Today will be the first time that I do not call you to tell you I’m glad you came home.

The last time I spoke with you was a year ago today. You happened to call me back at the same time that I was leaving you my annual message (a common occurrence those days as you rarely got to the phone in time. Aged had slowed your gait but not your mind.) and I heard your deliberate, lilting introduction “Tess, it’s Papa here…” on my voicemail. Knowing you would likely still be within arms reach of the receiver, I called you back immediately.

I told you how grateful I was that you and your friends and hundreds of thousands of strangers had sacrificed so much so that I could have the life I do. I asked you about your navigator’s watch and how it differed from a normal watch. I asked you about Spoof Attacks and the annual bird count and if you’d read any good books lately. I told you I loved you and that I’d talk to you very soon. Two weeks later, you were gone.


You always hated to talk about the war and it was only in the last few years that you began to tell your stories. Perhaps you knew something we didn’t. Or perhaps you were tired of rehashing Planet Earth episodes, but it seems unlikely. When the stories began to emerge, they were mostly funny. Not to say that you thought that combat was a laughing matter, just that you were always able to find the hilarity in life. This was often aided by wine – but really, what sense of humour and adventure isn’t?

photo 1

You were my hero but that honour was mostly due to your pizza making finesse, incredible artistic gifts and seemingly never ending supply of frozen Skor bars. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I would begin to learn about your immense courage and bravery. At first I wondered why you never let us see that side of you before, but that’s just the sort of man you were. I think about that when the most terrifying things I have to do in my life is put a roof over my head and keep the milk from going bad. These are the biggest concerns in my world because you took on something so much larger. I do my best to honour what you gave me and the people I love and whatever possible children I may have. Sometimes I fall short and find myself worrying over passive aggressive text messages or Instagram filters. I forget to look around breathlessly and say “Well, isn’t that marvelous?”

This morning I will go to Victory Square and pay tribute to the men and women who served this country and created my future. I will honour the man who flew a plane from England, was shot down over France, walked to Switzerland and came home to teach university students art and his grandchildren to make pasta.

I will not call you today, but I’ll talk to you just the same.


*I promise to recap Chicago at some point in the near future, because I’m sure that all 6 people reading this blog are just DYING to know how it went. While it may seem that I’m alluding to all sorts of details in an effort to be dramatic, I assure you I am not. These are just the order that the thoughts are falling out of my head, and so I write them down even though it’s not the way it’s usually done. Because fuck normal, you can have that.*


What. A. Year.

I know where not quite singing Auld Lang Syne yet, but with Fall marathon season drawing to a close, it at least marks the end of the training cycles for many. Autumn always throws me for a loop. On one hand, I associate it with the birth of all things new thanks to many years as a student, and always crave a change. On the other, it marks not only the end of green foliage but also the culmination of many, many hours of training. This mix lends itself perfectly to me being confused enough to cry throughout my last long run and while looking at the Chicago Marathon course map during taper. Lovely.

I’ve spend the last 2 weeks feeling confused about my performance in Chicago. While I desperately wanted to be proud of myself for not quitting, even when I wanted to so. f*cking. badly., I just couldn’t manage it. Yes, a 20 minute PR is certainly something to be proud of and if someone came to me saying that they’d done it and weren’t proud of themselves I’d give them an earful, but we always seem to hold ever-so-slightly different standards for ourselves, now don’t we? How unfair. When people would ask me how the race went, I would struggle with an answer. “It was…good?” At which point I’d start to question if that was really the most honest answer I could give. Was it good? Considering for the most of the time I was on the course I felt like it was the most god awful activity I’d ever willingly put myself through, that hardly seems accurate. The trouble was, I didn’t really have a better answer to offer.

Today, while cruising the tweeters, my eyes skimmed by a tweet from my friend Brenda (who also happened to have run Chicago) that read: The journey is the reward. It was like the tweet was speaking RIGHT TO ME! (Isn’t it incredible how we are totally capable of making almost any situation entirely about ourselves? So handy.) As it turns out, those words were just the the ones I needed to pull me out of my “What the eff just happened?” slump.

