December 31, 2015

Top 15 of 2015

I thought this was going to be a very difficult post to write. I thought that 2015 was the worst year I've had, and in some aspects, that's true. I dealt with a running injury for 10 months, my depression was really bad, my anxiety was the worst it's ever been, and I was dealing with a 27-pound weight gain from 2014. I felt terrible about myself, and I put a ton of pressure on myself to get it together.

However, once I started going through pictures from this year, I saw that I had a ton of really great experiences! I started flagging photos to use on this post, and when I was done, I had over 30. THIRTY experiences that could have made my "Top 15 of 2015". It was tough to narrow it down.

In the end, this is what I decided on. Here are my Top 15 of 2015, in chronological order:

1) We adopted Joey! Bringing Joey into our lives has been so amazing. I used to have a big fear of dogs, but adopting Joey and spending so much time with him has helped me to "read" dogs much better. I no longer get scared of them when I see them on a run. Joey has also changed my kids' lives--they've learned that Joey will always be their best friend, and they have a blast playing with him.

2) I traveled to Portland to visit my BFF and see the Pacific Northwest for the first time. I fell in LOVE with Portland, and it is my favorite destination I've ever visited. While on the trip, I went on my very first hike, and I couldn't have picked a more beautiful place--14 miles of the most gorgeous scenery I've ever laid eyes on. It was during this hike that I decided the Pacific Northwest was my favorite place that I've traveled.

3) In April, I ran a race with all three of my siblings for the first time ever! I'd done a race with one or two of them at a time before, but never all three. It was so much fun!

4) In May, I went to the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon with seven of my Sole Mates Ragnar team! We had so much fun--tons of laughs, a couple of the teammates showing up as a surprise to everyone, more bonding, fro-yo lasagna, and more great memories of my team.

5) My younger brother, Nathan, and I were the top fundraisers for Justin Verlander's Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K. The money went to a charity that meant a lot to Nathan and me--it provides mental health support to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families. Since Nathan experienced post-war PTSD firsthand; and as his sister, I saw the effects it had; we wanted to do what we could to help. Thanks to so many of YOU, we raised more money than any other fund raiser! We were invited to attend a Tigers game in a suite, and meet Justin Verlander himself. Nathan ran the 9K, and I was a volunteer at the race. It was a great experience overall!

6) When the last person to pass by my volunteer station at the Detroit 9K, something deep inside me told me that I should walk the rest of the race with him (I learned his name was Daron). The sweeper was walking with him, but I just wanted to be there to encourage him to finish. It was an amazing experience--we were dead last to finish, but the Detroit Police were awesome in giving us an escort the whole way, and even giving Daron a bottle of water as needed. He hadn't realized how far 9K actually was, and it was a huge struggle for him, but he FINISHED!

7) In July, Jerry was able to come with me to New York, where I was going to be sitting on a panel for Prudential at the BlogHer Conferences. Jerry and I rarely get to travel alone together, so even though it was a very short trip, we had so much fun!

8) Both of my brothers happened to be in the Pacific Northwest on the exact same day for work, and naturally, I couldn't stand the thought of them being in my favorite place without me ;) Brian offered me a buddy pass to fly out there, and I was able to spend the weekend with my brothers and sister-in-law in Portland!

9) Jerry and I celebrated 12 years of marriage in August, and we returned to the chapel where we were wed so that we could take some fun pictures!

10) I coached cross country for the 2nd-4th graders at Eli's school. I absolutely LOVED coaching the kids, and I hope to do it again.

11) Thomas came to visit in October in order to run the Detroit Marathon. I was originally supposed to run it with him, but due to my stress fracture, I wasn't able to. Thomas, Jerry, and I spent a full day in Detroit, which was my favorite part of his trip--we went to Redsmoke for lunch, lost our money at Greektown Casino, walked on the Riverwalk, sampled coney dogs from the two rival Coney Islands (American vs. Lafayette--Lafayette was our favorite!), had a beer at a dive bar, and then watched the Red Wings lose. It was a super packed day, but I loved spending time with these two.

12) Jerry, the kids, and I ran a 5K together in November. It was a fun, active family thing to do together. The kids enjoyed it, and asked if we could do races together more often.

13) I did something I'd always wanted to do--a boudoir photoshoot! Even though I wasn't at my goal weight, I embraced the body I had at the moment. I had my hair and make-up done, and the photoshoot was so much fun!! I felt beautiful and girly, and the pictures turned out amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life--honestly.

14) In November, I went to NYC with Purina. Purina hosts some amazing blogger events, and I've met some really great people at them. On this trip, I also conquered my fear of the subway system--I used Google Maps and actually figured out how to get around on my own! I even took the subway and a bus to get to the airport, saving myself about $40 in cab fare.

15) Just before Thanksgiving, I got back to my goal weight!! I switched from Weight Watchers to calorie counting on My Fitness Pal, and it was a much-needed change. I stopped feeling obsessed with food, and the weight pretty much fell right off. It happened quickly and without feeling deprived. I am thrilled with the results!

As you can see, I had a pretty awesome 2015... and I look forward to 2016!

Some fun facts for 2015: 
  • I ran 457 miles (down from 1,151.86 miles in 2014). I spent much of the year injured, which is why my mileage is down so much.
  • The day of the week I ran most often was Thursday; the least often was Wednesday.
  • The month that I had the highest mileage was July, with 77.3 miles.
  • My average pace for the whole year was 10:31/mi (up from 9:51/mi in 2014).
  • I burned 49,752 calories from running... that's equivalent to over 14 pounds of fat (or 638 chocolate chip cookies)!
  • My most memorable meal was at McMenamins in Portland--I had a Chicken Caesar Wrap and Cajun Tots. Very simple, but SO very good! 

  • My current favorite breakfast is a Larabar with peanut butter, and tea.
  • My current favorite evening snack is a couple of cookies.
  • The thing I am most looking forward to in 2016?  Focusing on the 10K distance. I'm really excited to see my potential when I work my hardest at it! 
Happy New Year, Friends!!


  1. Thank you for sharing your difficulties also. I also deal with depression and anxiety. My problem is I turn to food to push those ugly feelings down and it caused a massive weight gain. Glad to see that you are able to find the joy in 2015. It helps to have it documented so you can look back and see good thinks too.

  2. I found your blog after listening to you on the RunnersConnect podcast yesterday before my run. Great job! I look forward to following along in 2016.

  3. Congratulations on a great year! You are a great inspiration!!
    I tried Larabars for the 1st time and I don't like them - they are too sweet & dense for me the flavors combined with dates seem odd. But I know they have a huge following!
    Your Oregon hike looks amazing and I looked it up and saw there is a lot of break-ins at the trailhead and people were recommending empty your car of valuables, unlock it and leave your glovebox open? Just curious if you guys did that.

    1. Interesting! I hadn't heard of that. Thomas didn't seem concerned about it, but thankfully nothing happened :)

  4. This is AWESOME! I started reading your blog at the very end of 2014, so I feel like I went through all of 2015 with you lol. You had a very eventful year!
    Last month I was diagnosed with runner's knee (I guess that makes me a real runner now, since my doctor said it!) and I am just starting to feel better. If you can get through a stress fracture for half a year, I shouldn't complain about a few weeks :)

    You have inspired me (once again) to lose this last 20 pounds to get to my goal weight!

  5. Meeting you in Portland in 2015 is definitely in my Top 15!!! Probably in my Top 5, if we're being honest. :)

    Here's to a great 2016 for the whole Runs for Cookies gang - you, Jerry, Joey, your parents, siblings and kids, and all the readers! It's going to be a great year.


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