2020 - It's been a year....


At the start of Trans Gran Canaria in our Orcas Island 50k shirts are only 2 in person races of 202.


This is always my favorite post of the year to write, because we get to reflect back on the year and all the awesome things we have done and accomplished. Well 2020 has been quite a different year, and this could be quite a different year-end post where we focus on all the things we weren't able to do: travel, races, family visits, etc. But instead we are going to focus on the things we were able to do, and the creative ways we were able to find joy in a shitshow of a year. 

We were fortunate that our A race of the year was Trans Gran Canaria 65k, which took place the first week of March. So we were able to travel to Europe and run before the lockdowns started... well technically the lockdowns started while we were in Europe, which added to our race anxiety. 

Despite not posting much on the blog the last few months, we have been running a lot. I think that, like the rest of the world, most days we are doing what we need to do to get by and are physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day-- so things like writing blog posts fall to the wayside.

Here are the things that made our 2020 a little brighter. 

Most interesting race experience - Orcas Island 50k


Getting to Orcas Island was an adventure in itself, with a gorgeous (almost-missed, by both of us, separately) ferry ride through the San Juan Islands and a lovely weekend stay on the island. While it didn't rain during our race, it rained so hard the night before that it woke us up. The streams and lakes overflowed, and at least half of the course was underwater-- sometimes up to our knees, as pictured above. 

The saving grace was that it wasn't too cold, so we were warm enough despite being sodden for eight hours. The scenery was gorgeous, drippy and mysterious. Best of all was summiting Mt Constitution, the highest point in the San Juans, and spending a few minutes absorbing the legendary views of surrounding islands as well as the certainty that we would finish before the cutoff time. We just knew we were ready for our next race, which happened to be...

Best DNF & Best International Race - Trans Gran Canaria 65k

We have not finished the race report for this one, but we ended up dropping out because I had been pretty sick leading up to the race, and I had tons of anxiety with all the news of the (at the time) developing COVID 19 virus. But regardless of the DNF we had a ton of fun. 

Popsicles mid-race 

Best Virtual Race - Wonderland Trail Virtual Race 

We had already planned to run the Mt. Rainier Northern Loop (56k) when we saw that Rainshadow Running was hosting a virtual race for the route and time frame we were planning on running. For $35 we got awesome race shirts and were able to support one of our favorite race directors. 


Newest Circumnavigation - Diamond Peak 


Ann was perusing maps one day and noticed there were trails connecting a loop around Diamond Peak. Upon researching, she couldn't find more information or people who had done it. Even the local rangers weren't very helpful. So we went for it. 

The first trail obviously hadn't seen much use, but we only lost our way once or twice. It wasn't particularly scenic, until we opened out to views of the mountain itself before taking the PCT back. The real charm was in a full day spent together in the wilderness, feeling like we were discovering something new, and only seeing a handful of other people. Win!

Best Snow Adventure - (tie) Backcountry snowshoeing and Mt. St. Helens summit attempt 

Normally over the holiday break I (Ann) spend time snowboarding, but this year with COVID I have decided to forgo snowboarding for less crowded snow activities. John, Cedar and I attempted to summit Mt. St. Helens in the snow and made it ~1/2 mile from the top, but it got too icy and steep for Cedar, so we turned around. 

Sunrise as we started our way up St. Helens

Susan, Cedar and I also got out for a backcountry snowshoe adventure near Mt. Hood. We only saw 1 other person in the 5+ hours we were out. Later we found out it was because everyone else was at the White River Sno(w) Park. 






Favorite new gear 

(Ann) Petzel IKO Core headlamp - I started running at 6am to avoid crowded trails and my normal headlamp felt very heavy for daily use. I don't even notice the IKO Core, the only drawl back is it's rechargeable battery only last 2.5 hours. 




(Cedar) Ruffwear Powder Hound Jacket  - Cedar gets cold easily and needed a new jacket for the snow, he is so happy with his new puffy. 

Cedar in his new puffy


(Susan) Karecel rechargeable hand warmer - My hands are cold most of the time. While we always bring those chemical warming packets with us, I don't like to use them because they're single-use and disposable, so I tend to "save" them until I'm desperate. This rechargeable unit solves the problem. I use it all the time-- at home, while hiking, even just in the car. I bought one to try, and loved it so much that I bought a second so I can keep one in each coat pocket, instead of passing the single one back and forth between hands. I especially love that it acts as a backup battery and has its own integrated cords, making it perfect to bring on long adventure runs. 

Non-running activity that is keeping us running - Margo Yoga When our favorite yoga teacher Margo Lightburn started offering Zoom classes I was all over it. Since there hasn't been a lot I could do besides running, my weekly milage has gone up. I am pretty sure yoga 3-4 times a week has helped keep me injury free. 



What kept me running at 6am 

(Ann) - Audio books from our pandemic bookclub.

(Susan) - Trick question-- I don't like to run early. But the only thing that does entice me to get up early is Ann.


Previous year recaps:

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