Wednesday, July 31, 2013

She Wears Many Hats

While I am not one who gets wrapped up in the number of candles on my cake,  I do like to use birthdays, especially big ones, to take a moment to reflect on my life, count my blessings, see how far I've come, and focus on where I want to go.  As I embark on my 30s, I have so much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to. I never envisioned I would kick off my 30s the way I am, but I couldn't be more excited for the adventure{s} that lies ahead.  

These are the several "hats" I will be wearing:


The Junior League of Jackson County is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  Last year we launched a new program, Rogue Powerpacks {RPP}, in which we provide a backpack filled with nutritious food for the weekend, to chronically hungry children in Southern Oregon.  In addition to grants, our primary source of fundraising for RPP is the Holiday Hustle 5K, which we kicked off last year, and was a huge success. I am looking forward to taking on the roll of race director again this year, and continuing to improve the event, making it a family holiday tradition in here in Southern Oregon.

The Storytelling Guild is a group of volunteers dedicated to serving the community by providing opportunities for children to be exposed to the magic of books and the joy of reading. 

Perhaps some of you saw this picture:

This is from  my favorite program of the Storytelling Guild, The Book Walk!  The Bookwalk is a fashion show for books, designed to pique the interest of 3rd grade children. Guild members don sandwich boards and costume accessories while a brief description of each book is shared. A new book is then donated to each school’s library.  

I am so honored that the women of both of these groups have chosen me to be their "fearless leader" and I look forward to serving both organizations with heart, soul and passion, to the best of my ability.


I AM FOR THE CHILD,  and I advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have come under the care of Child Welfare due to parental abuse and/or neglect. As a CASA I speak up for these children and work hard to better their lives.  I strive to provide the children with a feeling of self-worth, confidence, hope for a better future, and the reassurance that they are loved.  In addition, as a CASA I strongly believe that what's best for the children is that their parents are doing well, so I also strongly advocate for the parent{s} too. It is so easy to be quick to judge, but these parents LOVE their children.  They might love something else more, or lack the tools necessary to be effective parents, but they LOVE their children. And with proper guidance, support, a feeling of HOPE,  and someone who believes in them, they have so much potential.  

I love spending my Sunday mornings with the 4 and 5 year olds , learning about the love of Jesus Christ through their precious perceptive.  I feel like I walk away with more than I am able to give them. 

One thing that I am going to start doing more of during sunday school is leading worship... I pursue my dream of being part of the church worship team.  I have a long way to go, but I have to start somewhere. 

I have always loved kids, and started "babysitting" as soon as people would let me, and started off my "nanny" career by watching my 6th grade teacher's children.  I was a nanny all through college and two years after, prior to taking a "real" job {not that being a nanny isn't a real job, but you get it}. While I do have a full time job, I am still asked quite frequently to watch children while the parents go on a weekend away, a 10 day vacation out of the country, or on a business trip. I have also had the opportunity to travel to several wonderful locations as a nanny! While it can be tough to juggle work and other responsibilities to "nanny" for a week, with the parents help in scheduling coverage, we make it happen, and I wouldn't change my time with the kiddos for anything. 

As a swimmer, who loves working with children, it only seemed to be a natural fit that I learned to teach swim lessons while in high school.  I taught during the summers, all through high school and college, and following college graduation primarily did private lessons at people's houses. I absolutely love seeing kids I taught when they were 4 practicing with the swim team and heading to the High School State Championships OR seeing the child who hated the water showing off for me at a friends BBQ/Pool party.  I keep my lessons to a minimum due to a lack of time, but I do have the privilege of working with a 2 year old and 9 month old this summer...I love hearing Aiden's feet running to the door and him telling me how gweat of a teacher I am!     

On top of work, running, family and friends, these are the major hats I will be wearing this year, and I couldn't be more excited! Sometimes I feel like the energizer bunny, whose battery is dying OR a juggler doing everything possible not to drop a ball, but I wouldn't change it for anything.  Yes, there are days when I am overwhelmed, but I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve, and have an amazing group of friends and family who are always there to support, encourage and help when needed.  

As I begin another year, I want to continue to be the change I want to see in the world, live life and my "dash" to the fullest,  and leave a legacy {whether big or small} in the lives of people who come into my life.  

There is something else I will be doing that I am beyond excited and nervous for,  but I am saving that for another post. Here is a teaser:

And yes, I have BIG swimming, biking, and running plans for my 30s too, stay tuned...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lake Stevens: 70.3 Amazing Miles

The last couple weeks have been a complete whirlwind, hence the delay in this post...

