I can hardly believe that a little over a week ago, I was sitting on the plane to venture to NYC to fulfill on a life long dream to run in the New York City Marathon. A dream come true.
As I sat in the creme de la creme of coach class in my bulk head seat, I turned to the gentleman beside me and asked why he was heading to New York. Sure enough, my new friend was flying out for the marathon. I was overjoyed and downright giddy about the race and asked him every last minute question I could think of. Then all of a sudden, I received a text from my running coach asking if I was okay and that there had been a shooting at LAX. I paid the $6.99 and jumped online to see what all the commotion was and sure enough there had been a shooting. My heart was beating. It beat with excitement and fear and relief as I had just missed being in lock down for hours and that there was also an emergency happening below me. For the next 5 hours, we received news about the tragedy and about how all the flights at LAX has been canceled. We made it out just in time and arrived in New York safely.
The headlines in the paper the next day read, "Mayhem at LAX." What happened? It was difficult to leave the tragedy at home knowing that something as epic as the NY Marathon was before me. Following a canceled race due to the aftermath of Sandy and the tragedy of Boston and now the shooting at LAX, this year was really special for New York and for the runners of the marathon. The news said that over two million people came out from every corner of the city (and the world) to support some 50,740 of us and you could really feel the encouragement and support from complete strangers.
I can confidently say that hands down, it one of the most remarkable weekends I have ever experienced. It will go down in the books as a dream fulfilled - an experience of a lifetime. The energy was perfect, alive and electric.
On Sunday, November 5th, I wrapped myself in my warm purple plush bathrobe, grabbed 2 scrambled eggs and an apple and walked to the to the metro with Brian, then to the ferry, the bus and finally the hill to the orange start area at Ford Wadsworth. They lined us up and at 10:55am sharp. You could feel the anticipation. People were jumping up and down while others looked at their watches very seriously. Then the announcer said, "Ready, Set" and a horn went off followed by Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and I literally "disrobed" dropped my bathrobe on the side and began to proceed up the Verrazano Bridge, the most significant hill on the course to a point 274 feet above sea level. I was so in awe of the view and a state of disbelief that I hardly noticed the incline but no sooner found myself needing to slow down or I wouldn't have enough energy for the full race.
As we entered Brooklyn and took our first left of the race, there was a roar of fans cheering us on. I could feel my pace quicken again and I had to deliberately slow it down in order to stay on my race plan. I looked around and took a deep breath and said to myself, "This is it" and a big smile went across my face that didn't leave. I thought about how my uncle Craig had also run this marathon a couple years ago and how he said it was one of the best and he was right.
As I ran, I kept a keen eye out for my cheer team and passed through historic Brooklyn. It was at mile 8 that I saw a sign in the distance that said, "Lauren you are the MOST." It was Brian! I was overjoyed, I ran up beside the railing gave him and big kiss and it was the perfect power boost to get my up the long stretch up Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue. As I dropped down out of Williamsburg, I came across two enthusiastic cheerleaders, it was Elica and Marina and as I passed them I still had that huge grin across my face! (I had also learned from the internet the importance of writing your name on your shirt and that way everyone who sees it, cheers your name! So you have millions of personal cheerleaders!)
At mile 14, we crossed the Pulaski Bridge from Brooklyn into Queens and made our way through the borough to the Queensboro Bridge which was probably one of the hardest moments of the race. Firstly, I was tired. I was just over half way and I had done a good job of keeping an even pace and now I needed to go faster in order to hit my goal of negative splits. Secondly, spectators are not permitted onto the bridge, so although this section was a break from the cheering crowds there was an eerie silence and I fought to not go into my head and reflect and just stay focused on running. As the magnificence of Manhattan loomed before me, I turned off my music and listened to the foot steps and breath of my fellow runners as keep going.
We made our way up the First Ave and a fellow Brentonian, Ariana, I ran up beside the course yelling my name! It was such a surprise! We then crossed the Willis Ave Bridge in the Bronx where I saw Mom and Lainy cheering. They didn't see me at first and I yelled, "I love my Mom!" at the top of my lungs and blew them a huge kiss. With tears of joy in my eyes, I embarked crossing our final bridge over the Harlem River, Madison Ave. Bridge into Manhattan and up our final climb up 5th Ave through Harlem, along Museum Mile into our final stretch into Central Park. I looked at my watch and set a new goal, 4:20. As I entered Central Park, I thought back on every training run and race I had done and knew that I had to finish with the Selman Sprint. I began to build up the momentum to fly to the finish line and found it difficult to pick up my pace and migrate through the crowd.
With a little less than a mile to go, I locked in my focused up Central Park West and declared, "This is for my family" and sprinted my heart out to finish in exactly 4:20:14, over 45 minutes faster than my last marathon. I took a deep breath and they place the medal around my neck and if felt like it weighed 5 pounds. It was huge yet I felt weightless and over the moon.
