I entered 2019 knowing it would be a year of big changes. Some exciting. Some scary. Some I would resist and some I would leap towards with open arms. 2019 offered so many incredible moments, beautiful sights, nourishing relationships and so,so much growth. It blows my mind to think about everything that can happen in just one year.
After the chaos of the 2018 holiday season and moving back home, January started out as a time to rest. I took as much yoga as I could, spent time with friends and family, and regularly drove down to Denver to take class at Alchemy. Alchemy is a fitness studio based in Minneapolis which had recently opened their first non-Minnesota location here in Denver. I participated in their January lifestyle program and loved feeling the sense of familiarity and community that I had loved my last semester in the twin cities.
On January 15th, I finally had the opportunity to audition to teach at Corepower Yoga in Boulder! I was excited and nervous and felt all of the emotions. I had to trust that if it was the right timing, everything would work out, and if not, I would keep persevering. It was pretty intimidating being in front of the 3 studio managers and one of the assistant studio managers, even though two of them had led my first training and mentored me. I did my best to use everything I had learned from trainings in Boulder and Minneapolis and got hired on for both C1 (vinyasa) and sculpt!
I attended orientation at Colorado State University which was a whirlwind. The population of transfer students that transfer in the Spring is very different from those who transfer in the Fall. Most of the traditional students that transfer from 4 year universities are Fall transfers, where Spring transfers are more heavily composed of students from 2-year universities, the military, and other older students. Many of these students have never experienced a large university before and have learning curves navigating bigger class sizes and increased academic rigor of a 4-year university.
For me, the CSU campus felt small and it felt like there were fewer resources available, especially socially. It would definitely be weird transitioning from being in a sorority where almost anywhere I went I would see a sister, to relying on the few connections I had from growing up in Colorado. The vibe of campus was way more laid back, with fewer students graduating in 8 semesters or less, which was a huge change from the campus vibe at Minnesota, especially in my honors classes and greek circles where everyone was highly competitive and ready to be done ASAP. I tried to find my campus pride, but I still felt more identification with the Gophers or Buffs than I did with the Rams.
I didn’t move up to Fort Collins until the night before classes started. I moved into my Nana’s house with two of my cousins and did my best to make the space feel like home. It was a crazy transition from living in a sorority house on campus with 38 other girls and unlimited independence, to moving in with family, 15 minutes away from campus, and the responsibility to explain where I was going, what I was doing, and when I’d be back.
My first day of classes was emotionally draining, but I ended the day by going to the Corepower in Fort Collins for the first time and was so grateful to have a familiar space to ground down and reflect on the day. It was nice to introduce myself to the teachers and I was hopeful that I’d soon be able to teach for this studio as well.
The first few weeks were tough. I tried as hard as I could to introduce myself to my classmates and make connections, but by Spring semester, everyone already has their friends and with the cold weather, people were less enthusiastic about attending events and making new friends. I took a class for transfer students to get acquainted with the university. I was hoping I’d make some friends here, but unfortunately many students had a negative perspective on the class and the process, and while I ended the class knowing a few friendly faces, I didn’t find anyone I truly connected with, other than the instructors.
Every Thursday and Sunday I taught my classes in Boulder so I was making the hour drive home twice a week. I also continued to take class at Alchemy as much as I could. I craved the sense of familiarity when everything in Fort Collins was so foreign.
Beginning to teach for Corepower was so incredible. I had finally reached a goal I had set almost 2 years earlier. I loved being behind the desk, I loved interacting with the students, and I loved being apart of the studio in a new way. I had taught vinyasa at the rec center in Minneapolis, but this was my first time teaching sculpt and I couldn’t get over how fun it was!
I kept going to Alchemy as much as I could and participated in their A101 training which I received a full scholarship for from being one of their college ambassadors in Minneapolis. This training dives in deep to fitness as a whole. I learned so much about my body, movement, and my philosophy around being active. I left being even more obsessed with Alchemy and what they stand for. I knew it didn’t make much sense since I was going to school in Fort Collins, but I signed up for their Masters clinic which is where you train to apply to coach for Alchemy. I spent the following weekend absorbing everything I could and learning this style of coaching that was so different from the Corepower format I was becoming so used to.
