Wait, You’re a Marathoner Sponsored by … a Cell Phone Case Company?

OtterBox, Running, Uncategorized

Ever wonder about the WHY behind the sponsorships? Does LeBron James really drink Coke for breakfast? Is Nationwide really on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s side? And does Tiger really wear a Rolex? (Ok, that one probably yes).

Most of the athletes in my sport of running are sponsored by companies and products that are relevant to what we do. Shoes, GUs and moos seem to naturally make sense. But what’s the actual story behind the brands and the athletes they sponsor? I have no idea to be honest. But here’s mine …

Early Days as an Otter Pup

I went to college and ran at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado … also thehometown of OtterBox. (OtterBox? Like, the indestructible cell phone cases that have an adorable Otter as their mascot? Yes, the one and only!) As the doom of getting a “big kid job” post-college loomed, all of my friends desperately wanted to try to get jobs at OtterBox. The reputation of the culture, their community involvement and of course, the undeniable indestructibility of the cases themselves were infamous. And if you were lucky enough to get a job at OtterBox straight away? #celebstatus

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Well, I didn’t get a job at OtterBox out of college. But three years ago, I was lucky enough to land a job as their Chicago-based field marketing rep. This was the perfect location at the time because I had started to pursue my nagging passion of comedy, and Chicago is Comedy Mecca. (The running in The Windy City was a bit frigid at times, though). Day one on the job, I met an Otter named Justin, who was fully-tatted with a man-ponytail and a gigantic grin. 

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Fast forward to today, I’m now thrilled to be Mrs. Man-bun for the rest of my life! Fun fact, otters hold hands while sleeping so they don’t drift apart in the water. (Justin & I don’t do that, but it would be otterly adorable if we did).

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Chasing Dreams

foco mapEventually, Justin and I moved back to Colorado and worked at OtterBox headquarters in Fort Collins. Being the serial dream-chaser that I am, I was filling my plate with a cornucopia of goals. I set a goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials, so I was training up to 70 miles per week up to three hours a day. I set a goal to be on SNL one day, so I was pursuing comedy by performing in shows, taking classes and rehearsing up to five nights a week. Did I mention that Justin and I were living in Denver and commuting an hour each way three days a week to Fort Collins for work?

Needless to say I was running on empty, and a hard decision came when I realized I needed to make some choices. I absolutely loved working at OtterBox, but my lifelong dream of running and doing comedy was at my fingertips. Hold please, there’s no career path or title for that, right? Nope — but I’ll create it. I’ll call it being a Funny Runner. But wait, how do you make a living being a “Funny Runner”? Can you make a living being funny? Can you make a living being a runner? No clue, but I’m going to figure it out. But wait, how can you do both comedy AND running? Not sure, but I’m going to try. But wait, what if you’re not fast or funny? Trick question, I’m both or I’ll fake it til I make it.

OtterBox: Phone & People Protector

Early fall 2017, with the incredible support of my Jusband, I decided to leave my job at OtterBox. Being the brilliant supporter that they are, OtterBox agreed to support me on my journey in pursuit of my passions, most notably as an athlete. So here I am, training my way to the 2020 Olympic Trials, and I am so proud to represent the incredible OtterBox brand in all of my races and the people who bring this brand to life!

I rock my OtterBox gear on race day, and you won’t catch me outside without my OtterBox-branded FlipBelt snuggling my OtterBox case protecting my phone. So yes, I really do use and love my OtterBox case. I’m proud to be an Otter-lifer.  

Thank you, OtterBox, for creating a culture that not only inspires growth but encourages it. Thank you, OtterBox, for sponsoring me as runner, which allows me the time to focus on training but also the time to pursue comedy. Thank you, OtterBox, for protecting more than just cases, but also your people. To all of you fellow serial-dreamers, fiercely pursue those dreams, but be grateful for everyone that helps make your swim down the river that much smoother (that was an otter reference).

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Act Out and Be Runderful.

-The Funny Runner

Hey Britt. Remember today. Today is WHY you do comedy.

Oh, so funny!, Uncategorized

Hey. Brittany Charboneau. Yea, it’s me talking to you. Remember today, mmmk? Today is why you do comedy.

You started class at a new acting studio (like “real” classes to be an “act-or”, complete with a French beret and strict snack demands). Until today, you’ve really only done improv and comedic acting, often just fucking around trying to make friends and family laugh–an art in itself yet a different skill set.

