Friends. We have finally reached the end of 2020. For better or worse.
I know, for the most part, this wasn’t our year. For me, it literally started on the couch, unable to walk without assistance after breaking two bones in my leg. Talk about a comeback.
Finding positives in situations is something I strive to do, so while I definitely struggled to learn to walk, then run, again, this year, with all its cancellations and shutdowns, gave me the space to do so.
Truth be told, January started off well enough. Well, except for the whole “recovering from surgery with hardware in my leg” thing. I got a boot and started physical therapy. My step count was miserably low, thanks to pain and mobility issues. I tried to keep a smile on my face.
Another long month of rehab. I moved from the boot to the brace, which was a huge improvement. My mobility really started to improve, but I was still slow at getting around. PT continued twice a week, and I was religious with my exercises at home.
We had a big Orlando trip this month. First, I attended the Sister Site Conference with St. Augustine Moms in Walt Disney World. Of course, I had to take the whole family, and it was really just so wonderful. I’ve never attended that kind of conference before, and I loved it.
I also felt in good enough spirits to walk a virtual 5k. This was a holdover from a December event I had to skip. They were kind enough to mail me my packet, so I felt the need to complete the distance.
March – 31 miles
First up was Sea World, for A’s 6th grade field trip. I had to spend the day in a wheelchair (it was just too much for me to get around), but it was a nice day all the same.
And then the world shut down. It happened on the weekend that I was just about ready to re-emerge into society. We planned a big weekend at The Player’s Championship in Ponte Vedra, followed by the start of Spring Break and tickets to Hamilton.
A came home from school for Spring Break and never went back.
Of course, as the lockdown continued, walking and running became my outlet. Every day, without fail, I got out there, and did what I could do. It started small, with lots of breaks, but as I got braver, things started going more smoothly.
April – 99 miles
With PT no longer on the table, I decided I had to take things into my own hands, and reacquainted myself with Couch to 5K. At a certain point, you just have to take a leap of faith, right?
I was pretty surprised at how quickly I feel back into things. At first, it didn’t feel exactly right, but it didn’t take long until my body remembered how much I loved running.
After months of being sidelined, and then being locked down because of the pandemic, I finally felt like I had some purpose again.
For fun, I joined up with some virtual races with Team Sparkle. I enjoyed the camaraderie.
A celebrated his 12th birthday with take out from a local restaurant and a birthday drive-by parade. School started again, but this time, with “crisis” or “distance” learning. We all learned to adapt.
May – 111 miles
May was a big month. It was my birthday, and I got a visit from my friend’s mini-horse.
But even more importantly, we welcomed a new family member!
I joined up with the Best Damn Race Florida Challenge, and committed to run a total of 1000K with my teammate, Lindsey.
Anything to keep moving forward.
We also got “front porch” photos, and A completed 6th grade, with all As and Bs. Oh, what a time to be alive.
June – 94 miles
Are we done yet? Nope. Lockdown continued, but things in Florida were not quite as strict as in other states. I just kept on running, like Forrest Gump.
We took a much-needed cabin vacation in Banner Elk with some good friends. I got it in my head that I had to cross this swinging bridge on Grandfather Mountain. For me, it was going to be a feat of strength and a return to my adventurous self.
July – 122 miles
Fireworks were canceled, although we still had some sparklers at home.
I graduated from Couch to 5K, for the second time, and thought I would hold strong at three miles for a few weeks before bumping up.
I also completed the Hadrian’s Wall Challenge, another event that kept me focused and on track.
Mr PugRunner embarked on his own fitness and nutrition journey, hiring a couch to set him on the right path.
A earned his black belt in karate, and plans to continue with his martial arts training.
August – 135 miles
To keep things moving along, I rergistered for the Best Damn Race Oregon Trail Virtual Challenge. Who doesn’t love the Oregon Trail?
Having another challenge motivated me even more, and I loved it.
A started virtual school, ahead of his public school friends. We aren’t homeschooling, but I am way more involved in his classroom expert than ever before. Running served as quite the respite.
I also took a wellness challenge in August and stayed quite dedicated to completing the challenges. Who couldn’t use more wellness in their life?
And I finally felt comfortable running with someone again. I was really embarrassed by my injury and felt super self-conscious. It was hard to admit that it would be easier going out with another person, but it’s been a good thing for me.
September – 118 miles
Running helped push me through some grief in September, as we said goodbye to sweet Bentley. We weren’t ready.
We finished the Best Damn Race Florida Challenge, and I felt comfortable moving my mileage up a little bit. It was scary at first, but nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone.
I also ran the virtual Cupcake Run 5K, to benefit Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida. I had planned this as my comeback 5K, but COVID-19 had other ideas.
October – 135 miles
We went on a socially distant vacation to the Georgia mountains with our friends. Since we have been bubbling together, we felt comfortable sharing a cabin, and it was lovely.
More hiking was just what I needed to feel strong. Unfortunately, the rainy weather didn’t lend itself to getting way out in the mountains, but we made do with what we could get.
While running did not happen in Georgia (too steep and not enough sidewalks), it was a great month, and my confidence continued to soar.
November – 141 miles
In our neck of the woods, live races started to creep back. J, Mr PugRunner, and I felt comfortable registering for a super small 5K at the start of the month. We worked hard to both be ready, and I almost cried at the start line. And the finish line, if we are being honest.
November also marked the one year anniversary of my fall, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. In fact, I found myself super jumpy and edgy all month. I can only attribute it to anxiety and probably some PTSD. I signed up for virtual half marathon with Team Nuun, and thought about bailing, but didn’t.
It wasn’t the race I would have run for real, but it felt good to log 13.1 miles at once.
More in-person races started sprouting up, but I continued to tread lightly. All things in good time.
December – 77 miles + counting…
And here we are, in December. I felt up to my first in-person 10K in a year.
My long runs go about eight miles. I’m almost ready to bump up to 10. As of today, I’ve logged about 1,063 miles (a few of those were bike miles, but I didn’t dig to find them) in walking and running, of which I’m incredibly proud.
My ankle and leg are ok. I feel it. All the time. Sometimes it’s sore, sometimes stiff. The nerves still jangle from time to time. I don’t know if it will ever be 100% better, which makes me a bit resentful. I’m hoping that one day will go about my business and not feel a thing, but I’m also not counting on it.
While this isn’t the year I hoped for, I am proud of the progress I’ve made. We have had our share of heartbreak, heartache, and stress. Anxiety has worked me over in so many ways, but running has been there to pick me up and move me forward. I’m so grateful to be where I am, and even more appreciative for all the support I’ve had along the way.
What are the highlights (or lowlights) of your year in running?
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