The Highlight Reel – Mine and Yours

Let’s all agree on this: 2020 was a dumpster fire.

Bushfires raged in Australia, killing wildlife and wreaking environmental havoc.

Two-inch-long wasps known as Murder Hornets first appeared in the U.S.

My father-in-law died. So did Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alex Trebek, Kobe Bryant, and my dog.

Let’s see…anything else? Oh yes. A worldwide pandemic has killed over a million people, cost many their jobs, and closed thousands of businesses, some of them permanently.

But there had to be some good stuff happening, right?

In an effort to focus on the positive, I am listing my three running highlights of 2020. At the end of this post, I will invite you to share your highlights, running or otherwise.

PHUNT

Hands down, my favorite race of each year, PHUNT 2020 did not disappoint.

Held on Presidents’ Day Weekend, PHUNT preceded pandemic restrictions by about two months.

After 10 months of social distancing, looking back to the crowded pre-and post-race social hall, the raucous aid stations serving up open cups of Jello shots, and racers crowded into the packed starting line seem bizarre.

Oh, how I miss the January stream crossings, the sketchy weather (last year runners were treated to both snow and sleet), the singletrack strewn with rocks and roots.

The 2021 version of the race has been postponed until late April. Unfortunately, my husband and I cannot run that weekend, so I will have to wait until January 2022 for my next PHUNT fix.

4x4x48

In May, suffering from pandemic-imposed cabin fever and an uncharacteristic running funk, Bill and I completed the 4x4x48 challenge.

Beginning at 2:00 on a Friday afternoon, we ran four miles every four hours for 48 hours.

We varied our routes to prevent boredom and set an alarm, so we would not sleep through our scheduled running times. We braved running in darkness and rain. We pushed through stomach issues and tired legs.

From Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, we ran, ate, and slept. Period.

After our final run, we celebrated with hot showers, guacamole, and beer. In that order.

I got my running mojo back

This highlight is a little bit more difficult to write about. First, it didn’t happen in one day or one weekend, like PHUNT or The 4x4x48 Challenge.

It happened slowly, over a period of weeks, or maybe even months.

The timeline is difficult to pin down, but when I analyze how I feel when I run now and compare it to how I felt six months ago, there is a world of difference.

The cause of this lack of self-confidence is a mystery. It could have been brought about by my struggle to recover from a year-long injury. It may have been caused by anxiety due to the pandemic. It might have been engendered by a diminished race schedule.

I only know that my confidence in my running ability was shattered.

A new mantra I adopted helped to dispel feelings of self-doubt and stress that overtook my mind when I ran, but that mantra was the final step, not the first.

I am very, very glad, however, to take that last step back to normalcy.

And now it’s your turn.

If you have some running, walking, or yoga highlights, please share them in the comment section below. Write a comment or post a link to a blog post of your highlights.

If fitness isn’t your thing, but you have other highlights from this trainwreck of a year, please share them too.

Let’s share some positive news to encourage each other.

You can find the places I link up here.

103 comments

  1. Highlights in my year happened before the pandemic, too. Getting to stay with my Mom for several days and spending my birthday with the grands (in March) are two that come readily to mind. So looking forward to the ready availability of the vaccine!
    Blessings, Laurie!

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  2. Well, in addition to the pandemic (and all its nuances), I also had a recovering dog (from leg surgery), a derecho, a stress fracture, and numerous cancelled races. But, I also had my running (minus those two months of stress fracture recovery), my wonderful friends (online and in person), my health, my fitness (again, minus those two months LOL), and my BIKE!!!! I got to witness many beautiful sunrises (on foot and on wheels) as well. I had forgotten about all those 24-48 hour challenges where runners would run xx miles every few hours! Hmmm…that may be something to attempt (after my foot is more recovered).

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    • Oh, my! 2020 was certainly a landmark year for you, Kim. In a lot of the wrong ways. So glad you are putting some distance between you and that terrible stress fracture. Your bike was a bright spot in the year. Yay, Gustavus!!

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  3. Whenever I see a picture of you running, I feel so motivated, Laurie! And kind of excited that you don’t have to be 20 to run well, run faithfully, run with purpose.

    Since I’m not a runner, I guess I’ll just take the lessons you model for me month after month – to live well, faithfully, and with purpose.

    And grab my sneakers and get out for a walk more days than not.

    ;-}

    Happy new year, friend. You are such an inspiration!

