Let’s look back at 2016

I’ve been thinking all week about how I want to wrap up 2016. When I think back on this year, my immediate reaction is something along the lines of “Dear god, let it be over.” But that isn’t totally fair and I try to use this blog as a place to reflect as honestly as possible about the highs, lows, and everything in between. Sometimes it’s easier to remember the harder parts of life and forget the lovely bits. This year, however, was transformative and brought me some incredible friendships that I’m so thankful to carry into the new year. So, let’s look back at 2016. (P.S. Get comfy.)

January

I rang in 2016 at a bar downtown with a ton of November Project friends. I somehow managed to drag myself to NP on two hours of sleep which is a clear indication of where NP fell in my life last winter. I never missed a workout and couldn’t imagine starting a new year without that crew.

A week later, I traveled to Costa Rica for a friend’s wedding. My boyfriend at the time and I explored a few other parts of the country afterwards and the highlight was probably spending our last night on a remote cacao farm.

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The other notable thing about January was that it was my first full month working at my new job. I joined a food innovation lab around the holidays and managed marketing. It seemed like an awesome fit on paper – great mission, innovative projects, a lot of responsibility, and freedom to make the job what I wanted.

February

Not a whole lot happened here aside from some creative NP destination decks. We ventured into the Boston Ballet one morning and took over the T for another – using the trains and stations as our playground.

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March

Training for my marathon really picked up steam here, and I loved getting to know Georgia and Kelsey better over the long runs. I was determined to enjoy training this time around so I kept the stadium in the mix, nixed tempo runs, and ran long runs by feel. I got faster and loved every minute of training.

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This was also the month that I started coaching for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We had a small squad training for Run to Remember, a local half marathon, and we met for track workouts and long runs every week.

April

I’m sure there were quiet parts of April but I mostly remember the 10-day stretch where I went to DC and Charlotte over one weekend and then back to Boston where we hosted 7 people in our one bedroom apartment for about a week. Needless to say, it was nuts. Charlotte brought Wanderlust 108 – a running and yoga festival where I lead the 5k crowd through a warmup.

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I was super nervous and didn’t really enjoy the experience too much because I didn’t have anyone there to share it with and my mind was focusing on the festivities I was missing with my friends in DC.

The Boston Marathon week was such a blur – probably because I didn’t have one minute of free time and the apartment was absolute chaos. While chaotic, it was still super fun bouncing between parties every night and cheering like crazy at mile 18.

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May

Marathon month. I raced the Sugarloaf Marathon with a time of 3:35:38, five minutes off my goal time. You can read the full race recap here but in summary I was undertrained for this and my body couldn’t handle the hills. I have no regrets about the way I trained because I needed to enjoy the season but I simply didn’t practice running on tired legs and crumbled. Performance aside, it was a great weekend with many of my closest friends.

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A week later I casually raced the Harpoon 5 miler with Georgia and managed to sneak out a PR even though we chatted the whole time.

June

I traveled to Portland again for Ricki’s bachelorette party which was a very chill mix of breweries and delicious food across the city.

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My relationship ended towards the end of this month, and I moved out the apartment we shared so needless to say it was a pretty rough time. I stayed at a friend’s place for a few days and found a sublet apartment shortly thereafter. I leaned hard on my friends and was terrified of spending a night alone so I packed my nights with anything I could find. Luckily this led to lots of wonderful nights on the docks, spur of the moment races, and endless dinner dates nights with my crew.

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July

Much of the same – raw. I was adjusting to a wildly different norm and navigating how to stay involved in November Project and all the mutual friend groups that my ex and I shared. I started skipping NP or going at odd times but luckily had Fenspeed, Georgia and Kelsey to run with any given time. I ramped up my mileage in preparation for a fall marathon and running turned into the one part of my day that I knew would make me feel better.

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The main highlight in July was Ricki’s wedding in Vermont. It was a weekend filled with some of my closest friends, so much laughter, and the kind of smiling that makes your cheeks hurt. It was the first night that I was able to completely let go and feel like myself again.