In November of last year, I declared that 2013 would be the Year of the PR. I poured my heart out on the track. I woke up at 4 am to run in the freezing rain. I pushed myself to places I never really believed were possible for me, and then I pushed through them and on to something bigger. I set goals that had been merely dreams in years before. And I was ready. I was ready to claim what I had worked so hard for. I finally felt worthy. And then…I fell short. I technically still PR’d in Chicago, but it wasn’t the time I knew I had in me. So does that make the race a wash? Absolutely not. Because my lesson was not to learn what it feels like to shave 45 minutes off your marathon time. It was to learn what it felt like to earn the ability to do so. To work hard every day at something. To love something and to have it love you back. To learn about the unconditional support that meets you on the track, or at the finish line. To have your heart broken and to know that this is not the end. To try again. I am worthy of a 3:40 marathon and one day soon, I’ll step in and claim what is mine. In the meantime, I’ll keep riding this out. Because man, what a journey.


2:03:57 – First Half Vancouver – First PR of the Year


1:54:29 – Scotiabank Half Marathon – 5 days before my champagne birthday


4:15:39 – Chicago Marathon

icebath 4muskateers

(Disclaimer: I am starting to post race recaps. Starting with a race that took place 6 months ago. Just think of it as delayed gratification, rather than you reading the blog of a tardy writer. There, feel better?)

In November, I did something bold. Or, rather, I declared something bold. 2013 was to be the Year of the PR. I was going to take on things that made me feel like throwing up when I thought about them. I was going to train harder, run faster, lift heavier and push further. I was going to spend more workouts on the verge of puking or tears or both. I had set some pretty audacious time goals and I was going to chase them down with everything I had in me.  This was going to be it.

And then holidays happened and it snowed on the west coast which is pretty much the first sign of the apocalypse and I lived in the mountains were going out your front door was more than slightly treacherous and it was dark and cold and and and…. You get the idea. I just sort of lost sight of running outdoors. That’s not to say I forgot about it,  I just found myself clipping in for a spin or hitting the box for CrossFit or remembering how much my hip flexors hate me on my mat rather than lacing up my beloved Newtons. Now seems like a pretty good time to mention that while I was busy declaring lofty time goals, I was also busy signing up for races – starting with the First Half. Crossing the finish line of this race is what I typically view to be the kick off to my Spring training, and while I had big dreams for little finish times, I also liked the idea of not training in the wettest weather known to man. So, I kinda didn’t. (Yes, I understand that this is not the best way to go after a record breaking year.) Before I knew it, my calendar read February 9th and I had a race the next morning. Cue bizarre combination of apathy and panic, resulting in my neglecting to pick up my race package until the morning of and consuming a frantic amount of carbohydrates. When my alarm went off on Sunday morning, I looked at OK and cried “I don’t want to do it.” He told me I didn’t have to which seemed to be motivation enough to drag my sorry ass out from under the covers and choke down some peanut butter toast.

Before I get in to the nitty gritty, let me tell you that I love this race. It’s small (which is why it sells out in hours), flawlessly organized, 100% volunteer run and a beautiful, flat course. All these things mean that I’m waiting by my computer in the wee hours of the morning some day in November, waiting for registration to open. If you get the chance to run it, I highly recommend that you do. Now, on to the deets. The start and finish line are at the Roundhouse in Yaletown and it was a COLD morning to be by the water. I Dumped my gear with OK who was playing sherpa and went to warm up with Megan and Leyla. Before I knew it, the time had come to head to the start line. While I had no idea what pace I would be capable of holding, I knew the girls would be running at a faster one. I figured since I’d put in the effort to put on pants that morning and had no real expectations for this race given my whopping 4 runs in 3 months leading up to it, I may as well throw caution (or better judgement) to the wind and see what my legs could do. I wanted to go sub-2 this year and now seemed like as good a time as any to give it a whirl. At the very worst, it would give a clear idea of just how much work I had ahead of me for the Spring season. Some quick mental math told me that if I wanted to clock in at under 2 hours, I was going to have to run at a 5:39 pace. I had no idea if this was possible. The gun went, I waved goodbye to the back of Megan’s head and started off. The cold air and subsequent “what the hell am I doing” panic attack made my breathing laboured and I tried not to get carried away with keeping track of just how many people were passing me.

