Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Walking The Fine Line of Social Media

     As I reflect on the last three years, as a runner, I am blown away by the blessings and where running has taken me.  In addition to wholeheartedly pursuing my dreams and goals,  becoming more involved in social networking has played a huge role in where my running has taken me! The support, encouragement, advice, opportunities and friendships have surpassed anything I  ever could've imagined! But with that being said, recently I have felt that being involved in social networking is like walking a fine line, and if you cross that line it is a downward spiraling, slippery slope to a toxic pit of comparison, a place of entitlement, and an an arena where being rude, disrespectful and insensitive to other people is acceptable, because after all it's my blog, my feelings.


     In today's society, social networking has a significant influence on how we develop our sense of self, our view of the world, and our deepest values and concerns. What do social networking ideologies convey regarding running and blogging?  Are we defined by the pace on our Garmin, the number of twitter followers we have, or by the number of daily views on our blogs? It is so easy to get trapped in the pit of comparison, constantly trying to live up to what we think others deem important. In terms of my own personal blogging, I have had huge insecurities around posting my times. Thinking I wasn't fast, I felt maybe if I didn't post my times, people would find more significance in my posts, and therefore in me as a runner! How crazy is that!? But its TRUE...because I spent so much time COMPARING myself to others...or to the time on their Garmin. If I am really honest with myself, it was more a result of feeling inferior or not good enough.  Insecurities are natural, and we all deal with them at some level.  It's when insecurities come as a result of comparison, and we are no longer able to accept, love, and embrace who we are {the perfectly created individuals that we are} that we really need to step back and re-evaluate the influence social media is having on us.

     Everyone has their own story and journey, and we are defined as runners, not by the time on clock when we cross the finish line, but by the dedication, heart, obstacles overcome, commitment, etc needed to get there. 

So often we are inspired by others' stories, but remember that we also have the potential to inspire others with our own stories. 


     Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogging, we have access to the deepest gossip well to draw from. I know I personally am not above the temptation to gossip, especially with some of the pictures and information people unabashedly post.  Jen Hatmaker said it best, " all that knowing is a lot to keep a lid on."   And unfortunately, social media has taken "talking about people" to a whole new level.  Just because we read or see something does not mean that we need to talk about it and share it with others. I challenge each and everyone of us to think before we speak about another person, a picture we saw or something we read, in an effort to make social media a safer, less poisonous,  place.


     Finally, just because its my blog, my Twitter account, my Facebook,  does not mean that we are entitled to receive certain things or exempt from being kind, loving, respectful individuals.  "Everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful." With social media, it has never been easier for relationships to be destroyed, trust violated, feelings wrecked, and reputations ruined; it's amazing how quickly we can injure ourselves and one another.  While I am not saying we should avoid being real, honest, and vulnerable, we need to be careful not to do that at the expense of hurting someone else. Next time you want to want to post something that is "heated" or possibly controversial, just wait. Save it as a draft and walk away from your computer. Discuss it with a close friend first. Once you spew your your thoughts and opinions out into the world wide web, there's no getting them back.

     As I said, I love social networking, and have been blessed with so many amazing friendships and opportunities through it! But occasionally it is good to take a step back and remember that if social media can capture our thoughts, it can also capture our hearts and minds, and rob us of confidence in ourselves. For many of us, social media provides the content from which we develop our sense of self, our view of the world, and our deepest values and concerns.  While I am not encouraging any social media hiatus/boycott, I am challenging each and everyone of us {myself included} to thoughtfully engage without checking our brains and self confidence at the door, embracing the positive elements and resisting the toxic stuff.

And know this...YOU ARE AWESOME!!! Please take the time to watch this video:

     In addition to being cautious, positive seeking consumers of social media, I challenge each and everyone of us, when given the opportunity to meet bloggers/people from the social networking world in real life, to take the time to get to know them for who they really are! Don't focus on insignificant things {number of followers, marathon time} at the risk of missing out on significant things {a phenomenal heart, an incredible person}. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


To say that my spring/summer race schedule was a little hectic, would be an understatement...3 half marathons, a half Ironman, 2 ULTRA Relays, and Hood-To-Coast. That, on-top of my already crazy busy schedule, has resulted in me feeling like the Energizer Bunny, whose batteries are running out! BUT, with all of that being said, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to run a phenomenal local half marathon and support good friends. My preparation going into the race was far from ideal. I have not followed any sort of half marathon training plan since the Eugene Marathon, and have followed no training plan at all since my half Ironman;  the race was 2 weeks after Ragnar Colorado, and I had kiddos over race weekend, which is not ideal for resting! I didn't allow any of this to prevent me from wholeheartedly pursuing my goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon.  Perfect course, beautiful weather, my favorite running buddies by my side, and my first {individual} race as part of the Oiselle Team...it was the day!

