it’s interesting to feel your values shift as you grow older. when i was in my teens, all i wanted was to go to the olympics in three-day-eventing. there were some unfortunate events that happened. things happen when you’re not the sole part of a performance and instead, in my situation, working with/on a horse. i gave it my all the summer before my senior year of high school, only to come out beaten and broken. at that point i finally listened to the advice given to me and took a step back.

the guilt i felt making that decision was horrible. i vividly remember the emotional process and it took me committing to leaving the country (new zealand) to walk away. i remember my dad said he wouldn’t sell my horse while i was gone and let me think about it while i explored the world. [even typing this makes me tear up] i came home and didn’t want to ride. i struggled with losing my identity.

running filled the void and triathlon quickly followed. i have never committed to triathlon and running the way i did to riding. because i learned things change, i change. i have known it’s better for my well being if i don’t let triathlon or running completely consume my life, it either adds to the greatness of my life or i should find something else.

i have been asked by many if i feel “free” since retiring from triathlon and walking away from the pressures of training? i don’t have a straight forward answer. the thing is, i made conscious decisions to limit the amount of stress the sport put on my life. not having a coach was the most beneficial decision i made towards my enjoyment in sport. i am smart enough and resourceful (i have ingenius friends who are more than willing to provide direction). also, i do not feel pressure by what other people post on social media. what other people do and post doesn’t negatively impact my day and if it does, i simply, “unfollow” the offenders.

i guess what i am trying to say is, sport wasn’t negative for me. it just became too demanding at a time i wanted to put my focus elsewhere, like now, towards grad school.

i was recently listening to a podcast where they were talking about, “the glorification of being busy.” there is one thing i pulled out of it that truly resonated with me. it was the process of not filling your plate 100+% full in order to get the most out of yourself, instead we should shoot for 80%. i am one of those people that doesn’t feel content unless they have far too much on their plate. it’s a constant problem and i am in perpetual crisis mode. i am probably not going to get this right, but the reason for the 80% is that things often take much longer than you anticipate. if i didn’t understand that well before, after 24 grad school credits where we’re constantly relying on technology, i get it.

instead of committing to endurance racing, i am committed to working through some of my biggest limiters [in life]. i am also working from scratch, doing something i have wanted to do for a very long time — build my strength and core muscles so i am better, more balanced athlete. doing all those little things that are the first to fly out the window when you get in the thick of long distance training without any stress of squeezing in some miles. i also need to get my health on track as i am a hot mess, but that’s another post for another day.


live authentically.

i quit.


in middle school and high school my identity was wrapped up in riding horses and competing. when i graduated high school i walked away from riding to explore our big world. i spent seven hard, yet glorious months traveling around new zealand and learning who i am away from horse back riding.

once back from new zealand, i got into running as a way to lose weight. i ran my first marathon at 20 and have dabbled on and off in the endurance sport world for the past ten years. running and triathlon have given me strength, taught me commitment and perseverance, and helped me create a lovely network of beautiful people i call, my friends.


for the past few months i was training for a hard 50k with a ton of climbing and descending, more in one race than i have ever put together in one week. that concept excited me! the race is next weekend and i trained just enough for it. but something hasn’t been feeling right in my head and gut. this translated into my stride.

i was digging myself a new hole, the same kind of hole i like to dig myself over and over and over again. i started feeling lethargic, i was gaining weight even though i was running 50mi a week, i was needing to drink wine to calm down every.single.night, i was feeling stressed out while running instead of feeling free and alive.

once i added those up, it was an easy decision to make.

i quit.

i quit because for once in my adult life i don’t want to dedicate my energy towards an event. i quit because i want to completely throw myself into my education and not feel pulled one way or the other. i quit so i can be the best version of me. i quit because running shouldn’t be stressful, especially when you’re running in the mountains. i quit because i want to feel strong and i started to feel really weak (physically). i quit because i have goals that are bigger than one race in the mountains. i quit because a hobby i choose to do, should be something i thoroughly enjoy — allowing room and energy for me to better handle the other stressful elements life tends to conjure up.


this does not mean i am walking away from adventure — it simply means i am opening my life up to pursue bigger adventures with my friends.

murphy’s law.

the past few months have been a perfect storm. murphy’s law is in effect. “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” i am a problem solver and i like to have control and this semester my problem solving skills have been challenged by a variety of issues in and out of my control. the only thing that is truly in my control is the way i handle adversity. any mistake you can make, i have probably made. [how many more times can i say, “control” in one paragraph?]

at the beginning of the semester i got a bit caught up in my personal life and things that require some attention and are in need of change. this derailed my attention from school and once i realized what was happening i began practicing my compartmentalization skills to get back on track. i cannot have it all right now, my focus is my education, it is why i am here.

nothing is easy. and i wasn’t looking for an easy button coming here, i was looking for a challenge, and a challenge i got.

