Friday, January 1, 2021

My Goals for 2021

I was unsure if I should even bother to publish a list of goals for 2021.  Most of my goals tend to focus on races, and I have no idea what races I might do this year.  I usually plan my race schedule several months in advance, but that won’t work in the current environment.  The types of races I usually do aren’t happening right now.  Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available, there’s hope for the second half of the year, but there’s still too much uncertainty to plan anything. 

Last year, I had to adapt.  I looked for opportunities to do small races, but I wouldn’t book anything too far in advance.  My outlook for 2021 can best be described by a line from a George Harrison song: 


I don’t know what races I’ll do or what travel opportunities I might have, but I do have a few goals that don’t revolve around races.  I’ll start with those. 

Heal from Injuries 

In August, I injured my right knee at a trail marathon where I fell a few times.  It wasn’t too bad at first, but I think I aggravated it doing weight training.  Before long, I couldn’t go up or down stairs without pain. 

The good news is that nothing was torn.  The bad news is that I was about to start a series of 20 marathons in 20 days.  Amazingly, I made it through that series without making my knee worse.  I did, however, develop new injuries, including Achilles tendonitis in both ankles and an inflamed tendon at the top of my left hamstring. 

When I signed up for the Texas Quad, I assumed I could recover in time.  It was still seven weeks away.  I recovered from the Achilles tendonitis.  The other injuries improved, but they weren’t completely healed. 

After the Texas Quad, I had a new injury.  On the last two days of that series, I felt some discomfort on the outside of my left knee.  Thankfully, the other injuries didn’t get any worse. 

I took it easy for the next two weeks.  Then I ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, which was my final race of the year.  I went all out, so I could get a qualifying time for the 2022 Boston Marathon.  Having done that, I don’t have to worry if I temporarily get out of shape.  I have a good long time before I need to think about qualifying again. 

After the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, I took a week off from running.  Since then, I’ve been doing easy runs every other day.  My right knee is improving, but I still sometimes notice it walking up and down stairs.  The other injuries are doing much better. 

Because of all these races, my knee hasn’t had sufficient rest to heal.  I only have one race scheduled in 2021.  That’s at the end of January.  I’m not really going to train for that.  I’ll go easy in that race, and then I’ll take a break from racing.  I’ll keep doing easy runs every other day, but nothing long or strenuous.  I’ll take it easy for as long as it takes for my knee to heal.  I won’t enter any races or do any serious training until I’m 100 percent healthy. 

Rebuild My Mileage Base 

In the second half of 2019, I was running at least 50 miles every week.  I maintained a similar mileage base through the first nine months of 2020.  Then my mileage dropped off significantly as I tried to give injuries a chance to heal.  I expect to keep my mileage low for the first few months of 2021.  Once my knee is healthy enough, I’ll want to rebuild my mileage base. 

If experience has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t ramp up too quickly, or it leads to injuries.  The human body can adapt to almost any training load, but it can only adapt so fast.  It may take me until the end of the year to get back to where I was last summer.  I see this year as a rebuilding year.  Hopefully, I’ll establish a good foundation for 2022. 

Get Back to a Lean Weight 

I’ve gained seven pounds since the beginning of October.  That’s not a lot, but I worked hard to lose weight last summer, and I wanted to keep it off. 

I’ve never been able to lose weight through diet alone.  I rely heavily on exercise.  In the short term, I may struggle just to keep from gaining more weight.  Once I’m able to ramp up my training, I hope to lose the weight again. 

Last year, I supplemented my running with cross-training.  From May through August, I was doing two workouts every day.  Usually, one of them was a run, and the other one was either cycling or weight training.  I also went for walks two or three times a day.  I’ll probably do something similar this year, since my running will initially be limited. 

What About Races? 

I currently only have firm plans for one race.  I’m signed up for a marathon in Alabama at the end of January.  I have deferred registration for several races that were cancelled last year, but I don’t know if they’ll go forward this year.  Even if they do, I don’t know if I can travel to them.  Some of them are in countries or regions with travel restrictions. 

Rather than making any firm plans, I have a wish list.  These are races I’d like to run under the right circumstances.  It’s too soon to know which, if any, of these races I’ll run this year.  Some are more likely than others, but none are certain. 

