Saturday, April 30, 2016


This is a cause I can get behind.

Laurel crossing the finish line!
On Saturday May 21, will you consider running the virtual version of the third annual Lace Up 4 RAINN 5k? It is in support of survivors of all forms of sexual violence.  RAINN, which stands for Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization sponsors this event as a major fundraiser for its activities, education, and action. It is listed at one of the 100 best charities in the US by Forbes Magazine.
Laurel, a survivor of sexual assault, is taking part in the event! “I run to remind myself of how strong I am and how resilient the human heart is."  You can join Lauren by registering HEREand using discount code "MIRNA" for $10 off before May 2nd
Khadija getting stronger and stronger everyday!
Khadijah, another survivor says “I love staying active. I find that lifting weights and running helps with my depression and anxiety."  Many survivors use running as a way to heal after trauma. You can get active yourself by registering here with discount code "MIRNA" for $10 off before May 2nd.
Hope you all will join in supporting our fellow human beings!

Friday, April 29, 2016


Here is my first blogpost for the Merrell Ambassadors blog from the page. This piece is important to me because it so clearly demonstrates that one's positive experiences with the outdoors during youth can be life-changing. 

My nature—

My first memorable experiences with the great outdoors were in good old, pre-hipster Brooklyn. The whole lot of us, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends on the block made a daily pilgrimage around our neighborhood in the summertime. After hopping from school to school for free lunch, and after stashing as many desserts as we could in my sister’s stroller, we would then settle in a nearby park and stay put for hours until it was time to head back home for dinner.

My cousin Eric and I would get bored after a while; there was only so much swinging and hanging from the metallic monkey bars one could do, so we usually ended up in one of the fenced off, grassy areas of the park, digging for worms and whatever other treasures we could find. Once we found peanuts and imagined we were in West Africa, where peanuts are called groundnuts. Other times we’d only find worms, trying to lay them out in straight lines on the grass, but for some reason it never worked. They’d wriggle and wriggle, and we’d laugh and laugh, rolling in the patch of grass surrounded by metal and concrete, the squeaks of rusty swings and the smell of metal, dirt, pavement and rubber assaulting our senses, filling us with life and filling our hearts.

My nature—

The summer of 1985 found me in a dark culvert, lit only by the dim headlamps that our two counselors wore as they guided twelve eight-year olds on a nighttime stream hike, our first evening at camp. For many it was their first time this far away from home, and the first time living in a place where the only sounds at night were of crickets, far away thunderstorms, and occasional peals from other campers in their bunks across the quad. I had on brand new, too-heavy-for-my-feet work boots and cotton socks, jeans, and a t-shirt, not understanding yet why I was poorly dressed for our expedition into the damp unknown.

It was terrifying. Never had I imagined that I would be walking in a stream at night somewhere deep in the forest in Upstate New York with a bunch of other Brooklyn and Queens kids I didn’t know, and counselors from places like England, Ireland, and Scotland. We screamed and shouted, slipping on the smooth rocks, trembling and scaring ourselves into thinking that Bigfoot was right behind us. We held hands, hoping that if we were tethered to each other, somehow we wouldn’t be snatched by the Boogeyman, who was most definitely waiting for us at the end of the culvert.

At the end of the hour-long hike, we chided each other for being such scaredy-cats and promised we would never, EVER do anything like this again, because what were these crazy people thinking? But the bond formed was immediate, and I would forever think of those girls and boys whose names I have long forgotten whenever I cross a stream, or whenever it is dark in the woods.

As unsettling and new as this experience was, I became fascinated by the way it made me feel. Scared but exhilarated, fearful yet somehow energized, at peace and content—happy to have lived through this seemingly insurmountable and frightening task.

