Monthly Archives: April 2011

She Runs LA

Yesterday, Leo and I headed out to run our official She Runs LA run. I was feeling pretty tired after being sick for so long, and wasn’t positive I’d make the entire 10K distance. I’m sure the workout class in which I’d done 4 minutes straight of squats didn’t help either. 🙂

We started off our run, like good bloggers, with some pictures.

Jessica wearing pink She Runs LA tank and iPod armband

She Runs LA - the beginning

After squinting into the sun, we decided to take a few shots of our shoes. We’ve been running in Vibram Bikilas for about 4 weeks now, and we both have really enjoyed them. I used to have a lot of problems with knee pain after runs, but haven’t since I switched to the Vibrams.

Two pairs of feet wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes

Vibram Bikilas

Jessica and Leo wearing running clothing

Off to run!

We ran a 3.1 mile loop from our apartment, and finally checked out Runyon Canyon Park. We didn’t go far into it, but I can already tell I’ll enjoy training there. Killer hills!

I was having a rough run, and wasn’t really able to hit my stride, so I called it quits after 5K and took a nap. Leo went out without me and finished up a 7 mile run…one of his longest ever.

We headed off to the She Runs LA afterparty that night, of which I have no pictures, since cameras aren’t allowed in the Nokia Theater (which, doesn’t make much sense, when you consider I saw people taking pictures and video on their cellphones all night…) It was really packed, but they had some fun booths up where you could get your hair done, get a massage, etc. Not enough activities for the number of people who were there though, as there was a lot of grumbling when things closed down before everyone could get to them.

After the real party started, we got to see We Are Heroes, an all girl dance troupe who won America’s Best Dance Crew. They were amazing, and really what had drawn me to the show in the first place. We also heard about Students Run LA, a program that trains kids to run the LA Marathon, which looks like an incredible program.

While the event was fun, and in an awesome venue, I do have to take points off for a few things. Nike…painting all girls as liking shopping, pink, and texting…little bit of a turn-off after you’ve been telling us all how awesome we are for running. Plus, I just have to reiterate…Mike Posner? Really?Maybe we can get a woman performer next year? Or someone who isn’t known for a song telling a woman to shut up and date him already?

Despite not running the full 10K, I enjoyed participating in the event, and hope I can do it next year as well. It was good practice for Leo and my upcoming 10K…in training for June 5th!

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Atheist Conversion Story?

Since I’ve been stuck in bed with a fever all day (apparently running 3 miles with a cold is a bad idea…who knew), I’ve been thinking about some things after reading Hemant’s book. Well, I’ve also been watching way too much TV on Hulu.

Anyway, Hemant tells the story of when he became an atheist. It’s a very specific moment for him. And I’ve been sitting around all day trying to figure out what mine is…and I’ve realized I don’t have one.

I remember the moment I “became” Christian. I had decided, after reading several Evangelical texts, that I wasn’t a true Christian, because I hadn’t been born again and accepted Jesus into my heart. Why I thought my baptism, years of church/belief weren’t enough, I don’t know. But I now had a very specific story to tell about my Christian experience, my “testimony” in youth group parlance.

But I don’t remember a moment when I became an unbeliever. I remember the classes in college where I started questioning. I remember the day in high school where I swore to myself that I would never ever marry someone who was Christian (long story, to be saved for another blog post). I remember becoming interested in alternative sexuality, in logic, in philosophy, in ethics, but I don’t remember having a conversion. I just remember that sometime, on one of those many days, I woke up and realized that my label for myself had changed somewhere along the way.

Maybe my story is made up of those little realizations along the way. Maybe my new testimony is the life I’ve put together for myself, the mental and physical health I’ve gained since I’ve started questioning the assumptions I long held. Maybe someday I’ll be healthy enough to put those moments together into a coherent story 🙂 As for tonight, that’s as much thought as my brain can handle.

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Just when I think I’m done…

I felt really good on my run today, and then managed to get a lovely high fever tonight. Woo. More when I’m feeling better, including a few book reviews.

