My Favorite Memory as of Late, Courtesy of Dinah

I’m coming off the post-wedding high, and am STILL beaming with so much love. I’m not sure when I’ll do a wedding recap, one because all of our pictures aren’t ready, but also because I’m still too emotional I may sob all the way through it.

One topic I am ready to write about is my niece Dinah, and more specifically, a moment we shared a couple of months ago that has turned into one of my most cherished memories.

Even if you and I are simply acquaintances, you know about Dinah. Dinah is my brother Aaron and sister-in-law Domonique’s daughter. Dinah is almost 3 years old, her favorite color is pink, she loves goldfish crackers, unicorns, books, the beach, the mountains, RUNNING (the first day we go on a run together will be one of the best of my life), PJ Masks, etc.

Watching Dinah grow has been one of the greatest joys of my life. From holding her when she was newborn, to seeing her walk for the first time, to the first time she called me Boo Boo (my family nickname- she called me Brittny once, and I was shocked she knew my real name but I think/hope that was a one time thing.) It has been an overwhelming experience to see the world through her eyes. I love explaining and teaching her things, taking care of her, doing things for her, seeing her pure and innocent joy, etc. She is funny, smart, caring, and ambitious. I adore her spunky spirit, and how she often times just goes for it. I hope she never loses that spirit.

Over the Spring I made a lot of trips down to Southern California to plan our wedding, which meant I was able to spend a lot of time with Dinah and the rest of my family. A couple months ago I was there for some detail meetings, so I called Aaron to see if we could go together to pick her up from school. I met him at their house and we hopped in the car to go get her, and when we arrived at her school we walked out back to where the kids were playing. As soon as I spotted her (her back was turned to us), I said “Hey Dinahhh!” She whipped around, paused for a second, and then SPRINTED toward me and said “Boooo Boooo” in this long, dramatic way. It felt like slow motion, her running and screaming “Booo Booo!!!” She ran into my arms and I held her for a solid three minutes until we both recovered. She was shocked and yet so, so happy; the feeling was obviously mutual.

I don’t know if that was the first time she felt those emotions at the same time, but I do know it was overwhelming for both of us in the most amazing way possible. While I was holding her, I was also soothing her, because again I think she was overcome by the combination of emotions. Seeing the expression on her face, her running toward me, the way she said “Boo Boo,” and holding/soothing her for as long as I did make it one of the happiest moments of my life so far. It was a true moment of euphoria, and I was left glowing for weeks after.

While I know Dinah loves me, for obvious reasons it’s difficult to communicate sometimes with an almost-three-year-old. I constantly want to cuddle, kiss, hug, and play with her, and while 80% of the time she indulges me, she understandably has her own thing going on. What this moment solidified for me is that even at her young age, I am important to her. I mean something to her. I am loved by her. And I hope she always knows how much I cherish, adore, and love her. To put it simply, it was an outstanding moment of purpose. In a world that seems to be downright ugly at times, defining moments like these are what I hold on to, to keep me going, as a reminder that there is so much love in the world. I’m incredibly lucky to have many loving family and friends, but to know that you are loved so wholly and purely by even just one person, is what makes life worth living.


Dinah and me, a couple hours after our special moment

What is your favorite memory as of late? Do you have any moments of purpose with any of your family or friends?

With love,



Reading & Listening, Lately

Well, it has certainly been a while! Since my last post, I ran a PR in the marathon at CIM, got engaged (!!!), traveled to Maui, Colorado, New York, London, and Paris (more on that to come in a later post). In conjunction with planning our wedding, I decided to take a much-needed break from running (more on that in a later post, too).

With my new found free-time, coupled with my intention to limit the time I spend on my phone, I’ve made a conscious effort to start reading and listening to more podcasts. Here are some of my favorites:


The Nightingale by Kristin Hanna: I’m not even really sure where to start with this book, because it touched me so much more than I thought it would. Last year I read and loved All the Light We Cannot See, which opened my eyes to the Nazi occupation of France in WWII. The Nightingale is also set in France during WWII but tells the story in parallel of two sisters and their respective roles in the war. The younger of the two goes on to help the French Resistance in a dangerous yet heroic fashion, helping downed airmen for the Allies get across to the Italian border. The older sister acts heroically in smaller, yet equally profound way but taking in her Jewish best friend’s baby after she is sent to a concentration camp. It is a heartbreaking story about love, resilience and finding your purpose. I can’t recommend it enough.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Do you love Reese Witherspoon? Could you sweep a Jeopardy category dedicated to her rom-com’s, like this contestant Emily did? Because I do, and I absolutely could. Anyway, when this book came out last year, Reese recommended it as part of her book club. I saw more and more good things and was pleasantly surprised by how much I did love this book. It’s about a mysterious, vagabond mom and daughter who move to the small town of Shaker Heights, Ohio and become intertwined in a well-known family. It’s themed around the complexities of race, motherhood, and family, and the author beautifully weaves all of these themes into the character relationships.

Crazy Rich AsiansA typical “beach read,” this is a fun, light read that is definitely more of a soap opera type book. If you want something fun and dramatic, with details about how rich just some people can be, I’d definitely recommend it. I liked it, but didn’t love it, and am struggling currently to get through the sequel.

