Reflecting on 7 Years of Blogging

Blogging has changed a lot since I started in August of 2010.  You can read my first post here.  Sure, I could correct several spelling errors in my first post ever, but it wouldn’t be as “authentic”.  So I leave it as my 2010 college self-wrote it.

If anything has remained the same in my blogging, it’s that I don’t have the best grammar or spelling.  I spell check, but there is always something.  If you have ever held a conversation with me in real life, you know I talk a mile and minute, and my blog is pretty much the same.

But Back to Blogging in General… 

I feel like a crabby, old fashioned blogger even saying that blogging has changed so much.  When I first started blogging, it was just that.  Blogging.

There was no Instagrams, twitters and people did not make facebooks for their page.  You just wrote stuff and hoped someone subscribed through email.  After you posted an entry, you moved on with life.

Now blogging is more competitive and social media is far more advance.  You don’t write something and move on.  You write something, link it to all of your social media, multiple times, promote, promote, promote and maybe promote some more.  By the time you finished pushing your master piece of writing, it’s time to promote the next one.  It’s no wonder blogging can get so damn tiresome.  The least time-consuming portion of blogging is writing the post. 

Hey you!!!  Have you subscribed to my internet? 

But here we are.  I often reflect on blogging.  Many bloggers who started much later than I did make a full-time income from blogging.  They do the ten (thousand) step process of blogging, great content, and whatever else it takes.

siteheader1.jpg
The first LOLZ header is 2010.

That is their choice but blogging full time has never been mine.

Is it great to make money from something you work hard at? Of course.  The majority of the money I now make through blogging pays for the 10,000 races I run each year with it…but that is really it. I don’t make a full-time income and I don’t spend hours on content creation and sponsored posts.

An early header

Part of the reason begins with I won’t promote products I don’t personally stand behind. I can truly say I’ve used and enjoyed every product I’ve promoted on this blog.  Throughout the last 7 years, I’ve probably turned down close to 5,000 dollars worth of sponsored posts (whether money or product) because it doesn’t reflect my life or interests.

If you blog full time, you make more money by taking more sponsored posts.  You can’t “love” everything so you cannot like and use every single product you promote.  It’s a fine balance of blogging about product, life, and whatever else.  Too many sponsored posts and you are a fraud.  Too few sponsored posts and you eat ramen for dinner.  That sort of balance doesn’t interest me.

Plus, to be honest I don’t sit still well.  I don’t like sitting at home, I’m usually boring, and I don’t like to people, socialize, and network every moment of my life.  I just like to run, eat at diners and talk about various topics that pop into my mind (like reflecting upon blogging).

So How Has Blogging Changed Since 2010?

First, as I just said I’m not a professional. Many bloggers, social media experts, and internet users know far more about “how blogging has changed”.  I can tell you what I’ve noticed in the last several years.

From about 2010-2014 blogging thrived.  Page views were high.  There were months in 2013 and 2014, I would get 50,000 page views on LOLZ blog.  I wasn’t even a popular, superstar blogger, so I can’t imagine what others got!  But people were visiting blogs!  Blogging was booming!  There wasn’t a lot of excess social media.  Just people and blogs.

I remember when I first started my twitter, I kicked my feet.  Everyone had a twitter, but I didn’t find it appealing or necessary.  I was finishing my junior year of college, barely staying afloat in Spanish class and dreaming of math equations and proofs.  Then I started a twitter, and it’s still probably my favorite platform.  You can follow people and things and not be creepy.  There isn’t anything you really can’t follow on twitter at this point.

In 2014-2015, Instagram was starting to evolve and pop up.  More people had instagrams, but the captions were short.  I would Instagram everything.  My coffee, flowers, dirt, a pineapple sitting on top of a cup.  Then I would filter the $hit out of it pretending I was a professional photographer.

Now you can find Instagram captions that are longer than some blog posts.  As Instagram continued to grow, blogging began to fall.  My blog that once got 50,000 monthly views now gets about 20,000.  

In the recent few years, several of my favorite bloggers shut down their blogs.  Also, blogs that used to post weekly went to 1-2 times per month. Few people blog but more people used Instagram!  My reader has dwindled for several posts daily to 1-2 per day that consistently update.

