I’m taking a break from my normally food-driven posts because all I could think about while trying to finish writing an Athlete Food strategy post on micro splurges, while scrambling eggs, while attempting to digest that Fresh Air podcast on the history of Isis is: Has Laurel posted a new Instagram from Kona?
Her posts, as usual, turn everyday scenarios into stunning photographs, but these selfies and action shots also clamp my heart. Each and every post makes me compare this Laurel of 2015, of the muscles and Ironman World Championships, with the tiny, frail, fresh off of chemo Laurel who I first met in the late 90s.
I completely misjudged Laurel when I first saw her. We met on a plane, invited to Italy by mutual friends who had flown outbefore us. My first thought was, “Wow, she is brave to wear that haircut.” Her hair, somewhere between a buzz and pixie cut, was growing back after having fallen out—but I didn’t know that then.
What I did soon find out was that we were kindred spirits, more interested in early morning runs, biking the winding Italian roads (those drivers!), and days planned around squares of pizza and seafood risotto. (Our traveling companions were night owls—wink, wink.)
Over the next 15 years, when we both lived in New York City, and then once we dispersed—her to Los Angeles part time, and me to San Francisco and now Nashville, what I learned is that Laurel’s bravery has nothing to do with her hair. It has everything to do with how she lives.
Jogging to chemo? Traveling to Italy (and before that London), far from the safety net of doctors at Sloan Kettering? Becoming the first cancer survivor to become a professional triathlete? To win an Ironman? This is how Laurel shows us all how to live: with no excuses and all in, all the time.
Crush the competition, friend!