Before We Were YoursI love having a Kindle for the convenience of being able to buy books-on-demand, but (confession) I like reading ahead sometimes I also like to go back and re-read certain chapters if I get confused, or if I really like them. This book is definitely one that I wish I had in paper form; it’s a bit confusing at the beginning with a lot of characters being introduced at once, then switching back and forth between a story in the present day and one in the past. It didn’t make sense to me until about half-way through on how the two stories are connected, but once it was clear I couldn’t put the book down. Without giving too much away, it’s about a girl and her family who are deceitfully placed in an orphanage and their struggles at that time and in the future. All in all, it’s a unique, heartbreaking book about survival and trusting again after we’ve been hurt.


Dirty John: Remember how good the first Serial was? The murder-mystery about a man in Maryland accused of murdering his then high school girlfriend? And then S-Town, the story of John B. McLemore and one reporter’s discovery of his eclectic life? Well, if you Serial and S-Town, I think you’ll be equally as impressed with Dirty John. It tells the story of Debra Newell, a middle-aged woman living in Orange County who quickly falls in love with a man she met online, John. When her grown adult children meet John and observe more about his peculiar lifestyle, they raise the alarm to their mom, only to find her aloof to their concerns. The story get’s even more intense as we learn more about John, and let’s just say I finished it in 3 days and fell into a Google hole shortly after I finished looking for more.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: This podcast makes me truly happy. Hosted by Linda Holmes she is regularly joined by Glen Weldon and Stephen Thompson with another person in the 4th-chair. Every week the podcast reminds me of a group of friends getting together, discussing the latest movies and TV shows they’ve seen. Which, is exactly what this is.

Fresh Air: It’s no secret that I absolutely love Terri Gross. I think she is simply brilliant; the way she can press someone to answer her while interviewing them, yet also show compassion and empathy. I also love her range of topics, from celebrities to authors to former secretaries of state. My favorite episodes as of late are actor Brian Tyree Henry (with a clip of Terri’s interview with Barbara Bush in 1994), James Comey, Todd Purdum on his new book about Rogers & Hammerstein, Being Jewish in Trump’s America, and Sarah McBride, the first transgender person to speak at a major party’s convention who was also an Obama intern. If you had to pick just one, I would listen to Sarah McBride. She has an amazing story about how she came out as trans shortly after college to overwhelming support, then married a man who had terminal cancer and is now a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

The Daily: Disclaimer: For a while, I didn’t love The Daily. There, I said it. Now that’s out of the way, I’m back into it but don’t listen to it daily (see what I did there?) I like the episodes that are about random stories I don’t think I would have heard otherwise, not necessarily the ones about the latest news. As I’m getting back into it, my favorites so far are Linda Brown’s Landmark case, the story of the young African-American girl at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court case in 1954 and Fired Over an Instagram Post, an ex-New Orleans Saints cheerleaders’ story about clear double standards when it comes to the NFL. While very different, I like the storytelling in both and find both topics to be equally relevant in the climate we live in today.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen in my stories the book debacle of 2018 when I found Exit West on the sidewalk near the Embarcadero. I went back for it 90 minutes later and it was still there, so I decided it was a sign and I took it. And, thanks to all of you for telling me it was a sign, too 🙂 Anyway, I’m planning to start reading it this weekend after I finish My Name is Lucy Barton. I’ll do a full recap of both when I’m done, soon 🙂

With love,


Dealing with Disappointment

I’ve been quiet here lately, and while I can’t pinpoint one reason in particular, life has been… going. Swimmingly. And going quiet well.

Unfortunately it’s been a rough 2017 for our nation and the world; from the state of our political climate, our climate in general, mass shootings, scandal after scandal, etc. But my little world has been pretty amazing, filled with lots of running, adventures, and a whole lot of love. And while I am incredibly grateful for my happiness and blessings, it’s difficult to feel completely happy when there is so much suffering, unrest, and discomfort in the world. This year I have learned more than anything to appreciate every moment, and savor this happy time in my life.

As previously mentioned, there’s been a lot of running in 2017. After today I’m at a total of 937.05 miles for the year. This is by far the most I’ve ever run in a year, as I’ve trained for three half marathons, one marathon down and another coming up next month. I’ve been able to feel myself getting stronger, physically and mentally, and have accomplished PR’s in the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon.

Despite my success this year it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. Based on how well all of my other races had gone and the work I put in to my training, I had really high hopes for the Chicago Marathon. I trained 150 more miles this training season, overcame an injury, had amazing long runs, incorporated more speed workouts, etc. But the fact of the matter is the race didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped. Overall, the Chicago Marathon was a complete disappointment. I was really, really sore during my taper and felt some weird pain points I hadn’t felt during training. Which, are normal during the taper, but I’m beginning to realize the extent of my soreness wasn’t normal.

Then came race day. The first half of the marathon was fine. Good, even. I tried to pace myself so that I didn’t start out too fast. But setback number one was when I got a stomach cramp at mile 6. Which, I was able to semi manage until I bonked at mile 18. At mile 20 I thought my hip was going to, literally, fall off.