Now in 2017,  the Instagram trend is still growing.  With the addition of Instagram stories, which I occasionally use, it’s more fun and more live. As Instagram grows, I do find myself attempting to take more quality posts (all from my trusty phone).  Personally, I like to follow friends and look at pretty photos.  So I’m trying to mirror that.  Will I ever take out a loan and buy some fancy camera.  No…

Just after college graduation header

So where does that leave the mother hen old lady LOLZ blog?

Will I continue to social media in year of blogging?  Probably.

Will I continue to use all of my social media?  Once again, probably.

Will I get a Strava?  No, I can’t even remember to charge my Garmin.

I will continue blogging about life, running or whatever else happens.  I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next week or next month (LOLZ to think about next year).

I don’t commit to anything.  I don’t know what curves life will throw.  I can’t guarantee, I won’t completely stop blogging for whatever reason but I have zero intentions today…not sorry I love talking too much. 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite social media platform?

If you blog, how long have you been blogging for?

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27 Facts about Me

Today is my 27th birthday.  I’m one step closer to matching my grandma soul with my actual age.  After 21, most of the birthdays kind of blend together.  I’ve been blogging for nearly 6 years now, so I thought it would be fun to share 27 facts you may or may not know about me.  It was actually difficult to come up with because as a blogger all I do is talk about myself…

  1. I was born in San Diego. I remember nothing because I was a baby.
  2. Since my dad was in the Navy, we lived and traveled to a lot of cool places. I grew up in England as well as Japan. Ultimately, I went to high school in Virginia.
  3. I still have relatives that live on the Orkney Islands just north of Scotland.
  4. Growing up in England, I actually went to a British school for a while.  When we moved back to the US, I had a British accent for a long time.
  5. Before swimming, I dabbled in many sports including soccer, tennis, and basketball.  I was terrible at all of them.  I never scored any goals in soccer or baskets in basketball.  When I was 6, I threw my tennis racket at another kid making fun of me.
  6. My favorite color is yellow. This useless tidbit will help you no way.
  7. Before 2012, my blog was actually called LOLZthatSwim. Then I started running.  Then I quit swimming.  So first I added LOLZthatSwim(Run) then ultimately just went with FueledbyLOLZ (incase I decide to do something completely different).  Who knows maybe I’ll rebrand to BasketballingLOLZ…

    If you remember this header, you win the internet today.
  8. I don’t want a lot of TV shows but do follow: Americas Next Top Model, Americas Got Talent (Can you tell Tyra Banks is my favorite celebrity).
  9. I like to read more nonfiction than fiction. Most of my favorite books are biographies or autobiographies.
  10. I don’t like dogs. I’m sorry I don’t. I’ve been attacked by a couple.  I will tolerate them, and I’ll never harm one, but I’m not a dog person.  Left to my own, I won’t adopt a dog.
  11. One semester in college, I held the record for eating the most giant pancakes at a local diner. That was a semester I ran and swam. 
  12. I have three brothers. Most people don’t know but I also have an older brother living in Seattle.  (As well as a brother in the military and one living in VA).
  13. I was on homecoming court in high school.  The glory days?  Probably not, but I got to ride around on my dad’s car in homecoming parade with my good friend D, so it’s all a win.
  14. My parents have a pet donkey. You can read about how they acquired that here.

    Hello ladiez
  15. I studied math and education until senior year of college, and then ended up changing majors to public health. Many long term readers know this!
  16. My favorite foods are squid, eel, and steak. I definitely like my protein!
  17. My favorite nonrunning brands include: JCrew, BCBG, and Kate Spade.
  18. During my first half marathon in 2012, I listened to the song “Party Rock Anthem” on repeat for the entire race.  I don’t know why, but I didn’t hate it.

    At my very first half marathon, April 2011. One of five races I have worn leggings in.
  19. My first car was a 2000 Pontiac Firebird that I had for 8 years.  That was my baby.