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    • Awww… thank you, Linda. You definitely can run well past 20. I am more than 40 years past that age and I have a running friend who is in her 80s.

      Thanks also for the adjectives you use. My objectives are to live faithfully and with purpose. Good for you for keeping up your walking habit! Happy New Year to you, dear friend!

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  4. Glad you’ve gotten your mojo back! I don’t really run, but I went through a period this summer where I felt super off emotionally too. I think realizing the pandemic wasn’t going away within weeks like we thought originally hit me harder than I expected. I’ve also managed to reset a bit since then too.

    I wrote a post back in November about the ways my yoga practice has changed this year. Working from home got me into a headstand for the first time.
    https://nerdywordybirdy.blog/2020/11/17/yoga-is-for-everyone-and-other-ways-my-practice-has-changed-in-2020/

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    • I think a lot of us felt off this year. I know we are not the only ones. I think I expected the pandemic to be over in a few weeks too. Thanks for sharing the link to your yoga post. I will check it out! Congrats on the headstand!!!

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  5. I really enjoyed your recap of the 4x4x48! What an achievement!

    One of my favorite highlights of 2020 was all the hikes that my husband and I went with Baby E. It really started to become our “thing” on the weekends and we’ve had some great memories.

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    • Thank you, Janelle. It was fun to do, but I was very tired by the end! 🙂 Awww…so nice that you, hubby, and baby all went on hikes together! Those are great memories to make.

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  6. being amid people who brag to only get their news of the pandemic from the pres who told them it was nothing, and then waving their guns in the air as they waved a rebel flag, made me okay with self isolating.
    I had to learn to use Ebooks and stream movies, zoom with kind friends and order online. All things I didn’t know how to do before.

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    • I am watching the news from the Capitol today. So sad! And unnecessary!!! Using more technology to keep in touch and for education and entertainment is definitely a silver lining of the pandemic.

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  7. I ran my fastest 5k ever without even really training for it. It kind of made me want to run an official in-person 5k but who knows. For me a 5k is probably the hardest distance to race. Then again, the pain is over quickly.

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    • Donna, you are just amazing! Your fastest 5k in the middle of a pandemic without even training. 5k is actually my favorite distance to race. I like the short distance and the shorter amount of time dealing with pain!

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  8. Love this, Laurie!! Having to find your mojo again really spoke to me. I’m a old mom. I had my son at age 50 and he was 7 months old when the pandemic hit Seattle. My daughter was 4 1/2 and all of a sudden I was struggling to work, shop and exercise in the limited time that I had childcare once the pandemic lockdown happened. My lifetime of exercise habits that helped my climbed mountains and hike every weekend before I had kids had to fall off the radar as I tried to figure out how to care for my young family without any of the play and community supports/activities we are used to. But by the end of 2020, I knew I had to make “me” a priority too and though it took getting up an hour earlier, I was back to doing yoga at least 3 times a week. But the great thing about going through that process was that I had to be intentional about setting my priorities and overall, I think that’s where difficult times leave us — uncovering our centers, re-finding our foundation and beliefs and building back even stronger.

    Good for you for calling out these positives and encouraging everyone else to do the same!! So helpful!!

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    • What a beautiful story! It must have been a huge adjustment caring for a 4 1/2-year-old and a baby when the pandemic hit. Plus having to work and maintain a household. Kudos to you!!! I am glad you are finding ways to make your fitness a priority. You are setting a wonderful example for your children.

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  9. Even though 2020 was a tough year, Ithink it was a pretty good year for running (at least for me and alot of other runners I know). It sounds like you had some fun and kept things interesting despite the craziness of the year!

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  10. I remember, way back, when I ran for exercise and how great it made me feel (especially when I was done). I’m so happy that you’ve gotten your mojo back!

    My highlight for 2020 was that I finally started to write fiction… something I’ve always wanted to do. I think the pandemic somehow inspired me since, so far, most of my short stories have dealt with it in one way or the other.

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    • Thank you, Janis. I am so glad I got my mojo back too. It does make me feel great. So cool that you have started writing fiction! You are more creative than me. The pandemic certainly is a huge part of our lives right now. No wonder it is one of your main topics.

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  11. I’m so sorry that it was an extra difficult year for you. I think 2020 will go down in all our memories as the year to be forgotten. ❤ I do hope brighter days are ahead.

