Running On Om

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Yaya Journal 1: Learn, Love, Live

My friend Tigist making injera bread in her home.

My friend Tigist making injera bread in her home.

It has been an incredible first few days in Sululta, Ethiopia at the Yaya Village. The new class of Yaya Girls will arrive in two weeks and until then, we are preparing for their arrival.

I love things in threes. My birthday is on a third. My brother’s birthday is on a third. Om has three syllables within it (A-U-M). The father, the son and the holy ghost — basically, many powerful things come in threes…  As I take stock of my first few days in Ethiopia, I am inspired to reflect on the three Ls: learning, loving, and living.

Learn the Path of Patience: At over 8,400 ft, acclimatizing to the altitude in Sululta will not happen overnight. I’ve had to remind myself to start VERY slow on my runs, to be able to sustain them, and not worry about mileage or pace, but instead to be patient, as my body adapts and enjoys the journey.

Love Injera: Injera is the bread that is the base of most Ethiopian  meals. It is usually served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner with veggies, meat, lentils, and sauces on top. It is made from teff flour which is gluten-free! As a celiac, injera is the dream bread for me — it is spongy, filling, and nutritious. I also love that injera is eaten with one’s hands and is often shared, from the same plate, with others.

Live in the Flow: In the US, I am the calendar queen. Since arriving in Ethiopia, I have realized that I can’t have an agenda for every minute and hour of my day, since time passes here at a different, more relaxed pace. For example, the local bus is on a fluid schedule with no exact times; and in general, people won’t set precise times for meeting, but instead make plans by referencing a general part of the day. Also, I don’t have regular internet access where I live, and thus have to redefine my daily routine without being connected to the cybersphere. It is refreshing to live in the flow of the present in a whole new way here.

I know that I have lots more learning, loving, and living lessons coming my way over the next four months in Ethiopia…

Stay tuned for more reflections to come on my Yaya Journal!

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I am headed to Ethiopia today and overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of family, friends, and strangers as I have prepared for my trip.


My fundraising campaign for the Yaya Girls Running Program in Sululta, Ethiopia was a huge success! I surpassed my goal and raised over $8,000, which will not only fund four young Ethiopian women for the upcoming trimester, but also contribute to future Yaya Girls scholarships.

Numerous companies have donated incredible gear and goodies for the Yaya Girls. Oiselle, which I run for, has contributed beautiful shirts with inspiring running designs on the front! Health Warrior has given delicious Chia Bars of all flavors, in addition to awesome shirts and hats. Nuttzo, which I am an athlete ambassador for, has supported my campaign throughout— I am even bringing a few jars of Nuttzo for the Yaya Girls to try!

If you would like to follow my work in Ethiopia with the Yaya Girls, the best two ways to do this are:

1. Subscribe to receive ROO blog posts in your inbox by submitting your email in the “Subscribe to ROO Posts In Your Inbox” tab on the right corner of this page.

2. Follow ROO on Facebook!

I will not have daily internet access, but plan to post pictures, reflections, and interviews on ROO whenever I can.

As for the podcast, I hope to continue the ROO podcast in Ethiopia, however it will not be released on a weekly basis. Please take my four month journey as an opportunity to catch up on the 85 podcast episodes I have published thus far. You can download the most recent 50 episodes on iTunes or live stream all 85 on

In gratitude and love,


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ROO #85: Ashton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton on the Journey of Training Together


Ashton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton are a powerhouse track and field athlete duo.

Ashton is an American decathlete and Olympic champion, who holds the world record in both the decathlon and heptathlon events. Brianne is a Canadian heptathlete and pentathlete, who is an Olympian from London 2012, holds the Canadian record for the indoor pentathlon, is a heptathlon silver medallist from the 2013 World Championships, and a pentathlon silver medallist from the 2014 World Indoor Championships.

In the episode, Ashton and Brianne describe each other in three words. They explain how they cultivate a competitive, yet supportive mindset in their training together. Ashton and Brianne recount the story of they met. They discuss the logistics of training together on a daily basis. Ashton and Brianne reveal their favorite and most challenging events in their multi-sports. They reflect on the proudest moment they have experienced when watching each other compete. Ashton and Brianne recap Ashton’s world record decathlon, including the nerves they both experienced with his 1500 meter event. They provide a glimpse into how they unplug in their offseason. Ashton and Brianne preview their upcoming calendar as they prepare for the 2016 Olympics. Lastly, they offer wise advice on staying injury-free.

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ROO #84: Matt McCue on Pursuing Your Dreams in Running and Writing


Matt McCue is a writer and runner.

In this episode, Matt recounts how he got hooked on running and then writing. He discusses the role of perseverance in running as a walk-on for the renowned University of Colorado Program under Coach Mark Wetmore. Matt reveals what it was like to pursue a job as a writer after college. He reflects on his journey writing An Honorable Run and his accompanying book tour. Matt shares sources of inspiration for writing stories. He provides his perspective on the future of American distance running. Matt explains how he finds time to run now. He reflects on dealing with regret as an author. Lastly, Matt previews upcoming projects and publications.

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ROO #83: Missy Carter on Writing a Spiritual Autobiography


Missy Carter is an author, spiritual teacher, and career counselor on the podcast.

In this episode, Missy offers her spiritual autobiography, explaining where her interest in spirituality came from. She discusses how meditation has helped her both personally and in her work with career counseling. Missy describes the journey of developing her book Living Lines from a monologue to a dialogue and the three essential questions of the book. She provides insight on how to open up to life through being vulnerable. Lastly, Missy reveals details on her upcoming book.

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