Archive for Month: October 2015

This is what happens when a former triple jumper tries to run a 5k race

As a result of my early tuck-in last night, I woke up at eight and was ready to go. The only problem was that I didn’t really have anywhere to go that early, so I laced up my running shoes and decided to run the annual “Langskip” 5km road race here on campus. The money went to the Sanford’s Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Miracle Network here in Sioux Falls. Having spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child myself, I’m really passionate about contributing to those causes.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, after the most recent MRI scan of my foot, the doctors allowed me to start running again. It had been six months since I had even made a single running stride, so I was excited (to say the least!)

Now after a month of easy short runs I figured it would be safe to try out a “longer” distance. (Yes, 5km is a very long distance for a former triple jumper, just saying.) But I promised myself I’d be happy if I could run the whole thing without stopping or walking.

“Back in the days,” when I was a jumper and olympic weightlifter, I used to mobilize all my energy, aggression, and focus into one explosive movement, and I can still feel the adrenalin just by thinking about it. So… as soon as the gun (that was not actually a gun, but rather a woman yelling GO!) went off, I had to force myself to take it easy. My competitive instinct doesn’t need more than a loud “GO!” to kick in, and I’m just telling ya, I was ready to chase down every single one of the male runners ahead of me. But we all know that that mission wouldn’t have lasted much longer than about four minutes… In other words — not the best tactic for a 5k race.

The first kilometer went okay, and I was able to take it relatively easy — until a lady three times my age suddenly passed me. **Argh! That’s embarrassing Maria, pick up the pace!** So I did, and when I was just about to pass her, I remembered I still had four kilometers left. Wups… slow down. That incident kept repeating itself all throughout the race. Every time someone passed me I had to use force to control my “I-can-keep-up-with-you-no-matter-what mindset.” Or else the whole Langskip would probably end the same way all my distance running tests ended in middle school — with my half-digested breakfast spread out all over the place. Okay, that was a vulgar way of explaining that I used to run my heart out and ended up puking. Ewww I know. But oh well, you got the point.

With only 400m left of the race, I finally allowed myself to run a little faster and I passed all the women who had passed me earlier, so despite my placement as number 91, I was pretty satisfied.


What I’m the most happy about is that I was able to tame my competitive mindset and adjust it to the setting. It’s no secret that I have in the past, ruined my own experience by pushing myself too far in training or competition. Maybe I’ve matured and realized that it is actually possible to participate in stuff without always trying to win? Haha, who knows.

Now I’ll head out to eat, bless y’all,

Exams and Acting

I’m about to head to my last class of the week, and I’m desperately trying to distract myself from thinking about the exam in “Ethics & Law of the Press” that I’ll have in less than 30 minutes. Oh dear, over the past few weeks I’ve truly felt like a Law School student… Goodness, there are so many weird laws in the US!

Knowing that I’ve done everything I could should give my optimism a boost… Or wait, I could have spent the next 30 minutes studying instead of writing this post, but oh well.

Anyway, this week is homecoming week here at Augie, something I haven’t had the chance to enjoy much yet.. because of all my exams, papers, assignments, interviews, meetings and of course film work <3 But there will be tons of stuff happening on campus all weekend, so I’m not complaining at all.

Today I started the day in the pool at 6:30 AM, then I went to acting class, which was a blast as always. I never thought I’d ever write that, but my acting classes are awesome! It doesn’t even feel like “class,” it’s just fun. Quite honestly, I don’t understand why I didn’t think of doing it earlier. Okay, that’s not entirely true… I did track for ten years, so my schedule didn’t allow for any extracurriculars, but my point is that I’m very glad I decided to add a Theatre minor to my journalism major 🙂

What a glittering assemblage, haha


Wups, time’s up! I better run to the Humanities Building and get this exam over with. Wish me luck!

Bless y’all,
Maria Lavelle

My first video for TV in America, and a request for you guys

Yesterday I finished up the video I made for the Midco Sports Network, which will be aired on regional TV as a part of the Northern Sun Experience show next month.

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Augie Vikings

I’ll post the full thing once it’s been published by Midco, but here are a couple of screenshots:

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CJ Ham, football player and track athlete at Augustana
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Thanks to Mud Mile for the aerial footage

One of the biggest challenges with this project was the length restriction. I did six interviews, shot a number of practices and games and had to squeeze everything into a 3-minute video.

It also made me realize that I really should invest in a new microphone, and ideally, a better camera as well… Right now, I use the cheapest of the cheapest… bah, it’s just so expensive !! Until I can afford an upgrade, I’ll convince myself that it’s possible to make beautiful films with crappy equipment. It just takes a lot of practice, right?


I’ve recieved quite a few film and photo inquiries lately — actually to the point where I had to ask my family for help to pick which projects I should take on. Something I appreciate a LOT.

Feel free to contact me if you have a video you’d want to have made, if you’re a musician in need of a music video, an actor who want a something to put on your reel, or if you simply just want to do a photosoot to feed your own ego ^_^ 

About my time as a “punk”

Before I start, I want to apologize for my lousy blogging lately. The truth is that my days have mostly consisted of school work, and if I’ve not been sitting in class or at the library, I’ve been running around shooting different stuff for future film projects. In other words, I’ve been very busy and haven’t had that much to write about.

The important thing, however, is that I’m back!

