Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 was...

2020 in Review

I went down the rabbit hole of my past yearly running recaps when looking for mileage statistics, and I think I was much more eloquent and accomplished in 2019, 2018, 20172016, and 2015 than in 2020.  However, I still love running, it's a significant part of my life, and it brings me joy every opportunity I get to do it.  I am also another year closer to my goal of running for life (there have been and probably always will be some minor disruptions).

On that note, I only ran about 7 months of 2020 due to my hip impingement (which I have since found great ways to work around).  My total mileage was 2194.6 per Garmin and 2188 per Strava.  I'm not sure the reason for the discrepancy, but I am going to blame it on the run/walk stuff I did when getting my hip under control (as in, I recorded something as a run on Garmin and a walk on Strava).  If I divide my total mileage by 52 it gives me 42.2 miles per week on average, but if I divide it by the weeks I was actually running (33) I like it better at 66.5 miles per week on average.  My mileage history for comparison is at the end of this post, and in the big picture my yearly mileage wasn't bad; it's just easier to remember my more immediate history when I was exceeding 3000 miles per year (and last year I was close to 4000).  I don't set yearly mileage goals, but I like to see where I end up.  My running elevation gain for the year was 77,963 ft.

On the other hand, I biked 2,945 miles this year, which has to be a yearly cycling mileage PR, but I've never paid attention to it so I don't know by how much.  I have definitely never biked more miles in a year than I ran before now.  I'm thankful I was able to ride outdoors when I wasn't able to run, but it is very easy for me to drop cycling when I can run!  And, no, I had no desire to ride 55 more miles to get to 3,000.

I made this face for most of the year
I ran one race in 2020, the Houston Marathon in January, and it did not go as I'd hoped, but it was blatantly clear why I didn't perform well (bronchitis), which I much prefer over an unexplained bad race.

I did 3 time trials, although the first one, a 2 miler, was such a rust-buster that I didn't really count it.  I am glad my coach had me run it, because it helped me remember how to hurt and helped me run a lot better in the 5k I did a couple weeks later.  I did a 5k in 18:28ish (I stopped my watch at 3.13 in 18:35, 5:56 pace) and a 20k in 1:20:35 (6:29 pace).  For the circumstances, I was happy with both of them, and although slower than my marathon PR pace, the 20k was an unofficial PR since I'd only raced that distance once before.

I became a masters runner on October 26, but have yet to run my first masters race - I am excited about it, though!

Running community:
I coordinate the Miles from Mentor running group and I'm so excited about how much our group has grown this year!  We have group runs every day, occasionally twice, and these awesome people make my miles quite enjoyable.  I'm very self-motivated with running, but it sure is easier to get out in the pitch dark early 20 degree mornings with a crew!

I continued free coaching for several friends - in one discussion on a group run I realized that I'd coached almost everyone who attends our running group even sometimes at one point or another!  I helped a friend break 1:30 in the half twice (after 4 years of trying), I helped a friend debut with a 2:55 marathon, I helped a friend run an 11-minute marathon PR (although she will better it in 2021), and I'm currently leading a training group with coordinated individualized schedules for a March half marathon.  

Thoughts on the year:
We always learn more from failures and tough times than from successes and things that go well, but I don't think anyone can deny that it's more fun to succeed!  I've kind of felt like the world has been against me since 12/3/19, but at the same time I know that even on my worst day I have much to be thankful for.

As I looked back on the past yearly running recaps I've done, I realized that I had 5 years of really, really good running (2015-2019) - although ironically my definition of "really good" changed every year.  The mileage totals below will also tell you that I had 4 years of not-so-good running before then (2011-2014).  Like most things in life, running ebbs and flows.  While the phrase "it's only running" is true, running is also "only" my lifelong hobby and biggest quantifiable goal obsession.  Looking back, it's clear that God has used running to direct my life in certain ways, which is neat to think about and something I'm sure is still happening.

I trust there are reasons for the ups and downs, and I am ending the year beyond grateful that I get to do this!  I know how fortunate I am to have something that makes me excited to get out of bed at 4:45 a.m. every week day morning.  I've been blessed to have the abilities and resources to dream big, even when I fall short - and thankful that the people in my life care just as much about me whether I'm logging high mileage weeks or not running at all.  I am lucky to be part of the amazing running community (we all know that runners truly are the best people!).

