Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Not Always About the PR

If I would've written this post immediately after the race it would've been a rather negative post, about how disappointed I was, how I was NEVER going to run the Pear Blossom again, how much I hate this race etc.  But I have since had a change of heart and perspective.

What the Pear Blossom Race means to me:
1) Sentimental: This is the race I used to cheer for my dad for years, and years, and years; and one day decided I was going to run it with him.  I have now been doing races with my dad for 5 years and I cherish everyone of them, and look forward to many more.
2) A Family Tradition: A couple years ago, my cousins came down for the Pear Blossom {that year it was the same weekend as Easter}to cheer & "cowbell" with my mom.  It has been a tradition ever since for them to come down, and this year, more family came down and RAN the 5K.  
3) Celebrating others' accomplishments: For many people, the PEAR is their first run. The first time they take on the challenge of running a 5K or 10 miles. They overcome their fears and doubts, and celebrate a huge accomplishment. For many, the feeling of victory when they cross the finish line opens the door to even bigger possibilities; those who run the 5K decide to sign up for the 10 mile the following year, those who run the 10 mile decide to sign-up for a half marathon.  The finish line is bursting at the seems with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and excitement. Nothing quite compares to cheering people on to a personal victory. 
3) A major mental block: For whatever reason, this course, which I have not only raced several times, but run parts of quite frequently, is a HUGE mental barrier for me. 

Daughters who run together!

The twins

Coming into the finish

A fight for the finish...I told Whitney she better win {and she did, by a second}! 

I was one proud sister, my brother ran his first 5K

A huge part of the Pear Blossom race is the Mayor's One Mile and Two Mile events...These events are a fundraiser through the schools, and the school that has the most participants sign up receives a scholarship. I love watching the kids run their little hearts out for a mile.  If you want to see determination, smiles radiating with joy, and  a genuine feeling of accomplishment, watch a kids' race. 

His reaction says it all...

It's a FAMILY tradition

My dad's running friends..this is a great community event

I decided to run the race by myself and not meet up with any friends, etc. My race plan was to break it up into 3-5Ks...the first 5K was going to be a comfortable pace, I would push the middle 5-K {which has one hill, which you go up and over twice, once into the turn around, and then coming out of the turnaround}, and then really kick it in the last 5K and into the finish.  

I felt good the first few miles, picked it up at mile 3, felt strong going over the hill the first time, but things didn't go so well after that.  I went over the hill the second time, and was TIRED {why?? I train on hills all the time!?}...normally when I am running down hill, I catch my breathe and my legs have a chance to recuperate, not this time. My legs felt heavy and weak. I kept telling myself to relax and regroup, because once I turned the corner at mile 6, it was game on. Well I turned the corner, and rethought my I was going to make it mile 7, and then kick it in. Mile 7 came, and I was going to make it mile 8, and kick it in. You see the pattern here. For the last three miles my only focus was to keep running and maintain my pace.

I was relived approach the corner to the finish line and hear people cheering & shouting my name

While it wasn't a course PR, it was a PR from the last three years...I will celebrate that victory. I will celebrate a fabulous weekend with family.  I will celebrate people running their first race, people knowing what it feels like to accomplish something that they thought was impossible, people becoming aware that they are capable of far more than they realize, a community coming together to support one another, and crossing the finish line after another 10 miles with friends and my dad {there is victory in every finish}

Celebrating in style

Sometimes it's more than a PR...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rockin Runs in Portland

Competitor Running Magazine editor, Brian Metzler's said it best, "Running will endure and we will, too..." If ever there was a time to run... #RunNow.

A rock n roll themed event with a LIVE band, Sellwood SCAVENGER HUNT run/walk, beer, food and more! TONs of prizes from top brands will be part of the scavenger hunt raffle so come ready to win! 

• Course options will be 3, 4, or 6 miles.
• Win entries to the Rock n Roll Half, Foot Traffic Flat, and other local races! 
• Tons of raffle prizes from great brands such as Brooks, Saucony, Asics, and more! 
• One-day Spring SALE: $15 off SALE on any pair of running or walking shoes. 15% off any apparel items and 40% off all long sleeve apparel, jackets, or pants/tights.

If you have any questions, contact Foot Traffic:

Do you want a preview of the Portland Rock N Roll course? Join the the Red-Lizards {the official pace team} for  7-9 mile tour of the course, with coffee served at the end.  

