A Recap of 2016 LOLZ Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 2011, and it’s changed a lot.  When I first started blogging, I used to pretty much be able to tell you every running blogger out there.  That’s because there weren’t that many.
Thinking out loud, now with the internet explosion, anyone, and everyone blogs.  That’s not a bad thing, but many blogs get lost in the sea.  Plus with so many different social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to just microblog from those too.

So in 2016 what went on with LOLZ blogging?

Believe it or not, I blogged less in 2016. For the most part, I stopped blogging about my personal life. Maybe I grew up, or maybe I finally realized no one cared what my favorite color was.

I kept my blog focused on running, more gear related posts and of course diners.  Occasionally, I blogged about life too, but it was mostly running related.  It’s not that I don’t have a personal life, but due to my husband’s job, there are a lot of things I can’t share on the internet.  My life does not revolve around running but my running blog pretty much does…

Plus many of my friends don’t run and don’t use a lot of social media, it’s not appropriate for me to post about them via the blog and to be honest, half the time my life isn’t terribly thrilling.  I run, work and come home.

So what happened in the world of LOLZ blogging this year?

Since it’s my primary focus, I recapped running here.

In Actual Blogging:

Number of posts: 276

Most Viewed Posts: 
Asics FuzeX
Losing Toenails: A Runners Rite of Passage? (From 2015)
Dropping 9 minutes from my Half Marathon Time

Top Referrers (Where did people come from?)

Random places on the internet
Twitter
Facebook

blogging referers

Looking Back:

Honestly, I love blogging, and I enjoy it.  I put a lot of time and effort into blogging, and I plan to still keep doing it.  It’s not my full-time job, and I doubt it will ever be.  Due to the nature of social media and how much self-promotion you must do now, it’s very hard for anyone to make a full-time income from blogging.

I promote products that I like and have used.  Personally,  I cannot imagine promoting brands and companies I cannot foster relationships with. Would I like to make more money blogging?  Sure but who wouldn’t…There is a lot of balance with that.

I would be lying if I didn’t say several brands lost my respect as a customer based on bloggers they chose to represent them.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your mindset, there are hundreds if not thousands of bloggers now.  The internet is saturated with bloggers vying to work with brands.

But that is the nature of blogging!  At the end of the day, I’m fortunate enough to shut my computer down and not worry about followers, blogging or the internet because it’s not my full-time job.  I respect people who want to do that, but that is not the lifestyle or career for me.

In 2016, my blog posts, stats, and views went down, and I’m fine with that. In 2017, I predict as a platform blogging will continue to decrease.



blogging stats

Many bloggers will go the route of microblogging on social media platforms versus lengthy blog posts.  I won’t be excluded and I’ll be both amazed and proud of myself if I reach 276 blog posts next year too.

I always find it fascinating to see where people are from so here are some of the top countries!

blogging info

Questions for you:
How has your blog evolved and changed this year?  
What is your favorite social media platform? 

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The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

It may be hard to remember, but there are people in the world that don’t run!  The life of Runners and non-runners is drastically different.  I can remember a time I didn’t run and can relate to all of these.  Thinking out loud, every person, athlete or not, has a routine.

The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

How do runners and non-runners stack up against each other? 

Budget

Non-runners: Non-runners save money for a lot of different things: happy hour, the newest technology or even a great wardrobe.  Whatever if it is, they put away money to do the enjoyable “fun things”.

Runners: We save money for new shoes, new workout clothing and of course races.  Don’t forget the newest GPS watch.  The smaller the watch, the more money it is.  Without these things we can’t do what we love!  Right?

Beauty Routine:

Non-runners: Non-runners know how to make their features look great.  They spend an hour preparing for the day and look flawless every single day. Each outfit is perfect.

Runners: Runners have mastered the ability to shower and put on makeup within 10 minutes.  Did they just workout on the treadmill or are those fashionable leggings? The world may never know…Good thing fashion has evolved into a lot more comfort.

Eating on the Go and Snacking:

Non-Runners: Non-runners can go hours without eating.  Forget to pack a snack? That’s fine, they just hit up the vending machine and are ready to go. 
 Life doesn’t revolve around snacking and being rungry all of the time.  If a meeting goes late, oh well!