I kept going in the audition process, secretly knowing that 1) I wasn’t ready to teach this format and 2) committing to driving to Denver at least 1 or 2 times a week would be too much. Still, the idea of pursuing a career in the fitness industry after graduation was beginning to become more appealing and I had the idea that if I could get my foot in the door at such an amazing studio at this early stage of their Colorado development, that maybe there would be opportunities to pursue fitness as a career down the line.
Things didn’t work out and I didn’t pass the audition, but I had faith it was for the best and kept moving forward.
The next day, the manager at the Fort Collins studio asked me if I would teach for her! Originally she had said I needed to wait until I finished my first 30 classes in Boulder, the internship period, but the studio was in need of sculpt teachers and they wanted me to start teaching right away. I was so happy that I didn’t get hired on at Alchemy because I knew that teaching in Fort Collins would be much more convenient and would help me meet more people and start establishing my life up here!
Driving back and forth between Fort Collins and Boulder twice a week was a lot, but I was fueled by my love of teaching and desire to take every opportunity that came my way. I had purposely taken an easier semester to aid in my transition, but the semester was even easier than I had expected and I started feeling guilty for not having to work harder.
I also started getting the travel bug again. I looked into several study abroad programs and was convinced I could make Semester at Sea a reality. Then when I realized none of my classes would be available and understood just how expensive it really was, I set my sights on Australia for Fall 2019. I met with the nutrition advisor to explain my vision and get all of the courses approved, and she shot my idea down. She told me it would be silly to go all the way to Australia to take microbiology and biochemistry and other rigorous courses I would need to take that would require lots of studying and that when all of my friends would be traveling on the weekend and spending time at the beach, I would have to be inside studying. Looking back now, I’m thankful for her blunt honesty because it led me to new opportunities, and traveling to more places and having more experiences while actually saving money and getting to enjoy them.
One day I was on Instagram and a trip popped up that two young girls were leading to Greece in July. Their goal was to bring together young, like-minded girls who want to travel and explore the world. I was curious about the trip and started thinking that maybe I should apply.
About a week later I met up with a girl I’d chatted with on Instagram for dinner, Kenna. She ran a healthy food Instagram and lived in a town close to Fort Collins. She’s a few years younger than me and it was so fun getting to know her. She had just been accepted to the same retreat I was considering, and I took it as a sign to apply! It would be really fun to go with someone I had already met and meet other girls who were also interested in health and wellness.
I got accepted to the trip and decided to go. I figured I could also go to Switzerland and visit my sister, brother-and-law and meet my new niece! I booked the trip for July and started dreaming about my European vacation.
I decided to get another job to start saving for the trip, and ended up back at Madgreens, the salad restaurant I worked at in high school. I didn’t love the job, but I had the extra time and thought it would be a good way to meet more people. Plus it was nice to get a free salad every time I worked.
Spring Break rolled around and it was the first time that I didn’t actually take a break. I picked up as many shifts as I could between Madgreens and Corepower. I figured this is what adulting is like 🙂
April was filled with teaching, school, and working at Madgreens. I started getting excited to be finished with my first semester at CSU and was ready to spend the summer in Boulder.
Earlier in the semester I had gone to a Nutrition Club meeting with a guest speaker who owned a food truck that served ice cream made 100% out of bananas and other frozen fruit called Ba-Nom-a-Nom. She had mentioned that she would be looking for employees closer to summer. I thought it would be so fun to work on a food truck, especially one with a delicious, healthy frozen treat! I applied and was hired as a full-time employee and would train to drive the truck.
