TEDx Talk

On January 24th, 2014, I gave the talk of my life.  It was at TEDx University of Nevada.  The talk informs women about the dangers of dense breast tissue, and more importantly, what you can do if you have it.  40% of women have dense breast tissue and you have the right and the need to know this information.  Please watch my talk and pass it on to people you know and love.  Without grassroots movements like this, women will stay in the dark about this hidden danger.  Thank you for being a part of my mission to save women’s lives.  The video below my TEDx talk is my Mom’s Story.  Please watch that as well… maybe with a glass of wine!




church imageAs we walked to the news set the other night, I asked Kristen, my friend and co-anchor, “Do you ever cry in church?”  She laughed and said, “I’ll text you the first time I don’t cry in church.”   That made me feel better because last Sunday I had an extemely emotional experience in church and I wanted to know if I was crazy. Kristen assured me I wasn’t.

Last weekend, I ended up kidless on Sunday morning and so took advantage by going to church by myself.  Going to church alone doesn’t bother me.  It’s not like flying solo to a movie.  That does bug me.  But when it comes to church, I actually prefer to go alone.  I didn’t go to my church.  But instead traveled up to Lake Tahoe to visit St. Francis of Assisi. 

In 2004, we baptised our daughter, Eva Diana, at St. Francis.  Since then, it’s always held a special place in my heart.   And now, sitting alone in my pew, I was once again happy to be here.  When Father Bill entered I immediately sat up straighter.  His presence didn’t make me nervous, but rather more alert… like a freshman on the first day of class.  I wanted to truly understand the lesson I was about to hear.  And learn I did.

He asked us all to allow the Holy Spirit into our souls so that we could forgive those who trouble us the most.  The Holy Spirit would guide us in allowing our feelings of ill will to be replaced with love and eventual peace.  And when he said, “We need the power to deal with those that cause us the most pain…” my eyes immediately filled with water.

On December 21st, 2011, my best friend died.  4 days before Christmas.  She would have survived past the new year, but my brother and I gave her permission to go to the other side… and she did… that night.   I thought I was ready. I thought it would be best for her to move on to the next world. But I was wrong.  Living without my mom causes me daily pain.

As I glanced at Father Bill, trying to hide the tears that were now streaming down my face in a river of emotion,  I was horrified to admit the one person causing me the most pain was the one person who would never do anything, ever, to hurt me… my mom.   She would be so sad to know I struggle at the feet of her demise.  But I do.  We are coming up on her two year anniversary of leaving us and I still feel like that lonely kid who was forgotten at school.  I keep looking for her to come around the corner to get me. 

So with a deep breath,  I closed my eyes to allow the Holy Spirit into my core.  I breathed deeply several times to allow the warmth of his being to enter my soul.  And I felt… nothing!  Dammit!  So I sat there some more and waited.  And waited.  By this time my tears were drying up because I was getting irritated.  Where was the Holy Spirit when I really needed it??  I left church feeling a tad disappointed.

On my 40 minute drive home, I looked at they sky, still pale grey with smoke from the fire burning near Yosemite.  I thought how my mom would have complained about all the smoke.  She hated anything but bright sunny days in Reno.  And that thought alone broke me again.  New tears followed the dried stains already on my cheeks.  And this time, I allowed myself to sob.  To release some of the water that filled my emotional bucket.  I allowed myself to be angry.  I allowed myself to climb right up on that pitty chair and have a party.  And then it happened.  As I slowly pulled down into Reno off the Mt. Rose Highway, my tears dried up.  My anger floated away from me.  And a sense of warmth filled my body.  A warmth like I’ve never felt.  A warm blanket enveloping my heart.  And finally… peace. 

The magical spell lasted until I pulled into my driveway.  The chaos of my kids, now back at home, dulled the sense of warmth inside me, but I knew it was still there.  I had released some of the pain of my mom’s death.  I have a long way to go to be out of daily pain, but moments like that, where you connect with the Holy Spirit make me realize I will someday get there.

