either — I mean, really, for any runner. I keep plodding along. I actually feel as though my body may have appreciated the break from hard training and maybe I needed this time to try to figure out how I want to continue to run as I get older.

    Some of my friends who are 10 years older are laughing at me now, thinking I’m young — of course it’s all relative — but I’m just an introspective kinda gal.

    There were no real highs but also no real lows (although some low-ish times) with running for me in 2020. Your are all set to crush your last few states in 2021 — I hope you’re able to get to them next year, but if not, I know you’ll wrap up this portion of your running journey sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The older I get the more I see that age is definitely all relative but the people who continue to stay active certainly have less aches and pains than those who don’t.
      I’ll eventually reach my goal, whether it’s next year or the following, I’ll get there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad that you were able to work through your hip injury and get back to training! Here’s hoping you’ll get to race again in 2021, I’m certainly blessed that Pennsylvania was able to have some this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Unexpected year for me, too! Only able to run one goal race (in February), but still got in some stuff I’ve never done before, and the most miles I’ve ever run in a year. And an exciting new development! Details in my forthcoming blog post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Definitely high and lows in running.
    High – 9 half marathons, 1000 miles.
    Lows – so many races cancelled, no mojo to run fast, COVID restrictions

    You are so close to finishing the states, If not in 2021 then in 2022. And you are still young!! What will your next goal be??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 9 half marathons and 1000 miles in a year would always be a great accomplishment but especially so for this year. Congrats!
      Yes, one way or another I’ll finish all 50 states. After that, I’m not sure. I’ve thought about maybe running the Canadian provinces but who knows.

      Liked by 2 people

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