Here goes a long one.
I am so thrilled to be running the Seattle Half Marathon again this year. I find the sense of community so inspiring and, being a hugely symbolic person, races leave me feeling so very capable and close to my body. I have had a long body history as have most women and running has been one of my greatest tools for learning radical self love. I remember running around at recess with friends in elementary school and HATING running. I didn’t start running independently until middle school when I would run the school track in the evenings focusing on the trees to try and pass the time – I would tell myself to make it to the tree straight ahead of me and then the next and the next as I looped around. The albums I listened to during this time are forever engrained as running albums – Metric, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Beck, Bjork, Belle and Sebastian, The Shins.
When I got to high school I had a pretty horrendous body image as is kind of to be expected for young girls. I would drag myself out to go running every night – it was my chore, my nightly torture to stay in control of my body. I didn’t enjoy running, it was just to make me feel alright. I used to run the high school track and then started also running the Cushman Trail, Point Defiance and Ruston Way.
It wasn’t until college that I learned to love running and how important it is in my world. I would run along the Burke Gilman Trail trying to juggle a college schedule and failing at maintaining a sense of routine – it was sporadic. When it did happen I felt so put together and like I was doing the whole college thing alright. I had a secret hill I would run to on sunny days to do stretches and lie in the grass, it was really lovely. I was trying to get to know my body and only then started to feel good in it.
The sense of growth and blossoming that came with my freshman year in college was thrown a curve ball by a reality-check moment that started off my sophomore year. I hit a hiccup and one night I felt like I literally needed something to change right in that moment, so I went on a run downtown and ran my first 11 miles. I had only ever run like 4 miles before, so I was really surprised and I then shortly after signed up for a series of races that got me hooked. I love running with a big mob of people and knowing they are all working on their own personal journeys, too. The people who cheer runners on melt my heart, it is so beautiful to see strangers supporting strangers.
Since then, I have found running to be the most meditative routine I have. It’s like a massive refresh button that clears my mind. I love having the chance to listen to new music and be outside sitting with my thoughts during my runs. I love when I get to the point where it feels like I could run forever, where I find my stride and get locked into a repetitive glide. I love early morning runs, cold runs, sunny day runs, exploring runs, hill runs, trail runs, rainy runs, snowy runs.
I feel like I’m coming into a new chapter of my life and this half marathon is serving as my landmarking ritual. I haven’t been crazy training for it because of a busy schedule, but I know I can do it, even if it means walking some of it if need be. I can’t wait to be getting in the zone at the start line and later running into the Seattle Center stadium at the end about to cross the finish line – eeeee! My family is going to be there cheering me on early in the morning and potentially in the rain – they are so good to me.
This race is really important to me, so I wanted to make it perhaps a bigger deal than it actually is by dedicating it to the women in my life that have inspired, empowered and supported me. Thoughts of these women will make the race a breeze. I feel incredibly lucky to have each one of them in my world. From them I’ve learned radical self love, body positivity, living your dreams (& dreaming really big), being fearless, owning your presence, possessing inner/personal strength, seeking out genuine interactions, having light-hearted openness/honesty, infusing everything with humor, working hard and being kind above all else. I’m going to channel all the strength behind these attributes that they possess during my run. I love female community and am so damn thankful to know these are some of the folks that make up my world. (Sidenote: Sorry for stealing Facebook pictures below, I felt it important to put a face to the names!)
MARILEE AND SHANA
I have learned so impossibly much from these two. They have persistently encouraged, empowered and supported me. I am so lucky to be apart of their team. I think they are the sweetest, most powerful ladies with a beautiful friendship. Shana is incredibly hardworking, funny and full of the most thoughtful gestures. She’s a talented artist and the best hostess. I have had many’a voyages with her via mini van hauling the photobooth around town and have loved them all. Marilee is about the friendliest person ever – I have always been so amazed at how genuine her interactions are and how open-hearted she is with everyone she speaks with. She is strong and not afraid to be a force. Powerhouses, they are and I’m lucky enough to have them as mentors and friends.
Ashley is one of the most likeable, thoughtful people I know, period. People just love her and she has such a good circle of folks around her. She houses so much creativity and power. She is giving, grounded, humble, smart and capable of juggling so much. I only wish I had also had her as a friend growing up! I love this girl.
