The First Damn Page

This is awful, this is awful, this is SO awful…

I adjusted my sports bra and sniffled. Everything hurt. And why was my nose running anyway?

Is this pavement getting HARDER?

I glanced at my watch. Oh, you’ve got to be f!%&@ kidding me. 0.67 miles?!

How did people do this? Why did people do this? Running had to be -positively no way around it abso-freaking-lutely- the worst possible idea since scorpion bowls.

But it seemed like such a good idea at the time…

It was 2014, and, newly divorced and influenced by a number of sporty friends, I’d decided to turn my daily walks into daily jogs. I’d never run more than a mile, and had nothing charitable to say about the “sport.” Psh. Sport. Masochism at its finest.

Despite my entire body screaming at me to come to my senses, I trudged onward. After I passed mile one and closed in on mile two, the strangest, most miraculous, most unexpected thing happened.

It. Stopped. Hurting.

I nearly keeled over from the shock of NOT WANTING TO KEEL OVER. Is this… can this… is this how people do this?!

I stand, er, lie corrected.

Within a few days, I went from never having run more than a mile to running six. In a row. And then a half marathon six weeks after that. And then a full marathon a few months later. I had cracked the code. I had done the thing that only DOING THE THING can show you:

The first mile is the hardest.

Okay so also [cycling] mile 100 is the hardest.

So is the first time you say to someone, “I don’t think this is working out.”

So is the first day on a new job when everyone is using lingo and technology that flies over your head.

So is the first moment you leave the known for the unknown.

In my experience, if I can get past the starting line, I’ve already won the race.

I’ve been thinking a lot about starts and finishes because springtime is so full of contrast, especially in Bend, Oregon. One minute you’re pulling up the zipper on your “puffy” coat (mandatory clothing in the Pacific Northwest), the next you’re sunning your shoulders on a local trail.

Bright, beautiful wildflowers begin to pop up in the most unexpected, seemingly inhospitable places – like between lava rock or thick sand. And even though it happens every year, springtime always feels like something brand new. A birth, rather than a rebirth.

Am I the rock or the flower? OR AM I BOTH? –Deep Thoughts with Go Jules Go

During the long, cold, fallow winter, it’s nearly impossible to remember that in a few months’ time, your neighbor will once again pull out the grill every night, the sound of squeaky wheels on concrete wafting through your open window.

During the lowest lows of heartache, job uncertainty, and loss, you feel like you’ll never begin again. Or perhaps it’s that long-held dream -the kind you’ve had for so long you don’t know who you’d be without it- whose fulfillment seems more unattainable with every passing day.

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, 81% of Americans want to write a book. And almost no one does.


It’s that first damn page.

Sadly, so many times we never get to mile two and learn this ultimate life hack. Because the best part? Tackling the first mile of any race makes all the other “first miles” easier, too. 

Never in a million years did I envision my first published book being a cookbook. Let alone one that I (co) wrote, photographed, designed, and marketed – despite having zero expertise in any one of those categories.

It’s the hardest project I’ve ever undertaken. Every element involved a first step – something I’d never done before. I doubted myself in almost every moment.

Except when I asked these cuties to be on the cover. Zero doubts there.

Now that copies are about to land in people’s hands, and I experienced the unadulterated horror of seeing that my first news interview added 40 pounds and involved me eating my hair on air in a windy park for 60 seconds (and prompted a whole slew of, er, uncharitable comments from meat-loving locals), I’m battling another first: Putting myself out there – really, really out there. Which of course involves finding the confidence to keep saying, “I made this, it’s good, and I’m proud of it.” Which of course means saying, “I’m worthy.”

Still working on that one.


Thank you so much to everyone who has supported BEEFLESS CAKES at every stage. You’ve kept me from setting up permanent residence under a blanket. I love you!


15 thoughts on “The First Damn Page”

  1. I had a similar experience when I started running (also in 2014), but have never articulated it or utilized the lessons as fully as you have. You’re such a good writer and thinker, and most importantly, a good doer. Good luck with the book — I look forward to the arrival of our copy.

    1. I’m so glad we got to cross (running) paths, Mark – I could say the same thing about you! (And I’m looking forward to meeting up on more group outings this summer*)

      *please note my temperature threshold for running hovers around 60 degrees; this may impact summer plans (she says, gripping her desk whilst the fan blows at full speed).

  2. Having been there for many of your firsts, i can attest to your worthiness – your strength, courage, determination and kindness. Looking forward to my book! Er, well yours and Robin’s book that is. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations!!!!!! And whoa, do I hear you about taking the first steps into anything new. First day on the job or anything that involves stepping into the unknown. The fearful unknown! Why couldn’t all new things just be exciting without the fear? Working on it. Picturing your cookbook on the NYTimes bestseller list! Now we just have to get you on with Drew Barrymore (she loves to cook).

    1. Thank you so much! And ooh I didn’t know that about her! (And now I’m laughing picturing how I’d manage to ruin something like meeting Drew Barrymore because the fear would overtake the excitement!) Although I have to say, for that little local news interview (a real first for me), I realized it wasn’t actually any more nerve-wracking than hitting ‘record’ when I film my little YouTube videos at home! That blew my mind!

      1. I was perusing a bunch of magazines I just discovered I can read using my library card and there was one all about vegan eating. I’m sure there are probably lots out there – have you thought about getting an article in a magazine that caters to vegans?

        1. Thank you so much for thinking of that!! We are definitely going to try anything and everything we can think of to get the word out, and that’s a great idea! 🙂

  4. Ignore those a-holes on the Bulletin and way to put yourself out there! Only correction re the cookbook: I prefer badass to cutie, probably because I’m no longer 4 YO. And because my left arm had a giant scrape in that photo – yeahhh – and I’d just bikepacked 60 miles that day 🙂

  5. Aww huge congratulations!!! That’s so exciting lol yes I’ve always wanted to write a book and you’ve done it, the American dream (although I’m Canadian, but still)!! Yay!!!

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