While I was suffering on the inside and was feeling my dreams of a PR slip away with every slow step, on the outside everything around me was amazing; the race itself was incredible. The course. The crowd. The people. I was getting pretty emotional the first three miles, watching runners pull off to the side when they saw their loved ones. The crowd was the most intense I’d ever seen in any race. Five people deep, with tons of signs, clapping, and cheering. The saving grace was that I saw Mike and my friend Evan at mile 6 and mile 16. I didn’t expect to see them at mile 16, so when I saw the “Go Yuloo” sign when I was truly hurting, I’d hoped it would give me more strength. But I think instead it gave me comfort, and made me realize how bad I was hurting.

From then on I just wanted to be done. For a couple of split seconds, in my complete moments of utter weakness I’d thought about dropping out. But instead I called my best running friend, Peggy, at mile 20, and she coached me in between walking and running when I could.

The race itself was a complete oxymoron. It was the perfect combination of love and hate.

After the race I was pretty defeated. I was so happy to have finished, but angry and disappointed with myself. When we got back to the hotel I tried to take a nap but I couldn’t sleep, so I called my mom and talked to her for about 45 minutes. I can’t tell you how much that phone call meant to me. My mom and I have had plenty of important conversations in my life, but I think that one meant the most to me this far. She was genuinely and wholly proud of me, when I was at an incredibly low point. The love I felt and knew to be true when I was questioning so much about myself was, and still is, one of the most important feelings I’ve ever felt.

A lot of others have had the same reaction. “you’re too hard on yourself!” “at least you finished!” “it’s still an incredible accomplishment!” While all of those things are completely true, it isn’t enough for me. I know I can do better. Be better. It hurts so bad because I didn’t execute my potential.

What I’ve struggled with in the days since is how we can feel such contradicting feelings. How can we be proud of our accomplishments, knowing that we could have done better? How do we settle when we know we haven’t met our fullest potential?

When we’ve settled on the fact that it’s over, how do we pick up the pieces to try again?

Because what if we keep failing? It takes a hell of a lot of vulnerability to keep trying when you haven’t succeeded.

What I remind myself of over and over is that the easy solution would be to not try again. To let the marathon defeat me. To say “yea, I’ve run a couple marathons, but they didn’t go well. So I’m going to stick with what I’m comfortable with.” It would be a hell of a lot easier to keep PR’ing in distances that I know I can crush. But that isn’t going to challenge me. Or change me. Or help me grow. As someone who fears uncertainty, I’m learning to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. That not everything in life is going to pan out the way you imagine. We can’t control everything, and running is, by far and away, my greatest teacher in this lesson.

I’m learning to build up my resilience so that when I do fail, I can pick myself back up.

And then came Shalane Flanagan and her incredible win at the New York Marathon last weekend. Watching her pull away those last few miles, watching her bump her fist and say “fuck yes” in a moment of pure emotion and bliss was an amazing moment for me. As a woman. As a runner. As a marathoner. As someone always trying to be better.

So I’m going to try to PR in the marathon again next month. I’ve put in the work, and now maybe the hardest phase is finding that faith in myself that I can succeed. Why not? When we’ve put in the work, why is the option of success one that we fear? Or one that we are too humbled to vision? To dream big is to take risks. As athletes. As competitors. As humans participating in life. So why not me?

2016 Running Recap

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 was to run one race a month. I’m happy to say that with the exception of August I stuck to my resolution! These races were a combination of painful slow running, sensational fast running, frustration, weaving between crowds, cold and hot weather, etc. Some were unexpectedly easier than others, while some were annoyingly harder. I considered sleeping in and ditching a lot of these races, but I held myself accountable, which is another unexpected accomplishment from this resolution. Here’s my list of races for 2016:

January: Hot chocolate 5K

  Foster City 5K

February: Chinese New Year 10K (3rd year in a row!)

March: Get Lucky 5K*: 25:13/top 2 women!

April: Guardsmen 10K

May: Girls on the Run 5K

June: San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon*: 1:56:22 (first time breaking sub 2hours!)

July: San Francisco Marathon

August: No race, still miserable from the marathon and was seriously debating if I ever wanted to run again

September: Giants 10K*: 53:37

October: Run 10 Feed 10

November: Oceanside Turkey Trot 10K

December: Timed 5K on December 31: 26:02


As I admitted above, a lot of these races weren’t exactly pretty. In particular, the half marathon in June was the toughest; not from a physical aspect, but because I was in a really emotional headspace. I was going through a lot of change that left me in a sensitive state of fragility and self conscious with uncertainty. I also added on the pressure that if I wanted to do well in my first marathon in July, I had to run this half easily. The combination of my vulnerable state of mind and PR stress resulted in me using the race as a way to hold on to the part of my identity that I was most proud of, while simultaneously fighting feelings of nervousness and doubt. Every race I repeat to myself not to give up, but this race that voice quickly turned into nagging and reminding myself that in 7 weeks I had to run double the mileage. The internal competition within myself reached an extreme point. I was pushing myself so hard. In most of my other races, it’s typically my mind that gives me the extra push when my body feels exhausted. But this race it was my mind that was trying to keep up with my body. Giving up wasn’t an option, and my body was stronger than my mind. It was a time where I was truly appreciative of all of the training I’d ever done that had lead me to that point.

