Euro Trip + Breaking 40

Brent and I arrived in Paris last night after spending a few days in England. I lived in England for 8 years, all of middle and high school, it’s also where Brent proposed to me. Trafalgar Square to be exact. Here I am with the lions. 

And here we are at together at the scene of the crime. We look so much older now!My favorite thing to do in London is wander. Trafalgar Square, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge, Fortnum+Mason. I love it all!A trip to England wouldn’t be complete without spending time in Surrey. Just a 20 minute train ride into central London but it looks like this…Here is Brent and Baby Zach on a little country walk. It was so nice to spend the weekend with Jackie and Alex at their home in Guildford and to see them as parents.My childhood home in Woking, Surrey.Guildford High Street and Castle.

And what running looks like in Surrey. Always wet. British food has a bad reputation?A few more of my favorites…dough balls from Pizza Express, prawn cocktail crisps, and the Cornish Pasty.

Before leaving for England and Paris I ran the Laguna Niguel 4th of July 10K and finished under 40 minutes. Was so annoyed with my previous 40:00 finish that I had to try again.
It was one of the most best 10Ks I’ve run. Great festive environment and I felt smooth and controlled. I paced myself perfectly for a sub-40 run, and of course am now excited to chip away at the time.When you run a 10K 5K combo race and you all start and finish at the same time 🙂  Buggies and kiddos making their way to the finish too.And I’ll leave you with possibly the best photo from the trip. Discovered while watching the Euro Cup finals on Sunday night. Last year we went on a Southeast Road Trip  with Jackie and Alex. While we were in Pensacola Alex saw the bing maps vehicle drive by and managed to pull off this beauty. Nicely done sir.

Blogging on an iPhone is no fun. I’ll be back with updates from Paris!


This Week…

I meant to post pictures from my trip to Palm Springs a few days ago, but it’s been quite a week. I tend to be positive and peppy, but for a variety of reasons I just wasn’t feeling it. During our Executive Team Meeting check-in on Wednesday I was honest with the team and owned the fact that I wasn’t feeling particularly effective. I’m grateful to work with people eager to support me. I woke up every morning feeling tired, I felt overwhelmed with an upcoming budget meeting, my dumb tooth was still hurting me, I had a negative parent interaction, our school went on lockdown from 3:30pm-6:00pm on Thursday, our landlord decided to increase our rent significantly, and Brent’s family is going through another decline in health of a family member. Thursday night during my run I listed out all the positive aspects of my week. It helped me end my week on a much better note. I think it’s important to be real on social media. When you only see the smiles, beautiful scenery, yummy food, and PRs, you see a filtered view of someone’s life. The pictures below are genuine and yes, looking back I have so much to be grateful for from this past week, but I’m not going to pretend it was all fun and games. I didn’t snap a photo of me crying in my office Wednesday morning. Thanks for the hugs, Alaina 🙂 And I just want to point out, I am NOT a crier. I think this is the 2nd time this school year. I’m also not going to act like this was a week of hardship. My first world problems are nothing compared to the challenges many face in life, and I feel guilty ever complaining about my tiredness this past week. I encourage you though, when you’re having a rough week, to dig a little and identify what you’re thankful for. Wow, I’m sounding like that annoying Californian. Here’s what I found this week.

  1. We won a grant for $2 million dollars from Great Public Schools Now to help fund our permanent site. Here is Alaina rocking our acceptance speech. FullSizeRender_2.jpg
  2. I busted this out after our lockdown. Fast is relative, but this is fast for me. blog.jpg
  3. Tuesday we had our last School Site Council Meeting. By the time I got home I only had time for a 5K. Better than nothing!FullSizeRender copy.jpg
  4. We had another Curriculum Team meeting, and spent some time mapping out our Summer PD. Helping build the Network Curriculum Team is one of my proudest accomplishments of the year.   IMG_4187.JPGIMG_4188.JPG

