I’ve already done a recap of the 12 races/ challenges I did this year. But to review the year, I’m going to use a format from previous years – 2018 and 2019 where I follow a series of prompts to discuss various elements of my running year, beyond just racing.
2020 – Focus, Fight, Finish
- I loved most of my races and challenges this year but choosing my best experience was easy. The Pretoria Half Marathon in South Africa was the biggest “in-person” race I did this year and it came with all the pomp and ceremony befitting a “real” race. I say this with no disrespect to virtual races, but there is something truly special with pre-pandemic races! The stand-out thing for me in this particular race was the actual route – it was designed in such a way that gave us the opportunity to see several attractive and historic buildings in Pretoria. The climb up Klapperkop was tough but the panoramic views of the city at the top made it worth our while. The traditional music bands, both at the top of Klapperkop and at the entry to Pretoria Boys High School, were a unique touch.
- There are two runs that I have to highlight. On 27 June, I did a 5K time trial as part of my 10K Training. I was hoping to get under 30 minutes but for some reason, I didn’t think I had it in me that morning. My body had other plans – it turned out to be a huge PB, 28:24 as my fastest at that point was 29:52! I felt unbelievably strong.
- But I can’t overlook the epic run that followed a couple of weeks later! With my team of pacers and chasers, all dressed in black, I ran a sub-60 10K – 59:28. It was initially a comfortable run, but towards the end, I had to work extremely hard to get under 60 minutes. It wasn’t easy but one that will remain imprinted in my mind for years to come.
- Strangest thing to happen on the run! Let me set the scene. One of my many missions is to run in different parts of the country, #IRunBotswana. For my birthday, my husband and I travelled to the Okavango Delta which is about a 1000km from Gaborone and we decided to drive instead of fly just so that I could run in different parts of the country. On our way back, around 2pm in 30+ Celsius temperature, we decided to run on a very isolated road from Maun, past Rakops and the turn off to the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve. Remote. Vast areas of white sand and nothingness. We did our run and joked that if people knew what we were doing they would think we were mad. Well, a few days later, we received a video via WhatsApp — yes, in that remote desolateness a driver enjoying his journey had unexpectedly captured us in the height of our running madness! Here is the video!
- Favourite running route in Gaborone: Last year I highlighted the Government Enclave as one of my favourite places to run. This year I’m going to choose places that are not often explored on the run, the train and bus stations! This photo was taken on a 20km run I did with my husband on a rainy morning and part of the route saw us go through the train and bus station. It was only around 7am on a Saturday morning but already there was a bustle of activity with a man sat by a small table with a computer and pumping out 1980s South African disco music. What a vibe. Definitely, my favourite running route this year!
- As a 40th Birthday Gift my dear friend Zurika gave me a set of branded caps and bright pink buffs with all my frequently used hashtags! This brought me to tears – and the best part of the gift is she had buffs made for all our running friends as well as my family! Hands down, the best new piece of running gear this year.
- NOTHING”. His quick response, “You have ALL!” I was so exhausted but those words did it for me. I hadn’t come for 1:01. I had come for SUB-60. I had what it took. Never forget that… This came during my sub-60 10K time trial – around 9km, we had just battled a stiff wind and an unexpected incline that had thrown me slightly off target pace. For the first time that morning doubt had crept in. I kept looking down at my watch almost willing it to slow down. I was getting too close to that hour-mark. My friend Gape said to me, “It’s all or nothing now”. In despair I said, “I have
- The running community – those I’ve run with and all those runners I have never met. This year more than any other, I felt the power of the running community. We cheered each other on, we supported each other in achieving our goals, we shared difficult challenges and we never stopped pushing each other to keep going.
- My husband has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to capture countless photos, all in the name of the blog! It was hard to choose a favourite but I went with this one because I look so happy and alive. It was taken at the Old Prison in The Village area of Gaborone. For a detailed look at the route I took, go here!
- Best looking medal of 2020: I was going to go with a prettier medal but when my daughter insisted I use this one, I immediately saw why. In a year that was dictated by COVID-19 and several lockdowns and curfews, there really was no better representation than this medal!
- What about THE stats? There are some major highlights here – a new Personal Best for the 5K – 28:24 and a Personal Best (I’m calling it a life achievement guys!) for the 10K – 59:28. I’ve also never run as much as I did this year – 1,697.3km in total (which is 345.1 km more than last year). It was also the first time I ran more than 200 km in a month – I did this in September and then again in December, with this final month being my highest ever monthly mileage – 208.2km! I also walked 218.8 km in the year.
- Focus, Fight, Finish.
This is my final post for 2020 – a year that had so much promise only to shock and shake us very early on! But I am grateful for all the lessons and being able to run through the good and bad days. My words to you for 2021 are simple – stay safe, keep running and keep showing up as we navigate new challenges and different terrains in our continuously changing reality.
How was your year of running? What are you most proud of? What goals do you have for 2021?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running. Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.