2018 First Quarter Link Love

Sticky Notes EverywhereSo I decided that I was going to start doing a monthly link love update, highlighting some posts that I’ve bookmarked in my Feedly account.  And then promptly didn’t write any of the posts.  We’re now in the fourth month of the year.  Good job, self.

So here’s a dump of some things I’ve enjoyed.  I culled this list way down, so some other posts will be highlighted over the next few months.

The Journey Begins – Ruth is one of the loveliest people you will ever have the chance to meet, and her story is awesome.  Talk about “never give up” spirit.  She inspires just by being her amazing self.

I bookmarked Kecia’s March update because I love how she puts them together and want to copy emulate her style.  She looks at her training, things she’s enjoyed, and other highlights, and I think it’s a great way to share the month but also create a log for yourself to look back on.  Maybe I will try this for April.  She also shared a post of great yoga links that I keep coming back to.

Amanda’s nightmare wedding makes for a great story.

I love going to antique stores and thrift sales, so EPBOT’s adventures don’t disappoint.  Be warned, there are lots of scary clowns in this post.

My amazing teammate Lectie was hit by a car earlier this year while out riding, and her recovery is doing amazing, but Michelle writes about the anger and frustration we all felt when we found out she was hit by a driver who was drag racing and how the drag racing community blamed Lectie for the accident.

There is a lot in the news lately about mental health, and Christine writes about it in such a lovely way.

Katie posted (last year, whoops) about her cyclocross race and I am still so impressed!  I love riding, but this is just so far beyond anything I have ever tried.  We should all push our comfort zones more often.

Gina put together a triathlon playlist – I need to put together my “pump up” playlist for this season. As always, it will contain the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This is a gorgeous post about a visit to Pearl Harbor.

And a recipe – Lighter Chicken Parmesan



Friday Link Love

Just in time for a long weekend (for some of us, anyway, a list of links that piqued my interest over the past few weeks.

These are basically things that I bookmarked in my feed reader with the intent to share.  No specific timeframe.  Just things I liked.

Back to My Roots – Blogging has become such an industry that I see so many formerly great bloggers selling out in order to get more readers (but not necessarily more engaged readers), or to make more money have more opportunities.  That’s one way to go about it, but if it’s not your full-time job, why destroy a fun hobby?

A Lesson in Sharing – Along the same lines, what happens when your blog becomes an overshare?

Breakdown of the Brazilian Wax – Plus Size Style – Emmie’s writing is fabulous.  She has written one of my favorite race reports of all time, and this post does not disappoint.

Still Enough – But she does serious pretty darn well too.

You’re Not Broken, and You’re Not Weak – Staying on the serious train for a minute, I loved this post from Wil Wheaton.  Right now, there is a photo floating around that shows a picture of nature and says “This is an anti-depressant” and then over a photo of a pill it says “This is shit.”  Yeah, that’s great, except that walking through trees isn’t going to help anyone who doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed thanks to their depression.  Mental illness does not equal weakness.

Lessons Learned in 100 Miles – Great bike reminders for the advanced beginner.  You know how to ride your bike, but what else do you need to know?

Go learn a new skill with Scoot Stitches!

Nobody Likes a Pushover.  Oh Wait, Yes.  That’s Exactly Who They Like – When you’re a people pleaser, it’s hard to break yourself of that trend.  But you should.  Meredith also talks about this here.

Why the Low Fat and Low Cholesterol Phase Was a Huge Fail – As delicious as those low-fat cookies were, my diet is so much better now that fat has returned to its rightful place.

How I Came to Love Special Olympics – If you aren’t regularly reading Andi’s blog, you should

All the Other Megan Kirbys and Me – Change the last name and I could have written this.  There is a “me” who teaches at a local school, and the other day, I got a teacher catalog for her in the mail.  At my house.  How does this happen?

And to end on a high note, the ladies of Ghostbusters are a riot.

Finally some recipes, if you feel like cooking this long weekend:

2015 In Review

683848 / Pixabay

A lot of bloggers like to do a year in review, so I figured I would follow the trend.  2015 flew by, that’s for sure.

January – I ran a birthday half marathon.  I cancelled my cable subscription in January.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.  I don’t miss it except for on the days where I have to watch football on my computer.  I also chopped my hair off.  And haven’t had a haircut since.

February – This was a slow month, blog wise, but I ran one of my fastest half marathons, then went on a cruise where I ran a 5K.

March – In March, I talked about photoshopped selfies and cats.  I’m pretty sure that these two subjects comprise the entire internet.  Or like 98% of it.

April – I wrote a huge post about pace and inferiority and how it can be hard to get past the comparison trap. It’s still one of my favorite posts of the year.  And I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler with Betsy and it was awesome.

May – The return to triathlon!  My first race of the season, the Kinetic Sprint was in May.  And I noticed a trend of people perhaps biting off more than they can chew when it comes to races.

June – Swim Bike Deathmarch!  Okay, not really, but I raced my first Oly of the season at Challenge WIlliamsburg.  I did a blood test with Inside Tracker.  (It’s past time to test again.  I should get on that.)  I wrote about HAES and Fatlogic.  I reviewed my Coeur Sports kit.  Still love them.

July – A lost kid appeared at my door.  His family texted me over Christmas to wish me a happy holidays and tell me that they’re praying for me.  That’s so sweet.  I raced a tri in the pouring rain.  It was way more fun than I expected.

August – The month started with the Fort Ritchie tri, and to be honest, it was awful.  Once again, Iron Girl Columbia!  It didn’t go as well as I would have hoped.  And then I bought a tri bike.  I also started decluttering my house.  I’m still pleased with the state of my closet, but I got overwhelmed by my paperwork and books and sort of gave up.  I’m going to get back to it in 2016.