Podcasts I was on:

Blog series I wrote:

Mileage History:
2020 - 2194
2019 - 3854
2018 - 3047
2017 - 3043
2016 - 2294
2015 - 1942
2014 - 972
2013 - 595
2012 - 1373
2011 - 1539
2010 - 2106

For more on 2020:

A December to Remember

December 2020 in review!  

Total mileage for the month: 327.3
  • Nov. 30-Dec. 6:  75.1
  • Dec. 7-13:  70.7
  • Dec. 14-20:  73.8
  • Dec. 21-27:  77.4
  • Dec. 28-Jan. 3: projected at 72

Races:  None this month, but I think there will be some 2021 racing!

  • Dec. 2:  An unstructured faster day that included 5 moderate miles and about (I lost count) 12 x telephone pole pickups within a 10.2 mile run.  I didn't time anything involved in this but my average for the entire run was 7:33.
  • Dec. 5:  Light progression long run (see long runs below)
  • Dec. 15: 10 x 45" hill sprints at 6:00-6:18 pace with 281 total elevation gain per Strava, towards the end of a 10 mile run.  This was my first "real" workout since October, and when I wrote it I thought it was a good starter workout, but during it I really questioned why I didn't make it about 6 reps instead of 10.  Short hill reps are one of the hardest workouts for me because I do not have good power or speed - which is why I need to do them!  This workout is only 7.5 minutes of hard running but I would have an easier time running a 1 hour tempo.  Claudio and Colin ran this with me, which gave me people to chase and kept me honest with running all 10.  I've written a training schedule of workouts and long runs for our group that started Dec. 14, and I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy this plan (everyone's mileage is individualized but hard efforts and long runs are mostly coordinated).
  • Dec. 18:  6 mile progression, well, a planned light progression of 7:15 -> 6:45, but Casey and Ik started out too fast so it was more steady and then picking up the final mile.  I am usually good at pacing but after 2 months off of workouts I completely failed during mile 1 of this run (for most of it I was running 6:48 pace before pulling back towards the end).  Even though I didn't really do any of the workout as planned, I was good with how it ended up because I wasn't at all sure where my fitness was at and thought it was going to take everything I had to run the 6:45 at the end, but most of my miles were close to 6:45 and I dipped under 6:30 for the final one so yay: 6:56, 6:52, 6:46, 6:49, 6:52, 6:28 (2 warm up, 2.2 cool down).
  • Dec. 23:  10 x 60" hill sprints at 6:XX pace within a 10 mile run (666 ft elevation gain per Strava), also known as the best way to make a mere 10 minutes of running extremely hard - at least for me based on my strengths and weaknesses.  Elise, Rebecca, Casey, and David ran this with me, and again I really appreciated the group workout.
  • Dec. 26:  2 x 2 mile tempo with 2:00 standing recovery between in 6:38, 6:32, 6:26, 6:12 (2 warm up, 3.2 cool down).  Based on the Dec. 18 progression run my goal was to keep my pace in the 6:30s for this workout and to negative split, so I was happy with how this went.  Although I had to work harder than I hoped, I don't think anyone completely nails a workout the day after holiday eating and when away from home (if you do, tell me your secrets!). I was at my in-laws house in Kansas and the flatness of this run almost felt like cheating, plus the weather was really nice at 30 degrees and light wind.  It had been a long time since I'd run a workout solo, which I am uber-thankful for, so it's nice to know I can still manage it!
  • Dec. 29:  15 miles with 5 easy then 0.1 pick up/0.9 easy for the remaining 10.  9 of the 10 pickups were sub-6:00, which was a pleasant surprise because they felt like about 6:15.  I had my Garmin under my sleeve for this entire run so just picked up when it beeped/vibrated at me (I had the workout programmed in).  We had rain, sleet, and snow during this run, but thanks to good gear I stayed warm enough - and thanks to good company I made all of the planned miles happen.  Casey and I both said we wouldn't have done it without the other one!  Jack ran 13.1 with us for his first ever half marathon!  His 15-year-old brother Ben also joined us for the first 6, and I am so impressed with him joining our group at 5:30 a.m. in winter weather - I would not have done that in high school.
  • Strides: Dec. 1, 4, 7, 9, 11 17, 22, 25.
  • Doubles (running):  Dec. 1, 8, 9, 15, 17, 22, 25, 26, 28.
  • GO-ing:  total miles of 14.8 - pretty weak, but I only took 2 days off running this month and on one of those I did nothing (I needed it!). I'm also just not interested in doubling on the ElliptiGO after work when it's pitch dark and cold, but this will increase in the spring.
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 3:00, 2:40, 2:50, 2:35.
All of our weekly runs look like this (dark and cold)