The best and most surprising race of the year was the Giants 10K. To be honest I was pretty hungover, as the day before I was celebrating Erik Davis’ birthday playing some good old fashioned sloshball (aka keg kickball aka drinking lots of beer while playing kickball) in Golden Gate Park. Considering it was my first race since the marathon, I had no expectations for this race (quite the alternative since June). Maybe it was all of the carbs from the beer or the fact I was running a familiar route, but I quickly found my stride after mile one, and continued to feel better with each mile. I didn’t wear my Garmin for this race (that’s how much I was winging it), so when I looked up my race results and saw that I PR’d by a full minute, I was pretty stoked.

These two races ended in PR’s and were so obviously different. It just proves that at the end of the day not every PR, accomplishment or success was traveled on a yellow brick road to get there. I guess that’s a metaphor for life too, right?

Admittedly, running has taken a back burner the last few months. To put it simply, I just haven’t been into it. I’ve felt and seen changes in my body as a result, and feel sluggish and slow. Quite the contrast from this past Summer when I was in maybe the best shape of my life. But it’s not all about how I look physically. As a creature of habit I feel so much more stable when I have a routine. It feels SO good every time I cross off another interval, fartlek, track, tempo, or long run. Training for a race and goal, and knowing what I need to do to get there gives me a sense of security and accomplishment.

I’ve made it no secret here that 2016 was a tough year, for many reasons. So in an effort to make 2017 better, a couple weeks ago I decided I would start training for the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th. I look forward to sharing with you all a bit of my training progress in the new year!

Here’s to more miles, happiness, and health in 2017 🙂

29, Tomorrow


Tomorrow is my 29th birthday.

This is the first year I’m a little freaked out about my birthday. I know, I know. You’re rolling your eyes, thinking “Get over yourself, Yuloo. You’re still SO young.” I get it. But this is the first year where I can feel myself getting older. Both physically and mentally. And where I can’t help but wonder how, exactly, I arrived at where I am now.

Everyone has dreams and ideas about the future or how their life will look at a certain age, right? We set these expectations for ourselves based on how our parents lives unfolded, societal pressure, or maybe even something we saw in a movie. I had grand visions for how I thought my life would look at this age, and it isn’t exactly what I had envisioned. I don’t want you to think I don’t recognize how pretty damn good it is; I’m healthy, have a roof over my head, and people who love and support me. But life has taken a few turns off the path I dreamed up, and I’m learning to be okay with that. I’ve had to shift my perspective, and it’s been one of life’s biggest lessons.

There were a lot of curve balls in my 28th year; quite simply a lot of life happened. Tons of change, uncertainty, heartache, and uncomfortable moments. Whether or not I wanted it, life decided it needed to happen. And for whatever reason, all at once (or so it felt and seemed).

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this past year has been that you can’t control what happens to you. We are vulnerable humans, susceptible to pain. As much as you have the need or want to control everything, you can’t. You can’t anticipate life happening. Things happen for unknown reasons. And at what point do we let go of expectations and just let God, fate, or whatever it is you believe in take it’s course?

One of the toughest, and perhaps saddest realizations I’ve had this year is that at some point, everyone in your life is going to hurt you. Your parents, your best friend, your partner. And not because they are trying to hurt you, but because we’re all just navigating through life, trying to do just that: live. Hopefully by putting our best foot forward. But the expectations we place on others are only going to come back around and bite us when they don’t live up to those expectations. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have standards for people, because you should. You should never allow anyone to bring you down in ways you won’t or can’t tolerate. But at the end of the day, you have to choose the people around you who you are willing to accept disappointment from. Once you realize that everyone at some point is going to disappoint you, it will be easier to cope when they do. That is one choice we have; who we choose to share this beautiful life with.

My goal for 29 is to continue to let go of the need to control all aspects of my life, and just let whatever will be, be. To let things happen without my influence. And to embrace it all. The good, the bad, the ugly. To trust the process. Because what you do have control over is your attitude. And how you react. We can challenge ourselves to find meaning when heartache reaches us, and try our hardest to overcome adversity with grace. And in turn, relishing in those beautiful moments when life seems to be quite perfect. That when we feel joy and happiness, when we laugh until we cry, smile until our cheeks hurt, we are reminded of how sweet it all really is. Something as simple as feeling sunshine on your face, serving as a reminder that you are alive. And hanging onto those moments for as long as possible.

I’m a much stronger person than I was a year ago. Mentally I am kinder to myself, and more forgiving. I’m not there yet, because I’m a work in progress. For knowing that, I am thankful. Knowing that it’s okay not to be perfect, or to be disappointed when things aren’t how you want them and to embrace the alternative. And physically because I am a faster runner than I’ve ever been before. For that, I am proud. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone this year with running, and it paid off.

So here’s to a new year, and a new outlook. To getting older, and letting go of expectations. Expectations suck. Unless you expect everyone to be kind. That’s okay.

Music, Lately

Everyone loves music, right? I love the way it connects and bonds even the most contrastive people. Admittedly, my taste in music is eclectic and ranges anywhere from moody John Mayer, to poppy Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper and country hip thruster Luke Bryan. No matter the kind of music (maybe aside from death metal), one of my favorite things on earth is being outside, listening to live music with friends and a cold beer.

