2015 has all but come to an end. And to say it was a great year is an understatement. It’s easy to say 2015 was my best running year ever! Of course it was also only my 3rd running year ever, but who’s counting? Outside of all the awesome races I ran 2015 was the year I ran a full marathon! That’s right, the same guy who was laughed at for training for a half marathon in 2013 completed the full distance just a year and a half later.
My list of 2015 runs:
Outside of those official races, I also ran an unofficial race with Kevin Hart! I say unofficial because it was not a race you had to pay for, it was hosted for free by Nike and Kevin Hart. I hope he runs these in 2016, because I would love to run another.
This year was also the year of the free 5K’s. When I started 2015 I told myself I wouldn’t run anything less than a 5 miler. I figured since I was running a full marathon, my training races should increase in mileage as well. So as a result I only looked into 5 milers. However somehow I ran four 5K’s for the year. And they were all free! I already explained above the Kevin Hart 5K run was a race Nike put on for free. I also got to run the in24 Philly 5K through my ambassadorship with BiBRave. The Country Run 5K allowed the first 500 entrants to enter for free and I was one of them. I was then asked to run the Lemon Run 5K as a representative of my mom’s company. So through many different ways I never officially paid to run a 5K in 2015 even though I ran 4 of them.
There was also the unique experience of running a midnight 8 miler. The in24 Midnight Run was an 8 mile run that started right at 12:00 AM. It was such a unique experience. I’ve run at night before but never in a race setting. I can’t describe how awesome that experience was. What made it even more awesome was that it was a part of the in24 weekend of races. Which included a 24 hour ultra marathon. When I showed up for the 8 miler there were tons of people camped out in tents like it was a weekend concert festival. It wasn’t just the 8 miler racers but a lot more people getting ready for an intense weekend of activities. This is definitely a race I’d like to do again in 2016, however the race organizer is backing out of the race weekend and it may not happen this year.
What made the in24 weekend even more fun was that I had a 5K to run 5 hours later after the midnight 8 miler. The 5K was a part of the weekend of races as well. So I rented a hotel room in center city Philadelphia, ran the 8 miler, got back to the room, headed to bed (ate some pizza first) and then got up a few hours later for the 5K. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but so much fun!
Of course the best part of 2015 was the Chicago Marathon! I blogged about my marathon weekend here, so there probably is no reason to re-do that blog. But this was my main goal for 2015 so it has to be in here. The marathon did so much for my running that it is hard to put into words. It taught me the value of planning for long runs that are well beyond any distance I have ever run before. There were mornings I had to get up and run 16, 18, 20 and even 22 miles! The longest training run I did before 2015 was 8 miles. Preparing for an 8 mile training run is way different than preparing for an 18 mile training run. I learned how I needed to dedicate an ENTIRE day just to running. From getting up, to getting out there, to recovery. It was an eye opening experience for sure.
The marathon itself was an amazing experience. As I read more about training for a marathon I started to see how popular it was to train for a marathon but not be able to run it on your first attempt. I would read stories about people who trained for months only either not make it to the marathon or not finish. Up until that point I had never not finished a race I signed up and trained for. So I was nervous, primarily because I was spending a lot of money to travel out to Chicago and at the same time signed up through a charity. A lot of people donated to my cause and I couldn’t let them down.
However not only did I finish my first attempt at the marathon distance I finished pretty successfully too! I completed the race around the time I was shooting for and finished without any major injuries. I was in a lot of pain for sure, but nothing that didn’t go away a week later. So it is safe to say I had an amazing first attempt at a marathon which I do not take lightly because I know this isn’t always the case.
2015 was also a year where I grew my Running Philly blog. I started this blog and Twitter account about a year ago. The whole point of the blog was to let people in Philly know about local races on a monthly basis. I was tired of using 5 different websites to find a local run. So I decided I would start the blog and post all runs on those websites at one location. However in 2015 I expanded beyond that. I began hosting free running gear giveaways, blogging about local races and even broke some news! I was the first Philly running blog to post the news about Kevin Hart’s free 5K run in the city. So much so that my blog received over 2,000 visitors in one day (when I normally get that amount per month). I even took the plunge and bought an official domain name for the site; www.runphila.com. I am excited to see where I take the blog in 2016.
Finally 2015 was a year that I strengthened my BibRave Pro Ambassadorship. I was able to run my first two races on behalf of BibRave and had a chance to test out some amazing running gear! I even got a chance to meet a few of the pro’s (and the person who makes BibRave a success, Julia) after the Chicago Marathon. It was a lot of fun to have a few beers and share real life running experiences with these people. I am someone who does not have running friends or run with a local running group, so as a result most of my running conversations are done on social media and not in real life, so this was an awesome experience. I am happy to say I have renewed the ambassadorship for 2016 and am beyond excited to strengthen this relationship.
2015 was a whirlwind for sure. While I feel this blog was long winded with all that happened I could go on and on. But I will leave it at that and stay with just the highlights. 2016 has a very tough time of topping my running experience for the previous year. But I can say I like it’s chances and am excited for what the new year has to offer!