    Posing on my 21st birthday (but not driving 😉
  20.  Some of my favorite music includes Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac, and Nikki Minaj.  You never really know what you are going to get when you ride in a car with me.
  21. My favorite cake flavors are red velvet (which is actually just rich chocolate), orange and chocolate or cherry and chocolate.  If you were planning to get me a birthday cake, then please just make sure there is a lot of frosting.

    Let’s pretend my hair was never this color
  22. Speaking of hair, I’ve dyed my hair almost every natural color.  Black, bleach blond, auburn/red and brown.  Ultimately, I believe my hair looks best darker brown but I let it fade out in the summer. Hair is hair and will probably grow back eventually…
  23. I don’t chew gum (at all).  In college, I chewed gum a lot.  I went through an entire pack each day.  I decided I didn’t like when people chewed gum talking to me, it sometimes it made me feel bloated, and I couldn’t see any advantages to it.  So I just quit cold turkey in 2011.
  24. I love going to the zoo and animaconservationon centers.  My favorite animal is a black leopard but I like any big cats.

    Tigers for Tomorrow Dekalb Alabama
    Tigers for Tomorrow in Dekalb, AL
  25. I don’t like Kombucha juice.  I know it’s trendy but I tried it once and it made queasy.  I’ll let you guys have it…
  26. In college, I receieved the most fashion forward/trendy award…my how the times have changed.

    College graduation
  27. My goal for age 27 is to continue to live life and stay as sponateous as possible.  During college and a few years after, I suffered from anxiety when I couldn’t control a situation.  After marrying someone in the military, you learn…you can’t control anything!  It’s allowed me to take a step back and relax.  My life has definitely not gone anything like I ever imagined but I could not be happier!

Hope you enjoyed!  Tell me a fun fact about you!

Staying Prepared on Long Days

Recently I’ve been out of my house a lot.  When I mean a lot, I mean most days I’m away between 10-14.  Which for me, is a lot!

Between work and volunteering, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my car. For the first week, I wasn’t as prepared and forgot anything from clothing to food.  I quickly realized that I need to start planning ahead.

Now I have an entire day kit in the trunk of my car, complete with running shoes.  If I can squeeze a 3 mile run in, it’s a good day!  (Like yesterday).As most people know, I like Quest Bars a lot.  I’ve talked about Quest several times on LOLZ blog, so when they asked to partner together last year I was more than excited!

Thinking out loud, I’ve used them since college.  At first, it was hard to locate them, and the only place you could buy them was online.  It was one of the first foods I actually bought online!  Now they are becoming more accessible and are in many grocery stores, but the newest place they can be found is 7-11.

While driving home one day, I stopped at 7-11 for coffee and a snack and found the cereal bars.  I was pleasantly surprised, and even though my coffee had plenty of sugar in it, Quest Bars do not.

quest cereal bars

A few reasons why I like Quest Cereal Bars:

  1. Each of the bars has 12 grams of protein, 110 calories, 2-3 grams of net carbs and 6-7 grams of fiber
  2. They have less sugar and carbs compared to other cereal bars
  3. They contain more protein than the average cereal bar
  4. Just tastes good (let’s be honest, some protein bars taste like cardboard)

Since I’m not running as much, it’s important to look more at the quality of things going into my body.  I can’t get away with eating a lot of extra junk every single day.  I’m not saying give up sweets, but I would rather focus on quality nutrition and save desserts/treats for another time.

So What Else Do I have in My Car for Personal Needs?

  • Two full sets of clothing. Do I need a more casual look, or more dressed up?
  • One full set of running clothing complete with shoes (I’ve used this 5 times in 3 weeks)
  • An entire Box of Quest Cereal Bars (Because you never know when you want more snacks)
  • A gallon of water: It’s easier, cheaper, and faster than stopping when thirsty.
  • Rain Jacket/Umbrella because I basically bring all inclement weather to me.
  • Emergency cash: I do keep $20 in my car incase something happens that a credit card is not usable.
  • Backup Cell Phone Charger: You never know, in high school, my car got stuck on the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel in Newport News, VA when the transmission went out. Guess who didn’t have a usable cell phone?
  • First Aid Kid
  • Duct Tape: I don’t know, it fixes things.