Maybe it’s because I’m a sensitive soul, was an English major or just a sucker for finding sentiment in anything, but I appreciate music for the way it allows artists to express themselves; I love listening to lyrics and analyzing what they mean. I love dancing like a fool and feeling the rush when your favorite song comes on. That feeling of pure excitement has little comparison, and reminds me almost of childhood; how the smallest joys can instantly change your mood.

Here are a few songs I’m into at the moment, if you’re looking for some new jams:

If you’re in the mood for a mellow love song: Upsidedown by Goldford. The lyrics are incredibly sweet, and this song will resonate with anyone whose feeling vulnerable in love lately. I mean, with lyrics like “Sometimes I need a light when the moon is low Sometimes I need some loving when my feelings show” and “I lean into your kiss for my sanity, So give me all your lovin for my vanity.” I can just imagine listening on a porch somewhere with a glass of wine as the sun goes down. Ahhh…

If you want to throw it back to ten years ago: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer. This past week was the 10 year anniversary of John Mayer’s 3rd album Continuum. John Mayer is one of, if not my favorite, artists of all time. I know he receives a lot of criticism for his personality and questionable interviews, but his extraordinary guitar playing and, of course, lyrics make him undoubtedly talented. Here is what John had to say while reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of Continuum:


Continuum turns 10 today… here I am a decade later in the same jacket I wore in the cover shot. I remember so much about this record. I remember cutting “I Don’t Trust Myself” and “Bold As Love” in NYC. I remember the Trio tour that divided the NY and LA portions of recording. I remember coming up with “Gravity” in the shower at the Four Seasons in LA and not looking up for a day while I wrote it. It was finished the next night. I remember telling Chad as I was writing a song that it sounded like two people “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” I remember the innocence, the discovery, and I remember the feeling of playing these songs night after night on tour and realizing they could hold up as both pop songs and guitar explorations. Lucky to have it and lucky to have you all as fans. More to come very soon. X JM

A fun, upbeat, party song: Kings of Summer by ayokay, Quinn XCII

Closer by the Chainsmokers, Halsey. I know what you’re thinking, and no I don’t like this song just because they reference Boulder in it, but I will admit when my friend told me I was excited 🙂 This song is another fun and upbeat party song that I can see myself singing along to with my besties down the freeway.

Fade Away by Rebelution. Earlier this Summer I went to two concerts at the Greek theatre… in one week. I went to Alabama Shakes on Saturday and Rebelution and The Green with my friend Tamara and her husband Daniel on Tuesday. I’ve been listening to Rebelution since college, and it’s always fun when artists try something new and deviate from their original sound. Granted it doesn’t always work, but this song has been on repeat since I heard it at the concert. As a Reggae Rock Band this song is more mellow than anything they’ve done in the past, but Rebelution nailed this one.

I hope you enjoy some of what I’ve been listening to lately, and have an awesome rest of your week! xo

The SF Marathon Recap

It’s been just over a month since I ran the San Francisco Marathon, and I’m happy to report that I have fully recovered! I’ve used this time to rest, reflect, and allow myself to feel proud of this accomplishment. I’ve just started to get back into my regular workout routine, and I feel strong. The other day I ran my fastest 5K, ever! While I definitely do not have the dream of running another marathon in my near future, if this is the only marathon I run in my life, I will be 100% okay with that. Because this experience was overwhelmingly special, unique, and hands down one of the coolest things I’ve ever been part of. Here’s why:

As you probably already know, this was my first marathon. For years I swore to myself I would never run a marathon. Partly because I never wanted to put myself through the grueling training, not to mention the race itself. But I was also intimidated, and holding myself back; I was afraid of failure. But in typical “runner” fashion, that changed last year as I was crossing the finish line of the first half of the SF Marathon. I thought to myself “I could totally do that (run another half marathon) one more time.” For months I thought about it, and built myself up. My justification was “I’ve run the second half twice, the first half once; I know the course practically by heart.” So in March of this year, I mustered up the courage to sign up.

I trained for the marathon for 18 weeks, and the training was not easy. I knew it wouldn’t be; how could training to run a 26.2 mile race be easy? But the real reason I wasn’t happy with my training performance is because I missed a couple of key training runs. Unfortunately, the marathon coincided with a really rough period of my life; I was laid off from my job, a really important and significant relationship in my life left me heartbroken, and we lost Kate. All of these events were unexpected and devastating in their own right. They all had their emotional and physical toll, where I quite literally could not get out of bed some days.

So how did I complete the marathon not feeling 100% confident in my training? Well, admittedly, one of the qualities I like most about myself is my determination. When I set myself out to do something, quite simply, I do it. I try my hardest to follow through on everything I set myself out to do, and I have a lot of pride in that. When I wish for something, the first thing I ask myself is “is this a realistic goal?” And if it is, I come up with my plan for achievement. On the other side of that coin, having a strong-willed and determined personality makes coping with failure especially difficult to accept. So while there were a lot of moments these last few months where it seemed like the whole world was against me, and I doubted if I could complete the marathon, not running wasn’t an option.

