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After Overcoming Depression A Runner Reflects On Her Year

After battling depression and the passing of her father, Alison Désir is reflecting on the best of her year as she sets goals for the next.

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The end of the year calls for reflection. Around this time, I like to take stock of what I’ve done and, most of the time, I’m shocked at how much has happened. Ever since coming out of a period of major depression in 2012, I have lived by the following quote: “The next year will go by whether you’re moving forward or not.” For me, this has meant that I can either be an active participant in creating the life that I want or passively let life happen to me. I have taken on the former approach and the rewards have been so worth it! When I think back on this year and the fact that is was one of the best of my life, I know that this is only the case because I worked hard to make it so.

This all might seem odd, considering the fact that my father died this year. When he passed on April 1, the news was devastating, but also an opportunity to really see what I was made of. There was a big part of me that wanted to curl up and disappear. There was an even bigger part of me that wanted to take his death out on everyone around me. Upon reflection, I recognize that my father lived a long life. His only regrets may have been that he waited his whole life to fully enjoy himself. He dreamt of his retirement and imagined that it would be the time he would finally do all of the things he wanted to—like travel and paint and read. Unfortunately, retirement brought his diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia so he never really got to “enjoy himself.” So here is to more travel, more art, more reading, more running, and living fully while I still have life. Check out my top 10 moments of 2016 below.

New Year’s Day Run with Harlem Run

1 (3)

We layered up and ran a 5K to start the year on the right foot

#GirlsRunTheWorld with Harlem Run

2 (3)

We celebrated Women’s History Month with a special run honoring women and girls around the world

Under Armour Run Camp 1

3 (1)

I was selected to go on a running adventure, powdered by Under Armour, to test what I was made of. A weekend out in Denver battling the elements opened my eyes to new possibilities in running.

My Birthday Ultra

4 (2)

The day after returning from run camp and hearing the news of my father’s death, I ran my first ultra marathon (32 miles) to celebrate turning 31.


5 (1)

In May, I graduated with my second masters (in Counseling Psychology) from Teachers College of Columbia University.

Harlem One Miler


This was year two of our event and we had over 500 participants in attendance, including Spike Lee and 100-year-old legend, Ida Keeling, who holds the 60 meter and 100 meter world record in her age group.


Women’s Running Magazine

I was named one of the Top 20 Women Changing The Sport Of Running (And The World).

Under Armour Run Camp 2

9 (1)

I was honored to be selected to go back to run camp, this time in Death Valley. You can read more about that experience here (link).

My Third New York City Marathon


This was a very different marathon for me. I wasn’t in tip-top shape so I took it easy but struggled at certain points. It was a wake up call but also a reminder that I can’t be in the best shape of my life year round and it’s okay to walk in marathons!

PS You Got This


I was selected as an ambassador of Project Start, a campaign to get women to start moving. As an ambassador, I’ve been able to connect with women all over the world and share stories of pain and triumph. A special moment was when the other Project Start ambassadors and me appeared on Good Day NY.

What does your Best of 2016 look like?