Long Runs:
  • Dec. 5: 14.2 miles (7:42) with a light progression dropping from an 8:14 first mile to a 6:47 final mile.  One of my running buddies wanted to run this and I was just along for the ride, but it wasn't super well-thought out because early on we kept holding back from "too much" progression too early, then we realized at mile 11 we weren't really going to finish as fast as we thought, so then we started dropping 20 seconds/mile instead of 5.  I didn't want to run super hard on this day so I was fine with it all!
  • Dec. 6:  12 miles easy (8:10) to kick off back-to-back long runs!  Abby did her long run on Sunday this week so I had company the entire run (Christian, Casey, and Rebecca also started with us but ran shorter distances).
  • Dec. 12:  14.1 miles easy (8:05) that was one of the most random runs of my life, in a good way!  Casey, Colin, and I started running around 7:00 a.m. and made our way towards downtown Springfield to watch Abby and Rebecca run the Santa Run 5k at 8:00 a.m.  The race start was delayed and we kept running up and down 4 blocks of the same road for a couple of miles (the U-turning got old but we didn't know how long the delay was and didn't want to stop running).  Then we ran around the course cheering and back to our cars.  It was all planned out pretty well to get in a 12 mile run, but since they started the race so late we ran 14 instead.  Casey showed us about 5 different locations she lived in during college at MSU, we ran part of the Run for the Ranch course to give Colin a tour, we told some of the weirdest stories that ended up with a drug theme (people we had known at some point using, not us!), and of course we also watched hundreds of people wearing Santa suits race a "5k" (the course was long, but Rebecca and Abby went 1-2 females).
  • Dec. 13:  12 miles easy (8:05).  Abby again ran her long run on Sunday so I had company the whole way, plus Colin was also easily talked into running 12 with us (Christian and Casey ran the first half with us).  14 followed by 12 is pretty comfortable.  I did 21 with a half marathon race then 14 one weekend when training for Indy Monumental Marathon 2019, plus another weekend of some long Saturday workout plus a 12 mile Sunday, and those scared me in advance but went really well so I haven't been scared of these easy paced ones.
  • Dec. 20:  14.4 miles easy (8:03).  This was my group's ugly sweater run, and therefore the farthest I've ever run in an ugly Christmas sweater (I did 12 a couple of years ago in one).  We ran on a trail and passed several others who complimented us on our Christmas cheer.  I was dragging and kept thinking it was my second long run instead of my first.
  • Dec. 21: 11.2 easy (8:00), which felt fantastic and like I was holding back the entire way!  This was a Monday before work or I would have probably run farther.  I have no idea why I felt so much better than the day before, but it was a nice surprise because I started it thinking I might split the mileage 7 and 4 instead.
  • Dec. 29:  15 miles (7:34) with 10 x 0.1 pick ups during the last 10 miles, described above.  I always feel better and run faster overall with less effort when I do these little pick ups!
  • Dec. 31:  12.3 miles (7:55) a day late, because Dec. 30 it was 35 degrees and pouring.  I had planned to take off Dec. 31 so just swapped days.  Running in gross winter weather can take a lot out of me, and the Dec. 29 run beat me up more than I'd expected so I think this worked out even though it wasn't a back-to-back long run.  Sean ran the whole way with me so that was also nice!
Rebecca & Abby ran the Santa run;
Casey, Colin, & I long run cheered

Annual ugly Christmas sweater run
(the man on the right runs with another
group on the same trail & gave us cookies!)

Running Highlights:
  • I am trying a 9-day training schedule, effective Dec. 13, through early March.  I have wanted to do this for awhile, but it means weekday long runs and I wasn't ready to try that until now.  I may have some long runs without company for the entire distance, but any given weekday I think I will have someone willing to run at least 10-12 with me, so I'm going to give it a go.  Each 9 days looks like this:  easy, easy, workout, easy, easy, workout, easy, easy, long run.  I can run from 5:00-7:00 a.m. and be at work by 8:00 a.m., and I think I'll only be up to 16 milers during this trial period, so it's more doable than during the peaks of marathon training.
  • My running group did a Christmas lights run followed by a soup and side dinner around a bonfire in Casey's backyard.  It ended up being a decently warm day and with the fire and bundling up afterwards we didn't even freeze.
  • I volunteered at Run for the Ranch, helping with COVID forms and screenings.  People did really well wearing masks before the races!
  • I did a meters challenge from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve to help my crazy friend Missy's team (it's more of a Cross Fit thing), and I fared pretty well overall but was bounds behind Missy with my 70-some mile weeks (she was working out about 6 hours a day!).  I ran 293 miles total during the contest, and I got the results on Christmas Day right after I finished a 7 mile run which would have put me at an even 300 - I'll keep better track next year but I knew I couldn't get too into it or I'd do too much.
  • I was mentioned on episode 34 of the 1609 Podcast, about 2:25 in - the whole episode is worth listening to, even though I'd already watched and listened to a lot of Marathon Project content by the time I heard it.  I wanted Sara Hall to set the American Record so bad, but I still think it is in her!
  • If you're obsessed with interested in a marathon OTQ, read this.
Christmas lights run

