2020 mid check in

July 2 marked the middle of 2020 and for the past couple years of diawriting here I’ve written a bit of a mid-year check in. It is possible that when I look back on 2020, assuming I’m fortunate enough to be able to, that I’ll lament the little I read and wrote throughout it. Going into the pandemic I had pretty religiously kept up my end of my little bargain with my trio or readers, to post something about what I’d been reading and something about what I’d been running each Sunday covering the preceding week. I have fallen down and it’s been a struggle to get back up, reading and writing at least. As of writing, I’ve read 25 book-ish collections of word on printed or digital page. Sure, six were graphic novels (plus one comic strip collection), but I’m still within the vicinity of on pace to reach my goal of reading 52 books this year, which is, quite frankly, a shocker. I’m caught up in the midst of a real lull right now that I hope I can shuck off and get back into some sort of reading routine. This is what it looks like at mid-year:

  • Comix / Graphic Novel — seven
  • Fiction — six
  • Non Fiction — six
  • Poetry — seven

My running goals for 2020 where (as usual) a lot more thoroughly fleshed out, and then a pandemic happened, which basically cancelled everything. I say basically because rising like a putrid zombie came the virtual race. It’s no substitute. But let’s play along anyway.

Run (at least) one race per month

When the pandemic was declared by the WHO on March 12 I had run four races. Nothing happened in April, so even if I count virtuals (I don’t), this goal is not happening in 2020.

Run a BQ Marathon

My actual goal, whether I every said it out loud or not, was to run at or near 3:06 with home-course advantage at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, and then fun run the Berlin Marathon in September. Then the BMO went virtual, and Berlin was cancelled completely. I took the BMO virtual but on the advice of my coach dropped down to the half. I deferred my Berlin entry to 2021, though I’m not confident that it will happen in 2021, let alone that we’ll want to risk international travel. Who knows. Anyway, this goal is not happening in 2020 that’s for sure.

Run a new Half Marathon PB

Way back on January 1 I figured that I could run 1:27:59 at the First Half Half Marathon in February for a five second PB and then chip away at it through the spring. I got sick instead, and nearly stayed in bed on race day but instead opted to fun run it, then moments before start decided to give it hard. I didn’t PB but far exceeded expectations though 15 KM that I still wonder what if I was healthy. Ended up with my second sub-90 proving the first time wasn’t a fluke. I decided to give it another go and created a dead flat clock-and-counter loops of Stanley Park for my first virtual race: BMO Vancouver, and I learned quite quickly that going hard solo is really hard. I ran until my watch read 21.2 KM and the timer stayed under 1:30 for my third time.

Run a new 10 KM PB

I actually wanted to run 37:59 so that I could qualify for a seeded bib in the Sun Run, but that was really, really ambitious. Instead, on day two of WestVanRun I ran to a very close but still second quickest. Not unhappy with the result given the effort just 24 hours earlier.

Run a new 5 KM PB

WestVanRun day one and I really wanted to go sub 19 and came oh so close finishing with a big new personal best time 19:04. Then the pandemic, and then Mile2Marathon got onto the virtual bandwagon with their own virtual race series, beginning with a 5 KM at the end of May. The afternoon before I took a bike ride through the proposed rolling hill course, and the following morning I dragged my unhappy GI through the M2M “Big Aus” loop up at Pacific Spirit Park and came up a hair short of sub 19, crossing the virtual line according to Garmin + Strava at 19:02 for a new, fake PB.

One mile time trial stare down(hill).
Run a new Mile PB

I had hoped to take another shot at the mile on the track at the VFAC series again this year but then there was this pandemic thing and everything got cancelled. Cue the mile time trial for the M2M Virtual Race Series. Rather than trust my watch, I created a 1.61 KM public Strava segment to run through — from the top down the Stanley Park Causeway. The route actually has a really nice roll to it, starting with a nice slope to get you going, then a bit of a plateau before gentle decline for the last 300 metres or so right when your body should be screaming at you to stop. I felt a bit cheeky about time trialing a mile down 45 metres of elevation, that is until I saw one of the recommended routes posted on the M2M Virtual Race Series web page featured a 65 metre drop down Marine Drive to Spanish Banks. I raced the mile twice in 2019 and finish 5:52 both times. Then in November I ran an unofficial 5:41. I set my B Goal at 5:39 but I really wanted to go under 5:20. The day before, on June 23, I took a test run at the segment just to get a feel, and cleared it in 5:53. Game on. The following morning I hit it again as hard as I could and came out the other end in 5:18. I was happy but not satisfied, so on Friday evening, June 26 I jogged up and hammered it again, this time in 5:16. Unofficial. Downhill. Don’t care.

Looking forward, running

At the end of week 27 I’ve run 1,688 KM, which puts me well on pace to run over 3,000 KM in 2020, a total I’ve never come close to in one year before. The M2M Virtual Race Series continues through the summer, with a 10 KM coming up in a couple weeks when I’ll have another chance to go under 39 minutes. Following that, I’m taking my first crack at 15 KM in August and I’ve set a pretty lofty goal to run sub 60. Then around Labour Day, another crack at the half marathon when I plan to challenge for a new fastest in the virtual CRS West Scotiabank Half Marathon. By then I’m going to be thoroughly virtual raced out.