New England Challenge – This is a series of marathons in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  To complete my 4th and 5th circuits of marathons in every state, I’ll eventually need to do at least one more marathon in five of these states.  This series is in May.  Currently most, if not all, of these states have travel restrictions or quarantine requirements.  This series will only happen if the pandemic is under control by May.  That seems unlikely.  I also don’t know if I’ll recover from my knee injury in time to train for a series like this.  May seems optimistic.  I’d love to do this series if I could, but it’s more likely it’ll have to wait another year. 

Firecracker Triple – This is a series of three marathons in or near Portland, OR.  I’ve done this triple a few times before, winning it in 2011 and again in 2014.  2020 was slated to be the last year for the triple, but it had to be cancelled.  Instead, 2021 will be the final year.  These races are held over the July 4th weekend, so the odds of them happening are better than the New England Challenge. 

Mad Marathon – This is a small race in Vermont.  I was signed up for it last year, but the race was cancelled.  I’m automatically signed up for this year’s race, if it happens.  On one hand, small races are more likely to happen that large races.  On the other hand, Vermont is more restrictive than most states. 

Alaska Series – This is a series of four marathons in Juneau, AK.  I was signed up for this last year.  When it was cancelled, I deferred my registration to this year.  This series isn’t until August, so there’s a better chance that it can happen this year. 

International Races – Last year, I had to cancel my travel plans for marathons in eight countries in Europe or South America.  Six of them were scheduled to take place in April, May, or June.  I doubt if those races will take place this spring.  A few have already announced plans to delay until later in the year.  Even of they take place, I wouldn’t be able to run all of them.  They’re all piled into a span of just a couple months, so scheduling conflicts would make it difficult for me to do more than one or two.  It’s far more likely that I won’t do any of them this year.  International travel is expensive, and overseas flights are unpleasant.  I’m not going to fly overseas for a race unless I can go sightseeing, dine in restaurants, and socialize with friends.  That might not be possible this year. 

Boston Marathon – The Boston Athletic Association has already decided that they can’t hold the race in April.  They’re tentatively planning to hold the race later in the year, but they haven’t picked a date yet.  They need to be reasonably confident that the race can take place.  If not, I’m sure they’ll hold another virtual race.  I will definitely do this race, even if it’s a virtual race.  One way or another, it’ll be my 10th consecutive Boston Marathon finish.  When you have an active streak of at least 10 years, you can register early, which makes it much easier to get into the race. 

New York City Marathon – I was registered for this race in 2020.  When it was cancelled, I was given the choice of a refund or deferred entry to 2021, 2022, or 2023.  I chose to defer my entry.  I don’t know yet which year it will be.  Sometime soon, everyone with deferred entry will have a chance to indicate their preference.  There’s no guarantee I’ll get my first choice.  I’ll just have to wait and see. 

Minnesota races – In Minnesota, there aren’t any outdoor marathons before the last weekend of April.  By then I might be ready to start looking for races.  Until the pandemic is over, local races are preferable to races that involve travel.  I love to travel, but it forces you to come into contact with more people.  When I traveled to races last year, I spent most of the time in my hotel room, leaving only for the races and to get food.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

My Year-End Review for 2020

 For as long as I’ve had this blog, I’ve been posting a list of goals at the beginning of the year, and then revisiting them at the end of the year.  In a typical year, I’ll accomplish all but one of two of the things I set out to do.  By the middle of March, it was already obvious that 2020 was not going to be a typical year.

Several of my goals for this year revolved around specific races or destinations.  Most of the races I signed up for got cancelled, making some of my goals either difficult or impossible.  The year started out normally, but after March 1st, my next nine marathons got cancelled.  By the middle of June, I was wondering if I would look back on 2020 as the year that got cancelled. 

In the second half of the year, I adapted.  Most of the races I signed up for were cancelled, but I found other races.  I also found new ways to challenge myself.  2020 wasn’t cancelled.  In some ways, it was a good year.  It just wasn’t the year I planned. 

I’m dividing this post into two parts.  First, I’ll look back at how I did on my original goals.  Then I’ll write about some successes I had that weren’t part of the original plan. 