Let's rewind a little...2 summers ago I signed up for and was training for my first half Ironman, Kansas 70.3; which I was planning on doing with my friends Heather and Heidi.  3 weeks before the race I was in a cycling accident, which resulted in a broken collar bone, which resulted in me having surgery 5 days before the triathlon. So, needless to say, no triathlon for me.  However, I did board a plane 2 days following surgery to cheer on Heather and Heidi! Sidenote...I was super bummed when the plate in my collar bone didn't set off the metal detector at the I was thinking I was bionic woman.  

The last two years I have focused on running, with little to no swimming or biking. Ok, I did a 50 mile winery bike tour...but that doesn't really count. I knew someday I would do another triathlon, and do my first half, but I wasn't exactly sure when. I don't think I realized how much the accident effected me and placed a little fear in me; it took me a while to get back out there.  One day I decided I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday by overcoming fear and doubt, and accomplish a huge goal of I signed up for Ironman Lake Stevens.  I came out of retirement with a bang, took on my first triathlon in 3 years,  and conquered 70.3 miles. 


My emotions and nerves were all over the minute I was so excited & feeling confident, the next I was freaking out, questioning what I was about to get myself into! Mandy and I headed to the expo Saturday afternoon to check-in, set-up our transitions, oh, and do a lil creeping! There is nothing like an expo to get the excitement up. 

All checked-in, all smiles


On the drive to Seattle, I was chatting with my friend , and she saw that her all time favorite triathlete, "Crowie,"  {he's a close second for me} was racing Lake Stevens and would be at a Pro meeting at 2pm. She proceeded to tell me how much she loves him and that she even  "fist bumped" him at the finish in Kona {big deal, right!?}.  I knew I not only needed to meet him {such an inspiration, not to mention quite good looking} but have him sign something for my friend...I love a good challenge. Heather and Mandy were so gracious, and put up with my borderline obnoxious creeping.  When we checked-in I asked the volunteers at the "Pro Check-in" what time and where the Pro meeting was {3pm at the Library; and I might of asked a couple other people too, just to confirm}.  Well, there is a library at the school AND a library down by the race. We went and checked our bikes in, scoped out the swim and transition area, and walked by the library, which was clearly not where the Pro meeting was, so back to the high school we went. I felt like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert...peaking around the corner into the library, running outside when the meeting was over and attempting to act all cool, and  totally twitterpated when he walked out.  Ok, I'm a DORK!!! As he comes out with his entourage, and I'm like a giddy, nervous teenager, heart racing,  I basically charge him and ask if he'd sign two water bottles for me {I'm hoping I appeared a little smoother than I felt}. He was more than happy to...always so nice to meet such a humble, genuine, extremely talented athlete. 

In no time, we were BFFs! Thanks Crowie, you are an inspiration to many!

Ok, time to get back to the race..


My alarm went off at 4:15am, and I was overflowing with excitement!! We headed to Lake Stevens, and the first stop was body markings!  

It was so great to run into Megan, who was also doing her half Ironman.


I'm so thankful Heather was able to come out and be the ultimate supporter, cheerleader, and photographer. 

THE SWIM: 1.2 miles, 33.23, 10th in age group
*one of the highlights of the race

I'm a swimmer, aka I swam competitively for 11 years, and it come naturally to me. My time for training for this triathlon was VERY limited {relatively speaking}, and I knew that I was going in to it under trained {that's another post}so I didn't focus a LOT of time on swimming. I swam on average of once a week, getting a couple 3000yd workouts in, but probably averaging around 2200yd per swim; and did 2 OWS. At first I had ambitious goals for the swim {30 min} but changed my game plan, and went into the swim wanting to swim between a comfortable and a challenging pace {goal was sub 34} feeling strong but not completely exhausted going into T1. Mission accomplished.  The swim felt great and was the best swim I had had in a while...I felt like I could go forever, but was keeping a pretty decent pace. The competitive swimmer in me loved catching and passing the orange and purple caps {men 30-39}!

SHE DID IT!!! I knew Mandy was most nervous about the swim, but I also had NO doubt that she would do it! The highlight of the swim was on the way back to the transition {it's an out and back, U-shaped swim with a buoy line..amazing...but note to self, the buoy line is attached to the buoys, so if you follow it exactly you WILL hit a buoy!}, about a quarter of the way, I saw Mandy, and checked to make sure she was doing OK! 

