In June 2002, I drove west across the Memphis-Arkansas bridge in my Jeep Cherokee with my dog, Hank, a giant English Springer Spaniel, who sat in the back seat among boxes of essentials—clothes, running shoes, books, CDs, my laptop, a few bottles of red wine and a stack of surveys that I needed to analyze for my master’s thesis, which I would finish remotely. I’d crossed that bridge many times in the past on road trips, but this time I wouldn't return to Memphis, my hometown. I’d never felt so free.

I told Hank he was going to be a West Coast dog now and not to worry—there would be plenty of lakes and rivers in which he could swim in Portland, Ore., where I would start a new job as director of communications at the Oregon Medical Association. I quickly fell in love with Oregon. Hank did too, judging by all the tail wagging. 

Several years later after getting married and having my first child, I began freelance writing, focusing on creating research-based health content for marketing and PR agencies. Since 2015, I've been writing under my own byline for national and regional magazines about running (my passion for more than 20 years), health and wellness. 

I have a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in health promotion from the University of Memphis. I also completed a 10-week essay writing class through Stanford University in September 2017.