To be honest, I was less than thrilled at the start of 2017. I was coming off of a year full of major transitions and risk-taking. In 2016, I was transitioning into my first year as a professional. I also traveled internationally by myself for the first time and ran my first half marathon. I took so many chances that I didn’t know if 2017 would measure up. I was apprehensive at the least.

I began 2017 with some lofty goals: to improve my half marathon time, travel solo overseas, and push myself harder than I ever imagined. I will never forget sitting at work trying to register for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I thought that that would be my landmark race of the year. Instead, I spent 3 weeks sulking over my finish time. The disappointment continued on as I developed shin splints several weeks after the race. I spent the majority of my 2017 training and racing season icing my shins, practicing yoga, and hoping that the soreness would subside. Running through the pain and fatigue taught me resilience. I knew I had to keep going. I believed that one day, I wouldn’t be dealing with shin splints. Come September, I ran the fastest mile of my life down 5th Avenue. I wasn’t expecting a lot out of the race, given that I had been in training mode for the past 6 months.

Did I overdo it?

Maybe.

When I look back at my race schedule from this year, intense is the only word to describe it. For 6 consecutive months, I ran one or more races each month. I can’t remember a weekend during the summer when I was not out along the river doing my long run. For a long time, I told myself that I was not a runner and that I hated running. Then I realized, why would I devote so much time to practicing, perfecting, and reading about a craft that I did not enjoy?

I am no longer shy about calling myself a runner. It’s a label that I’ve confidently embraced. Not because I’ve run fast, not because I’ve run far, but because I woke up and I got out there. Sometimes I was rained on, other times I was snowed on. Yet, I persevered.

Running became my form of self-empowerment. In a world where countless goals are attached to other people’s perceptions of you, running forced me to take control. I decided what race I wanted to run and I decided what my goal time would be. If I failed, it was up to me. If I succeeded, it was up to me too.

This year, I did not complete any races farther than half marathon distance, but I did run my first international race. For better or for worse, it was an unforgettable experience. I still don’t know when I’ll be up for another one.

2018 will be another transition year for me. Since graduating from college, I’ve struggled to establish some common ground in my life. I’ve searched for a routine–a local coffee shop, a favorite restaurant. It is hard to find small things that matter in a big city. I’ve always been a little things person, so that’s what I seek out.

Unlike this time last year, I am not approaching 2018 in fear. In 2017, I won, I lost, I laughed, and I cried, and I’m sure 2018 will be a mixture of all of those. I’m going against my Type A personality and not scheduling out my race calendar before the year even starts. I will be seeing where this year really takes me.

In terms of blogging, I’m looking forward to more content, photography, and recipes. I started this blog over 3 years ago to chronicle my journey to a healthier lifestyle. I was newly gluten-free, having fallen into a trend that I thought would drastically change the results I was/wasn’t seeing from my workouts, eating plan, etc. I was wrong. I realized that one protein was not the kiss of death, at least not for me. This year, I became comfortable with wheat again. While you likely won’t see me diving into a bowl of conventional pasta any time soon, I’m always up for some avocado toast on sourdough bread. My current passion and focus lie within selecting foods and products made from healthful ingredients with minimal to no additives, sugar, or pesticides. And of course, seeking foods that are free of dairy-I’m lactose intolerant- and free of peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and lentils since I’m allergic.

Overall, 2017 was insanely busy. I’m looking forward to a more balanced year in 2018. I have yet to set any defined resolutions, mostly because I prefer to establish goals as I’m inspired and that’s not often correlated with a particular calendar date. Once I’ve set my eyes on a new challenge, you’ll be the first to know.

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