Two Feet and Four Wheels: Discovering SoCal

In 6 short days I will embark upon the greatest adventure of my life thus far which involves a trip down the aisle. Current emotions equal excitement, eagerness, nerves, stress, apprehension, glee, gratefulness, disbelief, joy, and happiness, among many others. The last 6 ½ years with Brad can be summed up by a quote from the eternally wise Winnie-the-Pooh.

“I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.”

Fitting then that our second to last week in SoCal would involve a running adventure in our own extended backyard.

As I mentioned in a previous post, a few weeks ago Buick contacted me about participating in their summer “Runs Worth the Drive” challenge in partnership with MapMyRun.com. They would give me a beautiful Buick Verano for a week and all I would have to do is A) drive it around and B) discover new running routes not in my immediate neighborhood. This proposition was right up my alley. An invitation to adventure with a fancy new car? C’mon. Well the week unfolded and it did not disappoint. Brad and I (and our friend Neiman, too) had a truly memorable week of running.
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We started by taking on a couple of evening runs just a stone’s throw from our Venice abode. These routes are close enough to get the run in after work, but far enough that you have to drive to get there. First stop was Playa del Rey. We parked near our gym along Lincoln Blvd and ran up the hill to and through the campus of Loyola Marymount University. Do you live in Los Angeles and want to discover a new appreciation of your city? Head on up to LMU and gaze out at the view of the City of Angels. From the sea to downtown, the sprawl is rather incredible to behold all at once.
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The next evening’s run was in the same general area, but instead of running up the hills we ran out to sea! There is a fantastic bike path that runs parallel to Culver Blvd and continues out along the Marina until it spills into the ocean. This evening included crossing paths with some friendly bunny rabbits, a gorgeous rainbow sherbet sunset, and a sneak peek at some 4th of July fireworks. This was one of those evenings where you stop and realize that taking just an ever so small detour out of your daily habits can yield the loveliest surprises. That’s really what this week was all about.

The week with the Buick culminated in two challenging but memorable destination runs. On Saturday we drove down to gorgeous Laguna Beach, with friend Chris Neiman in tow, to see what Orange County would offer us. I let Brad choose the route, my role was just to drive, and the trail he picked very nearly resulted in calling off the wedding. I’ve got one word: hills. Hills! On a very warm Saturday afternoon in Laguna we began running… up a mountain. I truly had to stop and repeat to myself “this isn’t Brad’s fault, you let him decide the route, he didn’t know the terrain any better than you did.” A few repeats of that mantra, deep breaths and the wedding was back on.
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I’m being hyperbolic of course but you know the old trope of cursing your trainer’s name as he pushes you to your max. In this scenario Brad filled in for the role of trainer that I needed to take my suffering out on. Poor guy. He’s so patient. As soon as we made it to the top of the hill the grumblings completely faded away and all I could do was bask in the beauty of my surroundings. In the distance we could see the Pacific ocean with Catalina perched on the marine layer like Brigadoon, fading into the sea fog. Beauty.
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There is incentive for me to hill train. Running downhill is my bag. I stabilize my core, release some space in my hip flexors, and let my feet fly. I love being able to hit an 8:00 min pace, something I’m just not able to maintain on flat ground. Speed. Pure bliss.

Sunday was our last run of the week and our last day with the Buick. Even though my dance card was full with wedding to-dos, the entire week I’d had my sights set on a run in Ventura. The little towns just north of L.A.; Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, are my favorite destinations for quick weekend getaways. I could actually see myself living in one of these sleepy little towns if Brad and I ever feel compelled to leave L.A. We’ll see.

We drove on up to Ventura in hopes of finding a nice route along the sea. I participated in the search this time to avoid another test of our relationship if Brad took us up another mountain. After doing some research of Ventura running routes on MapMyRun.com we found a good prospect along a path next to somewhere called Emma Wood state beach. A quick plug for MapMyRun. I must admit that since Brad got me a Garmin Forerunner for my birthday I’ve kind of left behind the world of mobile running apps. Now I’m all running watch all the way. MapMyRun.com offers some perks though that I simply love and won’t leave behind. I love being able to trace new routes ahead of time to make sure I get the right mileage in. This is especially useful for long runs where you do NOT want to find yourself at mile 12, not knowing where to turn to make sure you get to 20. Plan ahead. I also love the ability to crowdsource routes. I had no idea where to run in Ventura or Laguna, for example, but MapMyRun has a great search feature where you can see where other runners have ventured in that area, see how popular the particular route is, and again, plan ahead. For running the adventure comes in the run itself. It shouldn’t come in the form of surprises like being stranded on a dead end road 15 miles from home without cell service or water. Plan ahead.