Part 1:  The Year I Planned

Run Marathons or Ultras in 50 Countries

By the end of 2019, I had finished marathons or ultras in 41 countries.  I wanted to run marathons in nine new countries this year, to reach a total of 50.  By the end of February, I was registered for the races and had all of my travel reservations in place. 

In January, I ran a marathon in the Turks & Caicos Islands.  Several members of Marathon Globetrotters and the Country Marathon Club traveled to this race to make sure there would be enough runners for it to count as an official race.  That turned out to be my only international race this year. 

In April, I was planning to run the Bratislava Marathon and make a side trip to Vienna.  I even had tickets for a Mozart opera, as well as dinner and a concert at the Schönbrunn Palace.  That was the first international trip I had to cancel.  First it was postponed to September.  Then I had to cancel my plans altogether because of travel bans.  Eventually, this year’s race was cancelled altogether. 

That pattern repeated itself for my other international trips.  By the time the dust settled, I also cancelled plans to run marathons in Northern Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Brazil, Russia, Estonia, and Romania.  The only good news is that I was able to get refunds or credits for most of my travel expenses. 

Since running my first two international races in 2010, I’ve visited at least two new countries each year.  That streak ended this year.  The Turks & Caicos Islands turned out to be the only new country I visited this year. 

Finish All the Minnesota Marathons (Again)

Last year, I completed a long-term goal of running or walking every marathon in Minnesota.  This goal was on my list again, because there were some new races. 

Last year, I did a four-day series called the Minnesota Brothers Trail Series.  This year, it was going to expand to six days, and it was being rebranded at the Summer Camp Series.  The new series included three of the races from the old series, plus three new ones.  I was planning, at a minimum, to do the three new races, and I was seriously considering doing all six. 

The Summer Camp Series was part of a longer series called Running Ragged 20in20.  That series include the Summer Camp races, plus fourteen other races, spread out across 13 different states.  When COVID-19 made it impossible to hold these races at their original venues, the entire series was reorganized with all 20 races being held at venues in Minnesota.  I ended up doing all 20.  My goal of doing every Minnesota marathon was a big part of my motivation to do this series. 

Besides the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, I also ran an inaugural race in Champlin, MN called the Xenia Avenue Marathon.  I first learned about this race in March.  At the time, it conflicted with other travel plans.  When those plans got cancelled, I had an opportunity to add this one to my schedule. 

Despite doing these 21 Minnesota marathons, I still haven’t done all the new ones.  While I was at the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, I learned there was another new race in Minnesota.  I no longer recall the name of the race or the city where it was taking place.  I never looked into that one, because it was right after the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, and I desperately needed to take a break, so injuries could heal. 

Run My 400th Marathon or Ultra

At the beginning of the year, I had already finished 398 marathons or ultras.  I ran my 400th at the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA.  Of all of my goals for this year, this was the only one that went exactly as planned.  That’s because it was early in the year. 

Run a Quadzilla in At Least One More State

The word “quadzilla” was coined many years ago by runners who ran the Tahoe Triple and then ran another marathon the next day to make it four in a row.  At the time, that was the only way North American runners could run marathons on four consecutive days.  One of my long-term goals is to run a quadzilla in as many states as I can.  By the end of 2019, I had run quadzillas in Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Florida. 

I was originally planning to run the four-day Alaska Series, to add Alaska to this list.  That series was cancelled, but I later added the Texas Quad to my schedule, giving me quadzillas in seven states. 

Make Progress on My Fourth (and Fifth) Circuits of 50 States

At the beginning of the year, I needed 17 more states to complete my fourth circuit of marathons or ultras in all 50 states.  I also had the first 22 states for an eventual fifth circuit.  I didn’t expect to make much progress on this goal, since my race schedule was dominated by international races.  As it turns out, I made even less progress than I thought I would. 

Early in the year, I ran my fourth marathon in South Carolina.  I had to cancel plans for races in North Carolina, Vermont, Alaska, and New York.  I was still able to do my fourth marathon in Michigan, and added my fifth as well.  Finally, I added my fourth Mississippi race.  It wasn’t much progress, but I did what I could. 