    My biggest highlight was actually being able to run again after breaking my leg. It was a huge triumph.

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    • I think 2020 is a good year to forget too! Reading about your comeback from your broken leg was definitely a big inspiration for me this year. So glad you are at a good place in your running now!

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  12. You had some great running highlights! I was so glad to follow your progress back to your running mojo 🙂 I have had some knitting highlights this year, and also a group of knitting bloggers that I’m part of started weekly online knitting meetups, which has been wonderful 🙂

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  13. I managed to stay in track with my reading and writing, but REALLY missed teaching.
    Exercise was uneven because I kept hurting myself and then realized I have Lyme disease. I am walking twice a day, however.

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    • Oh, yes!!! I can imagine you miss homeschooling your kids (and Sunday school with your little ones?) Lyme disease is the worst! I have it and it does occasionally recur. Take care, Michele. I am glad you are back to walking.

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  14. I’m more rested and my skin and my body thanks me for it. I completed a book, and I started a new job. I worked with a counselor on communication and I connected on a different level with my siblings. 2020 was not a dumpster fire for me. The surrounding circumstances made me a better more focused person and reinforced the necessity of trusting God. I enjoyed reading this post.

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    • That’s right – you wrote a book this year. Such a huge accomplishment. Kudos to you, Nylse! I am glad 2020 was not terrible for you. In fact, it seems like you had a really good year! Thank you!

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  15. I learned from 2020 that I had to become intentional about reaching out to friends instead of being able to depend on our routine activities throwing us together. As an introvert, that’s been a hard lesson but an important one for my mental health. 🙂 I still love the mantra you had. “I keep my hands dirty, my mind clean.” Yes.

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    • Becoming more intentional is something I always need to be conscious of. My kids do such a good job of it. I look to them as an inspiration! I am glad you are learning to reach out to your friends. I learned that this year too – a silver lining for sure. I used my mantra today when I struggled a little bit during my run. I think I was suffering anxiety form all the chaos in Washington yesterday.

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  16. Even if you were lucky to have your family stay healthy, 2020 was absolutely a difficult year for everyone. I suffered some major losses, and I had friends who also suffered some major losses.

    I think the highlight of my year was finding new places to explore — and even a couple of new places to run. Now, if I could find more new places to run in winter — that’s a tough nut to crack!

    So happy you found your running mojo again, Laurie.

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  17. So much about this post gives time a framework for me–because I remember you sharing about much of this, originally! And–Kobe Bryant. It feels so–so–long ago now. But it wasn’t. None of it was. And now, to be starting ANOTHER year with MORE disbelief…well, I surrender. Deer in Headlights is becoming my MO.
    Yes–always–here’s to the POSITIVE. And to resilience, as it pertains to The Rest of It xo

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    • I had to look twice at the website that said Kobe Bryant died in 2020 too. It was pre-pandemic, I guess, so it does seem so long ago. Yes, hoping for more positive events and much resilience in 2021!

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  18. That 4x4x48 Challenge sounds amazing.
    My running highlight was fairly low key. I ran some of my most consistent mileage from July-December. It was one thing in this crazy world I could control, and I did.

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    • I am so glad I did the 4x4x48 Challenge. It was really something uplifting for me and I needed it badly at that moment. Running consistent mileage is always a good thing! 🙂

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  19. My positives have been kind people who were courteous and even listened to me babble after quarantine fever struck me. A young woman who delivered by groceries listtened to me politely and responded for a good 10 minutes. The man who owns the shop where my car is serviced invited me to visit any day to talk. John is so kind. My chirpractor every week talks and listens to me while he adjusts my back. I talk non-storp. Then I say it’s time to go home and be alone again. Yes there have been good events in 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Kind people are such a positive force in the world. Even though we have to look a little bit harder, there definitely have been good events in 2020.

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  20. Hello,
    I am happy your running mojo is back. I like walking, a brisk walk is good. It feels good just to get outdoors.
    This pandemic has changed our lives, hopefully we will get back to normal soon. Take care, enjoy your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love to watch the birds. These days, I spend most of my birding hours during the spring and fall migration, but there is a snow geese stopping point near me that is pretty spectacular in February. Thanks for the link. I will check it out.

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  21. I agree there was some positive in 2020. Not everything was doom and gloom. I focused more on my blog this past year than ever before, leaning on a mantra I learned from a yoga teacher years ago. All you do is keep asking yourself: “where is my heart?” Answer that question honestly and you end up in good places.

