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client profile

Andrea Laughery client interview - Becoming An Athlete

It is all about breaking down our predetermined stereotypes of what an ‘athlete’ can be. Of course I can be a 34 year old mom of two kids and an athlete at the same time.
— Andrea Laughery

Readers, this is a special one. Andrea and I had a rich conversation about beginning (over and over), healing in the hills, and how she went from not being able to run five miles to completing a half-marathon and contemplating the ultra distance.

So often, I hear from people who are interested in working with me as a coach who tell me they aren’t a ‘good’ enough athlete - or not an athlete at all. Honestly, working with Andrea was just as rich and challenging an experience for me as working with elite athletes and guides on my roster in the past. She found examples of her own successes and built on them with more diligent hard work in typical Virgo fashion.

Enjoy a listen over coffee on your autumn porch!

Brittany Raven

The mountains have become a physical place that I tether myself to that helps me heal greatly.
— Andrea Laughery

1:32 Athletic background

3:00 Bringing her kids into the outdoors

5:00 “You can learn how to run properly”

6:45 Someone to believe in you

8:30 Redefining herself

9:55 The turning point

11:25 Running her first half

13:00 What’s next?

16:00 Building confidence in her practice

17:15 Healing in the mountains

Emily Carlson client interview - Slowing Down To Speed Up

My goal this year for myself was to pursue quietness of mind.
— Emily Carlson

Happy Monday, readers,

Emily and I began working together early spring 2018 on her project of running her first fifty miler. Her reputation as a total speedgoat preceded her and I knew what my task would be: getting this talented runner to slow down.

I LOVED talking with Emily this morning about the contrast between her training before we began working together and when we were working together, how she dignified her athletic practice with committed time to herself, and learning a bit more about her fifty miler experiences.

Anyone who balances family and training, anyone who has ever doubted themselves as an athlete, anyone preparing to run a new distance, and anyone who doesn’t see the value in being slow, give this a listen.

Thank you, Emily!

Brittany Raven

Topics discussed in this episode:

2:00 Emily’s training before our coaching

5:30 Benefits of being slow

6:45 Balancing family and training

11:30 Listening to your body

13:00 Resting instead of peak weeks

16:00 Being with what is

23:00 “I never saw myself as an athlete until this summer”

I felt completely ready and prepared. My curiosity was less on performance and more on: “How is this going to feel?”
— Emily Carlson

Episode resources:

Emily’s Instagram


Related posts:

Client interview series


Photo credit: Andrea Laughery (

My clients do incredible/brave/laudable shit

Though they are many, I'm admittedly not great about highlighting my clients' accomplishments. In truth this is because I regard each of their journeys as spirit-athletes to be so sacred, so individual, that I have a strict non-disclosure agreement between me and them. Their stories are theirs to tell—and theirs alone.

However, I felt a quick roundup of their work was long overdue. This list is not comprehensive but I thought it useful to share a few successes emblematic of the athletes I coach.

So, some cool stories from 2018 so far:

  • Recovered from septic knee injury to run longest run ever while six months pregnant.

  • Completed the X-Pyr event, flying a paraglider and running the span of the Pyrenees.

  • Ran first ultra—while four months pregnant.

  • Climbed first outdoor lead successfully at eight months postpartum.

  • Ran ten miles in the mountains, joyfully.

  • Completed first fifty miler—and fast.

  • Used mindfulness practice and personalized training plans to recover from guiding-induced hyperthyroidism.

It is also meaningful to me that none of my athletes sustain overuse injuries or become overtrained while under my coaching. They all report that lessons on mindful movement are their most treasured takeaways. This work brings me great joy—I am honored to work with every single one of these humans and the ones I didn't mention, too.

Kim Gilsdorf client interview - My Body Is My Partner

It felt like every part of me was alive.
— Kim Gilsdorf

Happy Monday, readers,

I have a beaut of an episode for you today. Last week Kim and I sat down to reflect on her skiing, climbing, running pregnancy. In our concise conversation Kim drops all kinds of inspiring wisdom and highly-relatable stories about finding her love of climbing during her third trimester, learning to listen to her body, and how she applied her experience mountaineering to the event of birth.

This empowering conversation charged my batteries and I hope you gain a charge from our conversation too.

Brittany Raven

PS: This is a picture of Kim snowshoeing on Mount Rainier when she was 41 weeks pregnant!

Topics discussed in this episode:

2:45 All about Kim's pregnancy

5:46 "My body had its own story"

7:33 What CAN you do?

10:19 "My body is my partner"

11:45 Committed productive pain (MN Note: I got stoked!)

16:20 On summoning your own power

20:45 The research Kim found useful

23:48 Postpartum power

25:45 On setting boundaries

28:17 One piece of advice for pregnant athletes

I’m running, I’m out in the woods, and I’m giving life to someone at the same time. My body is amazing.
— Kim Gilsdorf

Meg Reburn BScH RM client interview - Mistress Yinness

Trigger alert: If you have a history of disordered eating and/or body dysmorphia, skip this episode. I care about your health.