I started training at a few events at the end of April. My first event was freezing, in the 20s. The truck was obviously slow so we peeled bananas for a while as Sarah, the owner of the truck started showing me how everything worked. I was so excited to have such a unique job. Honestly, where else can you get paid for peeling bananas? Going to fun events and talking to people are two of my favorite things, so I couldn’t wait to spend the summer at festivals and events giving people a treat that was also healthy.
On Easter I taught all day, so in the morning I met my Dad for breakfast at WONDER my favorite juice bar. They had special goats to come play and I loved seeing them. I’m such a sucker for cute animals.
As the semester wrapped up and the weather started to warm up, I was so proud of myself for almost being done with my first semester at CSU and hitting the halfway mark of college. I attended a “halfway there” celebration put on for 2nd year students where I ran into one of my instructors from the transfer transition class I had taken. He asked me if I would apply to co-teach the class in the Fall. At first I was hesitant, but decided to go through with the interview process, and eventually got the job. It would be a great opportunity to meet more staff on campus,improve the curriculum of the class, and use my experience to help other transfer students transition to the university.
My birthday rolled around during finals week. I was able to spend the morning hiking with my Dad, one of my favorite activities, then taught a birthday themed sculpt class at night. My friend Ryley and I decided to have a fun photoshoot in downtown Fort Collins and we went to get Nicecream Sammies from the local co-op. It was a pretty low key 20th birthday, but it was still a lovely way to spend the day.
Once classes were over I went full throttle into summer work mode. I quit Madgreens, moved home to Boulder, took over more classes at the Boulder Corepowers, and finished my training for Ba-Nom-a-Nom. The weather was pretty chilly and didn’t really feel like summer, but I was happy to have a break from school, even if it was the easiest semester I’ll have.
I bought a DSLR camera for my birthday which I had been wanting for long time. I had so much fun learning to use it!
In June I decided to run a marathon. It wasn’t completely random. I’d had a goal to run a full marathon before my 21st birthday since I was 10, and realized that this would be the last summer before then, and that it would be much easier to train in the summer without school and with better weather. I went from running practically zero miles per week to entering a 12-week marathon training cycle. It might not have been the smartest move, but I was motivated and I was committed.
My summer days were long. I would start some mornings at 4:30am to get to the studio to teach the 5:30am sculpts. My banana truck schedule would vary week to week, but often I would have an evening event and would get home until after midnight. The truck was based in Denver, so I would have to drive down to pick up the truck, drive to the event and work it, then drive back to the commissary to do dishes and stock the truck, then return the truck and drive home. Some events were close and easy, but other I would drive up to places like Windsor and Fort Collins, or get stuck in Denver rush-hour traffic and the nights would be long. It was totally worth it and I loved the job, but the days could get pretty long, especially when I was adding in increased workouts.
My favorite events on the food truck were the weekly events. We went to the Fort Collins Food Truck Rally every Tuesday which my boss, Sarah, actually runs. The rally started around 5 and we would always have a super long line from open until after sundown. I enjoyed making the “noms” as we call them, chatting with customers, getting to know other food truckers, and taking pictures for our social media. On Sundays we worked Denver City Park Jazz which was also always crazy busy. The energy was magnetic and I could never leave without a smile on my face. The Ethiopian Food Truck was always there and I fell in love with both the food and the sweet girls who ran the truck.
Not all events were crazy busy. Some were so slow I can count the amount of noms sold on one hand. Mishaps happened all the time. The windshield wipers stopped working during a couple big rain storms where me and my coworkers would have to jump out of the truck in the rain and unstick the blades at stop lights or on the side of the interstate. Google maps once kept me driving in circles on I-25 instead of having me exit the correct place. Crazy wind rattled the truck so hard it was difficult to stay in one lane. Sometimes the truck would only accelerate to 45 mph, and my coworker got pulled over for driving too slow. I learned so many skills of how to problem solve and think on my feet and was so grateful for such a strong team and dedicated boss.