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Pay no attention to our splits. They’re a bit slower than usual. There was much stopping, slowing, and gazing. No other way to describe it but an incredibly fun run.

Brad has once again turned out an incredible and quick video of the weekend’s Buick/MapMyRun/SoCal adventure, so I’ll let it speak for itself. And thanks to my stepdad Paul for providing some original music! I’m sensing the beginning of a new collaboration :).

I’m so grateful for this experience to have come along when it did. I don’t know for sure, because I’ve never been married and don’t really know anything about anything, but I will hazard a guess that one of the secrets to a happy marriage is a sense of adventure and open-mindedness. Habits are important too. I love coming home after work, getting a quick 3 miles in along the Santa Monica beach, curling up with two kitties, a fiancé, and Dexter followed by an episode of Star Trek and Big Cat Diary. These are routines that bring me simple joy and simple joys are so valuable. But if they aren’t peppered with the occasional urge to breakout and discover something new, they get stale. I feel it happen during training. I get bored of the same 3, 4, or 6 mile runs along the same route. This week driving to unknown runs has revitalized my love of running, and I can’t help but take that lesson into my upcoming nuptials. I’m grateful that a sense of exploration comes naturally to our relationship. It’s something that I know we’ll always need to nurture, and running in new and adventurous places may be just what we need to remind us of that simple fact.

Thank you so much to Buick and MapMyRun.com for bringing this opportunity to Running to Tahiti. They sponsored this campaign but the opinions in this post are my own and I can honestly say that Buick makes a fantastic sedan. Smooth ride, luxurious amenities, and a sleek look. I loved driving it!

Until next time…

Runs Worth the Drive!

I read quite a few running blogs. Foremost because I like to connect with fellow runners/writers. The running community is just that, a community. Perhaps it’s because our sport is a lone one, we like to connect with each other whenever possible. Blogging does that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also want to see what other people were doing right. You see I often feel like I’m doing things wrong because I’m so bad at self-promotion and marketing. I read other blogs that are clearly so incredibly popular and successful and I wonder what I should be doing. I read about bloggers getting complimentary entry into runDisney races (HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??) and getting sent all kinds of swag for giveaways to increase readership, cross-promote, and network with potential sponsors. I see all of these things and feel there must be some sort of golden goose I can’t find. Last year I would say that all of that worried me. This year I said to hell with it. I didn’t start a blog to worry about all of that. I started a blog to write, to muse, to run, and to keep myself accountable on this adventure to Tahiti. So that’s what I’ve re-focused on in 2014. I stopped worrying about what other people were doing right, what I was doing wrong, and shifted my thinking to doing what I love: running and writing.

And wouldn’t you know it.

Things pick up steam. I’m going to make the moral of this story short so that I can get to to the meat of today’s news, so here it is, listen up. When you stop worrying about the destination and start focusing on the journey, you’ll discover yourself. Yes, the destination IS the journey. Also, life is too short to worry about being successful according to someone else’s standards, so always do what you love and do a good job. That will be a success.

That’s what happens. Really. I stopped worrying about the result of my blog and refocused on the content and it’s now more “successful” than ever. More importantly, it brings me great joy which was always the intention. I Now here’s my news!

Buick is partnering with MapMyRun for a summer campaign called Runs Worth the Drive which encourages runners to take strides outside of their habitual running locales and drive to new terrain, in addition to promoting a healthy and active summer. A few weeks ago Buick contacted me about being a featured blogger in this campaign!

Buick has loaned me a fancy new Verano Turbo this week with which I can drive to as many new running adventures as possible. I then map my route on MapMyRun.com and share my new runs with Buick and the rest of the world via social media. You can follow along at hashtag Driven2Run. It’s a pretty car.