5. There is officially no achievement gap at Equitas Academy #3. All scholars are reading at or above grade level and more than 80% of our scholars met their EOY growth goal on the MAP Assessment. I love Ashley and Alaina’s reading level tracker. Look at all those balloons!IMG_4158.JPG

6. We celebrated Ashley’s 29th both at school and at her house in Burbank on Friday night. Next year Ashley and I will begin our fifth year working together and she’ll continue co-teaching our Special Education homeroom and join EQ3 Leadership Team as an instructional coach!IMG_4168.JPG

7. Brent and I had fun cooking Hello Fresh meals. I got a coupon for 3 meals for $24 from San Diego. Pretty impressed with our Jamie’s Super Food Supper and Carrot + Beet BrushettaFullSizeRender_4.jpgFullSizeRender.jpg

8. Gabby did it again. She planned yet another fun project for our scholars. Father’s Day cards!IMG_4199.JPG
9. Gabby also presented at our final Cafecito on changes she’s making to our website. She is so poised and professional. Anyone who says you can’t rock your first year teaching is wrong. Gabby and Sindy are calm, confident, and effective teachers. FullSizeRender_1.jpg

10. I get to go to work and see these cuties everyday. Jesse and Bryant at the zoo with their list of animals they wanted to see. 

11. Papa released another book!

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12. Baby Rexetta is healthy and beautiful!


And now, Palm Spring. It’s funny how friends of friends can become your friends, even when you don’t live in the same city. Andrea (Alaina’s best friend from growing up in Ohio) and I have only ever spent time together when Andrea is visiting California. We also met up in Vancouver when Brent, Marta, and I went for Ellen’s marathon last year. Andrea is kinda a big deal at Lululemon. We’ve got that whole running thing in common, and we’re both ESTJs. Apparently Alaina has a friend type. Anyways, this past weekend we spent her 30th Birthday in Palm Springs. When I came home I realized I didn’t take very many pictures. Andrea was on it with her #palmSpringintoThirty hashtag. Check out our photos!

Our beautiful home for the weekend…

I went to Workshop last summer with Equitas staff. I was so excited we got to go back. The Palm Springer may be the best cocktail I’ve ever had.


We got our sweat on at Pedal studio and ate acai bowls after class. 

There was plenty of pool time. Alaina would find a pretzel floaty. 
And on the way home Alaina and I stopped at the lululemon, loft, and jcrew outlets for some shopping, then hit up Hadley’s for some road trip essentials. They’re known for their date shakes, but the dried kiwis and garlic chips were a hit too!img_4143

And today is an easy Saturday with a nice beach run, brunch with Brent, blogging on the couch, and maybe a beach walk before cooking dinner. It’s my first weekend in LA in a month, so I’m excited for some rest and relaxation at home before the final week of our founding school year. Until next time!


Ellen’s San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon

She did it! After a less than ideal marathon about a month ago, Ellen ran a +5 Boston qualifier this weekend at the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon! The Tuesday after the Vancouver Marathon back in May, Ellen and I went on a lovely beach walk. We talked about the race, trying to figure out what went wrong. She’d trained well, fueled right, slept well, but she just wasn’t feeling it. May 1st just wasn’t her day. Being action planners, we talked about her options. Take a break or keep the momentum going? Ultimately Ellen decided to run the San Diego Marathon. San Diego is such a fun city so naturally Gisele and I joined along for the fun and turned it into a girls’ weekend. Check out this awesome view from our hotwire hotel…

We left Saturday morning, checked in, and hit up the expo. That expo was one of the best I’ve ever been to. The Brooks merchandise was high quality, Meb came and spoke at the powerbar station, and there were more freebies than I’ve gotten in a while. I got hemp seeds to last me a lifetime, a mini acai bowl, bars for days, kashi cereal, vitamins. Gotta love free stuff. Gisele, Ellen, and I were like kids in a candy store. Gisele, of course, was running into people left and right. I guess that’s what happens when you work in the running world! I also learned I get endorphins from running miles…and visiting expos. Check out our awesome Cali running hats below. And I really should have gotten that runner in training onsie for Rexetta.

