2017 Races: A year in review

To celebrate the end of 2017, I am picking up the “Year of Bling” tag from the folks over at the Joyful miles blog. Below I am going to share some brief race recaps and photos from a few of the races that I ran in 2017. The questions that joyful miles shared for the tag were:

  1. What is your favorite 2017 medal based on design?
  2. What is your favorite non-runDisney medal?
  3. What is your most hard earned medal?
  4. What is your favorite overall medal?

After we go through the months of the year and the medals earned, I will be answering these questions at the end of this post!

January: The Dopey and Castaway Cay challenges


Right after new year’s, I headed down to Florida with my fiancé’s family to run not only my first ever marathon, but the dopey challenge! For those of you that haven’t heard of the dopey challenge, it consists of running 48.6 miles over the course of 4 days, by completing a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. The first two days of running went well, and I completed the 5k and 10k with the group of 5 runners that I was traveling with (myself, Dennis, Rachel, Greg, and Liz). We used walk/run intervals to save our legs for the longer distances, and just had fun going through the races. We all wore matching Lion King costumes for the 5k, and for the 10k Dennis and I dressed as Wall-e and Eve.

The day of the 10k, we got the disappointing news that the half marathon was going to be cancelled because of a thunder storm. As soon as we got the official word, Greg and I headed out to run 13.1 miles around Saratoga Springs resort, so that we could feel we really “earned” our half and Dopey medals. It wasn’t the race that I had hoped for, but I was proud that we got out there and got our miles done despite the disappointment. The morning that the half was supposed to happen we caught up on sleep, and headed to the race expo to retrieve our medals and refunds.

On the last day of the dopey challenge, I ran my first full marathon. This race I ran by myself, as the other people I was travelling with had not trained as much as I had. On race morning it was about 30°, so I was glad that I had packed some of my cold weather running gear. I can’t say enough positive things about the Disney marathon, I loved every moment of it. From running up main street to meeting a giant bunny as I left animal kingdom, and the last mile through Epcot’s world showcase, it was the exact experience I had dreamed it would be. After the race we relaxed in the hotel room, and eventually made our way to splitsville in Disney springs to get some nachos and drinks.

The next day Dennis and I boarded a Disney cruise, and completed the castaway cay challenge by running a 5k during the cruise. We spent most of the cruise eating and laying around, enjoying the post-marathon relaxation.

My favorite medal from the Dopey challenge was the marathon medal – I loved that it was shaped like mickey, and was clean and classic in its design. It also meant the most to me, because a marathon is something that just a year earlier felt like an impossible feat. It represented everything that I had worked so hard to accomplish, and made me feel like I could do anything that I set my mind to.

March: United Airlines NYC half marathon

I got lucky with my entry for this race, getting in through the lottery that NYRR holds for it (for the 2018 race, I managed to secure a guaranteed entry!). Leading up to race day, I nervously monitored the weather, worrying that we were going to get snowed out and yet another half marathon would be cancelled on me. Thankfully, the race went on as scheduled, on a chilly morning. I headed into the race with my friend Sami, and ran the race with my friends Tara and Dan. The city was pretty that day, and central park was even coated with a layer of snow as we ran through it. As I waited for the race to start, my toes started to go numb and I was just ready to get moving. My favorite part of the race was running through times square, which I had never seen empty of cars. We managed to finish the race with a new half PR, and I even pulled off a sprint to the finish line. I was very glad to be given a heat sheet when the race ended, and immediately grabbed my checked bag and added on layers of clothing. Sami and I met up and headed home together. Of course, we stopped and got some post race snacks, including giant milkshakes from a local burger place. 



April: UAE Healthy Kidney 10k

 I was completing this race as a part of the requirement for the NYRR 9+1 program, on a crisp April morning. Dad drove me into central park, and hung out there while I ran the race. I wasn’t particularly planning on “racing” this event, but when I started moving it felt like a good day. The weather was right, I felt good, and I managed to pull off a PR as I ran through the city, which made this bling extra sweet. It was also a nice boost of confidence, just a few weeks before the Long Island Marathon.



May: The Long Island Marathon and the Air BnB Brooklyn half

May was a big month for me, as I ran my second marathon. Unlike my first one in January, which I did with a series of races, I had a time goal this time around. In a dream world, I wanted to break 4 hours. In reality I knew that it was unlikely that I would be able to shave 53 minutes off of my marathon time in four months, but I was going to give it a shot. The first 15 miles of this race flew by, all coming in at about an 8:58 pace. But they thing about the long island marathon is that about 10 miles of the full course are done on the highway after you split from the half runners, and boy does that become a rough mental game. I tried to stick to my pace, but mile after mile I started to loose seconds, and by mile 20 my IT band was killing me. My favorite part about this race was finding my people out for me cheering – from my mom at mile 6, to Dad and Grandpa at mile 13, then my teammate Tara at mile 15 – right where the turnaround on the highway was, then Dad again at mile 18, this time with my brother Tommy, and last but never least Dennis and Jennie just before the finish line.  When all was said and done I finished the race in 4 hours and 13 minutes, which was a 40 minute PR over my first full. I was pleased with my result, and the race left me feeling accomplished… but also like I could do even more the next time around.

Two weeks later I ran the Air BnB Brooklyn half with Dennis’ sisters, Rachel and Liz. Rachel and I had been training together over the last few months in the hopes of her getting a new PR. It was an early morning, and we headed into Brooklyn for the start of the race. We had fun through the 13 miles, taking advantage of run/walk intervals. We enjoyed all the spectators, with their numerous signs and joked throughout the race that we were just running it for the hotdogs that we would get from the original Nathans on Coney Island, where the race ended. The whole race was rainy, but we passed the time counting the miles, as you can see in my video from the race above!

