Should we talk about 2020 bling?
Or shall we discuss the lack thereof ?
It definitely was a year like none other. As much as I love my race bling, this year was a bit weak on the (live race) quantity...but the quality was on-point. It's been said that every picture tells a story, but I would argue that most medals would have a story as well (even the virtual ones).
Take a look...
First, I'll share the (very few) medals from my live 2020 races. Actually, I did decently in this category, if we were talking percentages of live races vs. bling brought home. What can I say? I'm an advocate for keeping that proverbial glass half full.
In February, Barb and I headed east to run the FreezeFest 5K, in Cedar Rapids (recap HERE). This was a race I'd run for the first time in 2019, so I was eager to return and defend my previous 2nd place AG. Even with an ideal course (mostly flat), it was another oh-so-windy day. I managed a third place AG with a finish time of 26:11.
Finally, my last IRL race happened on July 4th...the Sully Freedom Fun Run 5K, in Sully IA (recap HERE). This is a race I've done several times before. When I got the email that the RD was working with the city officials to ensure the race could happen (with all the necessary COVID precautions), I was in. The weather was hot and humid (as I knew it would be), and my legs were a little fatigued from the previous day's 47-mile bike ride. Also, did I mention I'd forgotten my Garmin (and music) back home? Thankfully, I'd brought my own water (there were no water stands on the course because #COVID), and I just ran by feel (because #noGarmin LOL). I finished in 26:35, which was good enough for a 3rd place AG. Even better, the hubby got a 2nd AG and Barb got a 1st place AG!
In late July, the swag arrived from the Driscoll's Strawberry Classic 10K, a race I'd planned to do over Spring Break (you know, like four months earlier LOL). We'd cancelled our Spring Break trip to Tampa Bay (again, #COVID), so I assumed this DNS race (and its subsequent swag) would be forfeited. No big deal. Well, when the unexpected swag showed up, I felt compelled to "earn it." At the time, our dog had just had ACL surgery, and needed constant supervision to keep his mobility restricted while he recovered. Not able to leave him unattended (the hubby was out of town), I fired up the treadmill...and knocked out the 10K with Milly. We started at 4:47 in the morning, and finished about 61 minutes later. Probably my slowest 10K ever, but this was a big-time distance PR on the treadmill. Somehow, treadmill runs always feel so much harder (to me, at least) than on the road. This virtual "race" reassured me that I can, indeed, do hard things.
Another race that had been postponed (from late April), and then went virtual, was the Drake Relays Road Race Half Marathon. When the swag arrived in the mail (early October), I felt a strong compulsion to do this on the bike as well, and to do it that very day! Temps were chilly, and rain was threatening. I pedaled hard and I pedaled fast, and I fought the 15mph wind (with 25-30mph gusts). Some rain broke through, around mile 11, but didn't last long. I made it back home in 1:01, which was a good 10 minutes faster than my best-case-scenario prediction. My quads were fried, but the rush of endorphins felt oh so sweet. I had run these 13.1 miles (virtually), back on the race's original race date, so this "biking virtual race" was more for the fun of it than anything. What was especially significant about this endeavor, though, was that the 1:01 finish time (for 13.1 miles) was a major PR (in terms of speed) since I'd biked the DAM to DSM 20K in 1:10 (a month prior). I didn't submit this finish time either.
As part of the Drake Relays Road Races, there's also a 1-mile race, called the Grand Blue Mile. All racers who do the 13.1/10K/5K and the GBM are awarded the Bulldog Double medal in commemoration . The GBM usually happens on the Tuesday evening following the half marathon (and 10K/5K races). With all things COVID, this race was postponed, and succumbed to virtual status as well. I also had run this virtual mile back in April, but since this swag had also arrived, I felt obligated to attempt a fast mile on the bike. The challenge was doing it in the dark, on an early morning ride, when I wouldn't have to worry about traffic. I rode a couple of miles as I plotted where an ideal 1-mile stretch could happen (with strategic street lights to see my bike computer). It took me three attempts to get the 1-mile distance timed correctly, I kid you not. My final mile clocked at 4:04, and (again) my quads were beat when I finished. But I got it done, with a PR for the 1-mile distance on the mountain bike.
Anyways, those are the big stories of my 2020 bling. My hardware haul isn't much, in comparison to a non-COVID year, but it's all been worthwhile. The stories behind the bling, and the memories created, all served a purpose in getting me through this crazy year. After all, even though racing had to be put on hold, running itself endured. And, when my running had to take a sabbatical, there still were other options available for fitness fixes. Glass, indeed, half full.
How did your year play out? Even with fewer (if any) races, did you swing some virtual swag or hardware?