Race day Inspiration:

We arrived at the start of the race, and Houston, we had a problem...I hadn't, and couldn't, go to the bathroom. Sorry for the TMI, but I always go to the bathroom before a race and cleanse out the system...but not this time.  I warned Mandy and Sarah that I was probably going to have to stop at some point....about 1.5 miles into the race, guess what!? I had to go!  I knew there were restrooms at mile 2, so I ran ahead to use the restrooms. Bathroom stop...success, and on we went.  But no sooner than we reached mile 4, I had to go again. At this point I was not feeling all that great. Thankfully we came across more restrooms right around mile 5...I'll spare you details but I wasn't feeling good, and now I was starting to worry that I was sick {there was a bug that had been going around}.  This bathroom stop took a little longer than the first one, and I feel so blessed that Mandy and Sarah slowed down so I could catch up.  In terms of running, I felt so strong, and I was still ahead of pace for sub-2 hours.  Three more miles go by, and you guessed it, I had to go to the bathroom...AGAIN! And you know how after you go to the bathroom when you're having issues, sometimes you feel like you immediately need to go again!? Mile 8 was HORRIBLE...as I seriously thought I was going to have to pull off and go to the bathroom in the bushes! I was not feeling well at all. 

This was the {mental} turning point of the race...do I just say today is not the day to go sub-2 and take it easy to the finish OR do I dig deep and push to the finish...I went with the latter.  The mental aspect of racing has been a huge obstacle for me recently, and I feel like I overcame such a big hurdle out on the course that day.  At mile 9, I mentally broke down the remainder of the race into 2x2miles,  in which I would increase my pace, bringing it in strong to the finish.  At this point Sarah, Mandy and I had separated, and it was just me, myself and I to the finish.  I turned the corner to the last mile of the race and KNEW I was going to do it, but had no room to spare in terms of my time.  I felt strong, in terms of running, and made the final turn to the finish with the biggest, but perhaps ugliest smile...as I had just ran a sub-2 hour marathon, but it was pretty sh&*y! {pun intended}. 


I am beyond thankful to have two of the most amazing, encouraging and supportive training partners, who I also get to call FRIENDS!!! I have NO pictures from the race {can you believe it!?}, but these were taken just a week or two later, ha! 

More than accomplishing a goal, this race was about digging deep, running a mentally strong race, and believing in myself! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DWTRVS: Dancing For A Cause

DRUM ROLL PLEASE....I am excited to announce that I will be participating in the 5th Annual Dancing With The Rogue Valley Stars , to benefit Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs.  What is Sparrow Clubs!? Its an organization of:

Compassion: We believe that all children will benefit from having meaningful opportunities to engage in giving of themselves to others in need.
Conscience: We believe that children learn best from education and life experiences that establish a foundation for successful decision-making.
Character: We believe that children can distinguish themselves with special traits and qualities at an early stage in their lives when they are presented with opportunities to engage in activities that promote selflessness, service, and caring for others.
Community: We believe that the quality of life within and around each community can be enriched when members, including children, have the opportunity to give of themselves for the betterment of the whole community.

You can find our more about Sparrow Clubs here


My PRO partner, Jason Younker, and I will be doing the East Coast Swing; and we have a phenomenal routine, thanks to the help of our choreographers, Mike and Molly. We spend hours laughing, oh yah, and dancing, and it has been such an amazing experience so far. 

All stars need a head shot:

An outfit/costume designer: 

{the more bling and flash the better...}

A vignette:

I get asked a lot what made me decide to do this? Am I nervous?
 I love to live life to the  fullest and enjoy opportunities that allow me to experience things I wouldn't otherwise experience. While I love to "social" dance {at weddings, events, Saturday night at Ronky Tonk} I have no formal dance instruction, so this has definitely been a fun, and at times challenging, learning experience for me.  What has been even more compelling than my love of dancing, is my desire to wholeheartedly support an organization that I truly believe in.  I have had the opportunity to work firsthand with local sparrows, their families, and the students who rally to support them, and it is beyond inspiring.  The sparrows are fighting what will be the toughest battle of their lives, and they do it with such strength, determination and faith.  While I am not nervous for the actual performance itself, there are things that make me nervous...being on camera! Being dropped, twisted, and spun! Whenever my fears and insecurities start to show up at practice or in front of the camera, I remember the true stars, the Sparrows.  My struggles are trivial compared to what they are going through...and I am determined to dance my heart out for each and everyone of them.  

With over a month to go until the actual event, this has already been such an amazing experience for me! I am overwhelmed by the love and support of family and friends...feeling blessed beyond measure. And to say it has been fun would be an understatement. My journey to Dancing With The Rogue Valley Stars has been inspiring, uplifting, and all around amazing. 

Head shot, vignette, outfit, hours of dancing...
There is one more component to being a star..FUNDRAISING! 

Please consider supporting a phenomenal event AND cause by contributing to #TeamJasonandHolly. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS! 100% of the funds raised by the stars goes directly to the Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs. 