I can honestly say even though I’m busy and running less, I’m enjoying where my life is right now.  It did take some adjustments and getting used to but staying prepared was the main key.

Thanks to Quest Nutrition for sponsoring this post.  I have been using Quest protein bars for years, and I strongly recommend them.

Questions for you:
What do you keep in your car incase of emergencies?
How long are you out of your house each day?

When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match

As most people know, I took a 6-week break after the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  It’s been the topic of discussion on this blog because it’s the only thing I’ve done running related.  I was not injured, but both physically and mentally exhausted.

I asked myself: at what point do I just mentally rest and refocus?

On the drive home from the race, I knew I was at that point.  Thinking out loud, I never anticipated taking as much time off from running as I did but my body did not recover well from a season of hard training or even the race itself.  One week turned to two, then three to six.  As I continued to rest, I was still burnt out and in no mood to run.

After a while, the running bug bit me again and I decided I wanted (key word: wanted) to get back into running again.  Along with beginning to run again, I decided to get my blood analyzed again with Insidetracker.

Recently, InsideTracker has been a popular topic amongst running blogs.  As someone who graduated with a health degree, I do believe blood tests and results should be more accessible to those who would like the information. Another aspect people don’t realize, is you can send your Insidetracker results to your doctor as well.  Instead of making multiple appointments, you can come in with bloodwork results in hand.

It is not a replacement for a doctor, and they don’t claim to be. The biomarkers tested are endurance athlete focused.  For the average person, results might seem extremely high in a routine blood test.  Endurance athletes typically have skewed results.  Depending on your lifestyle, individual blood results can always be skewed.  For instance, people in upstate NY might have a Vitamin D deficiency, where those living in Florida might not have that issue.  Physical Environment plays a key role in results.

InsideTracker gives simple recommendations that anyone can benefit from.  If a result needs medical attention, they tell you and highly recommend you see a doctor.

It was my third time getting Insidetracker done.  Each time, I chose to pay extra and get the entire process done at my home.  First, I’m not the best with needles. Second, driving into Philadelphia during rush hour, after fasting for 12 hours isn’t a situation I’m comfortable with.  It’s the best situation for me!

Just as the previous sessions, the process went smoothly.  After a few days, I received my results which confirmed everything I felt.

My blood indicated I was both physically and mentally fatigued.

There were a few things that popped up that directly matched how I was feeling.  It was “nice” that my blood confirmed I was mentally and physically fatigued.  (So I didn’t feel like it was “all in my head”)

All three of my AST/ALT/GGT liver enzymes were elevated.

So what does this mean?

One enzyme elevated could mean you were tired but the fact that all three were up meant by muscles were extremely fatigued.  My blood essentially showed that no wonder I was exhausted.  It was overtrained and fatigued.  Before getting the blood work done, I had thought that it was possible I was overtrained, but I didn’t think results would be as high as they were.’

I don’t have a liver disease, but all three remained elevated due to the stress training caused to my body over the past year.  Like most things, it takes time to recover!

How Have I Been Fixing the Problem?

Are having elevated enzymes, the worst thing in the world?  No.  In fact, it justifies why I felt the way I did.

After getting the test, I waited another two weeks and decided to slowly start running again.

I’m not running every day and I’m not running nearly the volume I was previously.  Right now, I can truly say I enjoy each run.  I don’t run for pace, time or speed (unless it’s a race), but just run.  As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve ultimately decided to use the summer as down time too.

With my schedule, running is taking a backseat.  It’s allowing my body to relax even more.  I’m doing many of my runs mid day on the antigravity treadmill at work.  My options are outdoors in 85 degrees, indoors on a treadmill, or indoors on the antigravity treadmill.  If I’m not training hard for anything, why stress my body hard during this period?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body doesn’t heal overnight.  Using the summer to run casually, will allow my body to continue to physically and mentally recover.

I’m also taking both a probiotic and liver enzyme which I feel has been working well for me.  It’s only been 4 weeks since starting to take the enzyme but once I go through the entire bottle I’ll discuss it more.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is I am also striving to eat proper recovery foods.  As my husband trains for another marathon, we’ve made it a focus to work on both proper recovery foods for both of us.  Neither of us has a terrible diet, but we do treat ourselves a few times a week or go out to eat more than the average couple.  For now, we limited eating out (our budget has also thanked us) and focused on cooking more foods together.

