Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Auburn Fans

Figured I'd add to the spirit of Iron Bowl week and share this recent post I read.
War Eagle, y'all. 

It's hard to watch your team go 13-0 and miss the chance to have a national title.

It's hard to finally get that championship and have the NCAA and media breathing down
your neck the whole time. 

It's hard to watch your team go winless in the SEC and 3-9 overall, and then see your beloved trees ripped from the ground because one of your detractors doesn't know the difference between rivalry and hatred. 

It's hard to see your program's rich tradition and moments of greatness denied by a never-ending chorus of haters who don't care what it means to believe in Auburn and love it.

But it's also hard to think of a greater memory than Tommy Tuberville leading the perfect team out arm-in-arm onto the field.

It's hard to find a better pre-game tradition than an eagle circling the stadium to the soundtrack of 90,000 people united in our rallying cry.

It's hard to find a fan base that could take the death of another tradition in the wake of a terrible season and turn it into a picturesque celebration of everything Auburn.

It's hard to catch a ball you can't even see, to juggle the weight of an improbable comeback and an improbable year, and then carry it into the end zone like you meant to do it the whole time.

It's hard to find a better coach than Gus.

The truth is, I'm not too worried about this Saturday. We are the underdogs, and it'll be hard work to pull off the upset. But hard work is exactly the kind of work we believe in. And no matter how easy it might be right now to just roll with the Tide, I will look back when it's all settled and know that the hardest moments and how we dealt with them are just part of why it was, is, and always will be 

 - Tim Tyler, via All Things Auburn 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Dear Jadoo,

You came bounding into my life with your giant paws and long fuzzy tail. You pushed your big Rottweiler head into the side of my leg and forced me to pet you (and almost knocked me down in the process). Ever since that moment, you filled a hole in my life that I didn't even realize I had. 


You never met a stranger and gave kisses freely. You protected me from terrible predators like lizards and pelicans and squirrels, and wouldn't stop barking until they were gone.You let me dress you up in ridiculous outfits for the holidays. You would do just about anything for a cookie. You knew when I was happy or sad and would come lay next to me when I was sick and not leave my side.

I will miss how you ran around in circles in the backyard right after a bath. I will miss having you at the bow of the boat as the first mate. I will miss how you would lie down right smack dab in front of the bathroom sink every single morning, making me stretch and reach over you to brush my teeth. I will miss doing my cool down walks with you after a long training run. I will miss having you rush to the door to greet me after getting home from work. I will miss how you barked at the swimming pool whenever someone would jump in. I will miss hearing your footsteps go up the stairs like a herd of elephants. I will miss how you attempted to attack the vacuum cleaner but then would get scared of it and run away. I will miss sitting out with you on the dock watching the boats go by. I will miss how you tried as hard as you could to get comfortable in the back seat of my Civic, 99% of the time being unsuccessful because you were just too big. I will miss the tumbleweeds of your hair swirling across the floor, no matter how often it was swept. I will miss how you tilted your head to one side and hiked up your ears when I said the word "hungry". I will miss constantly picking up your toys (which also included the empty milk jugs that you would chew into a ball of shredded plastic). I will miss how you'd follow me from room to room.

Most of all, I will miss your unconditional love.

You touched so many people's lives and will never be forgotten. I can't wait to cross the Rainbow Bridge with you someday. Until then, rest in peace my handsome boy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In Sickness and in Health

For the typical marathoner, you are married to your sport. You wake up with it, think about it all day, hang out with it after work, and have dreams about it at night. Through all the trials and tribulations, you continue your relationship with it and work on it every day to try and make each day better than the last. 

My Twin Cities Marathon experience was a true test of my relationship with running. 

It was a perfect day for a race - temps in the mid 40's with a little cloud cover. The course was absolutely gorgeous and full of fall colors. I had never felt better at the halfway point of any marathon I've ever done and was hitting my goal paces almost spot on. I felt totally invincible! 

Then mile 15 happened. 

It felt like someone punctured a knife through my stomach. Then the nausea came, with dry heaving shortly thereafter. 

Ummmm, excuse me running, but WTF?! We were doing so well!

I pulled over to the side and was assisted by an EMS guy on a bike who gave me some fluids. They asked how I felt about 5 minutes after the heaving stopped, and I lied and said I felt much better.

Stubborn, party of one.

By the 22nd mile, I had to pull over to the side again. The same EMS guy on the same bike saw me that second time, walked me to a nearby emergency aid station and gave me hot chicken broth. They advised I drop out and said I looked pale. 

Sorry dude, but I always look pale. It's my German/Irish heritage. I'm continuing on. 

Plus, there was no way I was dropping out at mile 22. I would walk/crawl/stumble my way across the finish line before I DNF'd.

I thanked them for the broth and continued as best I could for the next 4 miles, all the way across the finish line. 