Run your own race, I kept telling myself.

The course is flat and beautiful and I was lucky enough to see many friends out on there who were cheering on friends and significant others. The whole time I kept thinking how uncomfortable it was but not uncomfortable to make me stop. I didn’t bring any gels with me, but I did have some sport beans with me as I am perpetually terrified of being hungry.  By the time I hit kilometre 15, I was feeling a bit bonky, so I stopped to walk through a water station and ate some beans. When I started back up, my legs felt dead so I slowed a little and told myself to stick with it. Right before rounding the lagoon, I heard OK shout “!” and I looked up to see him standing there. I was so surprised as I didn’t expect to see him on course and I smiled and waved and tried not to alarm him with a face that let him know that I was in the hurt locker. With just over 2 miles left, I knew it was going to be a challenge to hold my pace as I was tired and hungry and currently holding down the position of Conductor of the Grumpy Train. I started to slow a bit more. About 800 metres from the finish line is a small hill. And by small I mean short in length but certainly not lacking in vertical grade. I smiled a bit at the thought of being able to climb (I. Love. Hills.) and worked my way to the top. When I got there, I looked down at my watch and thought “I’ve run 20.03 km and haven’t enjoyed a single minute of it.” and I stopped to walk. Yes, I knew how close I was. No, I didn’t care. And then, from behind me I heard “OH HELL NO! You are not walking now. You have come this far, pick it up and start moving.” I turned around to find a woman running towards me. I laughed at being called out by a stranger and started to run. I am not going to lie, it hurt and I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to be a whiney baby and have it be over. I somehow managed to make it to the point where the finish line was in sight and I lit it up. As I turned into the chute, I heard another woman start egging me on from behind, telling me she was going to catch me. I turned it up as high as I could go and sprinted towards the finish. From the crowd I heard Megan and Brad shouting “Go Tess!” and above them I heard OK’s familiar voice shouting “Drop her! Drop her!” I started laughing (which is hard to do when you’re running at full tilt) and saw the time on the clock said 2:04:01. I crossed, smiling and still laughing.

finishlineAfter crossing the line, getting my medal and successfully not puking on a volunteer, I looked at my watch to see 2:03:57. I had PR’d by 12 minutes. I couldn’t have been happier. I had brought myself a little bit (or a lot) closer to my goal of getting mentally tougher in order to get faster.

Now, let me be clear that this is not a lesson in not investing in your training but rather, a lesson in dropping the story that you’re not strong enough and seeing what you can do. I’m pretty sure I passed.

Confession: There are a lot of things I think I’m not good enough for.

You’re shocked, I know. I have this weird perfectionist-based idea that if I’m not perfect at something, I can’t try it. Again, you’re shocked. Nobody has ever said anything like this before. Nope, never. I don’t even need to explain how ass backwards this thinking is – who is perfect at something every single time without ever trying it before? (But I did explain it anyway – you’re welcome.)

I should start this off by saying that I’ve always been an athlete. I’ve always used my body to express myself, be it through competitive gymnastics, rugby or 4 am dance parties, and have taken (relatively) good care of it, save a few years in my early 20s when I perceived instant ramen to be suitable run fuel. And even in my Ichiban filled years, my body was still in pretty great shape. My legs have always been strong with quads and calves to be reckoned with, biceps that build quickly and a relatively toned mid-section. At the same time, however, you’d be hard pressed to find me in shorts. Like, ever. Because I hadn’t learned that muscles were okay. Growing up amongst many a svelte dancer, I always thought my muscular legs stood out. And really, they did, I just wasn’t cool with it.