Today you played a meek small-town girl trying her damnedest to be a stripper named Candy Apples to make money to pay off her debt. Unbeknownst to her, the club owner interviewing her recognized her mid-tease from their childhood, but you had to convince him that he was wrong.

Shimmy, strut, slap the ground! You rolled around on the ground growling like a sexy (?) tiger. You gave a lap dance to an empty chair, dancing so hard you would have thought Leo DiCaprio himself was sitting there (don’t worry, Jusband knows this is my freebie). You brought the room to tears with laughter. You brought joy to yourself by bringing humor to others.

I’m proud of you! You kept your cool, and went all out. You took your improv skills and brought them to your scene in all your “you” glory. You were present in the scene and with your partner. You didn’t give a fuck and just played. Isn’t that what acting is for??

Remember today when you think you aren’t funny. Remember today when you can’t remember why you decided to follow this crazy dream. When you’re mega successful, selling out theaters or have millions of viewers tuning in on tv, remember the joy you got by making eight strangers laugh in a tiny basement room for just an acting class.

Remember to always Act Out and Be Runderful! That’s who you are.

 

“Actual Things I’ve Thought About on a Long Run”

Running, Uncategorized

Let’s be real. A twenty-three mile long run is a lot of time to spend with your own thoughts, and the mind does start to wander. I never know where my fantastical mind will end up, but here are some actual things that I’ve thought about on long runs…

If street names were the last names of teachers, what school subject would they teach?

Inspired by my running idols and Queen Flanagan’s recent NYC win, I’ve started to run my workout days and long runs without headphones to, ya know, meddle in my own thoughts, be at one with my breath, peace, love and Subarus. Some days running from one block to the next takes all the mind-power I can muster, so I pass the time by imagining what school subject would be taught by the teacher whose last name is the street I just passed. Next thing I know, I’m 40 blocks down! Thanks, Ms. Champa, for being my PE teacher and helping me know I’m a winner.

Signs

Sometimes the mind gets dark on a long run. One time I convinced myself that I could get cocaine-high from drinking out of a public trail water fountain.

Ok, in my defense, I was 18 miles into the run on a sweltering summer morning on the Platte River Trail, fresh out of GU and had just passed an overturned shopping cart filled with trash bags that I had convinced myself were stuffed with a dead body. A dirty public water fountain immediately succeeded the dead body shopping cart. Dehydrated, I took a drink. Shit!

Fountain

“What if somebody wanted to also put ME into a trash bag, so they strategically picked the water fountain a mile up the trail and laced the spigot with cocaine? What if my mouth accidentally grazed the stardust spigot and I got super snow high? — Oooh a penny!…Nope, just gum.— I’ve never ‘snorted the Wisconsin state line’ so I’m positive that I would instantly become so coked out that I would be running around, jowls out, foaming at the mouth like Cujo. What if I collapsed on the side of the trail and no one found me for like, days? Oh my god, what if that dead body in the bag was a rabid, coked-out runner like me?! Should I go open the bag?! …Hey look, my apartment! I’m here!…Holy shit, I’m insane.”

Sometimes I think of my fav. celebs and can’t help but rhyme. It helps pass the time…

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And then things just get random…

WWSD. What would Shalane do?

Seriously, how DID they build StoneHenge?

If I’m not running super fast on this Tuesday morning run, will everyone in the entire city know that I’m a good runner?

Who came up with the phrase “mind over matter”?

Do these Brits know that I’m American when they see me running? How could I run more British-ly?

I want to create a dating app for when you are drunk leaving the bars looking for a hookup and call it Stumble.

Thank God I chose running for a sport instead of sumo wrestling. That would be terrible, and I’d most likely be bad at it.

If Shalane saw me on a run, would she want to run with me?

I bet Michael Buble’s career would be much different if his last name was Bubble.

I wish I could share more, but I’m headed out for my long run. #marshallmatters

Pennies from Heaven: What’s the deal with all the change?

Running

If you’ve followed me in any of my running and training endeavors, you’re probably well-aware of the fact that I collect spare change on my runs. And you might have found yourself asking many questions about this. Wait, she picks up coins WHILE she’s running? Where does she put it? How much noise does it make? How much has she collected? Does she pick up change during a race? Has she gotten lockjaw yet?

