Sunday, June 30, 2013

30 Birthday Gifts

It's hard to believe that in 18 days I'll be turning the 

I'm not one that usually gets wrapped up in the number of candles, but I also feel like this is a significant birthday and one I want to celebrate BIG. I'll be honest, with this big birthday quickly approaching, I find myself focusing on what I don't have, that I always thought I would,  or how I thought my life would be different at the age of 30.  Instead, I want to celebrate and focus on all of the blessings in my life; I am blessed beyond belief.  From my family, to my job, to my friends, to all of the amazing opportunities I have had,  I couldn't ask for more and am so thankful.

When I read about Kelly's Birthday Project I knew I wanted to do something similar to celebrate my big day! So often, around birthdays and other holidays, we get wrapped up in the presents and lose sight of the true meaning of the celebration.  In my life, July 18th is a day about me, and I want to celebrate ME, and all of the blessings in my life, by giving back to others! Giving back to others...whether it is my community, those is need, or family & friends who I am truly thankful near and dear to me. I believe that those who have been blessed with much should give much! 

For my birthday, my wish is that 30 people will celebrate my special day by giving back, and doing an act of kindness on July 18th.  Whether it be buying coffee for the person in line behind you, mowing your neighbors lawn, or surprising someone with their favorite treat "just because" find something that is meaningful to YOU!  

If you would like to join me for #30birthdaygifts please fill out this form and feel free to blog about and share your act of kindess with others.  I am so excited to have you join me in making the world a lil better place on July 18th.  Remember...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The final 5 {ok 6} Highlights from Ragnar Wasatch Back

The moment you've all been waiting for, the second 5 {here are the first five, in case you missed them} of my 10 Favorites, from Wasatch Back.  Without further adieu:

6. #ragnarisms/#hollyisms

It's hard to explain, but it's almost like you come up with your own team language when running a relay.  Some of our "isms" that we adopted over the 30 hours were:
-Get it girl 
-Shut the front door
-Vegas Legs
-So, what time did you start {my oh so kind way of figuring out if we were beating a team or not}
-Like a boss 
-Sh** happens

Not going to lie, there were some pretty great Ragnar dance moves too...maybe #Ragmoves??

The van talk can get quite interesting; let's just say Ned thought we were talking about circumcisions, when in fact we were talking about c-sections {I mean, they are pretty similar after all}..the things girls talk about! We quickly came up with the rule: what's said in the van, stays in the van {which Ned just as quickly broke}:

7.  #sowhattimedidyoustart

It didn't take us long to figure out that we had a chance of winning the ultra division {ok, let's be honest, we were aiming for a win as soon as we touched down in Utah}, so we were constantly trying to determine if the ultra teams were all girls, and if so, what time they started {or maybe that was just me?? competitive much!?}.  I had it down to a science..."How is it going for you guys? Are you running 3 or 6 legs? Wow, that's great! And what time did you start?" By exchange 13 we were passing teams that started at 8am, and we started at 10.  There was one #sowhattimedidyoustart moment that I will never forget.  We were wrapping up our 5th legs waiting for Lisa to come in, and there was a member of a men's ultra team standing there.  I instantly went into my schpeel, asking the guy what time they started {now keep in mind that these guys were athletic looking, and clearly strong runners}.  No sooner than he said 8:30 {or 9:00, I really don't remember} Bry started laughing and Vieve  just had this "are you serious!?" look on her face {neither one of them discrete at all}.  The guy stood there for a second, looked at each of us, and just walked away, without saying anything.  Can we say chicked!? 

8.  #funnyfarm

After finishing her 12 mile nighttime run, Meghan gave a big hug to the guy she had ran with; it was clear that a bond had been formed.  When she got in the van she told us all about Sam, this fabulous young man who had ran the entire leg with he was so sweet and kind, getting ready to head out on his mission, and on one of 7 teams {made up of all family members} running for his aunt, who has a brain tumor. Please take the time to read their entire story, it's so inspiring. At the next transition, Lisa  ran in with a lady and they hugged and talked about how wonderful it was to run together; and once again, there was clearly a unique bond formed between the two of them.  After they laughed and shared stories from their run, I'm not sure why I did, but I asked if she was running with her family, for an aunt.  She was, she was Sam's mother, Laurie.  {ok, it might sound obvious that they would run together, being that Meghan and Sam came in together, but they actually didn't connect until around mile 2}.  Fast forward to our final legs...Lisa came powering up the "ragnar" leg with, you guessed it, Laurie. What a blessing that our team was blessed by their Ragnar Story; a story of heart, love, family, commitment, support, dedication, & perseverance. 

