Highlights of 2017

Usually in the last week of December I do a recap post featuring my favorite running moments from the past year, but since this year was more travel-focused and less running-focused than most (due mostly to my lingering IT-band issues) I’m going to recap the highlights all together!

Rainbow over London

Rainbow over London

2017 was a tough year in many ways: I lost one of my best friends to cancer in January, I had to leave Europe after my graduate program ended, and I moved to Austin where I didn’t know anyone…but instead of focusing on the difficult moments I’m going to highlight all of the exciting things that happened in 2017. As Albus Dumbledore once said: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” There were many moments of light and joy in 2017 – here are some of my favorites!

JANUARY

I rang in the New Year in Amsterdam with my parents, my friend visiting from Berlin, and our family friends that live in Amsterdam. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a fresh warm stroopwaffel from a Dutch market!

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New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

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Stroopwaffel!

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I also attended the Women’s March in London which was an incredible event to be a part of – there were about 100,000 people in Trafalgar Square that day.

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FEBRUARY

On February 1st I had an unexpected emergency layover in St. John’s, Newfoundland on my flight back from NYC, which is the furthest eastern point of North America, so I got to check out a new city and tried to see the silver lining rather than be grumpy about having not one but two overnight flights on my way to London!

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St. John’s, Newfoundland

I went to Denmark and Sweden for the first time to visit friends, and took a day trip Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath in England.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Malmö, Sweden

Malmö, Sweden

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

The Roman Baths in Bath were closed by the time we arrived!

The Roman Baths in Bath were closed by the time we arrived!

I also took a tour of the Houses of Parliament in London.

Big Ben as seen from Westminster Hall

Big Ben as seen from Westminster Hall

MARCH

In March I stayed in London. I did yoga at the top of the Shard, went to an England football game at Wembley Stadium, and met Emma Thompson at my neighborhood farmer’s market!

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A foggy yoga class at the top of The Shard

England v. Lithuania: World Cup Qualifier Game at Wembley Stadium

England v. Lithuania: World Cup Qualifier Game at Wembley Stadium

Emma Thompson!

Emma Thompson!

APRIL

April was such a fun month – and I had almost the entire month as vacation! I kicked off April by seeing the Harry Potter play in London. 

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I watched the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race in London with my friend who goes to Oxford.

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Then I went to Paris to cheer for my friend running the Paris Marathon, which I was registered for but hadn’t been able to train for due to that darn IT-band injury. We ran the Paris Breakfast Run the day before the marathon, and I ended up running about 7 miles of the marathon with her, and it was a great day.

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Paris Marathon

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I also went to Dublin for Easter to visit my Italian friend who is living there. We went to the nearby Cliffs of Howth, and I took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

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The Cliffs of Howth, near Dublin, Ireland

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The Cliffs of Moher, in Western Ireland

When I came back, it was time for London Marathon festivities! I went to Kelly Roberts’ shakeout run and panel discussion, met Paula Radcliffe at the marathon expo, and cheered for the marathon with November Project London.

Photo by Anna Rachel Photography

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Paula Radcliffe

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Cheering for the London Marathon with November Project

MAY

May is my birthday month, and the month when I could finally get back to running! I did two races in May: the first was the Balance Festival Urban Triathlon on my birthday, and the second was the Vitality London 10,000.
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I also visited Hampton Court Palace, and started to use my rooftop in my London flat, which really is probably the highlight of the entire year.

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Hampton Court Palace

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JUNE

June was an action-packed month! I took my final exams and graduated from my program, and my parents came to London for my graduation. We went to Windsor Castle and to the Royal Ascot horserace, where I saw the Queen and William and Kate (among the others) in the royal procession. I went to Brighton and Oxford for day trips, I went to Paris one last time. From there I traveled to Chamonix, France where I ran my first trail race in the Alps!

Day trip to Brighton

Day trip to Brighton

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Punting at Oxford

Graduated!!!

Graduated!!!

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Royal Ascot Horserace

Royal Ascot Horserace

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to visit THE QUEEN.

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit THE QUEEN.

Paris has my heart

Paris and my BFF who graciously hosts me every time I visit!

10K trail race in the French Alps!

10K trail race in the French Alps!

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The top of Mont Blanc

And to top it all off…I saw Adele live at Wembley Stadium! Definitely in the top 3 moments of the year. This concert was such a blast and so surreal!

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Adele at Wembley Stadium

JULY

July was a difficult month. I said goodbye to all of my friends in London, spent 3 weeks in NYC saying hi and goodbye to all of my friends there, and by the end of the month I was living in Austin, where I knew no one. I packed my life into boxes and suitcases not once but twice, and arriving in Austin was major culture shock, to say the least. To be honest, it was a pretty emotional month and I felt unsettled for all of it. I don’t ever want to move twice in one month again.

 

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Kayaking in Austin, TX

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AUGUST

My parents came to visit Austin in August, and I saw the solar eclipse, which was pretty cool! I also made some new running friends. But mostly this month was filled with oppressively hot 100-degree days and I spent most of it inside. I started my new job which kept me busy.

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Sports Bra Squad run in front of the Texas Capitol Building

SEPTEMBER

In September I ran my first race in Austin: the Zilker Relays! I enjoyed being on a relay team and meeting other local runners. But it was too hot!

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OCTOBER

In October my childhood friend living in Houston came to visit for the weekend. We went to a cafe in Austin that has a baby goat, and visited the Longhorn Caverns, which were a speakeasy jazz club in the 1920s!

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I also drove to Houston to see the Yankees play the Astros in the playoffs – not once, but twice! The Yankees lost both games, but it was still really fun to be there. I visited my college friend who lives in Houston, and a family friend who’s from Birmingham but is a big Yankees fan came for the weekend as well.

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NOVEMBER

In November my friend took me on my longest bike ride ever (and first time on a road bike) – 20 miles in New Braunfels, Texas.

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I also participated in the Wanderlust 108 Festival in Austin!

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My friend Anna from London came to visit Austin the week before Thanksgiving, and we traveled to NYC together for my Thanksgiving break. We ran the PPTC Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, and then we went to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving with my parents to visit family friends, and to see my childhood best friend perform with the touring company of Finding Neverland.

Anna the running photographer

Anna the running photographer

Our fan squad at Finding Neverland in Philadelphia

Our fan squad at Finding Neverland in Philadelphia

Running the Prospect Park Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day

Running the Prospect Park Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day

DECEMBER

In December, I hit my running stride with not one but TWO half marathons! I ran the Rock n’ Roll San Antonio Half, and the following weekend I ran the Decker Challenge in Austin.

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Rock n’ Roll San Antonio Half

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The San Antonio Riverwalk

After the super duper hilly Decker Challenge

After the super duper hilly Decker Challenge

I even got to see some snow in Texas: just a dusting, but the roads froze so we got a Snow Day! I am told that will never…NEVER…happen again.

Snow on a cactus

Snow on a cactus

I traveled home to NYC for Christmas and New Year’s, and although it is frigidly cold right now, it is good to be home! On the day after Christmas, my parents and I went to see the Downton Abbey exhibition which was amazing…full recap coming soon.

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Mrs. Patmore’s Kitchen at the Downton Abbey exhibition

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Christmas on Wall Street

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Happy New Year!

What was your favorite moment of 2017?

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