Fast forward 5ish years to today and 27 year old me hangs with a lot of serious athletes. Present in every facet of my life are folks with muscular bodies of the gods, incredible PRs and talent that could (and does) bring one to tears. I work with Olympians and train with pro athletes, so strong bodies abound. I read blogs written by 6-pack clad 3:1x marathon goddesses. And with this, my feelings of sticking out were replaced with those of inadequacy. No longer was I the girl with the strongest legs or strongest abs – I was well below the average and felt fairly invisible. I know, I know, grass greener etc etc. I should remark that these feelings were not caused by the people I admire – they are not able to make me feel that way, only I can do that.  The upswing being that it gave me something to aspire to, the downside being that I felt like I had A LOT of work ahead of me before I could even begin to think of myself as on the same level as those around me. If anyone asked me about my pace, I would identify myself as a solid back-of-the-mid-packer. I couldn’t risk telling anyone that I might be faster in case I actually wasn’t. I wasn’t about to make a liar out of me. I would sit at the back of spin classes, concious of the fact that despite my gymnastic background, coordinated choreography isn’t my strong suit and I sometimes struggle to tell left from right. I wasn’t about to have anyone see me get lost or miss a beat. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of the hardbodies that takes her shirt off, despite the fact that classes are so damned hot that the ceiling has been known to sweat. Nope. No way. Not ever. I am not perfect, therefore I cannot do it. 

My Thursday night spin rolled around and I excitedly hugged and high fived all of my favourite people that make that class made of awesome. I hopped on my just-back-from-middle-of-the-pack bike and got into it. Thursday night classes are notoriously warm as they’re the last class of the night and this one was no exception. The air was muggy enough to make you feel like you were in someone else’s lungs and my skin was instantly damp with perspiration that I was pretty sure was not mine (have I grossed you out enough to stop reading yet?) I was wearing a short sleeve shirt rather than my standard tank (full disclosure: it was because I was too lazy to shave my underarms before rushing out the door – now I’ve officially made you cringe) and it was HOT. 3 songs deep and I started to feel like I might have been working out in a sauna rather than the cement loft I was in – it was starting to become unbearable. I cursed myself for not getting my shit together and busting out a razor. I rolled my eyes at the thought of having to withstand another 41 minutes of this hell. I looked down at the body I pay homage to, day in and day out, week after week, month after month and thought

Fuck it.

I whipped off my shirt and felt an instant wave of relief. Most of this can be accredited to the fact that I could now feel the air from the fan beside me on my skin, but part of it might have been that I tossed off my massive case of everyone-is-better-than-me-itis along with my Pop Orange Swiftly. The pace picked up to a standing jog and as the sweat dripped down my face to George Michael’s ‘Freedom’ (OH MY GOD, I’M A LIVING, BREATHING CLICHÉ), I grinned like a fool. Because I felt good. Like, really, really good. And not because I finally felt like I was good enough to hang with the fast kids, but because I finally felt safe enough to be me. My skin. Sweaty and paler than most and just imperfect enough to be made for me. It was at that moment, soaking wet and wobbly legged, that I started to realize that I just might be enough.

Because I could never let anything that makes me feel this happy…



ever make me feel not beautiful.

I have something I need to clear with y’all: I’m terrified of bicycles. If I were to get on my Freudian couch and try and trace back to the point in my childhood where this developed, I’d come up blank. As a small child, I used to take my metallic maroon Electra on the 12 km round trip from my West Point Grey home to Granville Island and back. On the road! With cars! How am I still living?! At some point, I stopped riding my bike (most likely directly related to the time we moved to the North Shore and my back yard became a freaking mountain) and when I decided to get back on, my brain decided to tell me that it was highly likely that I would die. No joke. I’m reasonably certain I will meet with some abhorrent fate the second my tush hits the saddle. Is this unreasonable? Perhaps. But so is Cher staging yet another comeback tour and nobody seems to be stopping her. Seriously, you can fall off your bike and remove all your skin! Some people ask why I’m perfectly fine to ride a motorcycle but will go nowhere near it’s motorless sister to which I tell them YOU CAN WEAR LEATHER ON A MOTORCYCLE. Leather is made from cow hide which protects cows standing in fields everywhere from all types of elements. The most amount of protection you’re offered on a bike is a paper thin layer of Lycra and some optional padding around your lady (or gent) bits. Ugh. No thanks. So when my coach suggested I try cycling to help increase my VO2 max, I asked her if I looked like I had a death wish. After an eye roll I could feel through the phone, she reminded me that you could spin. You know, on bikes that don’t move. That alone eliminates about 90% of the mortality risk. So, with my stretchiest spandex on and just enough courage to render me temporarily insane, I walked through the door of Cadence Vancouver. My quads were forever changed.