If you ready my earlier blog post, you know that I had the privilege of running with 21 other people, and we called ourselves #TeamSlattery. 21 people, made up of seasoned runners and people who run here and there, ran with me to complete the marathon for Kate. It was the most special thing I’ve ever been part of. You’ve already read about how I got the crazy idea to run the SF marathon, and here’s how it went down for Kate:

Kate came home one day in April after work, marched into the kitchen and said “Hey. So, I was talking to my coworker today about running, and he was SHOCKED I haven’t run a marathon before.” Boo boo #1, mystery coworker man. NEVER make Kate Slattery feel inadequate. Clearly, he had definitely gotten under her skin. Kate ran the Berkeley half just a few months earlier, and crushed it. She loved running hills, and would often wake up after a long night out and run until she felt content. She was also always setting new goals for herself. Whatever it was that day, he definitely gave her a push and sparked her competitive side. Ten minutes later, we were both signed up for the marathon. She immediately printed out the course map and hung it in our kitchen; it’s still there.

A few days after Kate died, we came up with the goal that her bib would still make it across the finish line. We started discussing how this would happen and came up with the idea that multiple people could run a few miles here and there and exchange the big along the course. When this idea started to float around, a lot of people expressed interest in being part of the race. Kate touched so many lives, and they wanted to honor her.

When it came down to who was interested in running on Kate’s behalf, we had 21 people who were interested. Jeff Inhofer, one of Kate’s oldest friends from UW Madison, assigned one runner to every mile, and Jeff biked to every mile to facilitate the penny exchange (Kate’s bib was pinned on a bright pink penny). Yep, he biked 26.2 miles that day, and also ran 5 miles with me (more on that later). The plan was that whoever was running with me would leave me at about .2 miles before the next mile marker and speed up to Jeff, where he would be waiting with the new runner. They would exchange the penny, and the new runner would run onto the course to meet me.

We created a Google spreadsheet, ordered custom tank tops, and had an awesome dinner the night before. The enthusiasm that everyone had leading up to the race was nothing short of thrilling. I typically get so nervous before a race and am filled with anxiety. But knowing that I would have all of these people next to me (literally) gave me so much confidence.

I started the race with Gabe, which meant the world to me. Gabe is so much more than just my roommate; he is a brother to me. In the year and a half that I’ve known him, we’ve had a lot of highs (like quite literally hiking the Salkantay trail in Peru) and a lot of lows (saying goodbye to Jenny when she moved home to Atlanta, and losing Kate). Quite simply, Gabe is my rock, and he was for Kate, too. Starting the race with him was one of the most special moments of my life.

At mile 2 we met Shaudee, Gabe’s girlfriend. Shaudee is beautiful, smart, kind, and overall one of the loveliest people I know. Gabe and Shaudee are quite literally #relationshipgoals.

Miles 3-5 I ran with Tom Rohlf, Mandy Motl, and Dan Cleary. The exchange between Rohlf and Mandy was the first time I got emotional that day. It was the first time it hit me that all of these amazing people were running with me and encouraging me to do my best. And that we were all rallying behind Kate.

At mile 6 I met Erik Davis and we ran the first half of the bridge. Running with Davis was so much fun. Davis is the “dad” of the group, and has such an energetic and bright personality. He kept me smiling through the mist and thick fog as we looked for Mark Zuckerberg, who was running the first half. We then met Jeff at the end of the bridge at the Fort Point turnaround. Jeff ran miles 6-11 with me. I felt grateful having both Davis and Jeff with me at these miles because mile 6 was lead up to the Golden Gate Bridge (the second of four big hills), and mile 10 was the hill getting up to Seacliff. Jeff and I have gone on runs together before on vacations in Wisconsin and up at Gabe’s lake house, so it was comforting running with him.

Miles 12-14 I ran with Briand Scadden “Scadden”, Emily Pocrinhich, and Laura Koenigs. I had met Emily and Laura the night before at our pre-marathon dinner, and was already looking forward to seeing them. You know those people you meet and instantly want to get to know better? That was definitely the case with these girls, and they both were so infectiously positive, telling me I was doing great and exuding positive energy. I was really thankful for their encouragement at this point in the race.

Up until this point, I felt amazing, and my times were faster than necessary but I felt great. That changed at Mile 15 and onward. I was a mess. My legs started hurting. Bad. They had never felt so heavy in my life, and I was really starting to slow down. I ran these miles with Kate’s coworkers: Emily Kofsky, Scott Lowery, Travis Wilson, and Tim Tasabia. At mile 19 Steve Clark ran with me, and I didn’t know him before the race, but he was my favorite person that day. He ran the marathon a couple years prior, and was giving me great tips to end the race strong. He was also just genuinely enthusiastic and stoked on life. I am so thankful for all of these people, their excitement and new energy that helped me so much in these extremely hard miles.

At mile 20 Mandy Stevermer met me, followed by Felipe Quintana, Dominic Pitera, and Alan Browning for miles 21, 22, and 23. These miles are, admittedly, a blur. We were winding through Potrero Hill and down through the Dogpatch, where we curved around the ball park. At this point I was SO ready to be done with the race. Travis Wilson, who met me at mile 18, was still with me at this point, and didn’t leave until Mile 25. He was a rockstar, and I was thankful to have a constant runner with me.

At Mile 24 Alex Newell was waiting and I finally started to feel better physically. I told Alex that I had never been more excited to see his roommate, Rolf, in my entire life than at mile 25. Halfway into mile 25, Tommy Slattery (Kate’s brother) was there on the Embarcadero and we finished the race together. As I was finishing the race, finishing with Tommy was completely and utterly amazing. I wanted to collapse after the finish line, but he quite literally was holding me up and encouraging me to walk it off. Crossing the finish line #TeamSlattery was waiting off to the right, and seeing all of their faces was one of the proudest moments of my life.

