2020 will be known for many things; for runners, it was the year without races. High stress, stay-at-home orders, Covid-19, and other circumstances disrupted the normal flow of training and racing. However, even the most tumultuous years have bright spots. The runners on Team Norris Running put forth their best effort in this hard year, through virtual races, time trials, personal accomplishments, overcoming unexpected injuries, and making the most of running during a pandemic.
I asked the runners I coach to share their proudest moments from 2020. Their responses highlight how growth, high moments, and personal achievements can occur even in hard circumstances.
“I know this has been an overall tough year, but it really has been my best year running-wise! I have been running splits I never could have imagined and ran my fastest 5K by almost 2 minutes in the middle of my fastest 10K, which was over a 3 minute PR. All of this was done running completely alone, with no race environment to get my adrenaline pumping and push me to the end. I can honestly say I feel like I could PR at any distance right now and just can’t wait until races are back to prove to myself how fast I truly am!” – Mackenzie
“My proudest moment of 2020 running is not really a moment. Instead, it is getting back into the habit of running consistently after a very long hiatus.” – Betsy
“My proudest moments of 2020 are “staying with the plan” despite a pandemic, and setting PRs at 10k in a virtual race (-42 seconds) and in the marathon (a real race with covid mitigations) in negative splits.” – Eric
“A few positives from this past year with running were obtaining a PR in both the 5k and 10k, as well as the mile! One of my goals for a few years now has been to run a mile in under 10 minutes. I did my own time trial around 11 weeks pregnant and managed to pull off an 8:59 mile! With my 5k I averaged 9:22/mile and the 10k 9:31/mile.” – Jess M
“After suffering my first serious injury as a runner, and getting a stress fracture in my lower back, rather than feel like the world was conspiring against me, I worked hard, but intelligently to get myself healthy and able to run again. Once I was able to run again, I stayed patient and measured. Yes, there were runs where I was undoubtedly frustrated that I didn’t feel as fit as I did pre-injury, or that my paces had slowed down — especially since I’m a very competitive/driven person and I still intend to run a very fast marathon at some point in the future. However, I never let the frustration deter me or get me down. If anything, it allowed me to focus more on doing the right thing so I hopefully don’t have to revisit an injury recovery phase like this again any time soon.” – Mark
“PR 5K in several months (24:45–>22:46) with goals on incremental improvements on my marathon training.” – John
“My proudest moment this year was running 50 miles in the month of May. This may not seem big but for me this was a huge accomplishment.” – Sam
“Being pregnant for most of 2020, some of my neighbors whom I hadn’t met yet started to know me as “the pregnant runner.” Then After giving birth I would take my son for a walk in the stroller and they recognized me as the pregnant runner, got excited to see the baby (which is how I then met more neighbors), and then proceeded to tell me how they had no idea how I could run throughout my entire pregnancy (including the day I went to the hospital to be induced).” – Chelsey
“I was thrilled to run a real live race in 2020 (Delaware Canal Half Marathon) and placing 3rd in my age group!” – Jennifer S
“Consistent running throughout the stay at home orders was a huge contributor to staying sane during this pandemic. Every day getting out the door for the run was something I looked forward to and appreciated. I also had a huge half marathon PR in our virtual race, which I was happy and very surprised with given it was a solo run.” – Laura B
“After a return from injury, being able to run for an hour without pain.” – Jennifer A
“I run one regular race in February 5k and placed 2nd in my age category. Also I completed 6 virtual races, two half marathons, one 10k, three 5k. My happiest moment in 2020 was in January when I collected all my medals from 2019 ( I run 53 races in 2019) and made a picture of them.” – Olena
“My happiest moment running this year was the many evening runs that I completed. This year has fundamentally changed so many aspects of our lives, but running gave me a much-needed consistency and routine. I thought that the absence of races would destroy my motivation but, if anything, it actually helped me more fully understand why I run. This was a year that often felt out of control, but running was the one thing that I could depend on to find joy and relaxation. I’ll always remember the feeling of my evening trail runs and sunset runs from this summer and the accomplishment of completing a workout just for myself.” – Laura A
“Pre-stress fracture…enjoying the run. It was becoming “easy”, comfortable and fun to hit the trails for 2ish hours on a Saturday morning. Also, maintaining most of the desire to run when COVID busted down the door and messed everything up.” – Aimee
“Hiring an empathetic and knowledgeable coach to guide me to my goals. Thanks, Laura!” – Tom
“Challenging myself to the Clermont Clay 15K. For me, this was a difficult course and it felt good to do something different–a soft clay and hilly course. And not just the race itself but zeroing in on training and bridge work beforehand. I could have and should have been focused soon but I eventually prioritized–showing up on rainy days, hot days, end of long work days.” – Kimberly
“Being pain-free again!!!! I forgot what normal felt like and had started accepting the pain and discomfort as the new normal. I also wondered if I should stop running altogether. Laura kept me motivated and working for this day! (And) Tackling some higher elevations during regular weekend runs. I have added two 1300’ elevation gain runs outside of a race.” – Lori
“Although 2020 has been anything but normal, this year has given me the chance to become a stronger runner by training differently all year with your training plans. When we could finally run actual live races at the end of October, I was able to PR in the 5k (26:06), 10k (54:08), and the half-marathon (2:00:43). Clearly, your training plans made a huge difference.” – Pete
“Running the nearby trails – I discovered I love running in nature.” – Lisa
“Not letting canceled races and virtual runs deter me from training hard and racing well.” – Marcus A.
“I’m really happy with getting more consistent in my running now since I started training with [Laura]! That’s the happiest thing for me, just finding the joy in the process since ~July, and seeing the progress from being consistent. That, and just running basically my second longest run as a training run, and feeling great the next day – that’s unbelievable too. I feel so much stronger now, and that’s amazing.” – Lucien
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What was your proudest moment of running in 2020?