Some of my favorite moments of the summer were in the middle of the day between shifts when I would be at home reading in the sun on my favorite chair, hanging out with our precious boxer Rizzo, and chatting with my Dad who was between jobs at the time. We would take the dogs on long walks before it got hot and just chatted about life, from the simple to the complex. I loved the days when I had time to get in the kitchen and explore new recipes for myself and my family.
Saturdays were my long run days. I would wake up and head out the door to accomplish the new distance. No matter what happened during the runs I always felt such a sense of accomplishment when I was done. After a few weeks the runs were the furthest I had ever gone and it was so fun seeing my body getting stronger.
I loved going to the Farmer’s Market after my long runs and picking up local, organic produce. Sometimes I would meet up with friends, and other times I would enjoy the morning to myself, or go to the Louisville market where I could bring my puggle Tyler. My mom works at the Senior Living Center on Saturdays so I loved surprising her at work sometimes with fresh flowers or in season fruit.
July 1st I let my friend in school at the Aveda Institute dye my hair blonde! It was a big change, and was lighter than I anticipated it would be, but I realized it happened and there was no going back, so I embraced it. I learned to love being blonde and was reminded to live in the moment and not sweat the little things.
I worked a couple of super fun July 4th events on the truck, both in Denver and Fort Collins. Like I said, fun festivals are my favorite so I loved the action of being apart of it all!
I spent the second half of July traveling to Europe. It was the most incredible experience in so many ways. I learned so much about myself and felt so lucky to have the opportunity to see the world. I will never forget spontaneous Mama Mia dance parties, endlessly roaming the streets of Athens, watching the sunrise on a morning flight to Santorini, nightly tea parties at the hotel bar, sitting at breakfast for hours just chatting, or sitting on the back of the boat during our sunset cruise chatting about the deep stuff, singing the most random songs, and being the only people there not on a romantic vacation with their partners. These girls who I had never met before became like sisters and I’m so happy they came into my life.
After Greece I visited Switzerland and fell in love with Swiss Alps. I was amazed by the majestic enormity of the mountains in a way that my mountains in Colorado just can’t compete with. I was based at my sisters but solo travelled on the train and got to see so many incredible sights. I hiked through the mountains, I ran through cute Swiss towns, and I paraglided over Interlaken. Me and my sister’s relationship isn’t always easy being 15 years apart, but I’m so happy she let me into her home, shared a slice of her life with me, and allowed us to create fond memories. Meeting my niece was incredible, a moment I dreamt about for years. I can’t wait to see what a beautiful soul she blossoms into and am so excited to play with her when she can actually understand who Aunty Alli is.
As soon as I got back it was time to get right back to marathon training and work to finish off the summer. Although the summer started off chilly, by August it was plenty hot. My first long run back was an 18 miler and I foolishly resisted taking water with me. I suffered severe dehydration that day, but had to head to work a 3 day camping music festival, Arise, in Loveland for the food truck. Thankfully my sister was dropping me off so I didn’t have to drive up and I made it. My boss offered to let me go home and come back the next day, but it wasn’t very easy to leave and come back, and I didn’t want to be an unreliable employee, so I stayed. Sarah later told me I was white as a ghost and looked like I was about to pass out, but I worked an 8 hour shift with only a few breaks to go lay down behind our tent. That was the day I learned the importance of electrolytes, and bought a hydration belt.
Arise was so incredible. I was still pretty weak so instead of going to listen to music after I got off, I would go back to my tent and try to go to bed. The festival was an all night party. I often got woken up by screaming, jam sessions, or a collective 3am howling at the moon, but the energy was insane and I was happy to be apart of it. The days were long, working 12-14 hour shifts the second two days, but I loved the atmosphere so much I didn’t mind just keeping at it.
Soon it was time to go back to school. I had training for my job working with transfer students and loved meeting the other students and staff in that community. I started teaching at the Fort Collins Corepower again and loved seeing all of the students I had built relationships with in the Spring.
The first week of classes was the last week of August so I finished off the week and headed to Boulder for one last weekend.