Keep the Weight Off

For more than half of 2019, I was working hard to lose weight.  By September, I got down to a nice lean racing weight, and the weight loss contributed to a string of good race results.  One of my goals for 2020, was to keep from regaining any weight.  That was one of the few goals that was entirely within my control, yet it didn’t go well. 

During March and April, as the news about COVID-19 seemed to get worse by the day, I was doing a lot of stress eating.  I also wasn’t getting as much exercise as usual.  Races are usually a big component of my training, and all of my spring races got cancelled. 

By the beginning of May, I realized I needed to do something.  I couldn’t ramp up my running mileage yet, because I was still recovering from an Achilles injury.  Instead, I started adding cross-training to the mix in the form of weight training and stationary cycling.  I doubled my training volume overnight, which made a huge difference. 

The was enough to stop gaining weight, but I still wasn’t losing weight.  By June, I was finally healthy enough to start ramping up my running mileage.  Then the weight gradually came off.  By the end of the summer, I was down to a lean weight.  During the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, I weighed myself every day.  I was careful to make sure I neither gained nor lost weight. 

I wish the story ended there.  Since the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, I’ve had to cut way back on training, so an assortment of injuries could heal.  Most of them have, but my right knee will still take a while.  In the meantime, I’m gaining weight again.  So far, it’s only about seven pounds, but the trendline is moving in the wrong direction. 

Keep Up My Mileage

In 2019, I got off to a slow start, but really ramped up my mileage by summer.  Then I kept it going.  In the last six months of 2019, I ran at least 250 miles every month.  I also ran at least 50 miles every week.  This year, I was hoping to keep both of those streaks going.  If I did that, my total for the year would be more than 3,000 miles.  That’s something I’ve never done before.

This was an ambitious goal.  To do it, I had to stay healthy all year.  That seemed unlikely, since I didn’t even start the year healthy.  In late December, I started having soreness on the back of my left heel.  Running four days of the Savage Seven didn’t help.

I managed to meet my mileage goals in January, but I realized my heel wasn’t going to get any better unless I cut back a little.  In February, I revised my goals.  Instead of 250 miles a month, I ran 200.  Instead of 50 miles a week, I lowered the bar to 40. 

That worked out well.  By the end of May, I was healthy, and ready to pick up my mileage again.  I ran 250 miles in June.  In July and August, I ran more than 300 miles.  Running 3,000 total miles in 2020 was once again a realistic goal. 

In September, I ran more than 500 miles, largely because of the Running Ragged 20in20 Series.  After that, I needed to cut back drastically.  I went into that series with a knee injury and came out of it with multiple injuries. 

In October, I barely ran 100 miles.  I ran 200 miles in November, but the Texas Quad accounted for more than half of that.  December was another low mileage month.  I won’t begin to ramp up again until my right knee is healthy again. 

I finished the year with 2,890 miles.  That’s well short of 3,000, but it’s still the most I’ve run in a year.  Running 3,000 miles is something I can shoot for in a future year. 

While I didn’t hit either of my mileage goals, I still set the following personal records: 

1)      Consecutive weeks running at least 40 miles (65)

2)      Consecutive weeks running at least 50 miles (31)

3)      Consecutive months running at least 200 miles (17)

4)      Consecutive months running at least 250 miles (7)

5)      Consecutive months running at least 300 miles (3)

6)      Most miles in a calendar week (183.4)

7)      Most miles in a calendar month (527.5)

8)      Most miles in a calendar year (2890).

That’s not bad.

Part 2:  Unexpected Accomplishments

Finishing the Alphabet

After running the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in 2012, I set a long-term goal of running marathons for every letter of the alphabet.  I chipped away at this goal over the next two and a half years.  After I ran the Quad Cities Marathon in 2014, I just needed a race that started with “X.”

After that, I was stuck.  There aren’t many races that start with X.  One option was the Xiamen International Marathon in China.  While I would’ve loved to do that race, Xiamen isn’t really a tourist destination, and I most likely wouldn’t find many people who spoke English.  Traveling there by myself wouldn’t be easy.

The easier option was a cross-country race in Florida called the X-Country Marathon.  I wasn’t excited about this race.  I’m not a fan of cross-country races, and the name seemed kind of weak.  Besides, it always fell on the same weekend as something else that was more important to me.  I didn’t even put this on my list of goals for this year, because I didn’t think I could fit it in.

