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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Operation Beautiful with Girls on the Run

 A few weeks ago my friend Pauline invited me to attend the Girls on the Run annual fundraising luncheon.  She is a volunteer leader for GOTR and filled her table with friends and co-workers that had answered her call for volunteers back in November when GOTR hosted their annual race events.

I was really excited to attend the luncheon because the guest speaker was a blogger that I have been following for 2-3 years.  Caitlin Boyle founded Operation Beautiful after experiencing a negative self talk experience.  Caitlin, like many of us, had a horrible boss who was constantly yelling at her and basically draining her or as she puts it "it was a soul-sucking job."  Her husband made the simple suggestion to get another job and that led Caitlin to return to school for a career change.  One day after receiving a particularly bad test score, she ran into the bathroom and had a momentary pity party.  We've all had them...but for some reason this day she pulled out a Post-It Note and wrote "You Are Beautiful" which she placed on the mirror and left it there.  She captured this story on her blog and it started a movement which became Operation Beautiful.
STOP negative thoughts now. You are Beautiful. 

To this day, she has received notes from all continents by all ages and in all languages.  She posts all the notes on the website.  Anyone can participate...just leave a positive message in a public place for others to find.  It is a simple concept that can have huge impact.  She spoke of people that have contacted her after seeing a note and the change that it made in their lives.  As a society, we tend to value action but action is the result of our thoughts.  Words impact our thoughts and you never know what a impact a kind word or positive message will have on the person who sees your note.
It was so fun to meet a Twitter friend in real life! Me and Caitlin

I love the message of the power of positive thinking.  I have been finding success in my races lately by focusing on others whether through a smile or a happy cheer during a race.  It keeps me out of my head and the negative self talk that I have been known to have during a race.  One thing that Caitlin touched on that really spoke to me was that you help yourself as much as you help others by being positive through the notes you leave.  Your thoughts become your actions and we all need to have positive thoughts and words for ourselves and others.

Girls on the Run in Northwest Arkansas started with just a few girls at one school and has grown to 1300 participants this past year.  The program in NWA is unique in that it is free to participate compared to around $150 in some parts of the country.  The purpose of GOTR is more than training girls to run a 5K...it is about providing tools and strategies for a lifetime of healthy living and self respect.  One strategy example is to Stop, Breathe, Listen, Respond.  What awesome advice! I sometimes catch myself reacting before fully understanding the situation so even I found I could learn something by using their tools.  You have to breathe and take a second before responding!
My goodie box...You Rock! 

The luncheon was one of the key fundraisers for GOTR...raising funds in order to continue to offer the program free of charge.  They offered fun goodie boxes for purchase and each one came with it's own Operation Beautiful note.  I have my note up near my desk at work for that positive pick me up that I sometimes need when tackling a tough project! The boxes contained fun samples from the event sponsors and some even contained prizes! I won a Starbucks gift card in mine! We also received tons of Post-It notes to spread our own positive messages around town.  I can't wait to post some of my own.

Here's my challenge to all of you...spread your own positive thought or message to be eligible to win a copy of Caitlin's book Operation Beautiful.  Simply tweet or Instagram a photo of your Post-It and tag me in it.  I'll select a random winner in the next week to win a copy of the book...and you are in luck because Caitlin autographed it for you! Tweet me @runningwhit or on Instagram at http://instagram.com/runningwhit I look forward to seeing how we can spread some positive words with each other over the next week.

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