A Little Inspiration Goes a Long Way
I am excited to share some thoughts about how I continued to compete and push myself during lockdown. I never slowed down just because events were not happening. Instead, I pivoted to doing challenges that were closer to home, Arlington, VA that had been on my bucket list for years or that sometimes thought up the day before.
2020 was my biggest running year ever! I ran over 4,400 miles and of that, over 1,800 miles were in virtual races, Fastest Known Times (FKTs), and other projects and adventures. Here are some of the highlights
1. I ran around all the boundry stones of Washington, DC - approximately 59.9 miles.
2. I ran 262.5 Miles on a 0.4 mile loop in my neighborhood over 63 hours, without sleep, to win a roll of golden toilet paper.
3. I appeared on ESPN Daily and it was incredible as I’m a regular listener and it was a highlight.
4. I ran 135 miles through Delaware on one the hottest day of the year.
5. I ran 110 miles in 36 hours completely self-supported on the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park. It was awesome as I got to filter water from streams and deal with the complications of being completely on my own.
"There was something freeing about just thinking of something and going for it."
I also used quarantine to try new things! I got very into cross training and I have loved the challenge of starting at the bottom. There is something refreshing about not being good at something but being eager to learn. I have enjoyed learning the lexicon of a new sport and seeing substantial gains and, of course, failing, but going back for more.
Right before the end of the year, I took part in a very unique event, called the Spartan Games and that challenged me like nothing I had done before. We had to do obstacle course racing, open water swimming, 5 hours of mountain biking, 6 hours of trail running, running up a mountain with a 20lbs weight vest, wrestling, strength events like lifting boulders and a few DEKA Fit-like CrossFit events. I had a blast but it pushed me beyond anything I had ever done and I ended up hurt for the first time since 2012.
I lifted too much weight and have spent the last few months overcoming injury. It has been a challenge to feel like you’re starting over, but I used it as a chance to work on recovery and to get back to doing what I love as quickly as possible. I would do hours of physical therapy, run on a special treadmill and walk/hike. I was still able to walk over 50 miles most weeks, even injured. I feel like this has been a great test because it renewed my passion to cherish every moment since they can be so fleeting.
All these runs and challenges have helped me to keep growing and evolving as an athlete, and are goals that provide a great blueprint for others.
Why not do something you have never done before, run that distance that excites you or go for an adventure that gets you a bit nervous or outside your comfort zone? If you are fast, why not try to go long or if you are an endurance beast, maybe try a short challenge that will turn you inside out?
We have the power to decide where to spend our time and energy and that alone is amazing!
In 2021, I'll continue to challenge myself, see what’s possible and determine what I need to keep working on to grow and evolve… and you can too.