At most recent glance, 2016 was hardly a banner year. On the global stage, the tragedies have seemed endless, the political situations, well, dire. There’s been a steady stream of sad celebrity deaths, and the internet seems to be fueled with more rage and hostility than ever before. And that all sucks.
On the personal level, the past few months have been largely defined by the reemergence of my Crohn’s disease. After two years of being nice and quiet, the disease came back to test me. Other than that, though, 2016 was pretty good to me. And since I’d rather try wrapping the year up neatly and with a sparkly bow on top than by dwelling on the crap that’s been dealt, I’m here with my annual look back at my year’s high points.
Every year, I make an ongoing list of my favorite memories in my paper calendar. Usually my list tops out around three pages. This year, it was seven. Here are just a few (OK, 34) of the moments I’ll remember most fondly about 2016…
In JANUARY, I…
- Kicked off the new year by taking a long walk in Central Park with Brian and Ellie. We walked the full loop of the Bridle Path (which was a big deal for 15-week-old Ellie at the time!), and it was a simple but sweet way to start 2016 — with my favorite crew in my favorite place.
- Wrote my first piece for Well+Good. (Fittingly, it was about chocolate.) I always loved Well+Good and was thrilled to join the team as a regular contributor. This kicked off a steady stream of solid freelance opportunities for reputable publications.
- Ran the five-mile loop in Central Park without making any stops or taking walk breaks. That was a big deal that day. My running had been super shitty, and that day I set out with a goal and nailed it. It felt victorious.
In FEBRUARY, I…
- Ran the New York Road Runners Gridiron 4-Miler in 30:34 (a 7:39/mile pace) without a watch. It was my first race of the year, and became one of my favorites.
- Watched Ellie graduate from puppy school! So proud.
- Drove to a dog park in New Jersey with Brian and Ellie, and realized life west of the Hudson was actually kind of awesome…
- Took a class at Mile High Run Club with Kara Goucher.
- Saw Hamilton on Broadway.
In MARCH, I…
- Moved to New Jersey! I never thought I’d leave Manhattan but, after nine years, the time was right.
In APRIL, I…
- Ran a very unexpected PR at the Scotland 10K.
- Ran the MORE/SHAPE Half Marathon alongside Deena Kastor.
- Worked out at CitiField with Nike.
- Cashed a freelance check that allowed me to pay off my entire remaining credit card balance. This felt so good.
In MAY, I…
- Celebrated my 31st birthday and my cousin’s wedding in Washington, D.C.
- Had an awesome race at the Brooklyn Half, finishing proudly in 1:46:31.
In JUNE, I…
- Surprised myself by going sub-50:00 at the New York Road Runners Mini 10K. I didn’t wear a watch during the race and wasn’t necessarily feeling awesome, so it was reassuring to know that my training from Brooklyn had been a success, and that I was in good shape heading into New York City Marathon training.
- Kicked off the Summer Solstice at Lyons Den Power Yoga by joining the community for 108 sun salutations. It took 90 minutes and was so hard.
In JULY, I…
In AUGUST, I…
- Ran down Park Avenue at Summer Streets — twice! Always a highlight of the summer.
- Finally got up into a classical headstand — versus a tripod headstand — during yoga.
- Ran a 6:23 at the inaugural Brooklyn Mile. My first mile race!
- Surprised myself — and Brian — by riding 3,000 feet to the top of Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire. I was going to wait at the bottom while Brian did the whole climb, but I got a burst of motivation and went for it.
- Joined Project Start, an initiative started by my friend Candice, in an effort to encourage women to take the first steps — literally — toward becoming a runner.
In SEPTEMBER, I…
- Ran 16 beautiful miles along the water in Burlington, VT. My stomach had started acting up at this point, so I didn’t know this would be my last long run of marathon training.
- Attended the Newsies Live taping in L.A. (Coming soon — in February — to a movie theater near you! Go see it!)
- Attended the So You Think You Can Dance finale in L.A.
- Went to Paris with Brian to celebrate our first anniversary.
In OCTOBER, I…
- Went for my first outdoor run during this Crohn’s flare. Victory!
- Enjoyed everything that was part of the New York City Marathon week, including Project Start being on TV and meeting Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden, Amy Cragg, and Paula Radcliffe at the NYRR Night of Champions.
In NOVEMBER, I…
- Ran the New York City Marathon! And didn’t make any bathroom stops along the way, miraculously.
- Voted proudly for Hillary Clinton. It felt more historic in the moment than in the aftermath, but I’m still proud to have cast my vote for the woman who was almost our first female president.
- Ran a Turkey Trot — with Brian and Ellie! It was Ellie’s first race, and was a banner day for the Cristiano family.
- Was a guest on I’ll Have Another. More on podcasting in 2017. Stand by…
Thanks for the memories, 2016.
And thank YOU for sticking around this year, through the highs, lows, and sweaty moments in between. The community here makes my heart burst with pride and joy, and I’m so grateful to have this corner of the world where I can ramble and share and make internet friends. Your encouragement and support means more to me than I — a writer — can adequately put into words.
I hope your 2016 had plenty of glittery high points, and cheers to good things to come in 2017! And because we are best friends, tell me: WHAT WERE YOUR 2016 HIGHLIGHTS? Tell me something great.