Honest Abe

I have eaglehawk CIA vision when it comes to scanning the ground for change, and I’m super proud of this skill. On one pre-sunrise run, I found a glimmering penny in the gutter of a pitch black street. I found Honest Abe in copper form, while visiting his rock self…yes, while dressed as the man himself on the 4th of July at Mt. Rushmore. I know where all of the hot spots to find change are, especially living in the city. I’ve regrettably picked up a pair of pennies from a pile of barf. I never pass up a coin, which often leaves me Frogger-dodging traffic to pick it up from the middle of the street. I collect any and all coins that I find: nickels, pesos, Canadian coins, and yes, even tails-side-up pennies (*audible superstitious gasp*) because “see a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck!” 

The truth is, ever since I was a little girl, I experience immense joy and giddy excitement when I find change. It’s the same feeling as when you get BINGO. It’s the snow day feeling. It’s the “ALLLL-RIGHT!!” feeling when your favorite T. Swift song comes on the radio, and you belt it out so hard you’re positive she’s gonna call and ask you to be on tour with her. (Yea Tay, I’m in).

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More than anything, though, finding change (not just on my runs) are my pennies from heaven letting me know that I’m on the right path — rather, on MY right path. This could be confirming the mindset that I find myself in mid-thought when I find a penny. It could mean I’m on the right path at this time in my life. It could mean that my friend, The Universe, is with me when I’m having a hard time, and I’m not alone.  It could be a reminder that everything is going to be ok when I’m having a stress session. Sometimes it’s just icing on the cake to an already epic day. 

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I remember my record-setting 16 penny find on a snowy spring run when I had been agonizing over if I should stay in my safe corporate job, or take the leap and go for my dreams of being a Funny Runner. I remember the quarter beaming up at me from the gutter as I walked to acting class and caught myself in a daydream of when I am making a living as an actress. I remember the two pennies that appeared at my feet when I was thinking about my grandma, showing me that she was proud of me.

As I’ve gotten super wise and ultra sophisticated throughout the growth of my roaring 20s, I’ve realized that my pennies from heaven are also my shiny reminders about life: 

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You won’t always have record-setting penny days. And that’s ok! Some days you’ll find just one penny. Other days, nada. These days are the ones that help to make the jackpot finds that much sweeter. If you found a shit ton of change every day, you’d come to expect it, and it wouldn’t surprise you.

 

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Every single penny adds up towards filling your jar. If you have a goal, no action is too small in propelling you closer to that goal. Run just one mile a day. Apply to just one casting a day. Write just one sentence a day. Before you even know it, you’ve made more progress than you’ve even realized and you’re a marathon-running, Oscar-winning, Stephen King-ing machine!

KC Pennies

Go back and count your change. Life and the days go by faster than a race. Reflect on how much you’ve collected. The night before I won the Kansas City Marathon, I counted my pennies, and I had found 262 pennies exactly during all of my training (how’s that for a sign that I’m on the right path, huh?). I thought back on all of the runs I had been on to collect each and every one of those: a peso from my honeymoon in Mexico, a Belizean coin from my wedding, a piece of smashed copper that was once a distinct penny. Be proud of the effort put into finding each coin.

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Pennies are like opportunities: if you don’t have hope that you’ll find one and you’re not constantly keeping your eyes out for one, you’ll miss it entirely. When I run, walk or sit, I am constantly scanning the ground because I know that the opportunity to find my pennies are there. And those pennies are just waiting to be found. Keep your eyes out for the pennies that you’re hoping to find, send out the positive vibes that you’ll find those pennies. Maybe you’ll find just one or two, but maybe you’ll hit the motherload of 28 pennies.

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You’re not alone. Someone else has been on this exact same path as you. Their penny dropped, and you found it. A week ago, I was deep in the zone on a run, when I found one penny on the trail, then two, three, six, seven, what?! Pennies littered the path. JACKPOT! Then I saw a homeless guy sitting near them. When I asked if they were his, he said they were but not anymore. He kept only the ones he wanted (1985, 2001, ??.) and threw the rest. How funny that a homeless man’s trash was now my ultimate treasure! Don’t forget these moments that keep you human.

The biggest piece of advice that I can offer:

Change is a great thing. But remember to wash your hands after you find it.