 

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If you’ve been reading since the beginning (thank you), you may recall that the motivation for this blog was to write about the cross-section of running and traveling. Adventure is my middle name and my favorite thing to do on an adventure is to run. When I run in a new land I breathe it in deeper, feel the earth beneath my feet, and take pictures with my eyes. A new landscape gets in to your very pores when you run through it, and that’s how I take places with me. My most vivid memories of the city of Boston come from runs along the Charles or across Boston Common. I can practically smell the Colorado countryside right now thanks to the 3 miles Brad and I ran up a mountain. I love running when I travel. So the fact that Buick targeted Running to Tahiti for this summer campaign is pure serendipity and excitement. I now have not only an excuse, but real motivation to get my running butt out into greater Los Angeles and rediscover this beautiful city with my own two feet.

We get the Buick through next weekend, so next Saturday we’ll really adventure somewhere exciting and a bit remote to prove that the run is indeed worth the drive.

With all of that said I could use your help Angelenos. Where should we run??? Southern California is at our fingertips (or running shoes) and we could really use some suggestions. Please share either in the comments or on social media your favorite running routes in Los Angeles, greater Los Angeles, and Orange and Ventura counties. Use the hashtag #Driven2Run to follow the conversation.

Thanks to Buick and MapMyRun for inviting Running to Tahiti to be a part of this challenge. Brad and I so look forward to discovering SoCal anew!

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Beauty in the Chaos

When opportunity knocks… it’s probably going to be when you’re incredibly busy and don’t have time for opportunity but it’s opportunity and you don’t want to say no so you figure out how to get it done and politely and enthusiastically say “yes, come on in.”

My life right now is chaos, but there are two definitions of chaos:

chaos : complete disorder and confusion.

OR

chaos : the formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe

What I’m experience right now is incredibly profound. I feel that I am swirling in a turbulent yet somehow welcoming and pillowy ocean storm. I’m shedding layers of myself left and right, not sure what I’m about to transform into or if I’m going to regain any sense of identity at all, yet I hold on to faith. Faith that the one thing I can count on in life is change, and that change requires transformation, and that transformation requires at least a brief moment of chaos. So with that, I’m quite fond of the second definition of chaos. I exist in some sort of liminal state but what I’m about to do is create something amazing. I’m about to become someone’s wife. I’m about to forge my own family with another person. We’ve been together almost 7 years but marriage makes things different. I’m 30. I’m learning what that is like. So many things.

So in brief I welcome the chaos, as I must if I want to create the universe. I welcome the chaos of this post, bouncing from subject to subject and thought to thought. I welcome the chaos of my apartment, with its stacks of boxes, candles, flowers, croquet sets, and gift bags. I welcome the chaos of work, and the uncanny sense that every huge project I could possibly have has reached a fever pitch NOW. I welcome the chaos of my family, which is a topic for another day, but trust me, chaos.

Somehow out of this, love will mold the universe.

So why was I talking about opportunity? Oh yeah, because of course Murphy’s Law would suggest that since I’ve found myself in the most chaotic stage of my life thus far, now would be the time for opportunity to come knocking. And I’m grateful! Again, I simply embrace it all and laugh! Laugh as I see all the balls in the air. Somehow they’re still in the air!

Last week I was contacted by Buick with a fantastic promotional opportunity for my blog. I won’t go into the details here. Right now I’ll just tell you that it involves running and traveling, which are the exact topics that spurred the creation of Running to Tahiti. I want to devote an entire post to this project so look for that tomorrow. Today I simply wanted to set the stage of my life. Beautiful chaos.

I had the opportunity to see an original Jackson Pollock today at MOCA with one of the museum educators. This piece could not have been more perfect right now. I may as well be looking in a mirror.

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The guide really took us through the painting. I would say that I’ve always “liked” Jackson Pollock but mostly because I didn’t really see a reason not to like him. He obviously made a strong signature on the art world. But today I really got it. I saw that the painting itself is beautiful chaos. That within the “mess” is the act of creation. Looking at that painting was like looking at a song being orchestrated or a city being built. There is motion in it. The layers, the colors, all playing different parts and evoking different feelings. Kind of amazing. Good job Jackson.

Beautiful chaos. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Beautiful chaos!