My legs felt great. My lungs felt great. It was just not my day on the G.I. side of life. But, like Nemo with a bad fin, I persevered and just kept swimming.

A day later I am already in heels with hardly any soreness in my legs. And I am already plotting another marathon in the next few months for redemption. 

Marathon #5, I'm coming for you.... 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Great North Left

Everyone has a life bucket list.

For some, it may be walking the Great Wall of China. For others, it may be riding a Gondola in Italy and getting serenaded by a Venetian man with a straw hat. Or maybe it's something like running a marathon or going scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

For me, one of my life bucket list items was to see Dave Matthews Band live at The Gorge.

God's Amphitheater. It's a religious experience, y'all.

When I found out back in February that I had scored tickets to the show, I decided to base a Seattle vacation out of it as well. I'd never been to the state of Washington, and the idea of spending time in the Pacific Northwest during a hot Florida summer sounded better than a post-race ice cold IPA. (Well, actually, maybe those two things are about even.)

For the cherry on top of the trip, I was accepted onto the Oiselle Volée running team, and oh hey guess what?! Their headquarters are in Seattle. Two birds with one stone. 
Hmmmm maybe that reference doesn't really work here. Sorry Oiselle. You know I love birds.

 We rolled Eastward through the mountains of Washington on our way to the Gorge and I was fascinated by how different Eastern Washington was from the Western part. It was brown and dry - very desert canyon-ish. But absolutely beautiful nonetheless.


I have seen some amazing DMB shows in my time as a fan (God bless the moment when I first popped in that Remember Two Things cassette tape in 1993). I tried to count how many times since my first show in 1996 that I've seen him live, and it's gotta somewhere around 20.

Sure, I don't remember every single song from every single show, but I can say without a doubt that this show as a whole was the best I've ever seen him live. And probably overall the best live performance of any band I've ever been to.

Hooray for iPhone panorama! 


After cleansing my soul in Eastern Washington, we headed back to Seattle for some rest and relaxation.

Which you know, of course, included me running a half marathon at the last minute. 

  Because why not?

Seattle also just so happened to be hosting a music festival the weekend we were there. 

Y'all know I was all over that like flies in a freshly manured farm field.

Bumbershoot is their music and arts festival they've held every year for the last 42 years. Great vibes, good bands, and a fantastic way to spend a beautiful Labor Day in Seattle City Center. 

                                                                            One of my faves - The Lone Bellow

We also went to the Pike Place Market and got a coffee at the original Starbucks, took a ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island, went to the top of the Space Needle, and (shocker) drank some local brews.

A major highlight of the trip was, of course, my visit to "The Nest" - AKA Oiselle Headquarters.

I was immediately welcomed with open arms (wings?) and felt right at home with these ladies.Their office is open and lively and has such a vibrant positive aura. I am very blessed to fly with this flock! 

@drlesko, @kemetcalf, me, and @JackElizabethK sporting our "Got Birds?" tanks

 This was about a week and a half before the Oiselle debut at New York Fashion Week. Sarah and Jackie totally rocked the runway along with Sarah Mac, Lauren Fleshman and Fast Kate.
Real runners on a runway...what a fantastic concept!
Check out the amazing runway photos here, and read about it here! (and here and here)

Between Oregon in June and Seattle in September, I think it's safe to say I have a love affair with the Pacific Northwest. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

There I was, sitting in my office last week, minding my own business, when I see the email come pop up on my screen.

 I gasped. Then screamed.Then sat there with my mouth open in disbelief.

Was this for real?! 

Oiselle (pronounced wah-zell) is French for "bird". It is an amazing women's running apparel company that does more than make stylish yet practical running duds --- Oiselle was founded on the basic premise that running is more than a sport. It is a life philosophy that has the power to strengthen runners not just as athletes, but as people, teammates, leaders and women. 

Here I am after the Newport Marathon this year, decked out in Oiselle gear:

The Oiselle Volée Team (Volée is French for "flock" and is pronounced Vo-lay") is a versatile group of fast women with different backgrounds, accomplishments and goals. They strive to run with all their strength, heart and talent. It's women who have a tenacious desire to compete and train hard, while living the Oiselle philosophy. The women who represent them are resilient, inspiring runners whose healthy, pure love of the run can't be ignored. 

The team manifesto is simple, yet powerful. 

When word got out in June out that applications were being accepted for the 2013-2014 team, I didn't think twice about applying. It'd be the highlight of my running career to associate myself with such powerful and amazing women (including Haute Volée pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace -- say whaaat?!)
It's more than just a racing team. It's a flock. 
And now, as of August 1st 2013, it's more than just a flock. It's MY flock.

I am incredibly honored to be a part of the team...sometimes I still don't believe it's real! I can't wait to connect with all of my new teammates.  

Oiselle, thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to let my wings spread wide - I am so ready to fly!