I fell in love with the music, the ever changing tempo of class, the sweat and just how freaking hard it was. Dance party on a bike that sometimes has you cursing out loud? Check. I found myself in class at least once a week; in a brilliant mix of euphoric, sweat induced bliss and desperately trying not to puke. Every time I got off the bike, I was excited for the next time I could get back on. Right after my legs stopped threatening to give out from beneath me. The mental toughness I learned in those classes was what allowed me to muscle through last week’s 10k.  After several months of regular attendance (read: voluntary weekly suffering), it dawned on me that I had yet to take a class with the man behind the magic, Mike Porter.

After leaving the corporate world behind, Mike moved to Vancouver and opened the doors to Cadence. Since then a community of loyal athletes have been filling classes to the point of wait lists and discovering just how far they can push their limits. At every turn, Mike is there. His genuine care for his students and their progress is evident every single time you step into the studio – from checking everyone’s fit to asking about recent races. It’s just like walking into your favourite bar. Only instead of cocktails, there are bikes. They also provide towels and shoes (and shoes small enough to fit my elfin feet!)

I signed up for Mike’s Tuesday night class with a mild amount of nervous anticipation. I mean, this man runs the show, so his class should be no different. And I had just taken Ashley’s class the night before, so my legs weren’t really feeling rested. My goal was to RX the workout. Every time Mike told me to add on resistance, I would. I felt like if I could accomplish this, I would have succeeded.

I clipped in and began warming up my legs and soon Mike was up at the front of the class, ready to start the suffer sweat fest. “We’re going to get intense pretty quickly.” he announced to the class. UnFortunately, Mike is a man of his word and I was sweating before the first track ended. My heart started pounding and didn’t stop until class was over. To give you some perspective, here is an sampling of the things that went through my mind during our 6:40 climb (for serious, it was that long):

Yahoo. I love this song. I am a machine. Ugh, this is hard. Everything hurts. Even my hair. Cookies. Oh my god, this song is so good. I’m a maniac, maaaaaaniaaac. Okay, this song is really long. Are we there yet? Cookies. 

The following 35 minutes and 20 seconds were filled with sprints, “recovery” (I use this word lightly) flats and more sweat than previously thought humanly possible. I unclipped and stood with jello legs next to my bike, grinning. Spinning is the closest thing I’ve found to my beloved runner’s high. After awkwardly trying to put on dry clothes over my sweaty skin and grabbing an apple out of the bowl on the table, I walked by Mike.

“How was class?”

“It was great. There were a few points where I hated you, but I got over it.”

He smiled.

“There were a few points where I hated myself, so I guess we’re even.”

Can’t wait for the rematch.

In life, I’ve never been very good at sitting in the middle section of anything. Grades, sports or boys – I was either all in or nowhere to be found, there was no middle ground. I am either bizarrely passionate or completely disinterested. So, when I made my transition in running, it only made sense for me to go from being a 100m sprinter to being a marathoner. Yes, I realize  that to get to that point I would have had to have run all the distances in between, but I certainly don’t specialize in them. The thing about mid-distance running is that it’s hard. Like, really hard. Like, harder than people give it credit for. If I ever hear someone say, “oh, I’m just racing a 10k.” I’m the first person to tell them it’s anything but “just”.