9.  #ultragirlscaneat

"I'll take a side of this, a side of that, oh and a side of that too!" Let's just say ULTRA girls can get their eat on.  And no, there weren't a lot of leftovers. Now, in their defense, it was a good thing they did some major carb loading prior to the relay because we seriously ate like birds in the van....our fuel mainly consisted of peanut butter pretzels and peanut M&Ms.  

And oh my, a Lil Ceasar pizza never tasted so good as it did when we finished! We were given a certificate for a free pizza at the finish line {note to Ragnar, ULTRA teams should received double the pizza because we ran double the miles}, which was devoured within minutes of us sitting down.  As soon as the last piece was eaten, Lisa looked over at me and asked if I could work some magic and get us another pizza. I took the challenge, turned on my charm {ok, that's a lie, I was just myself} and came back with another pizza; a big shout out to my friend Ozzy for hookin us up. We ate that, and then headed to dinner...

10.  #qualitytime

When running an ultra relay, especially with 6 legs as opposed to 3, you are constantly on the go...running, cheering, stretching, cheering,  running, getting ready to run, recovering from a run, cheering, running, maybe napping for an hour, and there isn't much time for those deep, meaningful conversations. Don't get me wrong, there was some phenomenal bonding that took place in the van, but the conversations outside of the van were just as meaningful.  Friday night after the relay and Saturday morning when we went to the airport, we had the chance to just chat, and get to know more about each other, outside of running. We shared our struggles, about our families, we laughed, we cried, and we made saying good-bye that much harder! I don't like good-byes, I prefer "until next time"    

OK, I lied...their are 11 highlights, I couldn't keep it to just 10!

11. #teamworkFTW

Yes, some people ran "harder" legs and faster paces BUT it was a 7 man effort to get us from start to finish, and we couldn't of done it without each person giving it their all. Did I mention we WON the women's ULTRA division!!!? Each runner truly fought with heart, passion, and determination and left it all out there on the streets of Utah! You noticed I said "7 man" because we truly could not of done it, the way we did, if it wasn't for Ned. Not only did he navigate us from exchange to exchange, he quickly became a part of our team and was our biggest supporter and cheerleader.  Ned believed is us, and was always beaming with pride. "Thank You" does not seem sufficient for all he did for us...a true blessing to #highNUUN. 

While there are no words to truly capture the essence of our experience, for me it was truly one of the most amazing running experiences I have had. Running a relay is different from accomplishing your personal A goal or running your dream race,  but they both greatly enrich your life, and leave you walking {or should I say running} away a better person.  This team will always hold a special place in my heart. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

{5 of} Top 10 highlights from Ragnar Wasatch Back

I'm struggling where to begin with this post...It's hard to put everything {the emotions, experience, friendships formed}  into words.  I don't want to write a race report focusing on my legs, because this wasn't about me, it was about the entire team. We ran A LOT, and I don't want to bore you with 36 legs of running.  So I have decided to start with my 10 Favorites from the relay

In no particular order:


After all meeting for the first time on Wednesday {yes, we really did not know each other prior to running this relay; with the exception of Meghan and I, who ran Northwest Passage together} we instantly bonded as a team.  And in my opinion, we totally exemplified what it means to works as a team: 

Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
 After her 12 mile run, in the middle of the night, in drastically colder temperatures, Meghan wasn't feeling well and was having cramping and GI issues {#shithappens}.  Despite feeling like sh**, Meghan fought with strength, perseverance, and determination to make it through her next 7 mile run, which was far from "easy." As a team we rallied around her, willing to step in when needed.  Bry, the "legend" {nickname courtesy of NUUNned} would jump out and run with her occasionally to support and encourage her. 

Meghan's 5th leg happened to be a NO VAN SUPPORT leg but this girl needed our support, and nothing was going to stop us from providing it for her. Right as she finished, I received a text saying we had received our first RAGNAR of our prouder moments of the relay, because it was a symbol of how much we bonded as a team {disclaimer: I Am NOT encouraging you to get a Ragnar violation}.  Lesson learned, don't mess with #highNUUN...on the next leg, which was also a no support leg, we were turning in teams along the course supporting their runners.

Later on in the relay, Meghan had an opportunity to support Bry when she was close lined & taken down by a guy coming into her final exchange, resulting in her hitting her knee on the exchange sign. 

As with any relay, running an ultra relay is all about getting each other through the tough times.