In March, my friend Sandy sent me information about the Xenia Avenue Marathon.  This race is in Minnesota, so I would’ve wanted to run it even if it didn’t start with X.  Unfortunately, it was the same day that I was scheduled to fly to Juneau for the Alaska Series.  At first, I wondered if there was any way to do this race and still catch my flight.  It was possible, but I would have to drive straight to the airport without showering.  Then Delta changed their flight schedule, making it impossible.

Eventually, the Alaska Series had to be cancelled because of Alaska’s travel restrictions for COVID-19.  The silver lining is that there was no longer any reason why I couldn’t run the Xenia Avenue Marathon.

Excluding virtual races, this was my first race in more than four months.  That alone made it exciting.  Finishing another Minnesota marathon was also a plus.  Most exciting was finally running an X race, so I could finish the alphabet.  Taking third place was just icing on the cake.

Photo credit: Heather Zeigler

Running Marathon for 20 Consecutive Days

Before this year, I had run marathons on as many as five consecutive days.  I knew there were longer series, but I didn’t think I could handle the wear and tear of anything longer than five days.

The Running Ragged 20in20 Series was originally composed of three different series that took place back-to-back.  The Heartland Series was going to be a seven-day series, with races in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  The Summer Camp Series was going to be a six-day series of trail marathons, with every race taking place within 15 miles of St. Cloud, MN.  The Prairie Series was going to be a seven-day series, with races in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.  If you did all three series, you could run marathons for 20 consecutive days.

I had no intention of doing that.  At most, I planned to do the Summer Camp Series, plus the Minnesota races of the other series.  Even that seemed intimidating.

Mainly Marathons had to cancel most of their multi-day, multi-state series this year.  Every state had different restrictions regarding public events, and some had travel restrictions or quarantine requirements.  Holding a series entirely in Minnesota was much more manageable, as they only had to comply with one state’s rules.  Mainly Marathons salvaged the Running Ragged 20in20 Series by moving all the races to Minnesota.

By then, all of the races I originally planned for September and October had been cancelled.  I had the best mileage base I’ve ever had.  In an average day, I was running 10 miles, doing an hour of cross-training, and going for a few long walks.  I was doing the equivalent of 20 miles of running per day, seven days a week.  Running marathon on 20 consecutive days still seemed intimidating, but it was a way to salvage the year by doing something truly epic.

I went in with low expectations.  I planned to pace myself like I would in a 24-hour race.  I was expecting most of my times to be between five and six hours.  On the first day, I alternated between running for a mile and then walking for a couple minutes.  I didn’t have any time goal.  It wasn’t until I had just over a mile to go that I realized I could break five hours if I skipped my last walking break and just kept running.

I finished that first race in 4:59.  That was my slowest race of the series.  With each day, I got a better feel for how fast I could run without leaving myself sore or fatigued for the next day.  On the first eight days of that series, I got faster each day.

I also got more competitive.  On the first two days, there were runners who were clearly much faster than me, so I didn’t try to compete.  On days three and four, I let a faster runner go ahead in the first half, but caught up to him in the second half.  After two unexpected come-from-behind victories, I started competing for the win whenever I saw the opportunity.  I ended up winning 13 of the 20 races.  I also kept my times under five hours every day, averaging 4:40.

Very few people have run marathons on 20 consecutive days.  Even fewer have done it with the kind of times I was averaging.  I’m proud of my results in this series, and I’m really glad I took on this challenge.  Instead of 2020 being the year that was cancelled, it became the year I accomplished something huge.

I Ran More Marathons Than I Originally Planned

I usually plan my race schedule several months in advance.  Before the pandemic started, I had already planned all my races through the middle of August, plus one race each in September, October and November.  My fall schedule still had a few holes, but I was expecting to run somewhere between 25 and 30 marathons in 2020.

My first four races went as planned.  All but one of my remaining races got cancelled.  Excluding virtual races, I didn’t have any races between March 1 and July 19.  By the time I ran the Xenia Avenue Marathon, I had already missed nine races.

