2015 Running Year in Review


I’m not sure I’ve ever done a running year in review post before, but now seems like as good a time as any. This year has seen the greatest change in how and run and how I think about running since I started running marathons back in 2010. So, let’s start with the obvious.

1. I ran fewer marathons this year (3) than I have in any year since 2010. If you’ve been around this blog since my “heyday” of marathons back in 2011-2013, you’ll know I used to do 15-20 ish marathons a year. Not so much anymore! The major contributing factor to that, of course, is the strict instructions from my neurosurgeon since having back surgery in April 2014, when he told me I could run 3-4 marathons per year and that’s it, and only if they didn’t cause me extra pain.

So this year, I ran the Casper Marathon, the Spinx Runfest Marathon, and the Route 66 Marathon. I also completed the Newberry Half Marathon and the Reggae Half Marathon in Negril, Jamaica!

I also inexplicably got 3rd in my age group at the Casper Marathon, so that was weird.

2. I completed my first real, full marathon training cycle in years. One thing that happens when you run a lot of marathons is that you tend to use one as training for the next and you never have that full 16 weeks to train for just one goal race. Even last year when I was coming back from back surgery, I never finished the full plan – the farthest I ran was 16 miles. This summer, I was dedicated to doing a full 16 week plan plan (including the big 20+ miler) in preparation for the Spinx Runfest Marathon, and I did! And I have to say I actually really enjoyed the process, for the most part, which is not always a feeling one has when marathon training. It probably had something to do with the fact that I ran 3 days a week (the most I’m allowed per my surgeon) and supplemented by teaching and taking Barre3 classes the other days! I got to race day relatively pain free and ready to run!

3. I ran my 50th marathon. You guys were there to share in every step of the journey with me as I crossed the finish line of my 50th marathon at Route 66, and I can’t thank you enough. I updated social media every 3 miles along the course and had the race of my life! Not only did I have the most fun ever, I also set a new post-back surgery PR thanks to a heavy dose of medication and some good luck.

It took me 50 marathons, but I finally took a good finisher photo! Better late than never, as they say.

4. …and I ran my last marathon. Yup, the aforementioned 50th marathon was probably my last. My back just cannot hold up to the pressure of training and racing the marathon distance anymore. Although I didn’t want to admit it for a long time, running marathons is no longer healthy for my body, and the pain during races started to remove all the joy from them. Of course, I’ll never say never – if AJ  suddenly decided he wanted to run a marathon, I would do my best to muscle through, but my days of running marathons in general are over until they figure out some new back surgery that wipes out all my pain.

5. I struggled to find an identity outside of running and blogging. Although I have not talked about it very often, I have struggled a lot with my identity since my back surgery. It may seem silly, but when the option of doing a ton of marathons was taken away from me, I was pretty devastated. I thought about ending the blog because I felt like I had nothing to say. “Who am I if I don’t run marathons?” I had to ask myself. “What do I write about if I’m not running as much?” It took me a long time to answer those questions. See, when I started this journey, I was in the middle of finding myself as an adult in the midst of a divorce. I had defined myself entirely by my previous relationships, but newly single, I couldn’t do that anymore, so I became “the runner.” And then, “the blogger.” Having those things taken away in some form or fashion left me wondering how else I define myself and who I am. I realized eventually, of course, that I am not just a runner. I’m not just a blogger. I have interests outside of running (although you wouldn’t have known it for awhile)! I can write about other things!

Just another day in the field with my good bud Mr. Charles (the turtle) and Glen (the human)

So, who am I? I’m someone who is passionate about life. I want to see and experience everywhere and everything and leave no stone unturned. I’m a wife (and a pretty good one, I think), a daughter, a friend, a traveler, an environmental scientist, a Barre3 instructor, a lover of bad reality television, someone who laughs like an old man (according to my brother), a taco addict, an ED survivor, a dog rescuer, and a fantasy football player. And while any of those things can change at any moment, there will always be new interests to explore and people in my life to keep me working towards my best self. There is always something to write about.

Thank you for hanging with me for another year! Although my running didn’t go the way I necessarily planned, I finished on such a high note and I couldn’t have written a better ending to my marathon career. I’ve already got half marathons lined up for both January and February, and I’m hoping to mayyyybe get a couple more international events under my belt next year! I’ll be training hard in 2016 and trying to hit some new goals, so I hope you’ll be along for the ride. Thanks for making this year a great one!

I’m collecting donations of gently used running shoes, clothing, and gear for the track and field athletes at Rhodes Hall High School in Hanover, Jamaica. Donations can be mailed to: Danielle Cemprola, PO Box 26101, Greenville, SC 29616. If you would prefer to donate online, please visit my GoFundMe page! All funds raised will go directly to the team. You can read more about the kids and their incredible stories here.

LEAVE A COMMENT: How has your 2015 running year been? Did you accomplish what you set out to achieve?