When we picked up the van from the airport Lisa drove it #likeaboss, throwing in some 21-point turns in the parking lot and even attempting to parallel park it! #nobigdeal

And speaking of #likeaboss, Ned worked that 15 passenger van #likeaboss.  I mean, who needs to look when changing lanes in a beast of a van!? We caught ourselves saying things like "Don't go over the cliff" and "are you just going to make your own lane!?"  In all seriousness, he was AMAZING and totally mastered his role as not only being our driver, but being a crucial part of our team...we truly couldn't of done it without him! He was our biggest cheer leader {Go Vegas Legs!!} and supporter...someone I feel truly blessed to know and call friend

And finally, I will never be able to talk about race walking {as if I talk about it much} without saying #likeaboss, because that's exactly what Meghan did...she race walked the heck out of her last leg, which had 1500ft of elevation gain in 4 miles.


I'm going to be really honest here...I was completely freaked out the last couple days leading up to the relay.  It wasn't necessarily a question of whether or not I would make it, because I knew I would, it was more an issue of not only "making it" but running it in a way that would do my team proud.  

I had 5 solid runs, and then came leg 6! I was tired, completely drained {guess that's what happens when you eat like a bird for 30 hours and try to run 30 miles}, hot, and EMOTIONAL...I DID IT!!! I wore my road noise vest so I could have music {nerd alert; guess I could've just worn headphones} and just get into a zone.  I reached the "one mile to go" sign, and it all hit me! I attempted to take a bubbly, happy smile picture, but it was more of an "I'm so happy Im kinda crying" smile! I turned the corner to the exchange and completely lost it.  They were tears of joy, excitement, accomplishment, and overcoming.

It's amazing what we are capable of doing when we put our mind to it!

 *oh my, I can't believe I am posting this pic*


We laughed a lot, and every time we did, Bry would snort! I'm seriously laughing right now as I type this just thinking about it! I miss those snorts!

We went back and forth regarding whether or not we would keep track of our road kills, but we did, and Ned did a fabulous job of keeping us honest when marking them on the van.  Not only did he keep us honest, he got a little competitive about it {as did we} and was doing some trash talking to the other runners.  As we drove pass runners he would say, "Say hi to Bry when she passes." "You're done, you're done, you're done." "Oh, there's more blood!"

Do you spy a photobomb!?

240+ roadkill! 

To be continued....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ragnar Wasatch Back

Ragnar Wasatch Back
Team #highNUUN

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Did someone say ULTRA!?

FREAKING OUT verb {adverb}: to be or cause to be in a heightened emotional state, such as that of fear, anger, or excitement

Yep, that pretty much sums up how I am feeling right now! 

Just less than a year ago I ran Ragnar Northwest Passage, and no sooner than I finished I had ULTRA on my mind! Little did I know that that thought would become a reality! Tomorrow I will be heading to Utah to join 5 other ladies, as we take on Ragnar Wasatch Back as an ULTRA team {we will take on the 200 miles with 6 runners, instead of the usual 12}.  

To  say that I am FREAKING OUT would be an understatement; I am overflowing with FEAR and EXCITEMENT! I am so excited for the opportunity to meet 4 other phenomenal women {I already know one!}, and  the memories and friendships that will be formed! I can't wait for  the feeling of accomplishment when we cross the finish line as a team on Friday! I can't wait for the laughter, overcoming our fears, the beautiful sights of Utah, and really supporting and encouraging one another through this EPIC adventure! 

Without further adieu, its time to pull up my big girls panties and BRING IT:

There are several different ways to run an ULTRA relay: you can run 2 legs back to back, for a total of 3 longer legs each; you can run 6 legs; or I have heard of teams totally mixing things up and runners pick & choose which legs they want to run.  After going back and forth several times, due to altitude, some major climbs, and the  way the distances worked out {if we ran 2 back to back, someone would've had to run a 17 mile leg} we decided to run 6 legs each! I am running 2, which means I run legs 2, 8, 14, 20, 26 and 32.

LEG 1 {2} 7.7 miles VERY HARD

LEG 2 {8} 2.6 miles EASY

LEG 3 {14} 3.0 miles EASY

LEG 4 {20} 5.9 MODERATE

LEG 5 {26} 3.3 miles EASY

LEG 6 {32} 5.5 miles MODERATE

TOTAL: 28 miles

This is going to be EPIC, and you can't do EPIC alone! Joining me on the adventure are: Meghan, Lisa, Lisa, Bry, and Vieve! Make sure to follow us on twitter: #HighNUUN

Thanks Lisa of Simply Hat Love for keeping us in style over the miles

A huge thanks and shout to NUUN for inviting me to be apart of their team.

I will never forget the words my mom wrote in a card that she gave me before heading back to OR after dropping me off at college in CO: "Turn your fear and anxiety into excitement!"  That is just what I am going to do tomorrow...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rock N Roll San Diego

I can't believe it has already been 2 weeks since the San Diego Rock N Roll ; I have literally been going non-stop ever since and am just now getting around to blogging about the truly EPIC summer fun!