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The Friendly Atheist at Atheists United

I read a few days ago that Hemant Mehta was going to be in LA this weekend, speaking at the Atheists United meeting. I’ve been a reader of his blog for at least 3 years, and love his writing style and the insights he brings to his posts. As I was thinking about it earlier, I realized that his blog was one of the first atheist blogs I started reading, and it’s definitely the one that’s made the biggest impact (as evidenced by it’s continued presence in my Google Reader).

I’d never actually been to an atheist gathering before, and was a little nervous before showing up. Although Leo was coming with me, I was worried that I’d stand out in some way. I’ve read stories on blogs about people being the only young attendees, or being the only woman, and I couldn’t help worrying that some scenario I wasn’t prepared for would present itself.

I shouldn’t have worried. We walked in and got our nametags, and were immediately welcomed by several people. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Leo had met Hemant, bought a copy of his book (I Sold My Soul on Ebay) and gotten him to sign it for me! The English major in me loves signed copies.

After milling about for awhile, we went in for his talk. It was entertaining, enlightening, and very informative. It wasn’t ever boring, which I always appreciate.

Hemant standing in front of a powerpoint screen

Hemant Speaking (taken after the talk)

After the talk, I was able to meet Richard Wade, also known as Ask Richard on Hemant’s blog. I was so happy to be able to tell him how much his “column” has meant to me. Coming from an Evangelical Christian family, I’ve often felt like I don’t have many people to turn to for advice on “coming out” or any other issues. Even though I’d never met Richard, reading his columns made me feel like someone out there could answer concerns similar to mine. He was nice enough to agree to take a picture with me for the blog!

Jessica and Richard standing in front of a white screen

Me and Richard (the lighting is a little weird)

Although I was really excited to meet Hemant (and get his book), meeting Richard was really the highlight of my day. 🙂

Afterwards, we sat down as a large group to eat lunch. It was awesome to be able to eat with a group of people (something I miss about church) but be able to discuss atheism and belief in a setting where I knew nobody would misrepresent or take offense at my views.

All in all, a great afternoon, and a great introduction for me to atheist events. Plus…books! My review of I Sold My Soul on Ebay will be coming soon!

Two books (I Sold My Soul on Ebay and The God Delusion) sitting on a blue background

Mine on the left, Leo's on the right.

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Santa Monica Sick Day

Even though I was felled by a cold on Friday, Leo drove me into Santa Monica to pick up my packet for She Runs LA. I was able to do the event thanks to a giveaway by the Left Coast Contessa! Although I haven’t yet seen her on the UCLA campus, maybe someday I will!

Pickup at the Santa Monica Nike store went great, everyone was very organized and I got some cool freebies along with my “race” shirt.

She Runs LA pink tank, grape Vitamin Water lip gloss, S'mores Luna Bar, Keep Me Clean wipes

She Runs LA entry swag!

I might have gotten a shirt that’s too big…oh well.

Nike was cool enough to give me an extra ticket, which means Leo can come along for the party (since he’s going to do the run with me as well, it seemed only logical). I’m really looking forward to the event, although I gotta say, Nike loses major points with me for headlining Mike Posner at the event. Am I the only person who thinks “Cooler Than Me” is horribly misogynistic and generally kinda douchey?

After packet pick-up, we took a stroll down the 3rd street promenade. It was a gorgeous day out, and I was kicking myself for not bringing the camera along. We stopped to enjoy a street performer’s show (pretty sure it was this guy, different hair though) which was entertaining. The whole promenade was full of performers, about 3 per block. Some were good, some were ok, and some were…par for the street performing course. I was lucky to be there with a former street performer, who kept an eye on my purse after seeing a pickpocket working the crowd.

We hit up a Coffee Bean for some iced tea, and on the way back to the car we spotted Penzeys Spices and knew we had to go in. It was AMAZING. Best prices I’ve ever seen on spices, and they had big jars of everything that you could smell. We walked out with sea salt, sage, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper and california basil, and will definitely be coming back.

Leo went out for a run this afternoon, sadly I’m still not feeling well enough to join him. This week has been kind of a wash exercise-wise, but after being extremely consistent for the last 4 weeks, I’m surprisingly ok with it.

Crossing my fingers for sunny skies and a Farmer’s Market visit tomorrow!

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