2020 hindsight

I don’t think there is anything I can say about the shit show that has been 2020, that hasn’t already been said – a year like no other, unprecedented, blah blah blah!

However I did feel like it would be nice to farewell the aforementioned shit show with a ‘year in review’ of sorts as well as a bit of a look forward to 2021.

Personally 2020 started with a return to running in January after 4 months (seems so long ago now!) – here is a screenshot of my first run for the year – albeit a 1 min run/4 min walk scenario. That’s right, I ran for a whopping 4 minutes! And man, was it good! Running was initially every second day but then I changed to 3 times a week so I could have regular ‘running days’.

Things slowly progressed from there…

In early February I incorporated my 20 min run/walk into a parkrun for the first time (and as it turned out, first of not very many times before parkrun shut down for 40 weeks!) – after I’d finished my 20 mins I just walked the rest of it. Around the same time I ventured from the oval to the street and then back to the ‘scene of the crime’ aka the Uni Loop.

Later in the month I graduated to 30 mins of 2 min run/3 min walk and managed a couple of sub 30 minute parkruns before the shutdown in March.

Other than the couple of parkruns I managed to get in, most of my running up until June was on my own – partly because it was such short distances that it wasn’t worth trying to get anyone else to join me, and partly because the running groups also shut down in March. I doubt I would have been running with them anyway until I got to the point where I could run for close to an hour. Once parkrun went on hiatus, I would go out and do a ‘notparkrun’ every week (basically just a 5km run, anywhere, anytime) with Mum, but that would really be my only social running. It was probably a good thing as I can definitely say that during that period I was running at my own pace.

Late March I was allowed to run for 30 minutes nonstop – back on the oval again, running in the dark in the early morning to avoid crowds (but often failing to avoid sprinklers!) Over the ensuing weeks my distance increased in that 30 minutes as I got used to the idea of ‘proper’ running again!

April saw one of my 3 runs increase to 45 minutes, then in May it was 2 x 45 minute and 1 x 30 minute run. Once I hit 45 minutes I started venturing further afield as I have never enjoyed running in my area. I did a lot of early mornings on the Lochiel parkrun course – in the dark with my head torch, it was glorious!

From memory I think the next milestone was 1 x 1 hour run per week (1 hour seemed like such a long time!), soon progressing to 2 x 1 hour (still with the one shorter run) and I alternated Lochiel parkrun course with the uni loop. The uni loop kind of sucks!

The programme also incorporated some ‘drop down’ weeks which I have now forgotten about (I’ll get back to it in the new year!) – so every 4th week I’d back off the distance.

June 21 was a milestone of sorts, my running group had an unofficial Winter Solstice Run (10km or 21.1km) and I did the 10km – first group run in a really long time! From there things quickly got back to normal as the following week, the running groups that had been on hold due to COVID, started up again. So Tuesdays and Thursdays were back to normal programming and I’d do my ‘notparkrun and a bit’ on the weekend.

From there I decided I wanted to run a half marathon before the end of the year, which I eventually did in November after City-Bay was cancelled, and after that I thought the Summer Trail Series would be a good way to end the year and kick off 2021.

Every year I like to illustrate my running mileage in map form – this year is nowhere near as impressive as previous years but I’m pretty happy with it considering I started halfway through January with less than 8km per week. I ended up with 1393km which gets me to Gosford. That’s an average of a bit over 26km per week. I’ll take it!

I’ll keep my 2021 running goals brief – for the first half of the year I’d like to work on getting my parkrun time back down (sub 22 minutes is the initial goal, ultimately I’d love to go sub 20 but I’m not sure how realistic that is!) and then in the second half I’d like to do a marathon (probably Melbourne). I’ll try not to fall into my regular habit of entering events like they’re going out of fashion, and being attracted by shiny things (ie medals).

So that’s running covered.

2020 was also the year I had more time to think about sustainability and environmental stuff – that really came to the fore when dining/coffee all turned to takeaway – think plastic containers and those dreaded takeaway coffee cups. I quickly found the places that used compostable cups and food packaging and that was definitely a big factor in deciding which businesses to support! Moving from an office with a decent coffee machine in the kitchen to one that had the choice of a pod machine (ugh!), instant coffee (not a chance) or an excellent café downstairs – I’ve never been a daily coffee buyer but it seems like I am prepared to pay more for things if they are more eco friendly. Especially this year.