If you have not already registered, make sure to use promo code "HOLLYROCKS" for an additional $10 off registration

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts on Boston From Afar

I am struggling to put all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions into words, but I wanted to share the impact the Boston bombings had on me all the way across the country

After a not so satisfactory race over the weekend, I started my Monday morning off with a tempo run, channeling the Boston Marathon energy, having a solid run, and getting the mental & physical boost of confidence I needed for my upcoming race {Eugene half}.  I was home by 6:30am and turned on the TV to watch the elite male and females start the race, was following all of my friends on twitter and Instagram who were running, and all dialed in to track those people.  Within no time, I was fully emerged into the excitement of the marathon, texting my friends saying I would be there next year to cheer for them, anxiously awaiting text updates for the runners, and sharing their splits and accomplishments with the twitter world.  I wasn't even there, and I was overflowing with the energy of the race.

4 of the 5 runners I was tracking finished the race, with exceptional times, and I anxiously waited for the FINISH text for Lisa, and it never came...I knew, based on the previous texts, that she was close to finishing, but yet she never finished; I knew something was wrong.  I checked twitter, for the 1,000th time that day, and saw the news, and everyone tweeting "are you ok?" It's hard to put it into words, but it was such a heart and gut wrenching feeling, and my initial thought was that Lisa was right near the finish when the bombs went off. I was flooded with all sorts of emotions. Overtime, it was confirmed that the people I know, even those I don't, were ok.  It was then that the reality of what just happened really started to sink in. An individual{s} turned peoples dreams into a nightmare, turned a festive event into devastation, took the life of an innocent child who was the son of one of the marathoners, injured innocent spectators who were there to support the hard work and dedication of their friends, family and loved ones, and stole the joy of the running community, the residents of Boston & all of America on April 15th.  

Events like this have people asking "Why?" "How Could Somenone?" and they often respond with anger and hatred.  This was an act of anger and hatred; we need to respond by looking for the hope in the situation. From the runners running extra miles to go donate blood, the locals offering food, clothing & shelter to the stranded runners, the outpouring of love and support from the running community, the heroic acts of all of the first responders etc. there were so many acts of hope & love seen during such a tragic time.  

As a runner, I felt like my family was attacked.  3 of the 5 people I was following, and very concerned about, I haven't even met, but I feel like I know them, like I have a unique connection with them, like we have been friends for forever. That's the kind of connection we have with other runners. I was sick to my stomach at the thought that something might've happened to them.  I'm just warning Lisa, Lisa,  and Meghan that I am going to give them the biggest, longest hug when I see them {meeting 2 of them for the first time}! And I can't wait!

I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it was the spectators, the ones selflessly there to celebrate the accomplishment, dedication, and hard work of their friends, family and loved ones who were the victims of this horrific act. My mom is my biggest cheerleader {literally and figuratively} and is  proudly at the finish line, with her camera and cowbell, at most of my races.  My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude for all she has done....the countless miles she has traveled, the streets she has traversed, the cowbells she has rang, the constant belief, support & encouragement she has shown me,  and sacrifice she has made to be there for ME! Every race I look forward to seeing her smiling face as I approach the finish line..I can't imagine it not being there. 

In light of the Boston Marathon, I will run with more heart, passion, and determination; I will love harder, care more, hug a little longer and tighter, and be a light in the world.

My prayers go out to the victims, the running community, Boston, and all of America.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Portland Rock N Roll: Where to Stay

I started doing Rock N Roll races in 2009, and have since done several a year. The races are held in some of America's greatest cities, and in addition to taking in the sites and sounds of the city over 13.1 miles, I love experiencing the culture and character of the cities during my stay. 

Although I have spent quite a bit of time here, one of my favorite cities and places to run is Portland:

One thing I love about staying downtown Portland {and also a necessity when booking a hotel} is being able to park my car for the weekend, and walk & take public transportation everywhere.          And of course, being close walking distance to my all time favorite Starbucks is always a plus:

Here are my three favorite places to stay downtown:

 The Nines photographs courtesy of From Home To Roam

Perhaps my favorite hotel in Portland, The Nines is perfectly located for all of your downtown Portland needs.  Near shopping and the MAX light rail, kitty-corner to Pioneer Place and Nordstrom, and .5 miles from the start of the race. 

While staying at The Nines, make sure to enjoy a meal at their main restaurant, Urban Farmer.   In my opinion, they have the best breakfast in town. 