The thing about mid-distance running is that it hurts the whole time, because you have to run hard THE WHOLE TIME. I’m intimately familiar with the marathon; I know how to break it down and what to expect. While it’s true that you never know what the day will give you, you usually have a safe bet at the first two thirds not having you begging for mercy. Not so with its shorter distance cousins. Stick me in a 5 or 10k and I know I’ll be spending close to the entirety in the hurt locker. Fun. Many runner friends and coaches alike have imparted words of wisdom such as “once you get over the fact that you can run in that much discomfort, you’re fine…” and “you can always give 20% more without dying” (Safe!) None of these make me feel better.

When Megan gently convinced me to sign up for the 10k portion of the Fall Classic, I figured now was as good a time as any to start facing my fears. The fears weren’t necessarily alleviated  by the fact that Megan is one speedy gal and I had agreed to try and keep pace. 42 minutes? Um, what? I’ve been more excited about my yearly appointment to place my feet in both stirrups, but I decided to cowboy up and get on board anyhow. The universe had different plans for me and decided to knock me on my ass with the flu. I get sick about once every two years and when I do, it’s not pretty. 10 days of fever and chest cold = no running = no fun = 1 very unprepared runner girl. Needless to say, I had to adjust my original goal if I didn’t want to wind up in the medic tent on course. I decided if I could go in 53 minutes or under, I’d be pleased. I wasn’t even sure I could manage this.

Race morning was cold and wet (what up, YVR?) and Megan and I spent the drive to the start line talking about how nervous we were and how excited we were for it to be over while our respective other halves wondered aloud why we would ever willingly sign up for something like this. “Because it feels sooooo good when it’s over!” we both chimed in. This response was met with blank stares mixed with confusion so the topic was dropped.

After a quick warm up run, a bathroom break and the obligatory removal of the 10,ooo layers I’d decided I needed to wear, it was time to get down to business. I told Megan about my time goal as we stood at the start line. She had different ideas for me. “I bet you do it in 51 -52” she told me as we watched the start clock count down. My brain was too preoccupied with the imminent pain to really argue with her, but a little doubt crept in. I’m not fast enough. I don’t push hard enough. I’m not good enough.

Ugh. Enough.

The gun went, and I took off. I knew I’d have to hold a 5:13 pace (this is in km, my Yankee friends) in order to come in at 53 minutes. 500 meters in I looked at my watch and saw I was clipping along at 4:12. Time to back off. I dropped down to 4:50 and held it there for the first 5k. The course is 50% downhill and 50% up – bet you can guess which half you finish on. My breathing was laboured and at several points I thought my heart might very well beat out of my chest. Keep holding it, you’re not dead yet. In fact, part of you actually likes this. Hold steady. The turn around was at the 5k mark, at which point you start heading uphill for the rest of the way home. Here’s a dirty little secret about me: I love running uphill. I was born to climb. There is something so immensely satisfying about taking on something that is supposed to slow you down and telling it “No, I don’t think so. Not today.” The next 2k felt amazing. Well, maybe that’s an overstatement, but they didn’t make me hate my life so I’m calling that amazing. I knew if I could just get to kilometre 8, I would feel like I was on the home stretch. My body was weaker than I would have liked and I was starting to feel it. I dropped down to 5:01 and kept pushing. My lungs hurt. I tried to smile and I couldn’t keep it. I started asking myself just what the hell I thought I was doing. I’m never going to be good at this distance. It’s always going to hurt. Why is everyone out here stronger than me? Am I ever going to get better at this?

Again. Enough.

Instead of asking myself what I was doing, I asked myself why I was there. I love the person I am when I’m running. I am the best possible version of me. I earn my own respect every time I want to quit and find it in me to dig deep and push through. If learning to love yourself isn’t reason enough to lace up, I’ll never know what is. At this point, I looked down at my watch and realized that Megan would be crossing the finish line right then. I smiled. Then I looked at my watch again and knew that I’d make it in 51 minutes. She was right. I smiled again. As I came around the bend towards the finish, a familiar face wearing a bright pink toque jumped out of the crowd and told me to keep going. I smiled at her. I smiled at her boyfriend, Brad and at OK (both of whom got up at an ungodly hour to stand in the rain to cheer us on, both of whom were so proud of us) and kicked it in to the finish. My goal was to leave it all out there and as I stumbled into OK’s hug, I felt like I’d done exactly that. 51:35.