yesterday on campus when it felt like my world was crushing down on me, again, i realized this is just another lesson and why i am here. my heart was in my throat (this happens daily) as i opened up a file that was 98% complete as of yesterday after a 14hr day to find it saved funky and pieces were everywhere. this was after i was told i had to re-print a flexible packaging project and then i couldn’t find my yellow plate, which is most likely in the trash and now i have to go back through the process of making a yellow plate that requires nearly four hours of time. that doesn’t include having to remount my plates and the printing time. [i am talking gibberish to anyone who doesn’t know flexographic printing and this is just one day, most days have their challenges] i digress, i have learned that i cannot expect others to know what i need or want unless i ask, even if it makes me uncomfortable and makes me feel like a failure or a dumbass. no one can read my mind. yesterday i had to ask a lot of questions that ultimately made me feel like a failure, but i knew no one could know what i needed unless i asked and even though i felt like a complete idiot, it was fine.

whether i fail or not, this is growth. this is why i am here and putting myself out there and taking leaps. i am falling down [literally and figuratively] and dusting myself off time after time.

the good news is there is a new project that i am interested in as a special project. it’s a piece that is going to push me and that is exciting. although i know it will most likely be more work than i anticipate, which seems to be the trend here. i tell all my freshman/sophmores when they complain about how difficult things are that they have to get used to it. with the amount of software, machines and materials we use, the potential for things to go wrong is infinite. things always go wrong.

all of this also means, i cannot aggressively train for anything right now and that is okay. i am still going to race the 50k at the end of May, i will be fine for it. but i haven’t worked out in three days and i am writing this right now instead of running and my time is limited unless i don’t sleep and i need sleep. i need my brain to have a chance to function.

spring break.


it’s spring break and i am supposed to be partying it up – there is only a little bit of that, the elizabeth kind. and then there is the rest of the time where i am trying to make up for everything i have let slide. and so here i am more than half way through spring break and i don’t feel relaxed at all. i have kept myself up each night panicking about things i need to take care of and things i think i should be doing and then i am furious with myself because i need to learn how to relax when i get a little break or i am going to be tightly wound for the rest of my life and that is not okay with me! [must breathe]

i am not prepared to dive into details at this point in time, but i am happy to share my version of spring break partying.

yesterday jared and i took off for a whirlwind day. we left the pups at home to hold down the fort while we spent the day gallivanting up north. i saw this peak mentioned after a quick search for some good trails and it sounded amazing so i scoured the internet for more information and could barely find a thing. i scribbled down loose directions to the trail head but i couldn’t find enough information to tell us which direction on the trail to go. all i knew is we could get in some good miles on the Appalachian Trail regardless of the way we chose. turned out we went the right way, our car didn’t get broken into being the only one parked on the side of the road and we were treated to some spectacular views of North Carolina and Tennessee at the top of Big Bald Mountain. we met two guys at the top who were through hikers of the AT trail, they were out for roughly five months and i couldn’t help but feel a little envy towards them.




there is nothing that makes me feel more alive than being outside experiencing the world through nature. trail running (and racing) gives me an excuse to be out there, it also provides a short term goal that gives me a sense of accomplishment while i am chasing bigger, longer term dreams in other aspects of my life. i don’t need the races to get me out there, but i do love the boost it gives me to break outside my comfort zone and see what the world has to offer.

we grabbed doughnuts from a couple places in AVL on our way to the AT trail, packed them up to the top as our treat for for reaching the summit of Big Bald Mountain.
we grabbed doughnuts from a couple places in AVL on our way to the AT trail, packed them up to the top as our treat for for reaching the summit of Big Bald Mountain.


still running.


i might have a fracture in my wrist and we may have had “snow” days, but i am still out running. my wrist is feeling so much better and i didn’t have to, nor did i want to skip a day. the one thing my fall made me realize is that i didn’t feel like using my injury as an out. i really, truly wanted to run, purely out of passion.

it took three months post kona to consider trying to ignite the spark. in an attempt to bring positivity to my life during a depressive episode, i put together a little training structure to follow and didn’t put any pressure on forcing things. if i didn’t want to run, than i absolutely didn’t have to. i am here to say, those bad days never came (i have failed with this in the past and have learned to just roll with whatever i feel, it’s okay to not want to) and here i am, eight weeks later with some base under my belt — i even signed up for a race.

since we moved to south carolina, i have regularly perused ultra signup to see if anything sparks my interest and falls into the right time frame. about a month ago i found a race that gave me butterflies in my tummy. it’s a 50k on may 31st just two hours north of here in north carolina. it’s part of the skyrunning series and looks like it might end up being more of a hike/crawl than actual running event as the course has 11,300ft gain and 11,700ft loss. the race was close to selling out so i pulled the trigger and signed myself up.

until the snow and ice melt and my wrist heals i am sticking to the roads. i am not a naturally clumsy person, but accidents happen and i am not wearing my hard splint while running, so i am playing it safe. this morning i ran 15 miles with 2500ft vertical gain. wow is all i can say. i have room for fitness growth, but i just love this little quest so much. it’s a huge improvement from how i felt about training for kona. which does make me sad, i am not over kona and how difficult i found it to pull myself together to train for that race. at some point i probably need to let that go and that is a whole other can of worms. i am sure i can’t let it go because i still have something left to learn from it and so, i keep the feeling around. there i go off on a tangent, let me bring this back around to where i am at now.