All in all, the marathon was just as demanding, both physically and mentally as I thought it would be. A lot of the time when I’m running and start to get tired, it’s my brain that’s psyching me out. I can often silence that voice telling me to slow down, because my legs still feel strong. On marathon day, I felt endless gratitude for the people running with me who silenced that doubt in my head for me, because my legs were ready to give out at any moment. Running this marathon was one of the best experiences of my life, and I know that if I ever do muster up the courage to run another one, nothing will ever compare to this experience.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the amount of love and support I’ve received has been overwhelming. In a time where it’s hard to see light in this world, you all have helped me shine my light just a little brighter. So thank you. I am eternally grateful, and I know the Slattery family is too.

IMG_6194Getting my bib at the expo!

IMG_6204 (1)

Most of the runners, and Kate’s parents #TeamSlattery


Two of my best friends from home, Mei-lin and Skai, who I’ve known since 3rd and 4th grade, respectively. Both of them have come to so many of my races and having them at the end of the marathon meant so much. Thank you for always believing in me.

Running for Kate

As many of you know, just over a month ago, my roommate Kate passed away. She was biking home from work on her usual route home when she was hit by an SUV. The SUV was running a red light, while she was in the crosswalk on her green light. She was wearing her helmet, and she was killed instantly.

It was Wednesday, June 22nd at 9:40 pm when two police officers knocked on our door. When I opened the door, they asked me if I was Kate. “No…” I said, extremely suspicious. Why would there be two cops looking for Kate? Then they asked me if she was home. “No,” I said again, this time worrying. I will never forget how the look on their faces shifted and how their bodies stiffened. That was the first moment my heart stopped that night. Looking back, they had hope on their faces. They wanted me to say, “Yeah, she’s in her room.” They did not want me to confirm she wasn’t home- that she was the girl who was killed at 7th and Howard. My one word answers had never had so much meaning.

I was home alone when the police came. Luckily, I was on the phone with someone who cares about both me and Kate immensely, and he stayed on the phone with me until our other roommate, Gabe, arrived. The police had given me a number to call, but I only got to the answering machine, and their instructions weren’t clear. I’m also not sure I was hearing them correctly in my panicked state. All I knew for sure was that she was in the hospital, somewhere in the city.

While waiting for Gabe, my friend and I called hospitals together and confirmed she was at SF General. My friend then asked if Kate’s bike was at home. Instant panic came over me. I didn’t want to look. I knew it wasn’t there, because I saw her leave that morning- on her bike. We then went to Twitter. We were just looking to see if there was anything about any minor bike accidents. That’s when we saw the news about Heather Miller, another woman who was killed that night by a hit and run on her bicycle in Golden Gate Park. It was the first moment that I knew we’d lost her. I shoved the thought down to the deepest part within me, holding out hope she didn’t have the same fate; that the worst that had happened was she had a broken leg.

When Gabe got home, he went straight to her room and packed a bag with some of her clothes. I didn’t have the courage to say that we may be too late- that we should just go. We sped to the hospital, and as we pulled up I ran out of the car while the car was still moving. I have never run faster in my entire life. When I ran into the ER, I saw Kate’s younger brother, Tommy, through a big glass window in the family waiting room. He was hunched over in a chair with his face in his hands. He was sobbing, and then I knew. My worst nightmare was coming true. The entire car ride I was praying that what I thought had happened wasn’t happening. And seeing Tommy through the window, my entire heart shattered.

A few moments later, Tommy called their parents. That moment was one of the saddest moment of my entire life. Can you imagine telling your parents that their first born child has died? That their only and beloved daughter, and Tommy and Stephen’s sister, is gone? I certainly can’t. While the room was overflowing with sorrow, Tommy acted so beautifully in that moment. He exuded the most bravery and strength I’ve ever witnessed. It was, I’m sure, the lowest point of Tommy’s life. It was absolutely one of the lowest of mine. I still think about that moment everyday. Because in that moment of complete anguish, Tommy emitted a strength he didn’t have. I like to think it was the first moment any of us was living through Kate. That he was living in that moment on her strength.

In the days since Kate’s death, I’ve reflected so much on our relationship. I’ve realized that our roommate bond was completely unique- it was more like a sisterhood. You’re stuck together and you take each other for granted like family. The knowing that you will see them again.

I’ve realized that Kate was a source of comfort I didn’t know I had. And I was the same for her. We talked about things we didn’t talk about with anyone else. We vented to each other about anything and everything: work, boys, the price of berries at Whole Foods, etc. It was all fair game. We cooked dinner together; she always said with so much pride that we had the same diet. We geeked out over running and fitness. We asked if we saw the latest Instagram post from our our yoga idol, Erin, who teaches at YogaFlow. We loved each other, like sisters. And now, there is a void that I’m not sure will ever be filled again.

