Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dirty Girl Profile: Lori Meisburger

Meet Lori Meisburger, our fabulous long-time Dirty Girl who killed the horrible McCormick hill for the very first time a couple of weeks ago. If only she could have flattened it for the rest of us! Lori is one of those women who exudes balance and good humor and quiet confidence. You don't have to know her for more than a couple of seconds before you're wanting to be her new BFF. She also happens to be beautiful, though she'd laugh at you if you told her so. Lori was a little reluctant about hard-core running at first, although from the beginning she always seemed to show up for the nastiest, wettest, and muddiest days. But that was then. Now Lori's taking a speed-work class and doing hill repeats, tempo, and interval running for FUN! In addition to being a teacher, she's also the mom of three amazing girls who are active, healthy, and confident. We couldn't love you more Lori!

Tell us five things we don't know about you:

I     1) I love to travel and am always looking for my next destination. 
I     2) I’ve never actually been proposed to; my ring showed up on my front porch and he thought      
           no words were necessary.  
      3) I was in a roll over accident on my honeymoon. 
      4) I am the only girl out of 4 siblings.
      5) 8 chickens live in my garage.
Lori and The Man Who Didn't Propose
  When you're not running, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
  I love to play tennis, whether it's with my friends or my family. I enjoy taking time to read novels on my kindle. During the school year I am a substitute teacher for elementary schools.
  What is your favorite food? 
  Homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

  Name three things that have most influenced how you live your life: 
   Living on my own for the first time, I learned how to be independent and make my own decisions. My husband John pushed me to think about my future and to go to school to become a teacher. He told me not to settle for less because he told me I had the capacity to do more with my life. When I joined MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) I learned how to be a good mother and how to handle tough situations. 

    What drew you to Dirty Girls?
      My friend Tracy Coons encouraged me to join the group, and I keep coming back because I love the support of all the women. Dirty Girls pushes me to do my best and keep achieving when surrounded by other people who are passionate about running. Also if you don’t show up to run everyone wants to hear your excuse, so it had better be a good one!
    What's something you haven't yet done in your life that you'd like to do someday?
      I'd like to spend 6 months to a year in a foreign country teaching while my husband works at the local hospital.

    What's something you have done or accomplished that once seemed like an impossibility?      
     I've raised 3 beautiful, smart girls who are also good people. They are not followers; they are leaders with goals for their futures and the confidence to achieve all of them.
   The teenage years, especially for females, set the stage for how we view ourselves. How do we teach girls to feel self-confident? How do we teach them about nutrition and exercise without making them feel self-conscious?
      I lead by example; I exercise and eat healthy, and my girls see that. I also make homemade dinners that are well balanced  and healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables. I packed my kid's lunches everyday of every school year and I always made sure they had healthy foods to eat. The incorporation of sports is also important; by introducing my kids to many different sports early on it allowed them to have fun, exercise, and make friends all at the same time. It also built a foundation of being active that my girls have built on all through middle and high school. Finally, my girls have a good dad. He is a great role model for them as well, and he gives them so much love and encouragement that they cannot help but feel confident in themselves.
     What would you say to yourself if you could have a heart to heart with your teenage self?
      If I had a talk with my teenage self I would tell her to not worry about what other people thought. I would tell her to do what she wanted and what would make her happy.

   What do you do that makes you feel proud? 
     I’m proud of all the exercise I do. I go to classes, and I run almost every day of the week.There was a time when I didn’t think I could ever work out this much, but I've pushed myself and now I exercise more than I ever have and I feel great!
    Do you have a personal code that you live by?
    I live by the idea of karma. What goes around comes around. Be nice to people because you never know if you are going to meet them later on. The person you’re mean to at the grocery store could turn out to be your new boss!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dirty Girl Profile: Wenche Wahl (aka "the Viking")

To know Dirty Girl Wenche Wahl (pronounced Vane-ka) is to know a lionhearted viking goddess. No one who has ever tried to keep up with this 54-year old force of nature from Norway would ever doubt her strength and fierceness. Even when she's leaving you in the dust, she does it in such a good-natured way that you can't help but feel inspired. Plus, she's got the most wonderful, lyrical, adorable, beautiful Norwegian accent ever. Personality wise she is equal parts fierce, loving, and playful. Always, she has a twinkle in her eye, and you get the sense she's seen some VERY interesting things in her life, "because I am European, you know!" There is no one else like her, and we love her so much. A little over a year ago she formed Dock Street Running & Walking, a non-profit group for homeless runners and walkers that is making an enormous difference to the homeless and the world's perception of the homeless. Yes, it's true that in the olden days Vikings took lives. This modern-day Dirty Girl Viking is changing lives; step, by step, by step! Go Wenche! We caught up with Wenche for a brief moment--no easy feat since she's such a speedster! Read below to find out what makes her tick (and kick butt).