Dorothy, Alissa and Stacey feel like adopted family – I love them all so much. Dorothy is so nurturing and kind, and such a good friend to my mom. Stacey is the funniest, lightest, brightest person with so much talent within her that I’m excited to see where she ends up. Alissa is so special and such a kind soul, I think she’s just great – and my mom always tells me what a good mom she is to her kids. Lexi, Alissa’s daughter has stolen my heart too, she is the coolest little girl and I can’t wait to see how confident and amazing she becomes.
One of the sweetest and most powerful people on this planet. Her smile is the best I’ve ever seen, it is impossibly contagious. I have never met someone so lovely and full of good energy and radiating love. She is a total goddess and I just plain adore everything about her. She has such a good momentum and is doing big things, so excited for and proud of her. (The beautiful photos I believe were taken by her boyfriend, Mark Malijan – http://www.markmalijan.com/)
Jules has been a huge part of my life this last year. We have spent many hours traveling in the car together between shoots talking about life. She is the hardest working person and has such an amazing history as a photographer and family legacy in the arts. She has taught me so much about the industry – it’s interesting looking back at when I started working with her and how much I’ve learned since then. She is always so invested in giving great advice and will not only offer advice, but make the calls and figure things out right then and there to make sure it happens. Lately, I can not leave her house or the studio without coming out with an armful of clothes or records or plants she is gifting me – it’s the funniest thing. She is a strong woman who can direct and negotiate and make the calls, which I admire a lot.
I only met Kelsey within the last 6 months or so, but I right off the bat could tell she is a keeper. Kelsey is incredibly present and has a balanced and steady vibe, just plain loveable. She is passionate, vibrant, honest, open, kind and magnetic. I hope to have many more dinner and dance parties and hikes together!!
Leigh is also a new person in my life, but she has already utterly blown me away with her kindness and POWER. She is great at what she does, patient, an excellent communicator, friendly and thoughtful. She is so fun to be around and has the greatest smile. I admire her way of being in the world and am so very thrilled to be surrounded by her and have a chance to learn from her more.
I have the best memories of my grandma and she made a huge impact on my life – I still think of her all the time. I still wear two of the hats she knitted and one of her sweaters. She was such a strong, independent woman with a dry sense of humor. She knitted tiny little booties and hats for folks expecting babies. She swam everyday at Evergreen College and wore the sportiest headbands (she made them herself, of course). She would lightly grab people by the forearm when she spoke with them – something I love when people do, I think it’s the sweetest and it’s probably because it reminds me of her. She wore beautiful designer hats and had the most amazing clothes my sister and I got to play dress up in growing up. She would make us breakfast and give us a glass of water, orange juice and milk – all about staying hydrated! My mom and her had a beautiful relationship. I still love her so much and miss her!
Oh boy, where to begin. My mom is so lovely. She is strong in all senses of the word – she can build anything, I’m sure she could run a marathon with no training like it was nothing, probably could even be building something as she runs – and pulling my sister and I in a sled behind. She is full of creativity and sings and plays the piano and is now also a DJ – I’m so thankful to have her as my mom. She has been unbelievably supportive and provided me with all the tools I need to succeed. I love seeing how she interacts with strangers or with folks at parties, she is such a people-person and can befriend crowds so easily. I love her sense of humor and laugh more than anything, it makes my heart so happy. She is such a go-getter and giver and dreamer, she’s bold and grounded. She is mother nature reincarnated and can rescue mice and birds our cat drug in with her bare hands. She even got a bat I once accidentally let into the house out just fine….perhaps I witnessed some frantic gesturing silhouetted in the night’s sky, but she surely got it done. She loves boats and the water and can do anything in flip-flops. She has the kindest heart that I just love so much. So proud of my momma!
Yesterday was my sister’s birthday – Happy Birthday, Jen!! As we like to say in a perhaps over zealous way – she is my other half, my soul-mate. I got so lucky to have my best friend as my sister, I think she is THE coolest. She is soooo incredibly talented and exploding with creativity and projects and ideas and interests. I have so many great memories with her and we share a history – so lucky. We can communicate with a glance or fragmented talk à la: “yeah, like that one – nooo! …totally” = thought coherently conveyed in sisterland. Our laugh attacks are one of the most therapeutic things I know. Oddly enough, some of my favorite moments in life have been getting in dumb fights with her over food or something equally important to only have one of us flash nervous eyes and a contorted face at the other from trying to hide the bubbling laughter that lies below and then totally losing it and cracking up – we’re supposed to be angry! She has the most beautiful way of being in this world and she just keeps growing, she is going to do so many wonderful things it’s silly. Go, sister, go! -fist pump-
Lovelove! Picking up my bib tomorrow and then it’s race time!