Here is a sneak peak of what we have been working on...we have our work cut out for us, don't we Jason!? ;) 

Thank you in advance for blessing children and families in need, your support is greatly appreciated!

Friday, October 4, 2013

COLORADO: A different kind of ULTRA

Ragnar Colorado was an AMAZING experience, and one I won't forget! But for some reason it was different  {not better, not worse, just different} than Wasatch Back.  Yes, Colorado was hard, but so was Wasatch Back.  So what exactly was it that made the experience difference!? I did my best to put into words what made the it different for me.  {WOW, I just used the word different} a lot!


10,000 ft vs 6,000 ft is a BIG difference.  I don't recall the altitude effecting me all that much in Utah, but I felt it instantly in Colorado.  While I was anticipating it mainly effecting my breathing, I was shocked at how much it effected my entire body! My legs were like lead weights and I felt as if I had nothing in the tank. Ironically enough, I felt much worse than was reflected in my paces {thank goodness}. Not the mention, at 10,000 feet the sun rays are intense!! And as you know, its always sunny in Colorado.  With little shade along the runs, the altitude and sun really took a lot out of each of us.


I would say 90% of the legs were on bike paths...beautiful bike paths that stretched from Breckenridge to Aspen.  While it was so nice to run on the paths and not have to deal with cars etc., it meant minimal support from your team during the run itself. Without being able to get out & cheer, make power tunnels, and yell #getitgirl, the energy of the relay was definitely different than that of Wasatch Back.


Due to the nature of the course and several of the runs being on bike paths, resulting in minimal team support, it really forced me {and I think it is safe to say the rest of #highNUUN} to dig deep and push myself through the tough times.  One of my favorite aspects about running relays is the support and encouragement of my team, and other teams out of the course.  Crazy enough, despite not having them literally supporting and encouraging me during each run, I felt their support more than ever.  During each run, I KNEW that they were at the exchange, anxiously waiting for me to come in, cheering for me {from afar} the entire way.   With that being said, I was required to really personally dig deep, and I came home from Colorado a stronger runner,  both physically and mentally.


This race effected everyone in a different way, some more some than others. But no matter what each and every one of us was personally dealing with, we were still part of a team, and focused on the best interest of the team! Colorado threw more things at us, from stomach issues, to personal health issues, to exhaustion, to battling with mental obstacles resulting from the difficulty of the race; but no matter what the obstacle was, we rallied as a team to support and encourage one another, and we could not of done it without the determination, dedication, and heart of everyone on #highNUUN.


This is by no means different from any other relay, but the way it unfolds at each relay is unique and special.  After spending 30 hours in a van together, accomplishing something so amazing together as a team, pretty amazing friendships are formed.  Being that this was our second relay as a team, the friendships grew stronger.  Following the relay, during our celebratory dinner, Vieve and I were having a heart-to-heart conversation, which resulted in me getting emotional {I am sure the exhaustion of the relay followed by 2 beers definitely played a part}.  I was allowing myself to be vulnerable, which can be tough, but it was so nice to be able to be real with them.  I don't recall how the conversation started, but somehow it lead to me talking about how blessed I am and almost everything in my life is so wonderful, with the exception of a few things, including being single {talk about being vulnerable}, in Medford, OR {not a lot opportunities, with a small dating pool} This topic/conversation is always tough for me, and oddly enough, even more so when people respond with how wonderful of a person I am. I cried a few tears and it was time to head to the van and make our way back to Denver...
I am thankful to say I left Colorado with 5 stronger, even more amazing friendships.

Not sure what was so funny!?


Every relay provides the opportunity to make connections with strangers; and its neat to see everyone's "relay story" unfold.  As we were walking to parking garage we stopped for a few photos {of course!} and this wonderful couple stopped to ask us about the event, our team, etc. They own a condo in Vail, and were visiting from Texas. I honestly don't know how the conversation progressed to this, but somehow it came up that I was single and that they have two single, Christian sons {ironic following the conversation we had a dinner}. At this point I think the rest of my team was getting annoyed, so we exchanged numbers {in case I ever came back to Vail and wanted to rent their condo} and were on our way. No, he did not set me up with one of his sons, nor did I expect him to! BUT, what he did was far more meaningful.  After he text me information on his rental, and I thanked him and said it was nice to meet him and his wife, he sent me the nicest, most Christ centered text saying to keep the faith, and that he would be praying for me to find a Godly man to marry! I was blown away by the kindness of a complete stranger. What an amazing testimony of what it means to be a Christian and to love others with Christlike, AGAPE  love. I really hope people see a reflection of Christ's love in their interactions with me.

Ragnar Colorado....stronger runner, deeper friendships, defining what it means to be a team, and memories that will last a lifetime.

I'm ready for another relay! I think its time #highNUUN takes their show on the {international} road, eh!?