For me, it was a really special race. Not only has it been a life long dream and an opportunity to run it after applying for the lottery for years, I chose to run in memory of three incredible women in my life who have passed this year: my nanny - Ines, my godmother - Patricia and my grandmother - Janiece. All three women played a crucial role in shaping me into the woman I am today and I am forever grateful to them and their contribution to so many in the world. They were strong, proud and determined women and I miss them tremendously. Throughout the race I called upon them for strength, determination and I am confident I made them proud. For all of us, Sunday really showed me what the human spirit can do. The human spirit can heal, inspire, unite, forgive and above all love. I fell in love with New York, with running, with my friends, with my family and with myself. The lost of Ines, Patricia and my grandmother, has had a tremendous impact on me and my family and I know that, like a marathon has shown me, that if we take one step at a time and breathe that we will get to the finish line.
The other night I was talking with Brian about the concept of "collecting experiences" and checking things off a bucket list. What I discovered last weekend was the power and magic in "sharing experiences" rather than just collecting them. It was not just me running through the 5 boroughs of Manahattan, it was YOU carrying me through. From the delicious power meal the night before, to every run, phone call and word of encouragement, I am positive that the weekend wouldn't have been what it was without you. The weekend was beyond what I could have ever imagined. Thank you for providing and sharing the experience with me. The ING NYC Marathon slogan this year was, "You Make It The Marathon," and I'd like to declare that together "We made it the Marathon!"
I was invited to give a 2 hour presentation on Social Entrepreneurism, hosted by Korea Daily, the 2013 Leadership Camp. The purpose of the camp is to engage students in a week long curriculum where they learn presentation skills, choose a topic they are passionate about and learn how to work together to make a project. The students were all very interested in what they could do to make the world a better place. Many of them wanted to go into politics when there are older. I encouraged them to relate to themselves as leaders, today. They don't have to wait till later. Overall, it was an enriching experience and I hope to be invited back!
Once a year, TEDxYouth@SantaMonica partners with Santa Monica High School to create a TED-like experience for the local community and this year, I had the honor of being one of the speakers.
We arrived at 9am to begin rehearsals. Everyone's nerves were electric as we sat with anticipation waiting our turn. There were over 20 speakers and we had been told that our speeches could only be 5 minutes in length. The complaint last year had been that speeches were too long so our event became a series of short speeches, what I like to call TEDxBits. Little bits of life!
I shared the stage with a great group of speakers, including my boyfriend, Brian Bielawski and my friends Lindsey Horvath and Kim Mitchell and met other incredible speakers.
It was an exciting and inspiring program of live speakers and TEDTalks. The theme was ‘The Game of Life: what you don’t learn in school’.
We drove down early to San Diego to participate in the TEDxAmericasFinestCities event. When we arrived, were greeted by the friendly host committee and then directed to a green room adjacent to the stage with full makeup services, craft services and a staff who was there to support you however was needed. What a treat!
It was my first TEDx talk and I was so nervous. Would they like me? Would I be inspiring? In preparing my father told me that in order to be "inspiring," you must be inspired. I took my nerves and turned them into excitement and the moment I stepped foot on that stage and made eye contact with the audience, it was clear that my story was no longer about me, but about them. Each and every audience member. I shared my story about a group of 26 students, who together, we rode 4,000 miles across country. The audience laughed, they cried and in the end, were inspired. I had one gentleman come up to me at the end and tell me that I should tour it around to college. W
LOS ANGELES – August 16, 2012 - Beautiful young women gather this weekend for the 8th Annual Miss Malibu Pageant, one of Malibu's premier annual events held at the Malibu Golf Club. This year, Miss Malibu Contestant, Lauren Selman, 26, is putting Mother Earth front and center as she combines her passion for the environment with pageantry and shows that being green can be gorgeous. She started an eco-campaign to promote sustainable and healthy living, and everything, from her dress to what she talks about, reflects her philosophy.
"Pageants have traditionally been about the celebration of beautiful women, glamorous gowns, crowns and all things Diva, but with the enthusiasm of eco-friendly lifestyles throughout our community, it just makes sense to include that awareness within our pageant.” So said Kristen Bradford, CEO of Crown Diva and the Miss Malibu USA and Miss Santa Monica USA Pageants.
Lauren asked Eco Stylist Taryn Hipwell, of EcoDivasTV.com, to help her find a pageant-perfect eco look. The former Miss Cranberry First Runner-Up says, “Lauren is beautiful whether she is wearing a dumpster-diving suit or an organic gown with eco-couture vintage bling, which is why I applaud her for using the Miss Malibu USA Pageant as a platform to effect change and be a positive role model for young women.”
Taryn has pulled together a selection of local and sustainable designers for the competition. "I think it is great to blend a natural and glam look into pageantry," says sustainable dress designer Lindee Daniel. "I like to use all things natural, and enjoy using wild, organic vegetarian silks and cottons, and the natural colors of the fibers or earth."