"Our menus reflect an emphasis on Northwest, sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward preparations. We offer a range of beef options including grass-fed Oregon beef, pasture-raised, grain-finished beef, as well as corn-fed beef. Our beverage program extends the theme of local and sustainable with a 350-bottle wine list, beer selections from the Portland city limits and cocktails made with Oregon spirits. Focusing on sustainable practices, Urban Farmer creates a connection between the diner and our local farmers, ranchers, distillers and winemakers"

Located right on the waterfront, and just blocks from the start is the Riverplace Hotel:

Their pillow top beds are beyond amazing and their customer service is exceptional.  One of my favorite traditions of staying at the Riverplace, which I highly recommend, is ordering room service milk and cookies. Oh my! The cookies are warm and gooey, and make the perfect late night {or anytime} snack.  

The Westin, a boutique hotel, is located in the heart of downtown Portland {.6 miles from the start} with beautiful rooms, great views, comfy beds, and a huge bathroom with a "rain" shower {if you're all about a nice bathroom, this is the place to stay :) }

If you are not within walking distance, I highly recommend taking the Max light rail to start of the race...convenient and avoids the hassle of finding parking downtown. I use the PDX Bus app for schedules, etc. 

If you haven't already registered for the Portland Rock N Roll, use discount code "HOLLYROCKS" and save $10

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ACTIVYST: Stronger Girls Making a Stronger World

Activyst comes from two powerful words – “active” and “catalyst”. When girls are active, it’s a catalyst for positive change in their lives. Activyst's mission is to change the world by helping girls in impoverished regions play sports. They accomplish this through their business model of creating bold, functional athletic bags and supporting girls’ sports programs around the world.
They believe small actions can make a big difference. When you rock an Activyst bag, you not only get a {pretty awesome} product for your own active life, you catalyze positive change in the world.

It starts with a bag:

She plays:

Her life gets better:

And so does the world:

authorities agree: the fastest path to eradicating poverty is to help girls
  • Adolescent Pregnancy: 95% of teen pregnancies occur in developing countries, where maternal mortality is also leading cause of death among teens. 
  • Abuse: 1 in 3 females worldwide have been physically or sexually abused, with women in developing countries more heavily affected. 
  • Poor Health: Females make up 3/4 of teen HIV cases. Breast and other cancers, heart disease, and other chronic diseases are leading causes of death among females worldwide. 
  • Illiteracy: 70% of the world’s out-of-school youth are girls. Women are less likely than men to be literate, with 2/3 of illiterate individuals being women
  • Poverty: Females represent 70% of the world’s poor and 1% of the world’s wealth. 
  • Lack of International Aid: Less than half a cent of every development dollar goes to programs for girls.
 But why sports? 
Research consistently demonstrates that a girl who plays sports:
  • Is less likely to get pregnant in adolescence
  • Is less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior 
  • Is less likely to stay in an abusive relationship
  • Is less likely to suffer depression 
  • Is less likely to smoke or use drugs
  • Reaches higher levels of education
  • Is healthier, with reduced risk of breast cancer and chronic disease
  • Develops leadership, goal attainment, 
  • Is less likely to smoke or use drugs
What can you do to be the change? BE ONE OF THE FIST to preorder a bag on Indiegogo

Check back soon to learn more about the fabulous bags, the women behind Activyst and the non-profits they are partnering with! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


These days people are using unconventional ways to find their perfect match...The Bachelor/Bachelorette,, eHarmony, etc! As much as I LOVE The Bachelor/Bachelorette, its not quite me, in terms of finding my perfect match. However, when I found out I was residing in the 3rd worst place for singles in the nation {Yes you read that right NATION, not in Oregon, not along the West Coast, but NATION}, I knew I had to do something. So online I went.  I know several friends who have met their true loves online, but as of yet, my experience has been quite...well..comical! Sometimes you just have to laugh. I don't think a 37 year old man, never been married, three kids, smokes daily, and has a high school diploma is a good match for me.  I find myself wondering if while filling out my profile and going through the personality questionnaire I pushed the wrong button at some point. 

So as I said, many people have had great success with finding their perfect match online, so when I heard that NUUN was once again looking for 20 bloggers to join them for Hood-To-Coast , I thought it would be a great idea for them to go about it in an unconventional way, and solicit the help of  NUUNMATCH.COM.  NUUNMATCH.COM does a thorough screening and guarantees all the matches will meet your criteria. Let's see how their search went...

I have had the privilege of running with NUUN and if I am chosen as their perfect match for this year's Hood-To-Coast team, it will be the icing on the cake, cherry on the Sundae! Not only do I love NUUN, I love the people behind NUUN and am beyond thankful for all they have done and the experiences, memories, and friendships they have blessed me with.  I would be so excited, honored, joyful, and beyond pumped to be NUUN's perfect match for Hood-To-Coast!