A few days ago, I posted this picture on instagram:


And to my big surprise, several students and even some professors (!) had seen it (which, by the way, is kind of ridiculous… because I have a relatively modest amount of followers on Instagram, and I never collect more than a two-digit number of likes)

“Wow Maria, I’d never have guessed you used to be a punk kid!”
“Did you really have dreads?”
“You have tattoos and used to have crazy hairstyles… what else don’t I know about you?”
“I can’t believe you were a ‘bad girl’ Maria”

Okay okay, please let me explain. I was never really a “punk kid.”

To make a long story short. All the way through high school I had stuck with the same “tight-ponytail-look-that-makes-you-look-like-an-Eastern-European-gymnast.” Combined with my classic gray sweatpants, zipped hoodies and sneakers, I had found my trademark, and never felt the need to change any of it. At the time, I was more or less a full-time athlete, so I could actually get away with looking like I belonged to a boarding school in the former Soviet Union.

2012 Yep, I alway stop by the “prayer room” in airports, so observe people’s strange religious rituals. We got kicked out for taking pictures about 30 seconds after this one was taken.

However, right after I graduated high school, I was forced to take an extended break from my whole track lifestyle because of a bad leg injury. During that time, I felt it was about time for a change. I was terribly disappointed that my whole career as an athlete seemed to go down the drain, and I didn’t want to be reminded of the defeat I felt when I realized I might never get back on the track. So I decided to (drastically) remove my whole image as a “sports-fanatic,” and went to the hairdresser with the clear message of “Do whatever you want with it.”

– I ended up with this “lovely” hairdo -_-

For some reason, I like to change my appearance slightly depending on what I do and where I’m at in my life. After the sports nerd phase, I went through a brief hippie phase, before I became a fitness athlete. (which is when I cut my hair) I’d work out twice a day, pursue ripped abs and bulging veins inside of a world where food was merely a collection of amino acids, carbs and fats. Some might consider that as a little “punkish,” but that’s about all there’s to it. And I’ll have to disappoint you if you were hoping for some well-deep symbolism behind it.

The dreadlock picture in the upper right corner was taken for a photo shoot, and I only kept them for a short period of time, so I wasn’t actually a pothead or anything (at least not for the most part, lol jk)

When I posted the picture, I guess I should have considered that most people here in the US didn’t know me up until 2014 — no wonder why I suddenly got placed inside the “former punk category” Haha!

Well well, there you go! 😉

Now I better get back to my homework.

Be blessed,

Swimming and colds

Hey y’all!

Right now I’m in bed going on my fourth hour of my Netflix marathon. Fun Saturday you said? Well, I managed to catch a cold on Wednesday, so I figured I might as well try to get better before the weekend is over. Bah, I hate colds… but the good news is that it’s getting better. Yay!


Yesterday we went to the movie theatre to watch “Everest,” which by the way was pretty awesome! We watched it in 3D, and I found myself stuck in the weird state of wanting to sit at the edge of my seat because it was so exciting, and at the same time I just wanted to lean back and snuggle up, praising God I don’t feel the need to climb Mount Everest. Halfway through the film Karen even said that her heart rate was uncomfortably high at times. Go watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

I also took some headshots for a friend’s medical school application. I think I might have to start an “Headshot Service.” As you know, I love everything that has to do with film and photography, and the fact that she got me a gift card to an amazing restaurant was really an awesome bonus!

And oh, on Wednesday, before I caught the cold, I sat a new personal best in distance swimming. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might remember that after I got a stress fracture in my ankle, I started swimming three times a week. The first couple of times I had to take a break in between every single lap, and after about 20 of them, I was so exhausted I thought I’d pass out in the shower. At the time, I didn’t know anything about technique or breathing and I had more than enough with trying not drown. But after a lot of trial and error, combined with intense studying of tutorials on YouTube, I’ve gradually improved — to the point where I’m now able to swim 100 laps (2.3km) non-stop.


I’ve never had anyone show me how it’s supposed to be done, so my technique is probably a little (or very) rough around the edges. But I’ve had both a pool guard and a coach ask me if I would want to try out for the varsity swim team, so it can’t be that bad haha. I do however, suspect it has nothing to do with my actual technique, but rather the fact that they see me in the pool every morning at 6 AM. Hard work beats talent, right? Just in case you wondered, competitive swimming is completely out of the question. Parts of the reason why I decided to leave track & field behind, was so that I’d have more time to pursue my real dreams, and those dreams do not include competitive sports — unless, of course, I decide to make a sports documentary or direct a sports drama someday.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked a number of times, “Why do you even bother waking up and work out at 6 in the morning if you don’t HAVE to??!” Well, the answer is simple. I have a very busy schedule, and no matter how I twist, turn and schedule things, I only have 24 hours in a day. It’s also a common fact that I hate doing homework at night, and that I prefer getting everything done before supper. That way I can relax and do something fun before I go to bed. If I didn’t work out in the morning, I would probably sleep in until 8:30, and then I’d already be almost three hours behind schedule. So if I’d want to get a workout in during the day, I’d either have to do it at night (when I’m tired from a long day,) or around lunch time… but then I’d have to redo my make-up and do my homework at night… Do you see what I’m trying to explain here? Those hours after supper are dedicated to film work and relaxing. I’ll highly recommend everyone to try and make morning workouts a habit. Give it a week and see how it goes!

Well, I should get back to my Netflix marathon. Talk to ya later,

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