My nature—

When I am hunkered down in my tent up on Mt. Mitchell resting my feet on my dirty backpack after a long day in Pisgah,

When I am climbing up a rocky trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest, slipping on always-wet rock,

When I am home in Brooklyn and catch a whiff of the playground around the corner where monkey bars are now called jungle gyms and are made of plastic and colorfully coated metal,

When I come across worms doing their work in my fledgling and poorly maintained flower garden,

When I am running down a rooty hill on the Bartram Trail, only to get stung by angry yellow jackets,

When I smell wild onions running through a grassy meadow, or thyme high up in the Sierra Nevada in Spain,

When I sit on the stoop on a summer evening in Brooklyn, listening to cars, air brakes on elevated trains, people, shouts, sirens, kids…looking up at stars blurred by city lights, life.

This, is my nature.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

All the Good Things

As you may have read on my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page, I have been traveling quite a bit over the past few weeks and I wanted to let you know of all the goodness that has been headed my way.

I've mentioned this before in a previous blogpost, but in case you've forgotten I recently became a Skirt Sports Ambassador captain, a global ambassador for Merrell (a subsidiary of Wolverine--you know, the parent company of Sebago, Sperry, Saucony, and CHACOS OMGGGGG), and a sponsored athlete for Swiftwick.

The fifteen months or so have been a whirlwind of opportunity, from TV appearances to a few really cool speaking engagements, to making a training video with Coach T. Mud for the Merrell Tough Mudder series and actually committing to doing one which will be on May 7. I am terrified.

But look at those legs tho...
In addition to being invited to run the the Shape/More Women's Half Marathon in NYC, I was also invited to run the NYC Marathon courtesy of CEO, Michael Capiraso in November (which I'll be doing the week after my FIFTH MARINE CORPS, BIOTCHES!)...I am so fortunate.

The third week of March found me in Grand Rapids, MI hunkering down (from the freezing lake effect snow) with professional mountaineers, climbers, an adventure racer who has his own TV show, a professional runner, a photographer and adventure leader who had just arrived from an epic trip to Chamonix, France where she shot footage and pics of two other ambassadors skiing and base-jumping. Then there was yours truly--someone who has had a little bit of media exposure for being a fat long-distance runner and whose longest run to date has been a 100K.
The energy was high, the immensity of outdoors and physical talent in the "brandroom" was overwhelming. We all had our feet professionally measured, learned the ins and outs of shoe design, development, and production, met with various leaders in the outdoor field, did a focus group, shared our goals and accomplishments, and enjoyed the company of like-minded folks.  I felt both energized and intimidated by these spectacular folk whose collective wisdom and experience in nature was something to be lauded.

Three weeks ago I was invited by Evans Clothing (based in the UK) to participate in a photo shoot highlighting several inspirational curvy women. I got to hang out with Callie Thorpe, blogger at From the Corners of the Curve and newly minted plus size columnist at Marie Claire UK. Also at the shoot were Brielle Cunningham, professional model, Hayley Hasselhoff--another pro model, Nadia Aboulhosn--model and designer who graced the latest cover of Women's Running Magazine (where my other blog resides), Jessica Clemmons--lead singer of the London-based contemporary country band, Jess and the Bandits, Alessandra Garcia Lorido--pro model, and Anna Shillinglaw--former model and founder of the modeling agency, Milk Management.

Nadia Aboulhosn, Women's Running Magazine Cover Model and me (in a bathrobe....) on set
If you know me, you know the only time I wear makeup is when I'm on stage performing--which as of late has not been very often. Mary Kay and I are occasional friends, and sometimes we let Covergirl join our circle. (BY THE WAY--HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT GABBY SIDIBE IS THE NEWEST COVERGIRL?????? WTG, Covergirl for striving to be more inclusive of all sizes and shades of body!)

SOOOO, Tuesday, April 26th launches the Evans body positivity campaign, #IAMME. Be prepared for some awesome photos, cool videos, and some other media coming from a pretty forward-looking company reinventing and revamping itself. I've already seen the 30 second video and CANNOT WAIT TO POST IT. I'm so excited. It was very cool to get all dolled up and step into the circle of professional models, if only briefly. Trust me--the trails were calling, but I ain't gonna lie, that shit was fun as hell.

Here is a sneak peak at my contoured face, complete with a non-unibrow(!) by unassuming and fantastically talented Natalia Bizinha, with hair by extraordinarily fabulous Kendall Dorsey.

