December Running Roundup: 2020 Year in Review and Moving Forward into 2021

I’ll avoid using one of the overused adjectives used to describe 2020, but yeah…it’s been a bit of a year to say the least. Considering everything going on in the world, the end of 2020 has me feeling extremely grateful. In many ways, some of the negatives one can attach to 2020 actually benefited my personal life, health, and professional life. My husband and I cook together 3-4 times per week. The forced work from home, lack of social distractions, and end of in-person school requirements freed up my time from a terrible 35 mile one-way commute to school just in time for me to hunker down at home and focus on finishing a dissertation. Starting in March, the only things for me to do with my life were work/PhD dissertation and workout. This led to me finishing my PhD in July and getting in the best shape of my life, resulting in getting a new and awesome job as a Data Scientist at a startup company and crushing a 100 mile race in 22 hours and 48 minutes (goal was sub-24 hrs). I am forever grateful and humbled by my circumstances and the people in my life, and in awe of the parents, teachers, healthcare workers, food service workers, etc. who are the true rockstars of 2020 and beyond. I strive for better knowing that the challenges in my life are mostly by choice, while many others do not have that privilege. #NoExcuses

Here’s a wrap-up of December, the best of 2020, and looking forward to 2021:

Embracing all that is 2020. If you can live your best life in 2020, than surely anything is possible?


  • Running miles : 168.6; year-to-date : 1,754
  • Cycling miles: 172.2; year-to-date : 3,451
  • Crossfit workouts: 21; year-to-date: 205

Peloton Tread+: While some women buy themselves a pair of Jimmy Choos when they get a new, fancy job, I bought myself a treadmill. Of course, go big or go home, so I bought the Peloton Tread+ with the slat tread design. It’s amazing to run on, provides great motivation to get in my early morning workouts, and eliminates many choices I really do not feel like making at 5:30 am each day, i.e. what to wear, where to run in the dark by myself, etc. It’s an amazing piece of equipment. I was definitely a bit judgy of the Peloton crazy but I totally get it; yes, I’ve even had a cry session one morning while running Bec’s 60 minutes NYC Marathon simulation run. I’m not the only one! P.S. If you get a Peloton bike or tread, use me as a referral and we’ll both get Peloton store credits. 😀

Tony Banovich Roads, Tracks, and Trails Memorial Run: My December daily running average was 5.4 miles, keeping me over my goal of running an average of 4.3 miles per day (Tony’s daily average during his run-streak). I’m really glad I had the motivation to keep up the miles during the holidays. It also gave me the confidence to commit to the 2021 goal of “running the year”, i.e. 2,021 miles in 2021, an average of 5.5 miles per day.

Best of 2020:

  • Cookie baking class with awesome friends at Haute Cookie for my birthday
  • Volunteering at the women’s personal hydration station on Peachtree Street for the US Olympic Marathon Trials.
  • Defending my dissertation and earning a PhD in Data Science
  • Getting a new, custom gravel bike and then riding said bike on rail trails all over Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and New Hampshire
  • Joining OxFit Crossfit gym and learning that my body is capable of even more than I had imagined
  • Crushing my sub-24 hour goal at the Yeti 100 in 22 hours and 44 minutes
  • Starting a new job and new career!

Ahead in 2021:

  • If/when in person-IRL-chip timed races happen I’d like to keep the PR train moving. I’ve already accomplished more than I expected by Jan 2 with 5k, 10k, and half marathon PRs this morning at the Atlanta Track Club Resolution Run this morning. I went with the goal of running as a fun run/training run for 10 laps/13.1 miles around the track club offices and ended up running my first sub-2 hour half marathon, with most at conversation pace. Whoopsies. Between strength training, Peloton workouts, and continued changes to my body composition, I often have no idea the true state of my current fitness until things like this happen. Just means I need more aggressive goals for 2021 I guess lol.
  • Publix Half Marathon Covid-friendly edition, Feb 28, at the Atlanta Motorspeedway. Another half marathon PR perhaps?
  • Bike Ride Across GA (BRAG), June 5-12. The 2020 event from Chattanooga to Columbus, GA was canceled obviously, so hoping for take 2 this year, same route.
  • Grandma’s Marathon – June 19. I’m registered to run this iconic race in Duluth, MN (new state!) as a BibRave Pro. They’ve limited the half and full marathon fields to 50% capacity so I’m hoping the event is able to take place, although I’ll feel much better about it if I’m able to get a COVID vaccine before traveling there.
  • KSU Graduation? – May 10. I technically earned my degree last July but never had the full graduation/PhD hooding ceremony experience. As of now, they’re saying that graduates from spring, summer, and winter 2020 will be able to take part in official graduation ceremonies this Spring. I want to wear my fancy pants regalia, dammit!
  • San Juan Hut System Bikepacking trip? – August. There’s tentative plans to do this 6 day bike traverse from Durango, CO to Moab, UT with a small group of friends. It’s definitely a bucketlist trip, but feels relatively COVID friendly, so hoping this one can happen as well.
  • NYC Marathon? – Nov 7. I was supposed to run the 50th edition in 2020 but, as with everything else, that didn’t happen. In fact, I’ve now been part of not one, but TWO, canceled NYC Marathons. SMH. Those of us who were supposed to run last year will be randomly placed into one of the events between 2021 and 2023.

It definitely feels like a privilege to be able to plan ANYTHING at this point. However, my attitude is that it’s likely 50/50 any plans actually happen so might as well keep moving forward, plan for the worst, hope for the best, and embrace anything in between. How are you tackling 2021??

Peace, love, and many happy miles. ~Jessica “Fun Size”


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