Turning 30, and Other Milestones

I picked up my wedding dress yesterday. It hangs in my closet like a quiet animated thing. It’s as if life sits in it, waiting to be breathed into motion 35 days from now. When I tried it on yesterday in my final fitting, I felt like I had slinked into a missing layer of skin. I stood there looking in the mirror and felt not like a princess, but like a princess about to become a queen. And that is exactly how every person should feel on their wedding day. Like they are transcending into a regal elevated version of themself. It’s an important role to play, and every role needs the perfect costume. This dress, oh this dress.

This major milestone is so near in the road ahead, it’s practically the next turnoff. It has consumed so much of my mind that it has almost overshadowed another rather major milestone in my life. Almost.

I’m turning 30 on June 18.

I know to most of my friends and family the general response to that is, “oh you’re still so young!” and that’s true. I am. Turning 30 is not a big deal in the sense that it makes me feel old. I’m not. It doesn’t. But that doesn’t detract from its gravity. When I moved to L.A. 8 years ago, I would occasionally look down the road at the big 3-0 and I thought I saw many things in my future. I thought I would be working full time as an actor or, ooooh, famous. I thought I would be in the possession of much money. I thought I might be out of debt. I remember, at 22, having a conversation about the biz with an agent I was interning for at the time. She was talking about pursuing the career of acting and patience and how it might not happen for me “until I was 30.” Thirty?!?! I thought to myself. She must be crazy! 

:)

I think back to those musings of my 22 year old self and all I can do is smile, because I don’t have any of those things that I thought I would have. I don’t really want any of them (well, except for the money and get-out-of-debt thing. That woulda been great). I have so much more than my little 22 year old mind could have imagined. I have a love. The love of my life. A love that nurtures me and teaches me and gives me faith and purpose. I have a job. A job that gives my life meaning. A job that makes me proud to work every day even though I’m not quite on the fast track to pay off those college loans.

And I have art. I have a theatre company. I’m a part of a community of artists that I have to remind myself I’m worthy of. I have a little corner in Los Angeles that I belong to. A lens through which I can gaze out at this sprawling city with pride and love. It’s such an honor to have a community like that.

So on this, the week of my 30th birthday, I only want to celebrate by saying thank you. After my trip down the aisle, I’ll make my way back to Los Angeles (by way of Sedona, yay mini-moon!), and I’ll step into the role of producer for an upcoming show at Theatre of NOTE. I’m going to make a play happen, and it’s going to be awesome. The only thing I could ever ask for on my 30th birthday is for your tiny bit of help.

I’ve recently been blessed with an amazing fundraising producer who is going to take the reigns on gathering the juice to make this play puppy run. (Thank you Kirsten!) Before she works her fundraising magic, I did have one trick up my sleeve, and that’s to host a birthday fundraiser. Since I wont for nothing in terms of gifts, material or emotional, all I can ask for on my birthday is your small contribution to make this play happen. Here is the link to my online fundraiser.

https://www.crowdrise.com/RebeccasDirtyThirty

I have a modest goal of raising the first $1000 of the budget. We need a lot more than that, but $1000 will get the ball rolling. If any little part of you would like to send me a birthday gift, I would be so grateful.

Here’s to major milestones! Here’s to thirty years of living! And here’s to THEATRE!!

Happy Birthday to Meee!

Happy Birthday to Meee!

 

Some of my favorite moments of NOTE:

getting my hair pulled by Carl Johnson

getting my hair pulled by Carl Johnson in Holy Ghost

 

looking wistful in Mulholland Christmas Carol

looking wistful in Mulholland Christmas Carol by Bill Robens

 

PTSD by Tommy Smith, with Jason Denuszek

PTSD by Tommy Smith, with Jason Denuszek, damn that play was good

 

photo shoot for He Asked For It by Erik Patterson, my first mainstage at NOTE

photo shoot for He Asked For It by Erik Patterson, my first mainstage at NOTE

 

And the Crowdrise link again:

https://www.crowdrise.com/RebeccasDirtyThirty

And again :)

Why I Won’t Be Losing Weight For My Wedding

I could go on and on and on and on and on about female body issues. I could probably go on about male body issues as well. I haven’t really tried; but I’m sure I could. Today I’ll try not to go on too much, but ever since I got engaged there’s something I’ve been meaning to say. I won’t be losing my weight for my wedding. For several reasons.