August

I honestly don’t remember much about August aside from a quick trip to Maryland and spending a lot of time looking for a new apartment. I lined up a place with two girls from Craigslist who were so sweet from the minute I met them. My photo stream is reminding me of a few great long runs with Georgia and man do I wish I could run for 20 miles right now. Especially 20 miles in a sports bra as it’s hovering around freezing right now.

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September

Ah, sweet September – aka “the month that things started to change.” I moved into my new place that felt like home right away. I quit my job at the food lab and started with Janji. I met John, the assistant store manager, who has become one of my favorite people.

I celebrated my birthday and felt overwhelmed by the amount of love I had for these people in my life. I’ve always been grateful for my friendships but I truly don’t know what I would have done without them the last 6 months especially.

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I ended the month with a trip to Ohio to see my brother, sister-in-law and niece. We basically snuggled for two days and it was perfect.

October

October was another crazy month of travel and training. I went to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon, my team’s goal race. It was such an incredible experience coaching the Boston squad for the MDA and I had the opportunity to speak at the pre-race dinner in front of 200+ people about my connection to the organization. Race day was so much fun – running back and forth to help my crew get to the finish line.

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The next weekend I headed to Louisville with Jenna for another Wanderlust. I did it the right way this time by making a real weekend out of it and bringing one of my closest friends.

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I felt way more comfortable kicking off the 5K and even enjoyed the rush a bit.

November

Otherwise known as “the month I got injured” because I got my stress reaction on November 1st, three weeks before my goal race of the Philly Marathon. I didn’t overtrain, I didn’t have any nagging pains leading up to this injury, and I felt incredible coming off my highest mileage week. One minute I was daydreaming about race day and the next I was hobbling home. A week later the MRI showed a bone stress injury and it was no running for the foreseeable future.

I was really bummed at first but quickly threw myself into work and especially building community with our weekly Nomadic Run Crew.

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I spent Thanksgiving in Maryland with my family and enjoyed three days with the little one.

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December

It’s been one fun month. I’ve adopted the attitude of “do all the things” and it’s been both not good for my liver but also a blast. I ventured back to November Project when I was able to walk the stadiums without pain. (P.S. I walked my first full stadium this week in 37 minutes and pretty freaking happy with that.)

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I spectated a hilarious beer mile then participated (via power walking) in another one at the store the next weekend. Both nights were so much fun.

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I took the stage at Janji’s storytelling night to share my story about how running became my strongest connection to my mom. I never thought I’d volunteer to speak in front of 75 people but I’m trying to get more comfortable public speaking. It was terrifying but also exhilarating.

I wasn’t able to go home for Christmas for more than a weekend this year so I really tried to get into the Christmas spirit all month. This required a ridiculous amount of Christmas movies, cookies, tree peeping, and Mariah Carey. Luckily these girls were always down.

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And today was the day I ran for the first time in two months. My physical therapist cleared me to run at our checkup yesterday, and I did a few sets of a run / walk routine today at November Project. I was giddy and it almost felt surreal doing the thing that I’ve dreamt about doing every day since November 1st. It will be a very slow return to running anywhere near what I was doing when I got injured but I will take whatever I can get!

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If you’re still with me, I’m impressed. I’ll be ringing in the new year with friends at a bar and then starting January 1st with a social stadium and lazy brunch :)

2016, you were ruthless but transformative. You were a huge brat at times but I came out the other end feeling like myself again – a feeling I truly haven’t recognized in nearly two years. I’m happy to be exactly where I am now and excited to see what’s ahead. I’ll be back soon with a goals post but until then – have a wonderful New Years! See ya in 2017.

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About Jana

Welcome! My name is Jana, and I'm a 20-something girl building a life fueled by good food, an even better sweat, and all things outdoors. I started this blog as a way for me to share my love for health and fitness. Follow along as I figure out what balance means to me these days through a little (sometimes a lot) of trial and error.

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  1. […] now that 2016 is fully recapped, let’s look ahead to 2017. My wonderful friend, Christine, has this annual tradition where you […]