(note:  My Holy Spirit is the Divine Trinity.  What’s yours?  Is it Mother Earth?  Is it your own belief that doesn’t have a name?  Whatever, or whoever, you pray to, I hope you find peace in your God like I do mine.) 

A book that opened my eyes to the Divine Trinity is called The Shack.  It’s a fictional story, a good read, but man does it have a thought provoking kick to it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it:



To answer the question about when to stop running, I had to seek out a Sikh.  And look…I found one!  Amazingly, Fauja Singh and I have something in common.   We run to save ourselves. We run because it’s our therapy.  We run because that’s how we deal with pain.  I lost my parents back to back.  He lost his wife and son back to back.  Both of us turned to training to continue living life.  At one point, we both faced a fork in the road.  The path to the left led to depression, saddness, hopelessness.  The path on the right lead to peace, therapy, hope.  Fauja and I CHOSE the right path.  We CHOOSE to stay on that path.  Every day, we all make decisions.  Fauja and I make a conscious decision to live a life where endorfins flow freely through our bodies lifting our spirits, our hearts, our minds and our sights.  I do believe the path of depression would be easier.  But it’s not the right path.  The right path is hard and takes determination and grit.  But if an 89 year old man can choose to stay on that path for more than 10 years, I have a lifetime ahead of me on the right path.  And in the end, running saved Fauja’s life… just like it’s saving mine.  So I guess the answer to the question of when you should stop running is simple.  When you’re 101. 


101-year-old vegetarian runner completes his final marathon

, NBC Sports

Feb 25, 2013, 11:00 AM EST

2013 Hong Kong Marathon Getty Images

Fauja Singh, the oldest runner ever to complete a full marathon, finished his final race on Sunday, and now will hang up his competitive running shoes for good. From now on, Singh, who will soon be 102 years old, will run just for fun, “to inspire the masses.”

Singh ran in the 10k division of the Hong Kong Marathon, and completed the 6.25-mile race in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 28 seconds.

The Indian-born runner, nicknamed the Turbaned Torpedo, took up running at the age of 89 to help with his grief when both his wife and son died. A great-grandfather, he unofficially became the oldest man to run a full marathon when he ran in Toronto in 2011, at the age of 100. But he is not recognized by the Guinness Book of the World Records because he doesn’t have a birth certificate. Danged birthers.  “I will remember this day. I will miss it,” Singh said minutes after crossing the finish line.

Singh completed nine full marathons after the age of 89.