“How was it?”

“It sucked and I loved it.”

This photo depicts far less suffering than was actually present. Megatron, I love you. I needed you out there. You are a machine. With a super big heart. 

51 minutes in the hurt locker made worth it by this. And a hot shower and a nap. But mostly this. 

Woah. It’s been awhile.

I could go on and on about why it’s been so long or how I’ve neglected this space, but I’m not going to. Instead, let’s simply celebrate the return of my mildly sardonic tone and call it a day.

I realized as I opened my laptop to write this, that I’ve never discussed my job. It’s probably because it never came up. Or it’s because I’m a CSIS agent. One of the two. In any event, when not dabbling in matters of national security (aka: making sure there are always pickles in my fridge), I spend my days in the online world of lululemon. Yes, kids, I tweet for a living (among other things). And yes, I love my job. Hard. Without sounding too shiny happy people about it, I get to spend my days with some of the most inspiring, talented, kind and hilarious people to grace this earth. People that push me to be a better writer. People that hold me accountable and are not afraid to stand up on desks and yell when I cross a finish line (or be at the finish line waiting for me). People that understand the importance of cream in coffee.

Some of the most important people I have the pleasure of chatting to are our ambassadors. Now, I fully intend on finishing my degree and eventually winding up with my PhD in physiology (hi, mum!), but if the opportunity arose for me to be a professional marathon cheerleader, I’d drop the textbooks in a heartbeat. The thing is, I love athletes. I have the deepest respect for anyone who is willing to go balls to the wall and try something they’ve never done before…and then work their ass off at it day in and day out. Nothing moves me to keep going than knowing that there are people out there getting up to 4 am alarms to run track in the rain, juggling schedules to create workouts, or showing up on their mats for their students. I’m a person who turns to sweat when sh*t gets rough. I wanted to spend some time getting to know the people that have helped me through some of my darkest hours, and might not even know it.

It started with a simple declaration and lo, the Ambassador Project was born.

When deciding where I would start, I turned to the all knowing oracle, the internet. Elle Basten and I “met” on Twitter several months ago, and have a shared love of anatomy and cat pictures, making her a natural choice to kick start this adventure. I mentally prepared myself for the trek from the deep woods of the North Shore, to the beaches of Kits for her Monday morning class. However, the universe has a way of pulling a fast one on you and on Sunday night I was delivered an emotional blow that took me to my knees, so Monday morning found me piecing things back together rather than being clad in spandex. Monday evening rolled around and I decided that the best place to start piecing it all back together was on my mat, so I donned my stretchy pants and headed to the studio. When I walked out around the corner of the change room, I was immediately greeted with a familiar head of dark hair (we brunettes, we stick together) and pair of glasses. So I did what any normal person would do to someone they met on the internet and have never seen face to face before: I hugged her. I’m sure my mother would be mildly alarmed at the number of near perfect strangers that I’ve not only met on the internet but then travelled distances to meet, or hosted them in my own city. There isn’t one that I haven’t greeted with a hug.

PSA: If you tweet me and like pictures of cats or sardonic irreverence, I’ll probably hug you if we meet. 

I walked into class with one goal – just keep breathing. My heart had been broken not 18 hours before and I just wanted a little space for me. And a grilled cheese sandwich, but that wasn’t really an option at that moment.

In case you were wondering, Elle is just as lovely offline as on. Actually, probably more so. Her yin class = heart medicine. I spent 75 minutes letting go and crying on my mat (this all sounds highly dramatic – I should be up for an Emmy right about now.)

Yoga: One of the few places where wearing spandex and crying in a room full of strangers is totally legit.

If you feel like shedding some layers, check out Elle’s sched here. I’ll probably see you there.

This is actually a challenge I present myself with every morning. What greatness looks like for me varies every day, depending on the current happenings of my world, but the sentiment remains the same – Don’t ever settle. Always do your best.