IMG_4102.JPGRather than making a big deal about this being the race we tried to just have fun in the city, walk around, shop, and get some good eats! I’m still dreaming of this gnocchi from Monello in Little Italy. Spinach gnocchi, sage, brown butter sauce, and bone marrow. Poor Ellen had to hear me talking about how delicious it was during the late teens of the race. Brent, we need to plan a day trip to San Diego with a stop at Monello.

OK so the RACE! Ahh the stars all aligned. We woke up to a beautiful marine layer. Ellen had her typical rice cakes, almond butter, and banana for breakfast. She was so strong and confident, and started the race at 6:15 going out at a consistent 8:00 pace. Gisele and I chatted up a storm for the rough 16-26 mile chunk so that she spent more time thinking about how much she wanted to smack us vs. thinking about her legs getting tired. It was a conscious effort:) Sorry Ellen, I warned you before I’d annoy you when I was out there pacing you.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.05.02 PM.pngAt one point I could sense she was questioning if she could hold the pace for the rest of the race so I said, “Do you really want to have to do this again?” She could either quit now and sign up for another race, probably feel the same way at mile 20, and be stuck in the same dilemma…or just suck it up and do it now. She went for it and crushed it 🙂

San Diego Marathon is known for a NASTY hill at mile 22/23ish. I wouldn’t even call it a hill. It’s a never ending stretch. Because I’d run the course before I knew how bad it was, but purposely failed to mention just how intense it is. Ellen POWERED up that hill without walking. We were passing people left and right. It was so fun to watch her kill it! Some random guy at the finish festival even came to tell her how badly she crushed the hill. She was rewarded with a beautiful downhill to the finish line. 3:28:44. Gisele and I were screaming “She’s going to Boston!” I’m sure non-runners in the crowds were so confused, but we didn’t care. Boston qualification and life goal accomplished. Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.01.45 PM.png

Meanwhile Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg were off PRing in the half. We got to see them at the finish line festival! It was so cool to see Meb, Shalane, and Amy racing the same course!

Post-race eats included a gastropub in the Gaslamp district for fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and local brewed beer. Ellen has quite the sweet tooth, and so we had to go to the famous Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy. Dorky name, but the desserts really are extraordinary. We pigged out on lemon bars, cookies, and cheesecake before heading back to LA. San Diego Marathon, you’re a good one. Three years ago I qualified for Boston at age 27 in San Diego. Yesterday Ellen, age 27, ran a 3:28 and is an official BQer. I’m so proud of her hard work, and I am so so happy.

Thinking of running this race next year?


  • Rock ‘n roll has their logistics down to a science
  • Cute shirt AND a finisher jacket
  • Expo with lots of great samples, elite runner talks, awesome merchandise from Brooks, and prizes. We spent almost 2 hours at the expo!
  • San Diego is such a fun weekend visit city. Love Little Italy, the Gas Lamp District, the harbor. Takes your mind off the task at hand.
  • Post-race festival.
  • Marine layer in June
  • Corral starting to avoid congestion
  • Early start
  • Website is super clear and finisher zone has photos, stats, badges, etc.


  • NASTY hill in the 20s of the marathon
  • Watch out for the cracks in the roads. It’s easy to trip.
  • The Fiesta Island section of the race isn’t great. Few spectators and in the rough miles.
  • WAY more half marathoners. This could mess with your mental game because they all start together and run the first 8ish miles together.

And last, I’ll end with I think (and I could be wrong) Ellen was so successful in this race because she stopped thinking so much, stopped obsessing over her goal, and stopped expecting a perfect day after a perfect training season and just RAN. Ellen had recently visited Peru and taken a full week off of running (granted she hiked and was on her feet all day) and didn’t obsess over the race for weeks leading up. She just went out there and did what she knew she was ready to do, and I’m so so proud. Boston 2017!!!