mom and kids

A mom hugs her kids following the shooting at a school in Connecticut

This has happened way too many times. Far too often I’ve fought back tears during live TV because of a senseless act. And the latest time happened this past Friday. And it was particularly tough on this day. December 14th was my station’s 20th annual Share Your Christmas food drive. We raise more than 170,000 pounds of food in one day. We help to feed 97,000 people a month who depend on the Food Bank of Northern Nevada for food. This is an important day because it shows the best side of humanity. It shows what we are truly all about as a community and as a race. We were all in place in the darkness of the early morning. And right at 5 am, the cheerful, lighthearted, Christmasy music went out over the airwaves and with smiling face, we began encouraging thousands of people to come donate food. The day started just as it had the past 19 years. My co-anchor, Kristen, even bought us fun braided hats so we could all laugh and create an air of silliness. That is what this day is all about. But just after 10 am we learned CBS was cutting into our show with breaking news. We sat in the freezing cold watching the chilling details of the school shooting in Connecticut. The tears immediately filled to the brim of my eyes and then slowly overflowed, unstoppable, as we learned dozens were dead, mostly children between the ages of 5 and 10. Schools are supposed to be safe. When a gunman opens fire at a shopping mall, we think “our kids are safe, they are at school.” When a crazed lunatic opens fire inside an I Hop restaurant we think, “our kids are safe, they are at school.” But this time a school became the shooting range. Didn’t this asshole know SCHOOLS ARE OFF LIMITS TO COWARDS LIKE YOU!!!!  I wanted to run to my kids and take them home. It took every ounce of strength I had to not pick them up. But I didn’t.  I had a job to do that day. And that was to show the good side of humanity. To not let evil win. To shine some light on this horribly dark day. So at 3pm, once again, the cheerful, lighthearted, Christmasy music went out over the airwaves and then we popped up on live TV. At first, I was afraid to speak. Afraid my voice would crack and the tears would return. But instead, as the words flowed from my heart and out of my mouth, I gained strength. We spoke about the horrors one single person can inflict upon a town, but we also wanted to show the good side of humanity and how an entire community comes together to feed the hungry. From darkness to light. From horror to hope. This is what we do. We make difficult transitions on live TV because we believe in the largest part of humanity. The part that comes out and donates food and money so those facing harder times than ourselves can feed their families. People like you who live every day as a good decent human being.  What evil people don’t understand is when they act out and terrorize a community, the rest of us circle the wagons.  We come together as stronger communities, families and individuals.  Yes, evil people break our hearts.  They make us cry and ask why.  But in the end, they make us better people.  More loving.  More kind.  More compassionate.   And by the end of our Share Your Christmas food drive, more than 190,000 pounds of food was collected.  And more than $170,000 was donated.  That’s the good side of humanity.  The side that will never be defeated. 



mom and dad

My parents at my Dad’s surprise 80th birthday

I’m an orphan. At least that’s how I think of myself on my weepy days. Yes pathetic. I lost both my parents before age 40. Tough shit. Some people lose theirs at birth. Or worse, get to know them and love them and depend on them only to lose them as children. I’m blessed. I know that. But it still hurts sometimes to not have parents. My wounds are still raw from losing my mom on December 21st of 2011. My dad went two years before that. Both died of cancer. Both shitty deals.  I got through Thanksgiving this year.  You didn’t hear much from me during that time.  I had my head down, focusing on survival.  I’ve become a pro at navigating conversations away from, “How are you doing, Wendy?” I answer quickly enough to satiate the person while not letting them dig any deeper into my outter crust which protects a bucket of tears and raw emotion.  No one wants to see that.  Trust me.  So with one of the big holidays behind me, I’ve got one more to get through.  And it’s starting to get more difficult.  “How do you deal with the pain of losing someone so close to you?” is a question I get all the time.  I don’t know the answer.  But I know what I do.  I train.  It keeps my mind off the pain. And after today I realized how important training is to me. My last triathlon was back in June. I have nothing in the pipe so my long therapy runs have lessened to nil. And today I broke. The tears started as soon as I left the house. I ended up driving around town pulling up to red lights back far enough the driver next to me couldn’t see the tears. I didn’t want them to wonder, “What’s wrong with that poor woman?” Because the reason I’m crying doesn’t seem legit. There are so many other people out there with real reasons to cry. I feel like a kid who didn’t get ENOUGH Christmas presents because I didn’t get enough time with my parents. So what do you do? How do you get over these periods of sadness so they don’t grab hold and become full fledged depression?? For me, I’m signing up for another race. I’m giving myself something to look forward to instead of longing for what was in the past. This is how I grieve. I hope it works. Because at the end of the day this is my new reality. Nothing is bringing my parents back.  And even with the sadness I’m still so blessed.  I have two amazing kids and a great husband to live for. They are my true north. They are why I’m getting back on the bike.  Why I’m putting on my Asics once again.  My kids need me just like I needed my mom when I was 9.  And even though we all still need a mom at any age, sometimes, heaven simply needs her more.  And so we fill those shoes left by them… at least we try.

So, now that I’m a total wreck again…. what’s your favorite race? Please comment on this story with a race you suggest.  Any length is fine.  The longer the better.  Cheers.