There’s this strange expectation when you get engaged that you’ll want to get fit, lose weight, tone up, look perfect. I’m not going to bash the idea. I understand it. It’s a significant day. One in which dozens of people will all be looking at you, sizing you up whether they mean to or not; and one in which you’ve spent dollars, lots of dollars (probably thousands) to have your picture taken. You likely want to look your best. It doesn’t surprise me that getting fit and looking great become a priority to engaged ladies. What saddens me is that it often seems to become priority #1, and that our culture is obsessed with it.

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To each his own. I’m not here to judge anyone. If getting married is a catalyst for someone to get healthy, who am I to condemn that? My instinct is to criticize that we seem to equate thinness with worth in our society, and no where is that more apparent than the pressure put on a bride. But perhaps I’m projecting. Let me remove myself from the position of casting judgement and turn the focus inward. I’m only here to talk about my own experience, and if anyone out there can relate perhaps we’ll start to open our minds a bit about what it means to be a beautiful bride.

My entire life I’ve been in a perpetual state of trying to lose weight. Truly, for as long as I can remember. I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was 12. I was a chubby kid. I got teased. It sucked. Make no mistake about the power of bullies on a sensitive young heart. I wish I had the magic elixir to protect my future children from the nonsense of bullies, but knowing that I don’t have it just as my own mother didn’t have it no matter how much she tried, keeps me up at night. Children can be cruel, and I let myself be a victim. I grew up throughout my teenage years always wanting to lose weight. Always. All. Ways. I begged my mom to let me do three-day crash diets that consisted of canned beets and plain hot dogs, cabbage soup diets, grapefruit juice fasts, the master cleanse, Atkins. All of it, I did it. And I lost weight a lot of the time. I fluctuated between being in a state of weight loss which made me feel FANTASTIC, and being in a state of weight gain which made me feel utterly worthless as a human being. I was addicted to dieting. A weight loss junkie. The highs were so high, the lows so low. But man, those highs. It’s a dangerous state. That being the pattern I allowed myself to grow up in, I began to equate happiness with weight loss.

I had these flights of fancy about what would force me to “finally lose the weight” in a once and for all kind of way, as if it wasn’t me in control, but an external force that could finally put the nail in the chubby coffin. I had some dream of a weight loss fairy Godmother in the form of these motivating life benchmarks. I thought going away to college would do it (apparently I’d never heard of the freshmen 15). Then I thought going off to London would do it (all those cute Brits. I had to be ready). Then I thought graduating from college would do the trick, or moving to L.A. After all, I couldn’t in any way participate in Los Angeles looking like “this.”

With all of those benchmarks come and gone, some hit, some missed, I thought there was one down the road that would be a surefire win. One moment in time that would surely be the catalyst for my final victory over the fat. That moment would be when I got engaged.

That would do the trick right? There’s no way I would allow myself to walk down the aisle looking chubs. And besides, it’s what women do, right? Then a funny thing happened.

I got engaged.

And I felt no desire to lose weight. It didn’t even cross my mind. In other significant moments throughout my life such as getting into college, getting asked to prom, getting cast in a TV show, the absolute first thing that entered my mind when these things happened was “I have to lose weight.” So believe me when I say that I was the most shocked of all when Brad put the ring on my finger and the first thing we did was go eat a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and salad covered in delicious ranch dressing, capped off with chocolate gelato.

So let me take a step back, because the truth is the weight monsters began to drift away a lot earlier. Namely, the moment I fell in love with Brad. That’s not meant to sound sappy because I’m actually a bit critical of myself for it. I’m disappointed in myself that it took the opinion of a male in my life to finally shift my thinking. But that’s the way it went down. Brad fell in love with me, all of me, especially me, with no condition that I lose weight. He didn’t say “oh yeah, I totally love you, but we’ll only really be together once you lose 20 pounds.” See, that’s what I told myself. “I’ll only get a boyfriend when I lose 20 pounds.” So if I recited that to myself then of course I believed it was the steadfast condition upon which I would find a mate. Then along comes Brad and the condition evaporates. It’s not because he loves me that I learned to love myself. It’s more like his love was a wake up call. I finally opened my damn eyes and got over the idea of only loving myself -20 pounds.