    Happy New Year, btw.

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  22. 2020 was a hard year for everyone. But it’s good that we can focus on the positives.

    I walked more. Started hiking. And ran more miles than normal because I was working from home.

    I feel really fortunate for have had 4 vacations. And several in person races.

    Hopefully all will continue to improve for both of us.

    At least we will have a new President.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your hiking and walking sound like so much fun. I am sure it is so beneficial. I ran 2 in-person races since March and we are scheduled for another one on Jan. 30. I always felt safe at the races. I am soooo looking forward to the change in the administration. It can’t come soon enough.

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  23. I agree it was a difficult year Laurie but I had so many blessings in it that overall it was a year of positive reflection & learning. I felt the burden of pressure to perform lifted as lockdown became our season & was able to Be before the throne of grace.
    Truly learning & practicing more of being in the precious moments that are gifted to me & being mindful of what’s truly important & what isn’t! 😉
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  24. At some point – April or May maybe – I gave in to knowing my running life was done and began to look for joy in walking, walking, and more walking. I have added yoga and pilates to my weekly routine and it is good. I still long to go for a run – there is something that running gave me – but I also want to keep moving and have dreamed of travels that include lots of walking and hiking. Who knows what 2021 will bring. Happy that you have been able to regain your confidence

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    • I love a good walk too. I have started (again!) a yoga practice just this month. I believe you must do what is right for you – if walking brings you joy, do it! My husband and I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Have you ever heard of it? It was an extraordinary walking vacation. I hope you get to do some travels that include movement soon. Thank you!

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  25. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint when something is lost (and why) and then to pinpoint when it is regained (and why) & once you realise it’s back somehow there’s more joy in it.. I’m in a slump with my walking at the moment – I’m doing it but I’m not enjoying it like I used to. It could be the heat, it could be the humidity, it could be the extra 6kgs. Whatever it is I’ll continue to fake it until the joy is there again.

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    • You are so right, Jo. Losing mojo was a gradual thing and getting it back was too. I can only compare “now” and “then” and see there is a big difference. Sorry you are not enjoying your walks like you used to. You certainly do have a beautiful place to walk. I am also a big believer in fake it until you make it!

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  26. I feel we are lucky that our love of outdoors has helped to keep us afloat throughout this pandemic. I had several things I wanted to learn in 2020, but didn’t try them once the pandemic began. I wanted to learn how to more I.D. wildflowers and not just show pictures of them; also try to learn the DSLR manually and finally, learn how to interpret radar (so I can be even more worried about bad weather). Sadly, I got none of that done, but did walk my socks off as you know. I’m off to a good start this year, six out of nine days I walked (the others were inclement weather, mostly freezing rain) and racked up 20 miles as of today, so happy for that! You had a sad year with your losses. I have no family, so incurred no immediate family losses, but friends/acquaintances were five, but none COVID related.

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    • I agree 100%, Linda. I think you and I have been able to keep a healthy mental attitude because we know we can go outside and MOVE! We get all those endorphins from exercise and Vitamin D from the sunshine (if there is any). Maybe when you retire you will get a wildflower identification book. I have some, I think. I should get them out for this spring. I don’t know what DLSR is. Wow! You have (at least) 20 miles already this year? That’s awesome! I am so sorry for your losses last year. I hope 2021 is a better year.

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      • Yes – it is important Laurie and we had sunshine again today which was great. I walked five miles again today and so that’s a good start for me to this year 25 miles for the first 10 days. The DSLR is just a digital single lens reflex camera which just means you can put interchangeable lenses on it. I got one in 2018 when Best Buy had a great deal on camera kits for Father’s Day, so it came with a long lens as well.
        Back in the early 80s I had a 35mm camera with different lenses and used it for traveling mostly. But it is so much easier now – you can take lots of pictures and delete what you made mistakes on. Back in the day, it cost a pretty penny if you made too many mistakes. I took a photography class when I got the 35mm camera but still only used it on automatic. There are a few books on Amazon strictly for Michigan wildflowers – I will decide before Spring whether to get a book or rely on the internet. It was not a good year for most people and the people that I knew who lost their lives in 2020 were all around my age. Several are still recuperating.