Wow. Just wow. Will life become any more surreal? We'll see...

Monday, April 18, 2016

More/Shape Women's Half-Marathon: A Race For EVERYONE

Thanks to the fabulous folks at More/Shape Magazine headquarters, I got to run their beautiful, well-organized and uplifting half marathon this past weekend by invitation. I am so honored! Also, this was a chance to come back home to NY and do an actual race in Central Park, something I hadn't done since 1999. Just so you know, Harlem Hill has not changed ONE BIT.

At the start!
Women's running events are fast becoming more than a chance to get our movement on. For many the More/Shape Women's Half Marathon was a destination race. Not only is the location of the event in THE PREMIERE running city in the world (that is personal opinion that I'm pretty sure is backed up by actual facts...) that included a free Yoga for Runners event at Bloomingdales on Saturday morning, goodie bag included. Too bad I missed FREE YOGA and a Bloomies goodie bag. What???? Next time.

We started at the Naumberg Bandshell near 72nd and Central Park West, nearly 7500 women decked out in outfits ranging from minimalist performance-wear to tutus and tights. The energy was electric and eclectic. There were runners and walkers of all ages, many abilities, speeds, goals, shades, sizes, heights--you name whatever type of woman comes to mind when you say the word WOMAN and she was there. I was not surprised by the variety of folks at this event. An event that is invitational and embracing to all will draw well, everyone. 

Your friend was there. Your mom and her mom. Your sister was there. Your aunt and her neighbor she trained with were there. Those young women from Brooklyn were there. The two ladies who had just met in the last corral, each wanting an half-marathon PR were there, and they decided to run together and cheer on anyone and everyone else that passed them--calling them sexy, hottie, badass...
It must have been the first loop...still smiling. Gear notes: Pearl Izumi Road M2
shoes, Swiftwick Aspire socks, Skirt Sports Redemption capris in Free Love print,
Merrell Essential Half Zip, VSX Incredible Sports Bra, Torrid Bra Tank.
  • Cassandra flew in from Detroit and was happy to share that she had been working on her health for a while and that she had done a bunch of half marathons! (She took one of my pictures)
  • Andrea Figueroa from Puerto Rico was there to run with her best friend.
  • Vivian Chacon from Miami was there to run with her sister for some much needed bonding since they live apart for most of the year.
  • Joanna Haberts from California came to prove her badassery on the course after she lost significant weight over the past year.
  • Machele Clark, a teacher and coach from upstate New York was there running with her mom.
In fact there were a lot of mom-daughter duos. Some moms were encouraging their daughters to keep moving. Some were being encouraged and motivated by their daughters. All of the pairs I encountered worked together to get it done. One pair in front of me, met up with their partner-dad about 10 miles into the race and dared him to try to get to the finish before they got there...a little friendly competition.

Almost everywhere in the park, and boy was it an amazing day to spectate--sunny, almost warm, perfect, family members and friends greeted us. Volunteers cheerfully (ok, most of them anyway) handed out water and gatorade, tried to keep the tourists on their Citibikes from crashing into us. Other volunteers in neon green vests kept the cyclists out of our lane; they also yelled out words of encouragement:

Only 5k to go!
That was your last Harlem Hill!
You just did that!
Just think of all the people that aren't even up yet!
This is the wine and cheese aid station! (Did someone say WINE?)

This event was gold. The organization, the course, the volunteers, the goodie bags, the shirts (okay, we should work on the shirts...maybe a slightly larger cut for those who don't want figure hugging shirts), packet pick-up, pre-race information...all excellent. There was even food left at the end for us slow folks. Good job SHAPE/MORE Magazine and NYRR. I'm impressed!

Approaching the finish
This race was first half marathon that I've done in a while in which I ran most of it with very short walking breaks. I didn't PR, but I did better than my last very hilly road half which was about 3:15. I'm aiming for under 3 before I start training in earnest for the NYC Marathon and I have a feeling I'll be able to do it!