2020: The Year That Was(n’t)

Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations

For many, 2020 was a year a pain, a year of struggle, a year of heartache. For many others, particularly those in businesses deemed “essential”, it was a year of humbling success with the accompanying hesitance towards even mentioning it due to so many suffering.

It was a year that sapped the motivation right out of folks while also providing the time and opportunity for others to think, tinker, and mold ideas into action, to put soles to the pavement, and all have, as we’ve sat at our desks, often remotely, contemplated what the next year will bring.

I used the above quote, “Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations” because I’m an optimist at heart. I believe that there’s good around any corner if you’re willing to look for it and I believe that good is around the corner in 2021.

Part of knowing where you’re going is understanding where you came from and that’s why I’m writing this post. I’d like to share some things as a bit of a review from the late 2019 lead into 2020, and the struggles of 2020: The Year that Was(n’t).

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What it wasn’t:

Beginning in late 2019, planning was taking place that WAS going to be a year of change for Runners Doing Good. We were downsizing slightly from 12 runners to 8 so that we could participate at Ragnar Trail Relay Michigan. This would help cut down on some costs and simplify the process. He had plans to have non-Ragnar team members join the team to help fundraise and do more for our charity of choice.

What it was:

We didn’t run at all.

What it wasn’t:

From a personal standpoint, I, Gabe, was going to run twice as many miles as I had in the past, running a 1/2 marathon in the process.

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What it was:

My motivation for personal improvement waned and I learned how important mental health is in a pandemic filled, remoted existence where seeing friends is less frequent. While I felt like I’ve maintained that optimistic attitude, moments of anxiety, lack of interest or effort, and a general malaise as I watched days, weeks, and even months tick were, and to a degree, are persistently trying to creep their way into my everyday.

What it wasn’t:

We were going to launch our team store to provide a more consistent revenue stream to help, one day, pick the team up so that we could stand on our own so that sponsors’ dollars could go directly to the fundraiser.

What it was:

We’ve sold enough to cover our costs and have about $20 in our pockets to cover a bit of gas to the event. This goal isn’t done yet and we’re going to try a bit harder on this one in the near future.

What is wasn’t:

It was supposed to be the greatest fundraising year that we’d ever had.

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What it was:

Put an asterisk on this one. Our first month was our best single fundraising month that we’d ever had. It was exciting and thrilling and showed that we were, even with the changes and smaller team, on the right path.

Now, this all sounds negative so here’s a big thing that made 2020 something I’ll always remember:

What it wasn’t:

Originally, the Ragnar Trail race was moved to Labor Day Weekend, potentially causing us to miss my son’s birthday. It would have turn 3 months of planning followed by 3 months of fundraising and running, into nearly a full year because we were going to pivot and have runners join us at the Fort 4 Fitness and even other events afterwards.

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What it was:

One of the things that’s been great about this Runners Doing Good and Ragnar adventure is that we’ve been able to do a lot of good. It’s also, at times, made life hectic and while worth it, when you throw a growing family, more responsibility at work, and a host of other oddities of life, it’s a lot. When everything cancelled, things became simplified.

We had the opportunity to do more things specifically with our kids, just us, than we’ve been able to do before. Did it cancel the long distance vacation? Yes. Did we spend a good portion of 9 days in an RV together and grow closer? Yes! We got to be in nature, hike, see all sorts of things in Southern Indiana which wasn’t the plan but we changed course and made it work…often for the better.

If the one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that we’re more resilient than ever and that “going with the flow” is ok. Sometimes what ends up happening after you change course is really what you were supposed to do anyways.

I might be a bit heavier than I want to be right now BUT if we’re better as a family AND the running team is potentially more positioned for long term success, that’s a win all around.

It has certainly been a difficult road to travel this year, BUT, I’m convinced that while we might be in the “are we there yet” part of the trip, the beautiful destinations are right on the horizon.

Cheers everyone!

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