By then, the organizers of smaller races were figuring out how to hold races during the pandemic.  I only ran four marathons in the first half of 2020, but I went on to run 28 more in the second half of the year.  Most of those races came in two multi-day series.  Those made it possible for me to run that many races, while only travelling outside of Minnesota four times.

Since 2010, I’ve been a member of a club called Marathon Maniacs.  They used to have “Maniac of the Year” awards for the runners who finished the most marathons each year.  The winners would typically have well over 100 marathons.

Marathon Maniacs no longer has those awards, but they’ve since added a feature to their website called the “leader board.”  The leader board can be sorted in different ways, including by state.  That effectively created separate Maniac of the Year competitions in each state.

In a normal year, I wouldn’t even try to compete for this.  Minnesota has a surprising number of prolific marathoners.  There’s a running club in Japan that maintains a list of every runner in the world who has completed at least 300 marathons or ultras.  The rankings are updated every six months.  I typically rank roughly 500th in the world and 100th in North America, yet I’ve never  ranked any higher than 7th in Minnesota.

After the Running Ragged 20in20 Series, I shot up on the leader board.  Until this week, I was in the top 10 on the leader board for all club members.  More significantly, I finished the year with more marathons than anyone in Minnesota.

Winning Almost Half of My Races

As I mentioned above, I won 13 of the 20 races of the Running Ragged 20in20 Series.  I was also the first-place male on the first day of the Texas Quad.  That’s 14 wins out of 32 races, for a “batting average” of 438.

I’ve never been an elite athlete.  In a large race, I don’t expect to be anywhere close to competitive, except in my age group.  Where I get competitive is in a multi-day series.  When I race frequently, I don’t slow down as much as most of the other runners.  Bouncing back quickly from marathons is one of my strengths.

Winning the Texas Quad

When I started the Texas Quad, I didn’t even know they had awards for the fastest combined times.  I took it one day at a time.  On the first day, I made an impulsive decision to race for the win.  On the next two days, I pushed hard enough to get into the top three.  It wasn’t until the morning of the fourth race that I learned there was an overall award for the quad.  By then, I had all but clinched it.

Placing in the Top Three in 26 of 32 Races

My first race of the year was a small race in a tropical climate.  I do well in hot races.  There were two runners who were out of my league, but I easily placed third.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that set the tone for the rest of the year.  I went on to place in the top three 26 times this year.  That included all 20 days of the Running Ragged 20in20 Series and all four days of the Texas Quad.  At one point, I had a streak of 24 consecutive podium finishes.

Virtual Races

A review of 2020 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning virtual races.  This is a concept that really took off in 2020, as race organizers who were forced to cancel their races weren’t in a position to offer refunds and wanted to provide something.  It was also a way for them to make use of race T-shirts and finisher medals that had already been procured.

I’m not a fan of virtual races.  They’re not a substitute for the experience of racing face-to-face, and I don’t do races just to get a T-shirt or medal.  I nevertheless ran three virtual races this year.

The first one was called the Quarantine Backyard Ultra.  This was a “last man standing” race.  I did this race because I was intrigued by the format and wanted to see what it felt like.  In a last man standing race, you run a 4.167 mile lap each hour.  If you finish in less than an hour, you can do whatever you want with the remaining time, but you can’t start the next lap until the beginning of the next hour.  You must start the next lap on time, or you’re eliminated.  The race continues until only one runner completes a lap.

I knew I wasn’t going to be competitive.  I was still recovering from a case of Achilles tendonitis in my left leg.  It no longer bothered me on shorter runs, but running for hour after hour was bound to eventually cause a flare-up.  I lasted only eight hours.

My second virtual race was for a marathon that got cancelled.  I did that one mostly because I was overdue for a long training run.  Getting ready to run a marathon forced me to do other long runs in preparation.  Ultimately, it was a glorified training run, but it was a training run I needed after a few months of only doing shorter runs.

My last virtual race was the virtual Boston Marathon.  I did this one even though I knew it would aggravate a knee injury.  I did it so I could extend my streak of consecutive Boston Marathon finishes.  Also, it’s always cool to get a Boston Marathon medal, even if it’s for a virtual race.

In summary, 2020 wasn’t the year I planned.  Most of the races I planned got cancelled.  In spite of that, it turned out to be a pretty good year.