2016 was truly the year that I became a runner. And I didn’t just ease into running, either. I ran my first 5k in December 2015 and then jumped in with both feet in 2016.

In 2016, I ran my first ever 10k.
In 2016, I ran my first ever half marathon.
In 2016, I ran my first ever full marathon.

In total, I ran 21 races in 2016. Wow! Here is the breakdown:

7 5k Races
8 10k Races
5 Half Marathons
1 Full Marathon

Total 2016 miles (training and race miles): 884

Not too shabby for a girl that didn’t start running until October 2015, right?

If there is one thing that I’m most proud of accomplishing in my running adventures, it’s running my first full marathon. It’s not something that I ever imagined wanting to accomplish. It wasn’t until after I ran a half marathon that I even realized it was a goal of mine – which is really just evidence of how little I believed in my abilities.

And for that reason, when I actually accomplished that goal and became a marathoner, my entire outlook really changed. I realized that myself, and all of us really, can do more than we think we can – and that hard work, discipline, and persistence will pay off in the end.

I started to look at failure as a way to learn what to do differently next time. That 18-miler, in which I walked the entire last 3 miles… what could that teach me? I could have let it teach me that I couldn’t run a marathon (and it almost did) – but instead I looked at my strategy, my fueling, the weather conditions, and I changed the things that were within my control.

Pre-running, I would have easily just given up and convinced myself that I just wasn’t capable.

In summary, 2016 was awesome. It was the year that I proved to myself that I really am a runner. I’m not just pretending – it’s for real.