My parents and I flew in early Friday, and spent the day sight seeing, walking around, and enjoying the good eats of San Diego.  Saturday I went to a bloggers meet-up/tweet-up at the expo; it's always fun to actually meet people you feel like you already know through their blogs and twitter! Below is our fearless organizing Pavement Runner, in true form.  It was so great to meet, and now be able to call all of these fabulous lady's "friends": Tracy,  Melissa, Amy, Amy,  and Tammy!


The race started at 6:30am, and do to expected traffic & delays, we took the shuttle from the hotel at 5am, getting up to Balboa Park at 5:15am.  That allowed us plenty of time to use the porta potty and of course do a lil pre-funk with all of the Elvi! One of the Elvi rolled up with a cart blasting Elvis music, drinking a Miller Lite.  At first I thought he was just in character and the can was for sure filled with water or something! NOPE! They were getting their drink on at 5:30am! 

Confession time...I did something I have always wanted to do at a race: start my own porta potty line! Props to Rock N Roll San Deigo, I have never seen so many porta potties at the start of a race, but there were still lines. My dad, cousin and I made our way to the porta potties furthest away from the start line, but the lines were still quit long.  It always annoys me that one line feeds into 5-6 porta potties, and no one ever knows whether its their turn or someone's from the other line. I'm standing their nonchalantly, thinking "now is the time to make my move."  We're standing between two lines, talking, etc., making our way closer to the porta potties. And smooth like butta, someone came out of the porta potta and I confidently bolted for the door.  Not going to lie, I was afraid I'd come out to people upset and yelling at me. NOPE! I came out to a new line formed, with my dad and cousin next in line! 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

THE FINISHERS: my dad had another great race! Joel, my cousin, and I ran together until about mile 9.  Huge props to him for running a half marathon with NO {run} training!

We couldn't pass up a photo opportunity with Swingin Friar! 

Race/course overview:
WEATHER: It was an absolute perfect day to run! It was a little humid at the start, resulting in everyone sweating off the get go, but there was just enough breeze throughout the run to keep us cool

COURSE:  This was my first time running in San Diego, so I don't have anything to compare it to {and I know they made changes from last year's course}; while I enjoyed the course, I feel like there is potential to improve it and include more sights of San Diego.  Unlike the full marathon, which went through Old Town & Little Italy, the half marathon course wound its way through several different neighborhoods. And when I say wound, I mean WOUND. The course has more turns than any course I have ran, which made it crucial to run the tangents {and also resulted in it not being the fastest course}.  The incline at mile 10 mentally messed with me! In looking at the elevation chart, and in talking to the pacers etc, "once you reach mile 10 its all downhill from there."  Well, that was NOT true! Mentally, I was gearing up for mile 10, and was ready to kick it in! Well, I hit mile 10, only to encounter a "hill!" ha! Once I peaked the small incline, and enjoyed some gummy bears from a spectator, I enjoyed the 2.5 mile decline to the finish! 

Overall I absolutely LOVED running Rock N Roll San Diego and had a smile on my face the entire time! I'm bringing back not only my love of running, but of racing! 

Of course there was more to this weekend, than just running...I love runcations!

We ventured to Old Town, not once, but twice, for some of the best Mexican food I have had {include fresh, made right in front of you, tortillas}

This is how us Roberts drink a margarita

The food choices along 4th and 5th Ave in the Gaslamp district are overwhelming, as there are so many great choices.  We kept walking by Cafe 21 and their "Fresh Organics, Farm to Table" sign got me every time  but there was always such a long wait {always a good sign; and of course we never planned ahead to make a reservation}.  Finally, on Monday before heading home, we were able to get a table, and it exceeded our expectations.  

A mason jar sangria bar...yes please! 

A trip to San Deigo would not be complete without a trip to the San Diego Zoo.  It was great to "run" into Pavementrunner and meet The First Lady.  While at the ZOO, it was easy to spot the runners...hobbling, and holding the railings as they walked up/down the streets and stairs. 

Monkey see...

Monkey do...

My favorite part of a zoo is the Africa section! I can't wait to actually head to head to Africa in June 2014.

Wouldn't this be a great souvenir to take home with you!?

Overall it was a great weekend filled with running, family, and friends {old and new}.

Being that both my dad and I ran 3 marathons within 90 days {well actually 42, but who's counting!?} and 2 within a 16 days, we qualify to become Half Fanatics.  I'm still thinking about whether or not I actually want to officially become a Half Fanatic.  

Are you a Half Fanatic OR Marathon Maniac?