Nutrition wise, another aspect I appreciate about InsideTracker is they give personal food recommendations for your own needs.  A few recommendations including peanut butter, wheat germ, and eel.  (I don‘t know if I’ve mentioned but I really enjoy eel, octopus, and squid ;).

Eel tubes

I’ve been incorporating several of these foods into my diet and I’ve felt better and stronger because of it.

I do plan to get my blood tested again sometime in late July or August to see how I’ve progressed. I’m happy to have gotten the test done.  It’s a good feeling when both your mental and physical mindset line up.  When I scheduled InsideTracker, I wasn’t sure what it would show but I’m relieved that it provided answers and is allowing me to recover even more.

I would consider this time for myself, the off season.  Or maybe even the off year.  Relaxing, recovering well and building for a better training cycle is going to allow me to PR at a later time when I’m ready to train again.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten bloodwork done?

What are some of your favorite foods?

Maurice River Diner

I haven’t been to many Cumberland County Diners lately, so one of my goals this summer is head south occasionally.  So when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to drive down.

Cumberland County is a beautiful area of New Jersey.  It’s right along the water and an area that many people realize doesn’t exist in NJ. There are far more trees then traffic and parts border the water.

Atmosphere: A
The Maurice River Diner is right along the main road and water.  It’s a big, clean diner with plenty of seating.  Both the inside and outside is modern. It’s wide open so you don’t sit here on top of each other either.  In fact, it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve been too in awhile.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot each time and there were plenty of refills.  It was everything you could want and hope in diner coffee.Maurice River Diner

Service: A
The waitress was kind and hilarious.  She refilled our beverages often and one of the friendliest servers we’ve had in a while.  I have no complaints.

Food: C
The Maurice River Diner has most typical diner options: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and seafood.

The burger came with soup.  I decided on their tomato bisque.  I wasn’t expecting it to be creamy but it was good. Maurice River Diner

I decided to order the black and blue burger with sweet potato fries. Maurice River Diner

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  In fact, I wanted to like the diner food more than I did.  It was edible, but the burger was far from my favorite. I was actually somewhat disappointed since I had hoped it would match the expectations of the service and atmosphere.  You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  The food was edible but it was not my favorite.

Dessert: B
I originally asked for red velvet cake but they didn’t have any.  So I went with bread pudding.  It was good and I enjoyed the pieces of bread crumbled in.  It was nothing unique but it was good.Maurice River Diner

Price: $
For my burger, coffee and bread pudding the cost was $14.  It wasn’t bad for the amount of food I received but I do wish it was better quality.

Overall Thoughts:
I like the Maurice River Diner but I was hoping to like the food more than I did.  I would go back if the opportunity presented itself but probably try something new.

Overall:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: C
Dessert: B
Cost: $8-12
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve been too: Not too many!  The closest would probably be the Deepwater or Woodstown Diner

 

Questions for you:

What is the best coffee you’ve had recently?

What is something in your state?

Many people don’t realize New Jersey is the Garden State.  Abeit, most of the gardens/farms are in Southern New Jersey.

May Training Log: 7 Miles

Another month has come and gone.  Towards the end of the month, I thought this would be the month of the 0.0 but I ended up running a grand total of 7 miles.  All of which were this past week.

So instead of trying to come with a few hundred words about the 7 miles, I’ll tell you they were ok.  I didn’t feel amazing and I didn’t feel terrible.  I didn’t feel as if it was “the greatest comeback ever”.  I probably ran about 10 minute pace but I have no idea.  In fact, I don’t even know if it was 7 miles.  It could be 6 or it could 8…Despite charging it, my watch still hasn’t gone for any runs with me. I just ran around my neighborhood until I felt sufficient.

Moving right along.

I did do quite a bit of cross training:
Swam 3X (total 3 miles)
7 Strength classes
6 Core classes (all between 15-30 mins)
Elliptical: 1X run in rabbit core

Rest Days: 14

In summary, the month was what I needed.  It was a break from running and I didn’t try and compensate with doing a lot of cardio.