September – I changed up my diet and started avoiding added sugars.  It’s going pretty well so far.  I ran the Beat the Deadline 5K and highly recommend it.  And I completed one last tri for the season.

October – Raced my 7th Army Ten Miler.  I love this race.  And I talked about losing weight.

November – I talked about lowered fitness standards for kids and ran the Space Coast half marathon.  Love that shuttle bling!

And that brings us to December, which has been insanely busy.

So there you have it.  A year in under 500 words. Have fun tonight!  But not too much fun.

Link Roundup

While I’m away racing, here are some links to peruse.  Just a few articles and blog posts that I found interesting over the last… indefinite amount of time.  Thank goodness for bookmark functions.

Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life – Wil Wheaton is a phenomenal writer and this post is not to be missed.

20 Health Mistakes to Stop Making Before You Turn 40 – Ugh.  40.  I plan to be one of those women who at 40 looks like she’s in her early 30’s.  I can commit to that, right?

Halloween Weekend – I share Karen’s post primarily for the photo of her dog in costume.  I dare you to not laugh at that photo.

Training Gone Wrong: What to Do For Race Day – While I’m thankful that my training has gone well, that’s not always the case.  What do you do when race day shows up and your training has gone off the rails for one reason or another?

Sacred Spaces (Goodbye Grandma) – This one will make you cry, but you should read it anyway.

Why Do We Love to Take Things to the Extreme? – An interesting look at the need for extremes.  Why do we have to run all the races or run the longest races or do the most pushups or eat the cleanest diet?

What the Hell Happened to Triathlon? – With the popularity of BIG races, smaller races are getting lost.  And I think both have their place in your training schedule.

Finally, over the last three years, my friend Chrissy has been cooking her way around the world via some amazing recipes, and she just finished her journey.  (But she’s not stopping!)  Her blog is phenomenal, and I recommend spending quite a bit of time perusing, but definitely check out her list of favorite foods she’s cooked on this journey.  Yum.

Blogging Tips that Work for Me

Unsplash / Pixabay

I’ve been blogging for way too many years to count, and blogging regularly on this site since the summer of 2012.  I’ve learned a lot along the way, and it’s high time I share the blogging tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

First off, write about what you want to write about.

You’ll see some blog advice saying that you should research what blogs are popular and then write about that.  No!  That will never work!  Sure, home improvement blogs may be popular, but I have zero skills in that department.  How could I ever write about that?  No, write what you want to write about.  Write what you would like to read.  Write about what you’re passionate about.

Does your blog have to have a singular focus?

Well, no, but I think once you get started, you’ll end up settling in on a particular subject.  My blog is mostly running and triathlon related, though I write about other things and events as they pop up.  Why?  Because I want to.  That’s the joy of having your own blog.  You can do whatever you want to do.

How often should you post?

Conventional wisdom says that the best blogs keep some sort of a schedule, be it once a week or once a day or five times a day.  I aim for one post a day on the weekdays, but that doesn’t always happen.  If life gets away from me, I miss a post here and there.  If I’m out of town, sometimes I get some posts scheduled, sometimes they don’t.  This blog isn’t my job and I refuse to let it get in the way of my life.

Should I post about EVERYTHING?

Well, if by that you’re asking if you should talk about everything in your life, then my answer is no.  There is such thing as an overshare.  And this is coming from a runner and triathlete who has had conversations with near strangers about poop.  I think there’s something to be said about balance.  And be cautious about talking about work.  Not every employer wants you to talk about your job online.  And if you do, make sure you only say positive things.  I mean, we all have stressful days at work, and that’s fine.  But talking about how your boss is an idiot (note – mine is not, and I say this not just because she knows about my blog) is a terrible idea.

What if no one reads my blog?

They will eventually.  But you have to tell people it’s out there.  Share your blog on Twitter (but don’t tweet your links constantly – that drives people nuts).  Go to other blogs and leave comments.  I know that I like to visit the blogs of commenters to this site, and most of those blogs end up in my feed reader as well.  Check out linkups, which is where a bunch of bloggers write on the same topic and then post the links to a single place so everyone can read them.

But don’t have a blog just because you want readers.  You have to want to write as well.  For me, a big reason for having a blog was to track my training.  I’m terrible about keeping a training journal.  Ask my Coach.  I’m still not great about the detail in my Wednesday Workout Recaps (which I haven’t posted this week, whoops).  But at least with the blog, I’m putting some serious thought into my race recaps and talking about where training goes really right or really wrong.  And it’s a great way for me to look back.

What are some good blogging resources?

I do my blogging on a self-hosted Word Press site.  I like it because of the freedom it allows me.  The hosting isn’t free, but it’s under $10 a month, and I think it’s worth it.  You can also have a free blog on WordPress.com or Blogspot.  Whatever is easiest for you.

One huge advantage to Word Press is all of the great plugins you can use.  Some are free, some cost a bit of money, but they can make your blogging so much easier.

To help me with scheduling and social media posting, I use CoSchedule (affiliate link).  I like the ability to move my posts around to fit my whims and to schedule social media links.  I have a day job – I’m not on the blog monitoring things all day.

I use the Pixabay plugin to help me find images for the post, like that high quality image up there at the top. I know a lot of bloggers like to spend time personally crafting images for their posts.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Well… I guess they do.  I don’t have time for that.

I like the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, which, as you can tell by the name, is what creates the list of related links at the end of each post.

I don’t love my current commenting system, but I haven’t found one yet that I do love, so that’s that.  But there are a lot of options out there.

So that’s about 900 words on what I know about blogging.  What are your favorite blog tips?  Have a comment plugin to suggest?

Blog Tips