while i was running this morning, the roads were quiet and the wind was howling as i climbed up and over paris mountain. the trees were creaking and i struggled to discern whether it was wind or a car headed my way. my head was on a constant swivel, but it was just me on the roads relentlessly climbing or descending for 15 miles of pure, painful joy. jared asked me what i thought about during my run and i didn’t know. i wasn’t thinking about anything other than what i was doing and maybe how much more i need to do in order to be ready for this race.

i have learned a lot from training for last years 50k’s. i didn’t spend enough time climbing, i didn’t spend enough time on the trails and i do really well if i can do back-to-back longer runs. currently, i am running five days a week and as long as tomorrow goes as planned, i will hit my first 40 mile week. you can follow along with all my training on strava if you’re curious of my distance/pace/ascent/descent/(no hr though, no hr monitor, sorry). i am strength training regularly, although that is slightly on hold until my wrist heals.

tomorrow is another longish run with hopefully a good amount of climbing. hill repeats are my new best friend.



this kind of sucks.

we have had some cold weather recently. school was even cancelled and stores closed so employees could get home safely. i know it’s a brief and crazy whirlwind of weather so i have embraced it. running hasn’t been an issue and jared and i have had some nice walks with the pups when it seems like it’s only us out there enjoying the winter wonderland.

yesterday i set out to get my long trail run in at paris mountain. the road to the tippy top was closed off, that should have been my sign to change my plan. the trails were sporadically covered in ice. the first 1.3 miles is uphill, climbing with the ice wasn’t an issue, at that 1.3 mark i hit a short decent to cross the road and hop back on the trail. that is where i ran into an issue.


coming down this trying to stay upright was a poor choice on my part. i took a picture and sent it to jared letting him know i was most likely coming home early. the fall hurt bad enough that i felt compelled to wrap one of jackets around my arm to act as a brace.

IMG_3706i opted to run down the road and see how i felt. my arm hurt but my legs felt good and i didn’t feel like the whole day needed to be a waste. i went around the bend in the road and learned as to why it was closed off.


i skidded my way down this hoping that was it and that i would stay upright. it was and i did!

finished off a 5mi run on the roads in my trail shoes (not my favorite combination) and am going to stick to the roads until this stuff melts!

when i got home i texted my dad and jared urged me to get an x-ray. i didn’t want to. but as the day progressed, the pain didn’t disappear and i wanted to stop thinking about it so i drove to clemson to get it checked.

turns out i fractured the radial head and i have to wear this stupid cast thing for 2.5 weeks until i get another x-ray.


i was so happy i made dinner and cleaned the house before my run! take a little bit off of jared’s plate since he has to do just about everything for me now. good news is i managed to make coffee and my own breakfast this morning! now if only i could wash my hair and shave my legs!

do i have a choice?


i ask myself that a lot. if so, am i too embarrassed to make that choice? am i being too weak? am i too weak that i won’t give in or am i too weak giving in?

when i get so overwhelmed with everything on my plate, with the expectations i place on myself, i usually wait until i pop. that pop usually happens in the worst places, of course it does. i am trying to learn to manage myself better, to not say, “yes” to everything and to everyone and to figure out who i am and what i really want to do. not what is expected of me, but what feels right in my gut.

i have never been a person who fits in a neat little box. i want to explore and i don’t want to fake who i am to meet the perceived expectation of someone else. i don’t know if that makes sense and i don’t feel like anyone specifically is trying to hold me back, just that society places these expectations on us and guilt is the feeling that likes to settle into my gut and make me feel awful about any choice i make.

the feedback i have received, most of my life, is that i take on too much. i want to try it all, i want to try to do it all and then i realize some of the “yes’s” i had said aren’t necessarily up my alley. it’s an issue and i want the opportunity and i want to prove that i am superhuman and perfect, to myself. follow through is extremely important.

then at some point i fall apart, usually in public, it’s a problem.

i am learning. even if at the time it feels like i am tucking my tail between my legs and crying wolf. learning to say, “no” and not feel instant guilt is something i am working on and far from a great power of mine.

this is all to say i got a little overzealous at school. i said, “yes” to everything because i wanted to be considered for everything. last week, i waved the white flag. i was juggling too much, becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. ummm… i am here to get my masters. i need(ed) to prioritize and re-organize myself.

i was struggling to make it all happen and to make everyone happy and i was lost in a sea of school. then i realized i had control over this, this is not depression and no one is doing this to me, i can choose change.

and i did, i decided to drop one of my classes. and honestly, it’s killing me. it’s this weird feeling, where i feel like i can really focus on what i have on my plate now and sink my teeth into stuff that fascinates me. on the other hand, i feel like i gave up. especially considering i was doing great in the class…

i felt like i was drowning. and my program director warned me at the end of last semester that i shouldn’t take that class with everything else i had on my plate. he told me so.

i am still taking a more than full load, working on a research project on the side and teaching.

this was a huge step in the right direction for me (right?). i am realizing i am in graduate school to hone in on where i want to go, on what i want to do when i leave here and the last two weeks have helped me think about my time here in a new and better light.

i still want to go back to working in the athletic industry, i just need to define the role i want to take on so i can grow in the right direction.