More Christmas lights run

Pretty sure we should get Noxgear royalties

100,000 meter challenge

Life Highlights:
  • December was busy!  In addition to holiday stuff, work got really crazy for a bit and I put in several 12 hour days.
  • A haiku I wrote mostly as a joke was shared here (second from bottom), and I won a great sports bra and pair shorts from it!
  • I mailed a record number of Christmas cards.  It seemed like a good year for this!
  • I did the 12 days of letter writing project, which was fun but also a sad reminder that I don't handwrite anything anymore; my handwriting muscles are out of shape!
  • We did a lot of drive-by Christmas lights and a drive-through live nativity, which it also seemed like a good year for!
  • I took a couple of days off work in order to have 5-days off in a row for "Christmas vacation."  We did a short visit to my parents, and a few days at my in-law's.
We decorated our lemon tree

It works!

Cats' stockings

Albani's virtual Christmas concert
(that's a bagged clarinet)

Christmas Eve with my parents

Because everyone needs socks
with their cats' faces on them!


My teen

Chiefs fans

Ibbetson cousins
  • Restart by Gordon Korman
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
  • The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood
  • Night Road by Kristin Hannah
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Theme for the month:
Celebrating Jesus's birth.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

What I Read in 2020

I kept a list of books I read last year, so even though I listed what I read each month in my monthly recaps, I wanted to post a master list.  I read more than expected because I stayed at home more than expected this year.  2020 was the first year I used Goodreads, and I don't know why I didn't get an account before this year!  My Year in Books is here.
  1. Educated by Tara Westover
  2. Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  3. The Power by Naomi Alderman
  4. Framed by James Ponti
  5. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  6. Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron
  7. Do Not Become Alarmed by Malie Meloy
  8. You'll Never Know by Halie Ephrom
  9. Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins
  10. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  11. Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephrom
  12. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
  13. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
  14. Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
  15. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  16. White Elephant by Trish Harnetiaux
  17. House Rules by Jodi Piccolut
  18. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  19. Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
  20. Again to Carthage by John L. Parker, Jr.
  21. The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
  22. Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharry
  23. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
  24. Run the Mile You're In: Finding God in Every Step by Ryan Hall
  25. This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
  26. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  27. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  28. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  29. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  30. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  31. Racing the Rain by John Parker Jr.
  32. Finding Chika:  A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom
  33. Year of the Monkey by Patty Smith
  34. Stone Mattress:  Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood
  35. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis 
  36. A Good Man by Ani Katz
  37. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly 
  38. Anatomy, Stretching, and Training for Marathoners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Most From Your Running Workout by Jay Dicharry
  39. Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans
  40. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  41. Seven Day of Us by Francesa Hornak 
  42. The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
  43. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  44. Life Will Be the Death of Me:...and You Too! by Chelsea Handler
  45. Inside the O'Briens by Liss Genova
  46. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
  47. A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
  48. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  49. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  50. Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
  51. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
  52. Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary
  53. 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey
  54. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
  55. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
  56. Have a Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Albom
  57. All We Knew But Couldn't Say by Joanne Vannicola
  58. Ungifted by Gordon Korman
  59. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
  60. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  61. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  62. The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning
  63. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
  64. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  65. Before You by Amber Hart
  66. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  67. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
  68. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
  69. Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
  70. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  71. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  72. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  73. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  74. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  75. 84K by Claire North
  76. After Us by Amber Hart
  77. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  78. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  79. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  80. The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
  81. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  82. The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel
  83. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  84. The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
  85. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  86. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  87. Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall
  88. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  89. The Dance by Richard Paul Evans
  90. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  91. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  92. An Unwanted Guest by Sherri Lapena
  93. Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  94. Someone We Know by Shari Lapenda
  95. An Anonymous Girl by Grer Hendricks
  96. The Turn the Key by Ruth Ware
  97. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  98. Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
  99. The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
  100. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins
  101. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
  102. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  103. Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
  104. Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
  105. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
  106. The Sun Does Shine:  How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
  107. Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
  108. The Story of Arthur Truluv (Mason #1) by Elizabeth Berg
  109. Night of Miracles (Mason #2) by Elizabeth Berg
  110. The Confession Club (Mason #3) by Elizabeth Berg
  111. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
  112. The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
  113. The Party Upstairs by Lee Conell
  114. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
  115. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  116. The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
  117. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  118. The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
  119. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  120. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  121. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
  122. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  123. Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  124. The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket
  125. The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket
  126. The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
  127. The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) by Lemony Snicket
  128. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
  129. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  130. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrkc
  131. The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket
  132. The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket
  133. The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) by Lemony Snicket
  134. The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) by Lemony Snicket
  135. The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) by Lemony Snicket
  136. The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) by Lemony Snicket
  137. The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony Snicket
  138. The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket
  139. Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer
  140. How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
  141. What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
  142. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
  143. Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo
  144. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  145. The Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
  146. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  147. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  148. The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
  149. The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft
  150. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  151. After You by Jojo Moyes
  152. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  153. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  154. Monogamy by Sue Miller
  155. Still Me by Jojo Moyes
  156. Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn Jr.
  157. When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
  158. Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
  159. Lou in Lockdown by Jojo Moyes
  160. Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
  161. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
  162. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
  163. The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion
  164. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Piccoult
  165. The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft
  166. No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny Purmort
  167. Restart by Gordon Korman
  168. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  169. Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
  170. The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood
  171. Night Road by Kristin Hannah
  172. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  173. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Friday, December 18, 2020