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      • Bill and I ran 6.75 miles today. It’s my 64th birthday and I wanted to do 6.4 miles, but I overshot the mark a little bit. Getting out to run felt so good! I’m glad you had some sunshine to walk in. It was pretty dreary here today. Thanks for explaining the camera lingo to me. I just use my phone as a camera. My middle son used to be a pretty good photographer back when film was used. You are right – that could get expensive and you had no way of knowing whether a picture was good or not before you got the film developed! There is an app you can use to match a photo to ID on the internet. Maybe you could use that.

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      • I remember you told me your son gave you a photo he took of teasels after I posted a similar photo one time. Yes, it was an expensive hobby as you often got duds – I come home with duds when it is very cold out and the battery is working slower. I don’t have a smartphone, so I’d have to use the reverse Google search or Tineye to try to nail down the name. Happy birthday Laurie – you did overshoot your mark … congratulations. I will turn 65 in April … I wonder if I should try 6.5 miles to walk. I don’t usually get that many miles in at one time so early in the year. We could have snow here in early April – it’s happened before. Hope you had a good birthday today, albeit not on a par as a usual birthday.

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      • Yes, I had that photo framed and hung it up. My son got a lot of duds but he has a good eye for composition. I think a 6.5-mile walk for your birthday celebration would be awesome! It would be a big walk but you should do something big to celebrate a milestone birthday. You and I are just a little bit too young to get out Covid vaccines. Probably by the time you turn 65, everyone will be eligible. I did have a good – quiet – birthday. Thank you!

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      • I think I will aim for that goal Laurie – hopefully the weather cooperates leading up to then and on that day. I did the 10K walk, just 0.3 km shy of 6.5 kms on Thanksgiving Day. That would be an incentive for me … riding 6.5 miles on the exercise bike is not as impressive. I started some stretches to ease into yoga … didn’t ease in enough and have the same issue as before … baby steps and squats and even some knee bends have to wait a little while. I thought the same thing about the COVID vaccine as I’m on the cusp of 65. They are now vaccinating 65-year-olds in the suburbs, but in the City of Detroit, just 75-years and up as of today.

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      • It is wise to take baby steps when you begin a new exercise routine. You may be stiff and sore for a while. I am. I use muscles when I do yoga that I am not used to using. I didn’t do it yet today – I will in a few minutes. My sister got a vaccine in Florida. She told me it is a free-for-all down there. She had to wait in line for 3 hours to get it!

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      • Yes, I overdid it Laurie and it was the “one step forward, two steps back” that resulted … I have gotten shin splints in the past simply because I was a walkin’ fool as the weather was great and I felt great. I didn’t realize everyone could get the vaccine in Florida – that’s great news! We are behind in our vaccine delivery in Michigan, so earlier this week the Governor purchased 100,000 vaccines directly from the manufacturer. She is persistent, but good for her being bold and brazen. Unfortunately, that is something many people don’t like about her. I like her.

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      • I think you must be over 65 to get the vaccine in Florida, which my sister and brother-in-law are. Good for your governor! I see there is an article about the PA vaccines in the paper today, but I didn’t read it yet. I know we are still in phase 1A – just health care workers can get it.

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      • OK, I see – I still don’t want to get the vaccine until I can be sure I can get the follow-up/booster in three weeks. We probably won’t be to my age category for another two months from what I heard today. Our Governor is pretty headstrong and after butting heads with the current administration, she usually finds a workaround to bypass them. It will get easier for her/us after the inauguration (thankfully).

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      • I don’t know when they will get to our age category in PA. We just miss the 65-year-old cutoff. I think it will be easier for most people after the inauguration! 🙂

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      • We are still in phase 1A so not to 65 here yet – I have until April when I turn 65 so in the same boat as you. I think you are correct – all Democratic governors are having a tough time obtaining vaccine but it will be much smoother soon!

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  27. I’m so glad your good running feelings back. One of my big takeaways from the year is to hold my plans loosely. I like my little routines and don’t adjust well when they are disrupted. But much of 2020 has been a disruption of regular life, and 2021 is starting out the same way. I’m not naturally a “go with the flow” person, but am trying to seek God’s grace to be. I may not know what’s going on, what’s ahead, what’s “normal” any more, but He does.

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    • Thank you, Barbara. I am so glad too. Holding our plans loosely is definitely a good lesson to take away from 2020. I am learning to seek God’s good grace in these matters too. What else can we do?

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