Towards the end of last year I decided to only put out my landfill (red) and recycling (yellow) bins when they were full – having converted to compostable kitty litter, all the potentially smelly stuff now goes in the green bin which I put out fortnightly. My red bin went out once this year (only slightly less often than I did!) and that was only because of an old wedding dress that my cats had used as a makeshift litter tray – that was back in May. Recycling I put out 5 times this year but most of that was due to my 2 new drum kits and drum amp which I purchased throughout the year. More on that later!

I did try for the most part to avoid social media especially Facebook, I find I now have so much more time on my hands and I had found a lot of the drama on there very draining, however I have joined several groups which have helped me on the sustainability path (although I do feel like many of the people in those groups are doing it so much better than me – ah well, baby steps, right?) – I joined the Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle group which is an abundance of knowledge, any question I have had about what can be recycled and how, has been very quickly answered – one of the good aspects of the dreaded socials! More recently I discovered the Buy Nothing Project and my local group, basically it is a local neighbourhood group where, among other things, you can ask for things you need (to keep or even just to borrow), and give away things you don’t need, and I have been amazed at the type of stuff I have found ‘takers’ for that I would have been sure was destined for the red bin! It’s always worth putting things out there even if you think no-one will take it! (Note to people with hoarding tendencies – perhaps this group is not for you – so much free stuff!)

2020 was the year of going nowhere – I literally have not spent a night away from home this year! I think I was going a bit stir crazy towards the end of the year so I definitely plan to do a bit of travel next year. To start with, I’ll probably stay within the state (to avoid the risk of getting stuck interstate if there is an outbreak somewhere!) and maybe later in the year I might venture outside of SA. Definitely by October for the Melbourne Marathon!

2020 was also a year for getting stuck into music – as you may or may not be aware I bought a secondhand electronic drumkit in March, a week later decided to upgrade to a new entry-level kit and then in November I upgraded again to a very nice mesh head Roland kit which I think will last me quite a bit longer than the first two! Since I got the first kit I have been practising every day, maybe in the new year I might get some proper lessons! I also have been playing my piano and guitars more and everything is all set up nicely in my lounge room. (I think the acoustic drumkit will have to wait until I get a bigger place with a soundproof room or better yet, a shed that I can convert into a music space!

My 3rd and final drumkit for 2020!

I also decided to buy a record player and start collecting vinyl records – bit late to the party I know but that’s pretty standard for me!

Finishing up the music part, early this year I got to see a few awesome gigs – Alice Cooper at the Entertainment Centre, the mighty Queen + Adam Lambert at the Adelaide Oval and a very weird night seeing The Darkness at The Gov in March, literally the night before everything stopped! Awesome gig but a very strange vibe given that we all knew things were going to be VERY different from the next day! I have a ticket to see Guns N’ Roses in November – not convinced that will happen but I sincerely hope I get to see SOME live gigs this year! (And hopefully we are allowed to dance!)

The last night before everything changed!

Speaking of being late to the party I have watched a number of TV series that I only ‘discovered’ late last year and this year – I originally signed up for Amazon Prime as a free trial to get free shipping and also to watch ‘The Test’ documentary series – but I soon worked out that $6.95 a month is money well spent, especially this year! Between my growing DVD collection and the aforementioned Amazon, I have watched all of The Office (US – the UK version is on my watchlist) and Arrested Development (well the first 4 seasons anyway), most of Parks and Rec and well into The Sopranos and 30 Rock. Nothing recent in that list but some really good quality viewing!

So my non-running goals for 2021 (I won’t use the term ‘resolution’) – first and foremost, to go somewhere (anywhere!), to start a vinyl collection, to continue to declutter and contribute as little as possible to landfill, to get good at drums, to do more reading (I’ll have to come up with some kind of quantifiable goal around that because otherwise it won’t happen), to expand my cooking repertoire (easy, vegan and bulk cookable/freezable – any ideas please let me know!) and to listen to some educational podcasts to broaden my mind (suggestions welcomed by the way! So far I have been listening to mostly comedy which is great but I want something a bit more thinky too!)

And that’s it from me for 2020 – hope everyone has a happy New Year and I’ll see you all on the other side! 😊

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