The first weekend of September was an exciting one! On Saturday, I had a special partnership class with Ba-Nom-a-Nom where I taught a sculpt class themed “Let’s go bananas!” and had the truck come afterwards to give out free noms. So many of my favorite students came and my manager and mentor gave me endless love and support- like always.
After my classes on Sunday, my Dad and I drove up to Colorado Springs to run my marathon which would be happening the next day, Labor Day. I was super nervous but couldn’t believe the day was already here!
The next day was magical. I ran way better than I imagined I would and felt great. Kenna and her mom came to support me and I received so much support from friends and family. I was already excited to train for another, but also looking forward to the next big event.
Just a week later, I went to Peru on my 2nd Corepower retreat! 2 of my friends who I met on the first CPY retreat were leading it, and 2 of my other friends I met on that retreat were also going. It was so fun to reunite and to make lots of new friends! I loved seeing the Alpacas and the rich history, going on morning recovery runs with my friend Angie, and going on hikes and excursions, including Machu Picchu, and taking incredible yoga classes. It was really cool to see how much I have grown since my last retreat. I now teach and can share that experience with others who are curious, and am so much more confident in my voice and who I am.
Although I had to work really hard to make up from being away from school, I am so happy I took the leap and went on this retreat. I even got to have lunch with one of my friends from high school that lives in Peru now teaching english. The world is so small.
I came back from the retreat with a renewed vigor for teaching. From day one I’ve been enthralled with teaching yoga. It’s one of my biggest passions, but another gear clicked after the retreat. I realized just how much Corepower means to me and how it’s been there for me consistently through the last few years when so much in my life has evolved. It has brought some of the most incredible people into my life and shaped me into the person I am today. I’m so grateful for this company and everyone I’ve had the chance to meet.
Fall Teacher Training started at the studio and I had the opportunity to be a coach-in-training. I was so excited to be apart of programming and get to know the other instructors and trainees better. Getting to be on the other side of trainings made me realize once again how far I’ve come and validated that my opinions matter. I am a young, new teacher and will continue to learn and evolve throughout my whole life, but my experiences mean something. I can share my voice with the world and help other find theirs too.
It was one of my students in teacher training that inspired me to get back to running sooner than originally planned. He recommended the LA marathon to me, which is on March 8th, so my mind started spinning and I started thinking about getting back to training.
This semester school really started to click for me. My classes were really tricky, but I finally figured out how to study in a way to be most successful. I worked hard, really hard, but it finally paid off. I found a huge passion in physiology and my human nutrition classes. I just want to know everything I can about how the body functions and why it works the way it does. When I can actually explain the why behind things and understand on more than just a memorized surface level, the exams don’t seem so arduous and terrifying, they just feel like hurdles I have to jump through to prove my understanding.
After attempting to take some time off of intense exercise, I went back to working out and starting lifting at the gym again. It felt so so good and it was a good change of pace to be working out along since other students at the rec center on campus.
The last few months of the year flew by.
At the beginning of the year I applied for a scholarship to attend a wellness festival in Atlanta, GA called Attune and found out in July I had received the full scholarship. I was shocked that I had won, but made arrangements to go to Georgia! The festival took place at a beautiful property called Serenbe about 30 minutes from the city. Most of the festival was outside in the frigid air, but the experience was so rich it didn’t matter.
The mornings started with meditation and yoga or “The Class” by Taryn Toomey. I had the chance to run around the beautiful property and explore the town and surrounding woods. The food was all included and was delicious, organic, and nourishing. Fresh juices were provided in the morning and beautifully crafted seated dinners filled the evenings. The days were filled with incredible keynote speakers like Gabby Berstein, Shaman Durek, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Dr. Joe Dispenza. I loved connecting with the other attendees and gaining so many nuggets of wisdom to take back into my everyday life.
I committed to run the LA marathon and started training. A few snow storms made me realize that winter training wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it could be. It’s actually pretty easy to navigate the ice and your body warms up quite a bit once you get going. Being in a training cycle makes me really happy. I love coming what’s next and accomplishing something that looked scary on paper like long runs and interval times. It’s nice not to overthink what I should do to work out that day. It’s also really cool to watch my body getting stronger and faster and running further than I did the week before.