And then of course there’s running. Magical, beautiful, blissful running. I attribute a huge portion of my current happiness to my running habit. My feet make me grateful for my calves, and my calves for my knees, and my knees for my spine, and my butt, and my arms, and my lungs, and my eyes. I love running, and I need all of those things to run, therefore I love all of those things. The best thing I could have ever done for my body and self-esteem was to take the first step onto the running track.

So fast forward again to the engagement. Our relationship is built upon the foundation that we love each other as is. Warts and all. Or weight and all, in my case. If Brad’s nose fell off, or he grew a third arm, or his skin turned green, I would still love him. Those things would be weird, but I would love him. So now that we’re planning our wedding the condition, the code that I’ve always lived by which dictates that I must lose weight before accomplishing anything, that code is gone. It feels false, not to mention regressive, to reinstate it just because that’s what brides seem to do.

I’m happy, truly happy, with exactly the way I look right now. And it’s not the same as the volatile roller-coaster of happiness I was on before when my weight would go up and down and up. That happiness was dependent upon something external. This happiness comes from within. Yes I could stand to lose a few pounds to make my doctor happy, but that will come in time. After all I’m about to begin training for a marathon. Something is going to be lost. It might be my weight, it might be my dignity. Time will tell. For now I’m stable. For the first time in my entire life, my self-esteem is stable. I don’t get nervous to look in the mirror, not knowing if I will respond with adoration or disgust. I love every inch of my body and not because it’s thin, but because it keeps me healthy. It’s an absolute miracle, the only one of it’s kind.

Would I like to look the absolute ideal version of myself on my wedding day? Sure. Of course. But I’m not sweatin’ it. I know how my brain works. If I lost weight for my wedding day I would obsess over it. It would consume every thought from here until July 21st. It would make our day about how I look. I don’t want my wedding day to be about how I look. I want it to be about how I feel. And how Brad feels. And right now, I’m in love. Brad loves me just as I am. More importantly, I love me just as I am. I’m a bride. A bride takes a leap of faith in the name of goodness. A bride places the importance of another person’s life right alongside hers. A bride makes a declaration that love conquers, fear falters, and fidelity reigns. A bride (and groom) in love truly is the most ideal version of herself, and that ideal has nothing to do with size.

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B&B

 

Plus! There’s sound equipment that needs renting, and paper flowers that need making, and rehearsal dinner that needs planning, and ceremony readings that need picking, and hair that needs highlighting, and a mini-moon that needs booking, and gifts that need buying, and, And, AND! Yeah. I’ve got enough on my plate to not have to worry about what I’m eating off my plate.

Until next time.

Love,

Becky

 

 

 

MILEstones!!

Today Brad and I hit a major milestone, or, MILEstone, you might say. After this morning’s 3 mile run, we have officially hit the 3,000 mile mark! We’re getting so close to Tahiti!

 

3000 miles

 

And man that was a hot run! We worked for it. Only 1,109 miles to go. After this weekend’s half marathon we’ll be in the 1,000’s!

Can you say…

Seinfeld Happy

 

Have a great weekend everyone.

The Big Announcement

I’ve been hinting at a Big Announcement for a long time. Sorry about that. I know those were all teases. Well this one is no tease. I made good on my promise. I have an announcement, and it’s probably what you’re expecting. I just can’t concentrate on anything else until I make it known.

Look what I did.

 

Announcement

 

And whenever I think about the fact that I’ve signed up for a full marathon, this…

betty-faint

or this…

Jimmy Stewart faint

 

or something like this…

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But hopefully when I’m done I’ll feel more like this:

i did it

with a hefty dose of…

Mononoke did it

Ultimately what I’m hoping for is…

I did it Falkor

 

Though I might make my way to the finish line doing something like….

crawl to the finishAnd once I’m done, pretty sure I’ll resemble…

tired slime

 

Shock. Amazement. Wonder. Fear. All things I’m feeling right now…

shock

I’m at the beginning of a journey; and whatever happens, it’s happening!

 

Have you run a full marathon? Tips for a first-timer? Please share in the comments!