I gained weight, lost fitness, but my life moved right along. I know taking a break was the best thing I could have done and I have no regrets.

Life wise, I also had a lot going on that kept me busy and I didn’t miss running.  I knew how burnt, when I could stand at the Broad Street 10 mile finish, watch the race and not feel sad I chose not to run.  

It was a whirlwind month. I had both my dad and in-laws come visit in Early May.  Then, my mother came and visited the following week.

Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia
We made it!

After that, my husband came home mid May and spent a few days in New York.  While in New York, I felt a slight twinge of exciement to run again.  Not enough to actually run, but I had a little bit of excitement.

After having fun in New York City, we drove down to Virginia to see my brother Matt.  Due to being stationed overseas, I hadn’t seen him since my wedding in April 2015.  It was a great month, but such a busy month as well.  matt and i

What’s on tap for June?

I am going to continue slowly build my base.  I don’t have any major races in June but I will probably jump into a local race.  I do plan to continue with strength and core classes because I’ve grown to enjoy them.

My husband and I are actually focusing more on nutrition this month so expect to see a few posts about that.

Posts from the month:
36 Pairs of Running Shoes Later
Visiting New York City
NonRunning Workout Ideas
A Week with Family
My Running Burnout
Running Related Posts
Are you Getting Enough Fiber?

So in summary, it’s been a great 5 weeks but I’m also excited to get back into training.  It’s not a feeling I’ve had in quite some time.

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

Have you ever taken time off? 

 

NonRunning Workout Ideas

As most people know by now, after the April Fools half marathon, I experienced a serious running burnout.  In fact, I wrote about it here. It wasn’t the race itself, but more of running hard for 6 months and not achieving a goal.

My personal friend Steve asked to write about other things to do outside of running!  To be honest, I’m still not running, but I am enjoying doing other things.  Don’t get me wrong, running is a great workout, but it’s not the only one.  It’s important to take the time to look at other things to do.

Right now, I have no goal races I’m trying to maintain fitness for.  Thinking out loud, I have no need to hit up the gym daily.  Do I like working out?  Yes.  Do I need to workout for several hours daily?  No.  Do I care if I missed a workout?  No…

Ideas for Cross Training to Maintain Fitness:

Here are a few things I like to do to preserve cardio fitness:

Elliptical:

I might be one of the only people who doesn’t hate the elliptical.  If you workout hard on the elliptical, then it will simulate running.  If you leisurely pedal, you aren’t going to get the same benefits as having a higher heart rate.  There are a lot of programs that you can adjust based on ability and how hard you want to workout.  My heart rate is never as high as running, but I can say it has gotten pretty high during the elliptical.

Alter G Treadmill:

Finding an Alter G treadmill can be hard.  If you’re in Southern Jersey/Philadephia area and want to use one, let me know, and we have one at RunningCo.

Admittedly, I haven’t used it right now.  That’s only because I don’t want to run.  The AlterG is running without the pressure of body weight.  It takes body weight off so you can simulate running without putting the extra pressure and weight on your body.  The chamber fills with air, so you are essentially free floating around. Here is a more in-depth post about the AlterG when I was using it!

Alter G
After my metatarsal stress fracture, I used it frequently

Swimming:

Before picking up running in 2010, I was a competitive swimmer.  I swam through college.  While I no longer swim regularly (and have no interest in Tris), I will frequent the pool.  Swimming takes all of the pressure off your body will still allowing for a great cardio and strength workout.  It’s one of the best workouts you can do.

Strength Work and Core:

To be honest, right now this is what I’ enjoying the most.  I’m going to several body pump and core classes as well as lifting weights myself.  It may not “burn calories, but I am enjoying the constant state of feeling like jello and feeling stronger.

Running is a great sport but it’s not the only workout.  There are plenty of other activies that are equally as fun to do.Other Running Related Posts:

Are Losing Toenails a Runners Rite of Passage?
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat:
Why 5ks are the Best
How to Race Well
How to Race in Unfavorable Conditions

Questions for you:

What are your favorite nonrunning activities?

 Do you like to cross train?