June: Queens 10k

In the weeks after the Air BnB Brookyln half, it was clear that I should have waited a little longer after a marathon before running a full – I developed tendonitis in my foot in the weeks after the race, and my mileage was forced to drastically decline. While when I initially hoped to “race” this event, I was not able to get a lot of training in leading up to race day, and it was super humid and warm on race morning. Also, I forgot my inhaler. Is that enough excuses yet?

Anyway, I was soggy a mile into this run, purely from sweat as a result of the humidity. At about mile 4, my MBTT teammate Nicole caught up to me, and after yo-yo ing with each other a bit, we eventually decided to run the rest of the race together. The last two miles were rough, but we got through them together, and I finished the race in 54:41, which I was pretty happy with even though it was not a PR.

After the race Dad and I wandered around flushing meadow corona park together, taking some photos and enjoying the day for a little but before heading home. The design of this medal featured the unisphere from the worlds fair, which lives in flushing meadow-corona park, where the race took place, and I liked how they chose to feature this icon. 

August: Whisper Run 10k

My friend Jennie decided she wanted to run the whisper run 5k, so I decided to sign up for the 10k so we could hang out before and after the race. The race was in a park right by my house, and the 10k course was a double loop of the 5k. It was a simple loop, with the only difficult part of the race being when the terrain switched from pavement to grass for about a quarter mile. It was a bit humid, but I managed to take home first place in my age group, which I was excited about. This was a race awesome event, one of the race companys that puts on races on long island, and as always they had a great setup post-race. I really loved the tank tops that were the giveaway for this race, and the fact that the medal had a bottle opener in it.

September: New Balance Bronx 10-miler

I was excited when I signed up for this race, as it was my 4th “5 borough series” race with the NYRR, and would earn me the last credit I needed for a guaranteed entry for the 2018 united airlines half. Since this race was the same day as the Maker Faire that the NY hall of science hosts, Dennis agreed to drive me to the race, that way we could head right to maker faire together. Pre-race highlights included getting to pet a cat, and forgetting to take my glasses off before I left the car. I started this race by chasing a pacer, and managed to hang on for a few miles before the heat of the day got to me. I previously posted a recap of this race, so to hear all of the details check it out by clicking the button below:

November: NYC Marathon

You guys are probably sick of hearing about this one, so I’ll just leave the link to the recap here:

Also, I will say that I love the medal for this race. Simple, iconic, and symbolic of every mile of work that I put in before race day. For the rest of November, I mostly took it easy, and even ran a few turkey trots around thanksgiving.

December: The Savannah Enmarket Bridge run and Jingle All the Way 5k

Race recaps for both of these races will be coming soon, so I don’t want to get too into things with these races, but here’s a quick summary!

The Savannah Enmarket Bridge Run was a 10k that I did with my cousin Jen, and it was her first 10k ever. She will use this race as a proof of time for the dark side half next April! We had a great time traveling to Savannah, and we got to see a lot of the city throughout the weekend. The race itself was a real challenge, as we ran over the Talmadge memorial bridge twice, and boy was that incline steep. We celebrated with lots of bakery treats post race.

My last race of 2017 was Race Awesome’s jingle all the way 5k, which happened close to home, at cedar creek park on Long Island. It had snowed in the days leading up to the race, so we were treated to a scenic wintertime run, and the roads had thankfully been cleared for us. I took home third place in my age group, although I was somewhat frustrated when I learned that I only missed second place by 5 seconds! For the first time ever I got a running plaque, that is made out of a Christmas tree ornament. 

All in all, I had a lot of fun racing this year, and was lucky to be able to participate in many races. I am looking forward to 2018, and the opportunities it will bring.

So to close off, getting back to that year of bling tag –

1. What is your favorite 2017 medal based on design?


So for this one, I have to go with a series - I love how the NYRR's 5 borough series medals all had similar designs, with icons from the location that the race was run. I am a little bummed that I didn't run the Staten Island Half, which would have earned me the last medal in this set, but it was too close to the NYC marathon for my taste. 

2. What is your favorite non-runDisney medal?


The NYC Marathon medal wins this category, hands down. Being from NY, it meant so much to me to be able to run this race. i struggled at times during this race, but managed to make it to the finish line and earn this medal. 

3. What is your most hard earned medal?

I feel like this one has got to be the Long Island marathon medal - from my first marathon in January (the WDW marathon) to the LI marathon in May, I had four months to train. In those 4 months I managed to take 40 minutes off of my marathon time, coming in at 4 hours and 13 minutes. I put a lot of work into training, and pushed myself very hard during the race. Mentally, this race was grueling because of the long stretches of highway, and solo running. But I am really proud of the time I pulled off for this race. 

4. What is your favorite overall medal?


Overall, my favorite medal was the one that I earned for running the Walt Disney World Marathon. It was my first marathon, and I completed it as a part of the Dopey Challenge. Finishing that race felt like I was truly doing the impossible, and I love the design of the medal itself as well. I mean, its shaped like mickey's head and has mickey mouse himself on it!

So with the end of 2017,

I am looking forward to all of the races and miles I have in front of me for 2018. I am so happy that I will get to run with Kasey and Jen for their first half marathons, and other races too! I hope you guys will continue along with me on my running journey, and see what 2018 brings!

What was your favorite medal of 2017? Share it with me below or tag me in a photo of it on instagram.