On Sunday, Lauren will proudly wear a 100% organic dress by Lindee Daniel, Mink vegan shoes, Margaret Rowe’s one-of-a-kind vintage couture jewelry designs, accessories from Org by Vio, Rockstar Accessories by Fahmina, sunglasses by Colin Leslie and a reception dress by EcoSkin Collections. Armineh Vartanians with Studio DNA will style her hair, and she will be wearing toxic free organic Josie Maran cosmetics. Lauren will use recycled fiber hangers, Green Garmento sustainable garment bags, and Waxelene for a healthy glow.
As this is her first pageant, Lauren has been working with pageant coach Tamara Henry, M.A., who produced the "Green Is Gorgeous" campaign for the 2010 Miss America Contestants. "As a former Miss Arkansas USA, pageants are about the celebration of inner beauty, success and a platform from which to launch a career," says the Anchor of the Emmy nominated eco transpo TV show "Metro Motion." The reality TV personality was also the winner of last month's ex-beauty queen episode of "RuPaul's Drag U" on LOGO. "Green T" says, "It's all about the energy - clean energy, and comedy fun has been the basis of my pageant training with Lauren. Every week we met at the beach with a group of powerful women to share our joy and aliveness and our connection to the ultimate queen of beauty – Mother Earth!”
For Lauren, the pageant goes beyond Sunday’s event. It is about promoting sustainable education and specifically MUSE School, a local non-profit educational organization in Malibu Canyon. MUSE School is dedicated to empowering children to realize the full potential of their lives through academic excellence, personal responsibility, compassionate relations, global consciousness and environmental awareness. "We couldn’t be more thrilled that Lauren is showcasing MUSE and the future generations. Lauren walks and talks the practice of sustainability, and we strongly support her as a contestant,” said MUSE co-founders Suzy Amis Cameron and Rebecca Amis. “Furthermore, we stand by her side as she takes this pageant to a different level by doing it up green.”
Amis Cameron also founded Red Carpet Green Dress in 2009, when, alongside her husband, “Avatar” director James Cameron, she saw the opportunity to share a message about the increasingly relevant issue of sustainability within the fashion industry. The Avatar press run gave her the chance to deliver that message on the red carpet. "I wanted to wear a beautiful dress that had some meaning to it," said Cameron. "It's really about bringing awareness to the fact that we can be kind to the planet and still wear something really gorgeous — and to then take that a step further; for people to think about the carbon footprint of their everyday clothes."
“Lauren is a wonderful example of the message behind Red Carpet Green Dress and the increasingly relevant issue of sustainability within the fashion industry,” said Amis Cameron. “To actually have a person representing MUSE in 100% eco-friendly fashions and products is beyond our wildest dreams. We commend Ms Selman for standing above the rest in showing compassion for our planet through her message, practice and commitment. By bringing attention to the beauty and practicality of sustainable design, we believe more people will consider sustainable alternatives and practices in their own lives and, ultimately, become part of the solution. Action begins with awareness.”
“It is such an honor to promote sustainability and MUSE School,” Lauren said. “Being on the stage in a stunning sustainable gown, eco-accessories and non-toxic makeup while making a statement makes me feel powerful. As youth of today we stand in a critical place, at a threshold of opportunity; the choices we make can transform the future and do something about the suffering that is taking place in the world. This pageant is just that. It’s a chance to stand for something."
For more information about Lauren’s eco-campaign, or to schedule an interview with Lauren Selman,
Contact; Reel Green Media at 818-396-7335 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found at: www.laurenselman.com
# # #
The Miss Malibu USA Pageant will take place on Sunday, August 19th from 4pm-7pm. Tickets are available for $35 (VIP tickets @ $50) by visiting www.missmalibu.com/tickets. There will also be a pre-show cocktail reception from 2pm-4pm at Malibu & Vine.
About the Miss Malibu Organization
The Miss Malibu Organization hopes to offer a venue where young women from 14 to 26 years old can grow personally in poise, confidence, goal setting, public speaking, communication skills, physical fitness and self-discipline. We also strive to open doors and provide career and educational opportunities, not only to the winner but also to all the young women who participate. Miss Malibu and Miss Malibu Teen USA will promote our sponsors and be active in community service programs and charity outreach. Kristen Bradford, who also serves as the Pageant’s Executive Director, founded the Miss Malibu organization. To learn more visit: www.missmalibu.com
My artistic boyfriend made this fun graphic as we were getting ready to head out for a screening of Kelly Richardson's "Without A Net" at DocuWeeks.
Every Tuesday morning, I meet with an incredible group of women at at Perry's Cafe in Santa Monica. Together, Tamara Henry, Taryn Hipwell, Anabelle Munro, Natalia Dodd and Jennifer Blackwell and I meet under the red umbrella and talk shop over free coffee. The group was formed to support each other's creative projects. I have been a part of the group for a short period of time and the women have graciously given the time to me preparing for the Miss Malibu Pageant. The pageant has three parts - swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The ladies tried to stump me in a lighting round of questions.
Here are some examples of questions they asked:
What would your answers be?