BIKE: 56 miles of a beautiful mess! And Holy Hills Batman 

I came out of the swim feeling great, and right as I was riding out of T1 my bike computer went flying...I had mere seconds to decide if I wanted to stop, pull over and attempt to grab it {assuming it wasn't completely shattered from the fall & that I could even get it} OR just continue on and not worry about it.  Well, I decided to continue on, which probably wasn't the best idea, as I didn't wear a watch or heart rate monitor ...I had no idea how fast I was going, what my average pace was. With so many hills, it was hard for me to know my average pace, but I had a feeling I was going slow, but didn't want to push it too much early on. On top of dealing with that, I was completely uncomfortable on my bike..not sure why!? I felt like I had a pinched nerve or something, and shooting pains down my legs {at one point I wanted to pull over and pop my lower back...that would of been quite the scene}.  From mile 30 on, I kept having to stand up to alleviate the pressure.  I was constantly readjusting how I was sitting on the bike, which resulted in me carrying a lot of tension in my shoulders and my right shoulder totally cramping up. .  I didn't and haven't focused on the negatives of the biking portion, but it was part of the experience so wanted to share. But with all of that being said, I absolutely enjoyed every minute and mile on the bike {well with the exception of maybe the last 6, which were the longest 6 miles ever!} I was so thankful to be out there, that I didn't care {a mindset I don't normally have when things don't go as planned}.  I ended up averaging 15 MPH {3:46} and was hoping for 16MPH, knowing it was a challenging bike course...I started off closer to 17 MPH, and NOT to my surprise, went downhill {not literally though} from there.  I knew going into T2 that I took it too conservatively on the bike, and my splits were slower than I had hoped for. Live and learn! 

RUN: 13.1 miles, ALL SMILES

There were pros and cons to the run.  Pro...the crowd support coming out of the transition, which was also the middle portion of the run loop, was phenomenal, with the streets lined with people cheering us on by name! Cons...while I am not a huge fan of 2 loops, the bigger struggle for me was there was an out & back incorporated into the loop, so it was like a double whammy.  But, the "back" portion went by much quicker than the "out" both times! What I did like about running 2 loops is I met up with everyone...the people coming in to the finish, when I still had another lap to go. And the people who had another lap to go, as I was coming into the finish.  As I approached the last couple miles, I started cheering on and encouraging others on the course...and while I was tired and ready to be done, the energy of encouraging others, gave me a boost of energy to finish strong!!  

So happy to be completing my first half marathon {this was around mile 11}

She did it, not only her first half Ironman, but her first triathlon EVER!!!

Thanks to Dutch Bros coffee for the best looking kits on the course! 

6:45 and my goal was 6:30.  Given my training, the terrain, and a few mishaps, I was HAPPY! 

The smile says it all...a day of overcoming, second attempts, a huge accomplishment, and celebrating others' victories.

A HUGE thank you to Heather who planted the seed that I could do a half Ironman, flew out to the PNW for the BIG 30th celebration, and was our biggest supporter and cheerleader from start to finish! 

It was so fun to celebrate our 70.3 and Lauren's ULTRA Ragnar Relay with a #NUUNKOTB dinner in Seattle.  

30 is off to a great start and this is only the beginning of many more triathlon adventures to come...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2 Words I Am Eliminating From My Running Vocabulary

As a runner, just as important as my physical training & strength, is my mental training & strength.  While I have always considered myself to be mentally strong, recently I have become aware of some major shortcomings in this area. For the longest time I didn't even realize it was an issue, until it really started to bother me when other people did it, and then one day I realized I was doing the exact same thing. It's an issue with how I talk about my running and a couple key words I use used that were creating mental blocks to my success and reaching my goals.  The two words, which from this point on are prohibited from my running vocabulary,  are SLOW and ONLY.  

This is a typical conversation I would have with people:

Friend: "I don't know how you do it, I could never run a marathon."
Me: "Oh yes you can. I'm slow...if I can do it then you can do it."

Friend: "What's your goal for this race!?"
Me:   "I'm slow, a xx:xx"

*there is absolutely NO benefit to me adding slow to either of those responses! If anything I'm self-handicapping and preparing myself to deal with the let down of not accomplishing my goals; setting myself up for failure before even toeing the start line. Not to mention, its definitely not encouraging the person I am talking to.

By always throwing in the word slow, I am constantly filling my mind with negative thoughts, and convincing myself that I am in fact slow and unable to achieve my fast goals. What exactly does slow mean!? It is such a relative term. For someone who started out running 12:00 min. miles, running 10:00 min. miles is a huge accomplishment. Someone else might be running 8:00 min. miles, with a goal of running 7:30 min. miles; that does NOT mean that a 10:00 min. mile is slow.  In all honesty it is smoking fast...2 minutes faster per mile is something to be proud of! I am getting rid of any and all comparison, and focusing on my own times, goals, and improvements. 