Name 5 things we don't know about you:
1) I'm an avid knitter. I've made 18 sweaters by hand.
2) I have an addiction for handbags.
3) I worked and lived inside the Royal Castle in Oslo, Norway.
4) Southern France is my dream heaven.
5) I would like to spend more time on action photography.

What makes you laugh and what do you enjoy doing when not running or changing lives?
The things that make me laugh are friends and family members doing hilarious things like telling jokes or acting silly. The best comedy film I have ever seen is "Cool Running." It's based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the Winter Olympics. I also love the British film "Death at a Funeral."I like cross-country skiing, mountaineering, yoga, cooking, baking, hanging out with friends and family, reading, listening to music, going to concerts, and relaxing completely. I am also a Seattle Sounders fan. 

What is something you dream of doing?
When I have more time I plan to climb Aconcagua (22,841 feet), one of the famed Seven Summits located in the Andes Mountain Range in Argentina. It's the highest mountain in both the western and southern hemispheres.

Norway vs. America:
Five words that describe Norway in a nutshell: 
Strong culture, vacation, independent, close-minded, homogenous
Five words that describe America in a nutshell:
Freedom, convenient, big, open-minded, friendliness

What are 3 things that have most influenced how you live your life?
1) My father passed away at age 34 of heart disease. I was only 2 1/2 years old. When I was older and understood that heart disease had indeed affected several of my family members, my priority was to live & eat as healthy as possible. I still follow this important lifestyle.

2) Mother Teresa is my icon. She was an incredible, unique, and strong woman who believed in her own vision to help other people in need. She was living and breathing every moment. She never gave up. Mother Teresa's words Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person made a huge impression on me a long time ago. That's exactly what I did. I followed my passions: running and helping other people in need. From the beginning I believed in my own dream and I was never afraid to fail.

3) Oprah Winfrey is a true powerhouse! Her voice and inspiration guides you through the impossible. To witness her in Atlanta still gives me goosebumps. Every day brings a chance to start over.
In what ways is your nonprofit organization Dock Street Running & Walking changing lives?
11 Dock Street Runners are now back working. 5 of them now have housing. 3 are back at college. 6 are not suicidal anymore. They have completed 10 races and volunteered at 10 races. 8 have new running PR's. 13 have medals. We have 118 members, and 10 to 25 runners weekly. They are happy, and more eager to do something positive with their lives. They are caring for each other, helping each other, not afraid of each other, they are now friends and not enemies, and they protect each other.
What makes Dock Street Running & Walking so successful?
Dock Street is successful because of our simple, non-threatening concept: Everybody is welcome. It doesn't matter if you are homeless or not, poor or wealthy, young or old, walker or runner. We are a friendly, nonjudgemental club that embraces everybody. I give every Dock Street member big hugs, individual talks, and motivate them to think positive and not give up. I tell them to live now, to do the best they can, let go of the past, and that nobody is perfect. I talk about wellness, diet, and training. We give them lightly used or new running shoes, athletic clothes, and water and snacks. Weekly yoga is also important to them. They are loosing weight, feeling good about themselves, and building self-esteem. They all love to race, to get new PR's, and volunteering. They feel they are worth something, and runners and race directors are thanking them for their excellent work! We build bonds between the community and the homeless, and because of our efforts mainstream people are getting more comfortable with the homeless. We call each other Dock Street Family!

How can individuals get involved with Dock Street?
1) Volunteer time on Monday at 8:30 am at Wright Park with walking, running, and/or coaching
2)Volunteer time on Wednesday at 10 am at Dock Street with walking, running, and/or coaching
3) Donate money, running shoes, athletic clothes, running books.
4) Volunteer as a podiatrist.
5) Volunteer your printing business.
6) Help us meet our goal to have our own drop in center and Dock Street minivan.
Please note: we have been a nonprofit since December, 2011 under section 501 (c) (3)
When are you happiest when running?
Trail running in the mountains is insane! I fill up my hydration pack with water, vegan sports bars, solids from hammer, French Onion Chips, and a flask of Aquavit for a summit celebration with my running friends. Life is good! I just love running. It's part of who I am. Breathing in and out I feel free and completely relaxed. It clears my mind, gets rid of any negative thoughts, gives me more energy, and gets me motivated for a long time. I'm ready to conquer the world after a good run. A great running companion helps to motivate you and is happy for you when you do well. Laughing together is a must!

Do you have a personal code you live by?
1) Do not be afraid to try something new.
2) Find your passion and follow it.
3) Don't compare yourself to others--you are unique!
4) If you are having a bad day go for a run. It's the best medicine!
5) If possible, do volunteer work at least once a month. It fuels you.
6) Remember--Nobody is perfect!
"May you follow your dreams and always believe in yourself. Keep your eyes on the stars and hope in your heart." Unknown
For even more information on Wenche and Dock Street Running & Walking check out her website at or contact Wenche at