You helped me see how I can bring more yin into my practice as an athlete.
— Meg Reburn

Topics discussed in this episode:

3:20 The great generalist
4:30 Nutrition + hormone balance
6:25 “How long did you go without menstruating?”
8:57 On processing trauma
9:25 How Meg and I worked together
11:25 Yin practices while in motion


More about Meg:

Meg's website

Meg's Instagram


Related posts:

Meg's guest post

Menstruation doping

Why rest? By Lydia Zamorano

Client profile series

Dr. Liz Carter interview - Understanding Your Constitution

Happy Monday readers,

So many of you reached out after the last post from Dr. Liz that I decided to release the interview we recorded a wee bit earlier than I had planned.

I hope you enjoy our conversation about what 5 Elements is and why it is a useful tool for any athlete trying to decode their training (and rest) needs. In this episode I share how Dr. Liz guided me through my own process of self-discovery and -reflection during a time when I needed it most: when I was working a desk job.


2:00 What is Five Elements?
9:04 How do you know what your elements are?
11:20 Finding insight then balance
16:40 Favorite springtime recipe



Dr. Liz's Instagram

Dr. Liz's website

Dr. Liz's guest post on running while sick

Emily Biolsi - Injury to Opportunity

Jeff Shapiro - The Process-Driven Athlete

Paige Reyes - Endurance As A Postpartum Rite of Passage

Emily Biolsi client interview - Transmuting Injury Into Opportunity

The tiny beauties that you experience every day bring lightness to a dark experience.
— Emily Biolsi
Emily in her happy place

Emily in her happy place


TRIGGER ALERT: We discuss lacerations and miscarriages in this interview. Please consider your mental health and setting before pressing play.

Any mountain athlete who has experienced injury knows what it is like to feel like a failure, to feel daunted by the often lengthy prognosis for recovery, and most of us struggle to stay in a positive headspace while authentically experiencing the sadness that comes with being relegated to the couch. My client, Emily, turned her post-miscarriage running injury into a time of opportunity for her as an athlete.

Listen in to this week's interview for an uplifting example of athletic alchemy in action. Emily's story isn't a cliché silver lining spin, it is one of diligence and never abandoning herself during her processes of healing and of grief. 

Brittany Raven

1:57 Pregnant athleticism and miscarriage
3:05 The injury on her first 50K
8:06 Transforming pain into motivation
12:25 Connecting daily writing and endurance
13:11 Return to running
15:15 Embodiment during trauma
16:20 Emily’s advice for injured ultra runners



Emily's Instagram

"Slowly" Emily's first-hand account of her injury

Pregnant Athlete E-course (birth professional cohort)

Jeff Shapiro - The Process-Driven Athlete

Paige Reyes - Endurance As A Postpartum Rite of Passage

Jeff Shapiro client interview - The Process-Oriented Athlete

I have the most pure adventures when I’m in an arena where no one is watching and no one cares.
— Jeff Shapiro

Mark Twight obviously had not met Jeff Shapiro when he famously criticized the idea of being a Renaissance man as 'dilettante bullshit'. Jeff's incurable curiosity has led him to the highest peaks of the world to establish first ascents, took his desire to fly to the extreme by learning to wingsuit BASE jump (establishing many first exits), hunts in the company of a hawk named Cirrus, and loves the heck out of his family. It has been a joy to collaboratively coach Jeff - especially to witness how quickly and humbly he integrates new information whether about his gait or his recovery practices.

In our interview Jeff talks about why he is training for this summer's X-Pyr event, a paragliding and running event that traverses the entire length of the Pyrenees Mountains, and how he maintains his praxis as a process-oriented athlete even during competitive events. Listen in and get stoked.

Brittany Raven

3:31 Nested goal-setting

4:43 “My place means nothing to me”

6:12 Goal-setting and motivation

7:30 “Doing more with less”

8:50 Beauty and mindfulness

11:27 Collaborative coaching

13:20 The goal of recovery



Jeff's Instagram

X-Pyr Event

Mountain Project

Paige Reyes Client Interview - Endurance as a Postpartum Rite of Passage

momboss to the max, Paige with Ronin (toddler) and Teo (babe)

I started making that deliberate connection between my mental health and my mountain practice.
— Paige Reyes

I have the pleasure of working with spirit-athletes who inspire the heck out of me. Let's just say after most of my client calls I find myself wallowing in a serious case of FOMO. In order to share the stories these inspiring people tell I decided to record a series of one-take audio interviews. For my first client interview I chose to introduce a fave longtime client Paige Reyes of Cashmere, Washington.

