This Post is About Family, Love and Living Life to the Fullest


sam I am not posting a training re-cap from last week because I couldn't bring myself to write about something so self-focused. On Sunday, the world lost one of its best: Sam Dweck, our adventure seeking, race everything, joy sharing, sweat sister. We are all still reeling and I have been having trouble finding the words but the three things that keep coming to the surface this week have been family, love and living life to the fullest.


One of the questions people usually ask when getting to know each other is "Do you have a big family?"  Until about a year and a half ago I would have said no. Sure I have quite a few aunts and uncles and cousins, but they are spread out in England so when it came to family gatherings it was usually just my brother, myself and my parents. That has all changed. In November, I shared Thanksgiving with about 25 family members, a couple of time a month I share family dinner with about 30 family members, and this week I am grieving the loss of one of my sisters with hundreds of family members.

Family is a whole lot more than blood. Family are the people who are there for you day in and day out whether or not it is spoken. Family are the people you would do anything for. Family are the people that make you a better version of yourself by pushing you and pulling you to places you never thought you would go. Family picks you up when you fall and are willing to jump into the deep end with you so you don't have to do it alone. Family are the people you talk about poop with and fart in front of.  Family are the people who you can be your 100% true self with knowing they will love you just the same.

I have been coming to November Project since day one. I have watched it grow around me from 6 of us trying not to get yelled at by the grounds keepers at Kezar to over 200 people sweating together trying not to get arrested at Alta Plaza. Maybe because of this I have felt like somewhat of an observer watching the bonds of family develop around me, not realizing just how connected I am to these people. Maybe because I wasn't expecting anything more than a workout group to keep me accountable once a week, I didn't notice these yahoos becoming my family.  It was not until this week that I fully realized how strong these bonds are and that we are so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing group of people to call our own. If we all carry a piece of Sam with us, she won't ever really leave us.

emigrant 2


I am from the east coast = kind of intense / don't really talk about feelings all that much.

I had a pretty English upbringing = really don't talk about feelings, especially not love.

I am who I am = keep things inside / has had trouble telling people how I feel.

Maybe the California sunshine is getting to me, or maybe I have grown up since moving here, but most likely I have learned from my November Project family that love comes in many different forms, and that they are all worth celebrating and sharing. It doesn't take months or years to grow love. You can meet someone and a few weeks later you are watching her do a totally naked hand stand on a mountain and realize you love her because she has absolutely no fear of something you would be terrified of. Love can develop over the course of a weekend spent with a Swiss army knife group of girlfriends because you realize you are all so different but compliment and challenge each other in ways you never thought possible. Love comes from the most fantastic of smiles, the warmest of hugs and the sharing of sweat and adventure. Sam Dweck, I love you. November Project family, I love you. Husband, brother, parents, I love you. Aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, I love you. High School friends, college friends, track team mates, I love you. If you feel it, say it because you never know if you will get another chance.


Living Life to the Fullest

"Be the Sam Dweck you wish to see in the world"

A friend shared this and I thought it was a really nice adaptation of the original Gandhi quote. Since Sunday night I have been asking myself how can I be better? How can I be more like Sam? Some things I can't do. I can't have the most awesome smile that instantly warms your heart, but I can smile more. I can't be effortlessly cool rocking a backwards cap or temporary vegetable tattoos but I can be less afraid to be myself. I can try to be as unafraid and adventurous as Sam. I can try to be as free spirited and joyous as Sam. I can try to make the world a better place, a more sustainable place. Most of the ways I can try to be more like Sam will be small things that will gradually make me a better person. However, Sam has inspired me to be less afraid and to tackle a fear / goal head on. I have been dreaming about doing a triathlon for a while and the way I tend to do things is to go hard or go home, but with the triathlon I keep un-convincing myself to sign up. Well Sam, today I signed up for the Lake Tahoe 70.3 Ironman because fuck it, I won't let myself be afraid. I will tackle my fear of open water swimming and I will crush it because I know that's how you would do it. Thank you Sam for being such a wonderful human being. Even though I am hurting in such a deep way right now, I would never trade in having known you for not having to hurt. The hurt is a reminder of just how deeply you touched me and that is a pretty amazing thing.