Sadly, one night I received a call from my Dad that they had to take our boxer, Rizzo, to the doggie emergency room. She had been experiencing seizures for months and they had tried everything they could, but she had gotten so bad she needed immediate care. He told me they were doing an MRI to look for a tumor and keeping her overnight. They wouldn’t have results until the next day, but he didn’t know what would be happening. I knew at the moment that Rizzo had a tumor and that if I didn’t go home to see her the next day I wouldn’t see her again. There was no waiting another week until Thanksgiving break. I cleared my schedule and drove home after classes the next few days to see her. Thankfully my schedule worked out that I could be home for a few days to support my parents who took this loss really hard after only having Rizzo for a year. I had been pretty home sick in the last few weeks. I needed the comfort of being home, I needed my parents, and I needed my yoga community, especially my mentor Bri. I also had the chance to take my Mama to my favorite smoothie bowl place, Whole Sol, for the first time, which I crave daily in Fort Collins. This is why I came back to Colorado, to be here, close enough to be there when life happens.
At CSU we get the whole week off for Thanksgiving break which was much different than in Minnesota when we only got Thursday and Friday off. I appreciated the break, even though I still studied the entire time for the physiology exam I had when I returned. I got to go back home for a few days and got to teach a couple of classes in Boulder. It’s amazing. Every time I walk into the Boulder studios it feels like a homecoming. I love all of the other instructors and students so much and I feel so much love. I know that being in Fort Collins is what I need to do right now to finish my degree and I’m so grateful for my communities, especially my Corepower community up here which also makes my heart burst with joy, but Boulder is truly my happy place.
The last few weeks of school were a crazy ride. We only had 2 weeks before finals the way the calendar ran this year, so it was 2 weeks of craziness, then a week of studying and waiting to take my finals which weren’t until the end of finals week. I ran, I yoga-ed, I taught as much as I could, and I tried my best to enjoy the holiday season, the most wonderful time of the year.
I was lucky to come home to the smell of Christmas cookies everyday as my Nana and Aunt Kristi baked away. I enjoyed attending a holiday piano recital with the two of them as a study break one day. I tried the new smoothie bowl place in Fort Collins, Ohana Bowls, as a study date with one of my friends. I had a wonderful Christmas lunch with my Grandpa and cousin Carly who also attends CSU. I took my sweet Nana and cousin Kyle to Color Me Mine to paint pottery. I blasted Kosi-101.1 and ran to Christmas carols. I was ready for the big day.
The magical day finally came and I had the lovely opportunity to teach the Christmas Day yoga class at the Fort Collins studio. 47 excited yogis showed up. Some were my regulars and some were brand new. I felt so blessed to experience the magically energy and incredible strength of every single person in that room. It’s moments like this that fill me up the most.
I also had so many special moments with my family. From Christmas Eve church service and hanging out at home with my siblings, to Christmas Eve morning with just me and my parents, my mama and I in matching pajamas, to seeing my aunty and sweet sweet cousin for a Christmas Eve breakfast, to a Whole Sol date with my Grandpa a few days earlier. AND getting to teach so many lovely classes in the days leading up to the holiday.
I am so thankful for my family, both true and chosen, for making my life so incredibly special.
So now I recuperate. I run. I teach. I lift. I yoga. I read. I write. I dream about what lies in 2020 and prepare for the future. I’m ending 2019 in all of the ways that light me up from the inside out.
So as I reflect on this year, I’m shocked at just how much can happen in 365 days. I’m amazed at all of the people I didn’t know this time last year who now mean so much to me. I’m so proud of myself for all of the risks I’ve taken, mistakes I’ve made, and challenges I’ve taken on. And while I’m excited for what lies ahead, I’m taking sometime I be 100% content with where I am on this journey, right here, right now.