Mad at the Marathon

I've heard comparisons between running and abusive relationships, such as "when it's good, it's so good, but when it's bad it's terribly painful and heartbreaking."  The highs are so high we keep chasing them regardless of how low the lows.

The marathon and I have mostly a great relationship.  The majority of my 30-some marathons have been amazing experiences and I've been able to run about the times my fitness indicated, or when I was way off it's been glaringly obvious why (bronchitis, or when I ran 5 marathons and 4 halves in 3-4 months).  From late 2017 to early 2020, I wanted more than the marathon was willing to give, but I kept coming close enough that I was convinced it would give it to me the next time.  I could never squeeze out those last 68 seconds, but I still knew that on a less windy day or a slightly faster course, I could find myself at the relationship finish line under the time cut off.

2020 happened, and due to my wonky-shaped bones I missed the November marathon I'd trained for.  Fortunately I only had to take 2.5 weeks off, during which I got an expedited PhD in hip impingement, and returned extremely hungry for every day runs and mileage.  What I didn't return hungry for was a re-do of the missed marathon or even a spring marathon.

Those who know me know I am always marathon training.  Marathon training or unable to run, there is nothing else.  I have just loved the marathon so much for so long, really since my second marathon in 2004 (the first one I really raced, and with a negative split).  That's not to say that we haven't had plenty of ups and downs between then and now, including a nearly 4-year hiatus during which I thought I was done with competitive running (2011 to mid-2014), but through it all I still loved my 26.2s.  And I still do, but I guess this fall situation made me realize that I'm also mad at the marathon for not giving me quite enough!  I mean, I gave it everything I had and it just couldn't give me that last bit of time I worked so hard for, and then this year it had the audacity to give me a DNS.

Do I hope to PR-chase again?  Do I still have a bone to pick with 2:45:00 (regardless of what the 2024 standard is)?  Yes.  But I also accept that my PR may always be 2:46:08, which is still something for someone who for most of her marathoning career never even dreamed of seeing a finishing clock starting with a 2, and then fully believed that her absolute limit was 2:59:59.  All times and paces aside, I've found great joy in the marathoning journey, and that alone makes me confident that I'll be on it again.

So really, I'm kind of everything at once at the marathon.  In love with, mad at, thankful for, curious about, appreciative of, uncertain about, and plenty more adjectives that escape me at the moment.

I'm not planning to run a spring 2021 marathon*, and I am currently able to run (a solid amount at that)!  I'm not even sure who I am anymore.  ;-)

While I've had my share of being mad at races, at workouts, at injuries, at the weather, at my body, etc., I don't think I've ever been mad at running.  Running nearly every day is my big dream goal and anything else I can do is bonus!

*I fully reserve the right to change this decision at any time.