#RapOnTheRun: Thank Y’all + New Health & Fitness Direction #RunChat

I wanted to take a post to thank y’all for sending in feedback about the newly added category of #RapOnTheRun. The positive emails, tweets and facebook feedback have been so much more than I expected. I also wanted to take a moment to explain the new direction and what prompted me to incorporate health & fitness into the Nanci O Is Hip Hop brand.

At first I was hesitant to blog about my adventures in running [READ: #RapOnTheRun: How Hip Hop Helped Me Train For A Marathon]. Honestly, I didn’t think folks would be all that interested.

I’ve been running just two years (two years, two months and some change to be exact). It’s clear I am not a professional athlete and my training regimen is far from perfect. A lot has been learned in the past two years and as time goes on, I recognize there’s a lot more to learn and apply in order to become a better runner.

Furthermore, I’m not built like the “typical” runner and I still love cake (hey I’m just being honest here).

When I started this blog in June 2008, this purpose of this site was to document hip hop culture in North Carolina, South Carolina, and occasionally beyond. Back then, there were very few websites that focused exclusively on Carolina hip hop culture. Even now in 2014, there’s still not that many.

Between 2008 and 2014, I’ve seen many blogs that highlighted Carolina hip hop culture begin and end. Maintaining a blog and the behind the scenes aspects of it can be a job itself. It can be time consuming, costly and is not all fun or just going to cool events. For these reasons plus others, I totally respect the decisions some folks have made to shut down their sites or cut back on keeping them updated.

Furthermore, I wasn’t sure about putting myself out there like that. When you have a brand, you’re constantly questioning just how much to share with folks (at least I do). You want to control the image but also keep it out there. There’s also the piece about keeping everything consistent while not being overly personal.

I ran my first half marathon in November 2012. A second race was finished in April 2013, with a third in October 2013. By this time, I was totally hooked on living an active, healthy lifestyle and wanted to keep going. I’d already noticed the positive changes in my life, both mental and physical. It was during this same time that I switched to a mostly vegetarian diet and began exploring a vegan one. Overall, I just felt so much better. My personal relationships improved as well. As I became healthier, I began to appreciate all aspects (perfect and not-so perfect) of my life.

When marathon training started getting serious in November 2013, it significantly cut into the time I could dedicate to the Nanci O Is Hip Hop brand. Quite a few folks on the Carolina hip hop scene reached out via phone, email and/or would ask me what was happening when I would see y’all out at events.

Due to the mental and physical demands of half marathon and marathon training, I didn’t have as much time to dedicate to blogging like I used to. I definitely didn’t have as much time to attend events either. I enjoyed running (and had pretty much fallen in love with it), but also felt frustrated about not being able to cover the scene like I used to. It was at this same time that I was working 80-100 hours/week (sometimes I look back at those times and wonder how I did that!) Somehow though, I made what time I did have, work. I realized how important it is to live an active, fit and healthy lifestyle. I also realized it was important to nurture and maintain personal relationships. For me, living an active and healthy lifestyle includes balance and making time for all of the people in your life and activities you enjoy outside of a brand.

During a conversation with a business associate at the end of last year, I mentioned my frustrations of still wanting to document Carolina hip hop culture, be involved in the scene and also blog about my adventures in running. She suggested I expand the brand out to do just that. Why not continue to blog about the culture and also add on a category related to health and fitness? I’d thought about it previously and then dismissed it. Perhaps it was time to revisit the idea, so I thought on it for some time.

How would what I do, as a hip hop blogger also covering health and fitness be so different from the other hundreds of hip hop blogs AND health + fitness blogs out there?

As I thought about this, it was also during this time (and prior) that I noticed more hip hop artists embracing and promoting active, healthy lifestyles. I mentioned this in a prior post [READ: #RapOnTheRun: How Hip Hop Helped Me Train For A Marathon]. Paul Wall, Styles P, 50 Cent, stic.man, Lil Cease, Black Thought, Julia Beverly and many other notables in hip hop culture have expanded their brands to include health and fitness. The beauty of it all though, is not one person was doing the exact same thing. Everyone mentioned incorporates health and fitness to their brands in different ways. The end message however, is the same: active, healthy lifestyles have multiple positive benefits and are important for your mental and physical, longevity, quality of life, and much more.

So I say all that to say that as time goes on, expect to see more posts in the #RapOnTheRun category. It will include my adventures in running, interviews, product reviews, music reviews as it relates to fitness and more. I will also include my struggles (because hey, I STILL LOVE CAKE), thoughts and things I’m learning along the way. The blog will also continue to be a place on the internets where Carolina hip hop culture is documented. I am a proud Carolina native and believe that it is important that our rich music heritage is highlighted.

I really appreciate those of y’all who have been readers and supporters of the Nanci O Is Hip Hop brand over the years. Welcome to the new readers as well.

Y’all can stay tuned to my Twitter (@nancioishiphop), ‘Gram (@nancioishiphop), Facebook (Nanci O Is Hip Hop) and the blog for all updates.


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