18 thoughts on “2015 Running Year in Review

  1. Running and blogging is what you DO and not who you ARE and I love that you figured it out. Love you and the blog, regardless of what you write about honestly… Looking forward to just Danielle and all she is in 2016!

  2. I think it is quite fitting that this year you did a running year in review because, as you pointed out, this year has been revolutionary in your running. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to an incredible year of growth and success–and you truly succeeded.

    1. Thanks, Susie! It’s funny that a few years ago I would have called this year a total failure. I’ve definitely come to redefine success!

  3. 2 things:

    1) You forgot “photographer” and “social activist” (e.g., Jamaica)

    2) Nice “air” in your race pic. Shadows and shoes not touching = you’re flying! 🙂

    1. Hahahaha thank you, Art! I think I have to dispute the “Photographer” one, though. I’m not much of a photographer, yet!

  4. 2015 was a great running year for me, until mid-November or so. At the start of the year, I kept tearing off PRs… a friend in my club remarked several times, “2015 is your year.” Half-marathon PR, full marathon PR, 5 mile PR, 5K PR, another half PR, another 5K PR… then the big full marathon PR, Chicago! The race had been on my radar for this year for two years, so I was very happy that everything came together for it. Wasn’t too happy with my last two halfs — conditions were less than ideal for both, so times weren’t what I was hoping for. I wasn’t so much disappointed with my performance, but moreso that conditions weren’t what they could have been — not that there was much I could have done about that. Right now, I’m bummed that I can’t be training, because it will likely derail my plans for a full in mid-February… which was likely my only opportunity for a full next year, given how next year will be work-wise.

    1. WHOA, that’s a lot of PRs! I’m sorry about your injury, but that is a great year regardless. It is hard when the conditions for our goal races don’t match up with what we were hoping. It’s defeating to train and train and then get stuck trying to race on a super warm and humid day or have other things not go your way. I hope you’ll find time to do a full next year, but if not, at least you got your big PR this year. CONGRATULATIONS!

  5. I’ve followed your blog throughout this entire year and it’s been so interesting to see it all summarized. I’m glad you are taking some time for you and figuring out what work for your back.

    1. Thank you, Hollie! I really enjoyed your running year in review as well. It sounds like we both figured out what works for us this year!

  6. I SOOOO Know what you mean about #5. I’m still battling with that a LOT right now. I’m not quire sure where to go or what to do given the fact that running 2 miles makes my knee ache for 24 hrs.

    1. Ugh, I hate to hear that your knee is still not better. I totally understand the struggle – it seems silly that something like running or blogging would come to completely define you as a person, and then you don’t even realize it until it doesn’tdefine you anymore. It’s a tough transition to make. I’m glad you have Laura and your son to keep you grounded and remind you of all the other wonderful things you have going for you! I hope you get better soon.

  7. Wow! your year has been eventful – mine has too. I am looking forward to running more consistently next year, I realise now its quality not quantity that I am looking for.

    1. That’s a great goal, Meg! I think sometimes it can take a while to figure out what “type” of running works best for our bodies and minds.

  8. This was my first year not running a full marathon in a while (I promised my husband I’d take this year off) and it was oddly liberating. Not sure what 2016 will bring, but it was a nice break.

    I’m headed to the post office today to ship a box of gently used running clothes to you today to send on to Jamaica! I think it’s amazing what you’re doing for them!

  9. Who are you? Who ARE you? You’re Danielle the effing T-Rex Runner!

    They (who ARE ‘they’?) can never take that away from you! Doesn’t matter whether or not you run or blog or anything else. And that is quite a good thing. Sure it is a ‘brand’, but that brand is a reflection of you, and it is more than just about running or having a ‘running blog’ – because while you write a blog and it started out about your marathon quest … I would say it was never really all about that.

    You are a unique individual … and I know that has been a roller-coaster for you, but that is just the way it is. You have had some tough stuff – ED, young divorce, surgeries, and so on. But you have an awesome family, have found a great marriage, are smart and funny and just an all-around cool woman.

    2015 was definitely a different sort of year for you, but I think it is also a foundational year, a year that allows you to say that no matter what, you are you … and you have a bunch of people who have never met you, who only know that window of information you provide about yourself, and who think your pretty cool.


    I ran >3000 miles again, did two 5ks – one a walk/run with Lisa, the other she walked and I ran … not a PR but not bad for not doing real speed work all year. My boys continue to amaze me, with one just finishing his first semester at NYU and the other finishing up all his college applications. Lisa has a new job back in ‘her field’, and I am doing pretty awesome at mine and loving it and some new work friends.

    Can’t wait to see what next year brings for all of us!

    1. I think you’re right in that 2015 was a foundational year for me. It helped me get away from “the brand” a bit and find myself, which is ultimately what “the brand” should be about anyway. It had its ups and downs but ultimately I think I finished in a better place than I started. I’m so glad to hear it has been a great year for you, too!

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