I just ran Ragnar with 5 other incredible runners, 4 of whom ran Boston this year! I hadn't met them yet, but followed and cheered for them as they ran Boston, and was so proud of each of them for their individual accomplishments.  I never once felt intimidated or inferior to be running with them...until we all met for dinner in Utah. {disclaimer: this was a personal issue of mine, and in NO WAY did any of them contribute to me feeling this way}.  As I sat there listening to each of them share their stories, part of me was there emotionally for them as they talked about their individual experiences, but another part of me was sitting there filling my mind with negative thoughts and questioning why I was even part of this team. NOT because of them, but because of ME! And my focus on being a slow runner. I had mentioned in one of my blog posts {but quickly deleted it thanks to Meghan} that I didn't feel worthy to be running with them.  Looking back, I not only see the negative effect it had on me, resulting in fear, anxiety and doubt, but also the selfishness of it! I was taking away from them, because I was focused on ME! There will always be people who are faster, and people who are slower, but I want to support, encourage and motivate everyone the same.  

I have also been thinking a lot about the impact I have on others when I say I'm slow. How insulting and discouraging is it for me to have a pity party and complain about my time or how slow I am in front of someone who would love to run as fast as I do...and I guarantee I have done that more than once.  We all have races where we fall short of our goals, and are disappointed; but we need to be aware of how we handle that disappointment. I want my words to not only be uplifting and encouraging to me, but also to those around me.  

When you start to think you're slow, remember: 

The other word that never seemed negative to me, but I am starting to become aware of the negative effect, is ONLY

"This will be easy, it's ONLY 3 miles"
{when running a relay} "I can't complain, I'm only running x amount of miles"

First of all, any amount of mileage is better than none. Enough said! When people first start running, its common to hear them say, "I'm only up to two miles." Well guess what!? That is two more than you were proud! In response to how many miles I am going to run, I always say things like, "Only {just} 6." There are so many people who would love to be able to run 6 miles;  I need to be proud, thankful and encouraged by the fact that I can get up every morning and run 6-8 plus miles. Second, I need to respect the distance and purpose of every run, whether it is a 3 mile recovery run {which is well earned and deserved after a peak week in training}, a 6 mile tempo run {which despite the distance is brutal}, or a 20 mile run in the middle of marathon training {which despite being at a slower pace is mentally & physically challenging}. I'm sure anyone who has trained for a race can relate to the negative effect of only.  You do a 20 mile run on Saturday, and then have only 6 miles on Monday...but those end up being the hardest, longest 6 miles EVER! Each run, it's distance, and it's pace serves a purpose in my training; I need to not downplay that, and respect and enjoy every run for what it is meant to be. 

As I continue to pursue my running goals, I want to increase my mental focus, be more aware of my negative thought patterns, and increase my ability to cultivate a positive mental attitude. I am starting by removing two words from my running vocabulary. 


Carrie is taking the "I Will Not Call Myself Slow" pledge. 
What negative words do you need to remove from your running vocabulary? 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The part where I RUN Ragnar Wasatch Back

Van decorated, laughs shared, 6 friends {no longer strangers}, and one phenomenal driver...we were ready to conquer Ragnar Wasatch Back. 

There are two main ways to run an ULTRA relay: 3 longer legs {2 back-to-back} or 6 shorter legs.  After debating, and going back and forth, we finally, as a team, decided to run 6 longer legs. Due to the difficulty of some of the legs, the length of some of the back-to-back legs, and the altitude, we decided it would be best to run 6 shorter legs...which I think was a smart decision.  As I mentioned before, I was nervous, but just as excited, to run this bad boy as part of an ULTRA team. The morning of the race is was ALL excitement, that giddy, nonstop chatter and laughter kind of excitement. We put on our cowgirl hats, cut footloose,  and worked the cameras one last time before we were on our way. 

Oh, and I forgot, did a lil texting and instagramin!

 Leg 1: 7.7 VERY HARD miles, 9:08 avg

Despite having "winning" in the back of our minds, we all stressed the importance of "taking it easy" the first run...well my adrenaline got the best of me I took off like a mad woman.  After hearing "mile 1: 8 something" I backed off a little and just got into a groove! Oh my, I was seriously so happy to be out there, grinning from ear-to-ear. I had read the map wrong {upside down to be exact} and I was anticipating no van support for the first part of my leg.  But to my surprise, around mile 2, there they were, cheering and a hooting-and-a-hollerin. They told me I wouldn't have support the last part of my leg, made sure I was ok and headed to the exchange. I enjoyed the next 5 miles running through a quiet, country setting. It was seriously so peaceful.  Around 5 mile, my breathing started getting shallow, and instead of freaking out about the altitude  I just focused on my breathing, ensuring I was taking deep breaths, and I was good! I turned at mile 5.5 and started about a 3/4 mile climb; as I peaked the hill, I came across the "One Mile To Go" sign and kicked it in to the exchange, getting in one last road kill and chicking a guy! 