Paige and I first began working together while she was pregnant with her second child and it has been mutual inspiration ever since then. We first engaged during the first cohort of my Pregnant Athlete Ecourse and after the course concluded we began working together one on one. Weekly calls with this athlete are a dream come true.

Listen in to hear Paige drop wisdom on training postpartum, self-care, and her favorite recovery snack.


Paige's Instagram

Paige's AMI Ambassador profile


*and a sneaky update since the time of recording:

Paige successfully passed her lead test at the climbing gym!*


Featured client: Kelsey McGill, PCT through-hiker

near mile 100 on the California PCT

near mile 100 on the California PCT

Hey readers,

This past year I've worked with an aspiring through-hiker, Kelsey McGill, and decided to share her story here for you to enjoy.

Kelsey has been a wilderness educator for many years at Outward Bound here in the North Cascades. She is a colorful character who practices excellent self-care, trains diligently, and she's one of my daughter's best friends. Her ultra-light kit is a testament to her thoughtful approach to athleticism. Kelsey's PCT journey began two weeks ago and she recently passed the hundred mile mark.

Read on for helpful packing tips, mental preparations for your own journey down the trail, and how we worked together. You can also follow her journey on her website and Instagram.

Brittany Raven

First things first: what's your favorite trail snack? SNICKERS

What is in your pack? Cooking system: Crotch Pot, titanium mug, Titanium spoon, mini Bic lighter, MSR Pocket Rocket (for purely hot drinks!) 8oz fuel canister, stuff sack. Shelter: Black Diamond BetaMid, 6 stakes, gossamer gear UL umbrella Sleeping system: 15 degree marmot xenon down, polycro ground sheet, Thermarest z-lite. Pack: ULA CDT. Clothing (not worn): nano puff, alpine Houdini, Houdini, R1, Trek pants, baggie shorts, Capilene tshirt, Capilene bottoms, wool hat, liner gloves, 2 pairs Darn Tough socks, bandana. Clothing (worn): tropical fish dress, Injinji socks, desert button up, dirty girl gaiters, Altra Lone Peak 2.5, Black Diamond traverse poles, sunhat, Suncloud glasses. Hydration: 2 2-liter platypus, 4 Smartwater bottles, Sawyer squeeze. Nav: Halfmile maps & compass, Yogi's resupply info. Ditty bag: gossamer gear UL trowel, tooth powder & brush, anti-chafe stick, hand sanitizer, earplugs, mini leatherman, mini light, AAA battery, sunscreen, Dr. Bronners soap, diva cup, arnica salve, sharpie, journal, pen, pocket palette. FAK: arnica salve, weed salve, monkey butt powder, lavender oil, turmeric tincture, tea tree oil, Leukotape, ibuprofen, antihistamine, mini anti-chafe stick, gauze, safety pin. Repair: needle w/ floss, repair tape Tech: iPhone w/ charger, Anker backup battery, headphones.

How did you train for this multi-month, 2,700 mile hike? I believe there are two components to this: physical and mental. Physically, I was skiing and running during the winter several days a week eventually transitioning to mainly hiking into the spring. On top of training, I was in physical therapy for my hip (an injury sustained by years of to carrying heavy packs and repetitive motion as an Outward Bound instructor). This opened my eyes to how intricate the connection is in the body and the awareness I can observe while I'm moving. However, I strongly feel that the bigger focus for me was the mental preparation because this is what it boils down to in endurance events. An 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class was a life-changing experience for me in many ways. This class incorporates various meditations, yoga sequences, and tools to carry with you in everyday life to become more of an observer in life versus attaching to emotions/thoughts that can so easily rule our lives without even knowing. Since I've struggled with anxiety for most of my life, I've also been in therapy which I'm so grateful to have someone to support me in this process! I think back to a year ago and how daunting anxiety was for me, "something is wrong with me" or constantly comparing myself to others was crippling all the beauty in my life. I'm amazed at what I've overcome the past year and how much more confident and grounded I feel, with much thanks to both of these paths.

I strongly feel that the bigger focus for me was the mental preparation because this is what it boils down to in endurance events.
— Kelsey McGill

What has been the biggest challenge as you prepare for your trip? Adjustment is usually the crux for me whether I'm coming back into the "real world" or I'm heading back out in the field for another season. Reminding myself to be patient, have self-compassion, and give gratitude is key. 

How did your coaching engagement with Magnetic North help you prepare for the trail? Brittany was an invaluable resource in preparation. Having a thorough discussion on my self-evaluation including my current self and goal setting. Afterwards, we dove into the physiology of endurance and how to give it what it needs to receive positive results. Having a regimented training plan allowed my awareness to grow on my body's needs and make that connection stronger between the mind and body.

Is there a piece of advice you'd share with others considering a through hike? I would strongly emphasize cultivating meditation as a part of your journey and purchasing Yogi's Pacific Crest Trail handbook while you're at it.