It’s no secret to anyone that I love my job and the people I’m so privileged to work with every day. I came into my role as a terrified and slightly broken woman, having just walked away from a career that I’d spent the better part of 8 years creating and building. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I had a firm understanding of what I didn’t want, and sometimes that’s just as good. The first person I wound up reporting to would turn out to be my friend, mentor and coach. He saw things in me that I never knew existed, or worse, had forgotten how to be. And tomorrow, when I wander to the kitchen to get my coffee, he won’t be there. His absence is bittersweet as he’s left to pursue a dream, but I’ll miss him all the same. What I’m trying to get at is that there’s greatness in everyone and by challenging yourself to live as true to this as possible, you may change someone else’s life while you’re at it. These were the words he left our department with:

So I’m leaving.  And it sucks.  I’m happy to go do something I am passionate about.  But it makes me sad as hell that I’m leaving a job and company that I love, and have learned so much from.  You might not realize it now, but this place makes you a better person if you let it.  Be open.  Accept and give feedback.  Do those things that scare the poop out of you.  And choose to be great. 

This is the best place to work in the world.  Love it while you’re here.  It’s home to some of the smartest, kindest, most generous, most talented and honest people I’ve ever met.  Every single person I’ve met here has given me something and I’ll never forget any of you.  Thanks for being amazing.  I love you all.

If any of you need anything.  Anything at all.  Someone to help you move, or paint.  Advice.  Help with your car. Just someone to shoot the breeze with at a dog park, or go for a hike with.  I’m your man.  Call me.  I might not answer, but I’ll always call you back. 

Take care.

I make no secret of my love for America.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond proud to come from a country best known for politeness and comedians – actually, nobody knows us for our comedians, they all assume they’re American – and I can accurately tell you our national sport and animal without having to Google it, but there’s something to be said for the nation that invented Funfetti Cake.

I also make no secret of my love for driving around, often aimlessly; it fills my suburban teenage heart with such joy. So, when a friend asked me for a Sunday drive, a run for the border seemed like an obvious choice. What was originally intended as a one hour grocery shop morphed into an overnight stay in Seattle. Why? Because driving is fun. And because we missed a few exits.

Riding the Jigga lane down the I-5. Throw your diamonds up.

Sleepover essentials provided by Trader Joe's.


~ spontaneity is good for the soul.

~ i possess little to no self control when it comes to yogurt covered raisins.

~ america broadcasts an inordinate number of sandwich commercials, particularly late at night.

~ sing loudly while driving. really loudly.

~ my ability to visually recall the location of a hotel i stayed at 2 years ago appears to be better than my ability to visually recall the location of idaho on a map of america.

~ in america, it snows inside malls.

~ in seattle, if you ask someone where they got their coffee, they might respond with “everett” and then provide you with driving directions. you know, just in case you wanted to drive 36 minutes out of your way.

~ escher and usher are two very different things.

~ if you happen across a carousel in the middle of downtown in the pouring rain, you should talk your way onto it. it’ll be worth it.

~ my theory on east coast vs. west coast men and chivalry still stands strong but is open for challenge.

~ i sometimes forget that asking a total stranger to join you for dinner isn’t normal. it’s not until i’m thanked for having the balls to do so do i remember that not everyone finds this a commonplace practice.

~ i eat ridiculous things.

~ funfetti cake is real.

So, dear Seattle, thank you for your hospitality, new found friends and late night amusement park rides. I’ll see you soon.

Oh, and you look beautiful in the rain.

dr: your digitorum brevis is pretty aggravated, has the swelling or tension spread up your calf?

me: no. it’s fairly centralized.

dr: i notice you’ve got some bruising up the front of your shin. are you sure there hasn’t been any swelling?

me: oh, that? no. that’s from trying on pants.

dr: pants?

me: yeah, i had just put on moisturizer about 20 minutes before trying on some jeans. they were hard to pull up and i smoked my leg into the dressing room bench while trying to step into them.

dr: i see.

me: yep. my very own ross gellar moment. minus the baby powder.

dr: and that? *points to bruise on my other knee*

me: opening a desk drawer.

dr: i see. i think your running injuries have less to do with your running form than previously anticipated.