Leg 2: 2.6 EASY {but HOT!} miles, 9:01 avg 

While this leg was easy, it was HOT, and I don't do well in the heat! Not to mention, this was everyone else's {in Van 2} first run of the day, so they were like spring chickens ready to go! I started off looking pretty good...

and then...

Do you ever have those moments when you think you're being funny or cute, but really, not so much!?! For some reason, this happens to me every time at Ragnar {you'd think by now I would've learned}! As soon as I saw Meghan's camera hanging out the window, I knew I was going to regret doing my "slow motion sprinting" run.

Leg 3: 3.0 EASY miles, 8:38 avg

I was feeling GOOD going into my third leg! There were two transitions at Snow Basin, and Bry was running a no support leg, so we had plenty of time to eat { me a cup-o-noodle..insert sarcasm}, freshen up {there is something about brushing your teeth, with running water, that is so rejuvenating} and the temperature was starting to drop.  Oh, and did I mention it was now nighttime hours??  I had walked over near the exchange, and quickly turned back so that I could skip and jump my way to the was not the time to let my energy drop, I still had 4 more legs to run. Throughout the relay, we had been running with Vegas Legs, a team from Las Vegas {duh, kind of obvious} and at this point they were ahead of us, but I was determined to change that, and change I did! Roadkill Vegas Legs. Ok, this leg was also the first time that "Feisty Holly" came out. As I was coming into the exchange, this girl was trotting along and I was going to run around her, but she kept cutting me off and finally looked over at me, said, "I'm not going to let you pass me" and took off in a full out sprint to the finish, and for some reason this pushed my buttons! I looked and her and said,  in a rather sassy manner, "Have at it, I'm running 28 miles!" Ok, probably not the nicest thing...please forgive me, and enjoy your "win" young girl. 

 Ok, as you can see, I get a little excited for the nighttime runs!

A relay wouldn't be complete without glow sticks, especially glow stick glasses! Don't be jealous!

Leg 4: 6 MODERATE miles, 8:44 avg

This was by far my favorite run of the relay; 6 headlamp and moonlight lit miles! Seriously the most serene, peaceful, and seeming effortless miles. At this point in the relay, we had caught up with several of the teams who started earlier in the day, so the roads were filled with runners. I loved seeing so many, what appeared to be more beginner runners, out on the course. You don't have to run a certain pace OR have "x" amount of races under your belt to do a relay.  It's more about getting out there, having fun, and supporting one another to the finish. 

Leg 5: 3.3 EASY miles, 9:16 avg

This is where things kind of got rough! While this was not a #sh**happens leg for me, like it was for a couple of my teammates, it was an I'm-tired-and-if-I-eat-Sh**-might-happen kind of run! I didn't eat anything before and just got through the miles! When I finished, and was asked how I felt, all I said was, "TIRED." I knew I wasn't done though...RALLY TIME!!! Not only did I have one more leg to run myself, I had 5 teammates who all had one or two legs to get through, and we all needed one another to push through to the finish.  

Leg 6: 5.5 MODERAT Miles, I don't know and I don't care avg 

Ok, this is where I mentally kind of fell apart...sorry team! I was done. Annoyed. Feisty. And I didn't start my final leg with the best attitude. PROOF that attitude is everything! While the run was not horrible, it wasn't my best either! I had warned Meghan I would come into the exchange crying {I'm an emotional runner, overcome with a feeling of accomplishment at every finish line} ...but I'm sure she wasn't expecting a full on ugly cry! Yes, they were tears of exhaustion, but they were mainly tears of accomplishment,  joy,  and overcoming fears & doubts. I'd be lying if I said I didn't doubt myself a little  going into the relay and I was thankful to my team for helping make my dream become a reality, in a way I never imagined possible. 

Team #highNUUN will always hold a special place in my heart; each person positively impacted my life! 

This opportunity wouldn't of been possible if it weren't for the wonderful people at NUUN for putting this team together and inviting me to be part of it AND for keeping us hydrated over the miles. NUUN has greatly impacted my running career, and I am forever grateful  Also, a huge thanks to Lunatik for keeping our legs fresh and flashy during our ULTRA adventure!  

NUUN and Ragnar, it has truly been EPIC! Until next time...

Photo courtesy of Meghan