Admittedly, I didn’t always understand Kate. She carried herself with such confidence that she was, at times, intimidating. Yes, all 5’0 of her. Because she knew who she was, and she knew what made her happy. And it made me jealous. I am someone whose goal in life is to figure out who the heck I am. I’m also someone who probably cares a little too much about what other people think. Kate was the opposite; she was always doing what served her in that moment, at no one’s expense. It was her mantra. I had never met anyone before who served themselves, their needs and happiness, yet simultaneously and so eloquently cared for others more than themselves. That’s what was so amazing about her; she was a woman full of contradictions. She was responsible, driven, and extremely smart. She could be so serious in the morning eating her toast while reading The New Yorker. She was also the girl who was known for her love of onesies, adventure, and saying “yes” if it felt right. She could be spending time writing her children’s book, Fly With Maya, and 2 minutes later be practicing the “Baby One More Time” dance to perfect our Britney Spears costumes for Bay to Breakers. I’ve said it before, but I have truly never met anyone like Kate. And in these days without her, that feeling has turned into knowing that she is unlike any person I’ve ever known.

Her death has left me broken. I have felt physical and emotional pain that I have never experienced before. There have been moments where I have collapsed in weakness. In the days since her death, I’ve tried to honor Kate by embodying some of who she was in everything I do. While I would like to say I’ve accomplished this feat by saying yes to more adventures, not taking myself too seriously, and doing more of what serves me, I don’t know how anyone will ever measure to her greatness.

My first great dedication and honor to her life will be running The San Francisco Marathon. We were both training for the marathon- the first for both of us. And while I haven’t been able to train as much as I’d hoped, I will run every mile for Kate. I will give whatever I have to her and this accomplishment.

Kate’s amazing friends Jeff, Erik, and Kristin, in addition to our dear Gabe have organized over 20 of Kate’s friends and coworkers running Kate’s marathon. #TeamKateSlattery will be out in full force in blue shirts. We’ve broken up the marathon into 1 mile increments along the route. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have all of these wonderful people running with me!

I also want to say that I can’t express enough gratitude for all of the support, love, and kindness I’ve received in the weeks since Kate’s death. Kate’s friends have become my new family as I’ve been welcomed with loving hearts into the Badger family. They have brought me in like one of their own, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to have this new community of amazing and caring people. I’ve also heard from so many people I haven’t heard from in a long time, and I want to thank you. It takes courage to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while, and I appreciate it more than you know. I’m sorry if I haven’t gotten back to you- I just hope you know that your words and kindness are appreciated.

So tomorrow, I won’t be focusing on my pace or the next hill coming up. I will try to remember to smile, and feel Kate with me the entire way. Thank you for your encouragement as I run for both of us. Not matter how significant the roles we play in each other’s lives, if you’re reading this, thank you for your support. I feel truly blessed to be part of your life, and I hope Kate’s life inspires you to do a little better everyday.

To Kate, and #TeamKateSlattery

National Running Day… A day late

I started running 6 years ago. I can’t remember why, exactly, but I’m pretttty sure it’s because I wanted to lose weight. I was back home from college and wasn’t my healthiest self; between my new income at my first real job and my mom’s amazing cooking, I was definitely packing on some pounds.

My friend Kate and I signed up for our first 10K (The Big Gay 10K, naturally), and training for that first 10K was brutal. A memory that sticks out is when my ex-boyfriend (he was a firefighter and in great shape) and I were on a training run, and at about the 3 mile mark (we were planning on a 6 mile run) I threw a fit because I had side stitches and was tired. I had zero confidence in myself. After all, I was that girl in middle school who walked the mile. Walked! What was I thinking I could possibly run a 10K? I’d always thought to myself that since I don’t have long legs like a gazelle and that running isn’t something I’m “naturally” good at, I had a valid enough excuse to just give up.

So my ex-boyfriend ran off without me, and something in me clicked. I finished that run, by myself. And I kept at it with my training. I woke up early in the mornings and penciled in my runs. The training paid off, because I’ll never forget how I felt when I crossed that first finish line. I was proud. And hooked.

After that first 10K, I wanted to continue to prove to myself that I could do something that I wasn’t “good” at. That made me uncomfortable. Since then I’ve run 6 half marathons, and dozens of 5K’s, 5 Milers, 10K’s and 15K’s. It took be about 3 years for me to comfortably classify myself as a “runner,” (I feel like that label can be a tad pompous and intimidating), and even today I have a love/hate relationship with running. I am constantly procrastinating my runs. I get intimidated and anxious when I have a long run coming up. Will I be able to do it? Will I stop? Did I eat the right things leading up to this run? But even when I procrastinate, it gets done, one way or another. One thing running has taught me is commitment. Every race I sign up for, I train for. Of course, some races I’ve dedicated more time and miles to, but I’ve still put in whatever effort I’ve had.

Above everything, running makes me proud of myself. Even if it’s not pretty, includes walking, or pain, I am proud of every single run. I’m proud because my non-runners body, short legs and long torso carry me every step of the way. But most of all, I am doing something I thought I could never do. And guess what? I guess you could say I’m pretty “good” at it 🙂

So, what do I have coming up? This weekend I’m running the San Diego Rock n Roll Half marathon in preparation for my first marathon on July 31st. I’m excited, NERVOUS, anxious, everything. But I know I just have to trust in my training, and in myself.

13718850The Guardsmen/Levi Presidio 10K back in April