Seven months ago, I was training for the Flying Pig Marathon 4-Way with Cheese Challenge. One weekend of the 1 mile, 5k, 10k and full marathon. It was to be one of the biggest challenges I had ever undertaken in my short running career.
Even as races were cancelling around me, I refused to believe this nightmare was really happening, the world as I knew it was coming to an end.
Finally, the moment of acceptance arrived, and I reluctantly elected to defer my race. I was crushed.
I still had big goals for 2020. Goals that I was determined not to abandon. I was supposed to finish my first 50-mile bike ride, complete my first 50-mile run and my first 1000-mile year. But having kids at home learning online was certainly going to mess up those plans. Or was it?
Up to this point, running had always been my social outlet. Now, it became more of an escape. At home, with 3 kids and a work-at-home husband, I longed for alone time. So I worked harder to get it. I learned that it was more essential to me than ever to get that short escape, even for just 30 minutes or an hour. I was a better mom, and a more tolerant mom, after a few miles.
Gradually, the miles added up. I realized that I had unintentionally developed a running streak of sorts. I was completing over 100 miles each month. Could I keep it going all year?
It became a dare, a challenge to myself: Make 2020 something special, even if it’s not the special you hoped for on January 1. Find a way to see the positive in the current situation, and inspire others to do the same.
I resolved to tackle each 2020 goal, one at a time. First, I recruited several friends to join me for a local 50-mile bike ride. We met together on one Friday to complete the ride. We successfully biked to a local dairy farm, treated ourselves to ice cream, and rode home hoping to beat some clouds that quickly turned into an unexpected thunderstorm. Together, socially distanced, we accomplished the goal, and got completely soaked in the process!
Next in line was the 50-mile run. Despite not feeling ready—does anyone ever feel ready for a distance they haven’t tried?—I finished in just under 13 hours. My running tribe helped me through, and I am so grateful for them—and so glad to have that one behind me!
Now the goal of 100 monthly miles or more is sight.
2020? You aren’t what I expected. But despite the obstacles, I’m achieving things I never thought possible, with a little help from my friends.
Read more Seven Months into the Pandemic essays.