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!

11390351_10153078470359143_8230671392727344384_n-2 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.

394155_214598897_xlarge-680x1024-33 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!

11205970_10103647368795548_2758624972106850272_n-26-2 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?