Runners: Our non-running friends know us as the vending machine to go.  We have more snacks in our bags than a mini-mall.  Are you craving an apple or a chocolate bar?  We have both.  Runners are never without snacks because you never know when the stomach will start talking.  When Runger hits, you have approximately 5 minutes to get us to the nearest supply of food, or you will see rage that you have never seen before.

Weekends

Non-Runners:  After the work week is over, non-runners often catch up with friends by going out for happy hour or dinner. They have a few drinks, dance and let loose.  Most of Saturday and Sunday is spent relaxing and catching up on other hobbies.

Runners: Runners look forward to the weekend too! It’s either race weekend or long run weekend!  Either way, we are waking up earlier than a weekday.  We spend Friday night cuddled up in PJs, watching a movie and in bed sleeping before 9.

Weekend Brunches:

Non-Runners: Non-runners wake up anywhere between 8 and noon.  After a well-rested sleep, they meet friends at a neighborhood breakfast spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s crowded because nonrunners are just waking up and going out to eat.  They aren’t starving yet.  Of course, our non-running friends look gorgeous and spent a few extra minutes getting ready for brunch. Heck, they might even fill up on mimosas beforehand! No wonder they are so happy waiting hours for a table!

Runners: On the weekend, runners wake up well before the weekday. We get our long runs in and before we know it, it’s time to eat, and we are just trying to make it there on time.  There is nothing more cringeworthy than waiting for brunch after a long run.  A messy bun, somewhat fashionable workout clothing and an old pair of sneakers are our signature brunch look.

Question for you: What is something you do that your “non-running” friends might not understand? 

 

Hillsborough Star Diner

Last month, I was able to go the Hillsborough Star Diner with the famous Jon L and Jenna.  Unfortunately they came into town the day after I found out I had both a fractured foot and food poisoning.  Since they were only in town for a couple of days, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see them.  My husband happened to come home early, so he tagged along too.

Me Jon Jenna

Atmosphere: A 
The Hillsborough Star Diner has a unique vibe to it.  It’s not an old metal building but more of a rustic restaurant.

hillsborough star diner

Photo via Hillsborough Star Diner website

The inside is a typical diner.  There are plenty of tables, booths and a bar.  Each of the tables is spread out, and you don’t feel as if you’re sitting on top of anyone.  We sat in a large booth in the back tucked away.

Service: A
The waitress was one of the quirkiest of any diner I’ve been too.  She was hilarious, and it was evident she loved her job.  She was great and made recommendations, funny jokes and refilled everything we needed.  She made a joking comment about my coffee saying “yeah someone orders coffee with whipped cream once every 5 years”.

Coffee: A
The coffee was perfect.  I have no complaints, and it was the local Lacas brew from Pennsauken.  The waitress refilled it often, and it tasted fresh.  I have no complaints.

Hillsborough Star Diner coffee

Food: A
There were a lot of items on the menu, and they pretty much served anything a diner normally does.  Since I had just gotten food poisoning, I decided to stick with something I knew and ordered a Greek salad.  The salad itself was delicious.  There was plenty of salad dressing, and the piece of salmon was bigger than the salad. I could have used a few more greens, but it was fine.

Hillsborough Star Diner salmon

Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $14. The price was good for the quality and size of the food.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
I liked the Hillsborough Star Diner and have no complaints; I would go back. It was inexpensive, the quality was great and the waitress was one of the best of any restaurant.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $5-15
Overall: A

Question for you:
What’s the best waitress you’ve ever had at a restaurant?

Summer Loving

It’s been a while since I’ve done a traditional “Thinking Out Loud” style post.

With the start of summer, I thought I would include some of my favorite things and thoughts.  These are all products I’ve been using frequently and all things I like.  I’m not being paid to promote anything although if there is a season 5, I would love to be on Orange is the New Black.

So what am I loving?

Cardio: 

Lately, I’ve loved the pool.  I can probably guarantee, once I’m running again I won’t go too often but right now it’s been okay and kept my cardio up.

swimming

Entertainment:

Orange is the New Black: Last Tuesday, Lindsey interviewed me for her Podcast: “Can I have Another”?  She mentioned I should get into the Netflix show: Orange is the New Black. Before last week, I had heard of the show before but hadn’t seen an episode…then I watched one episode last Tuesday.  Followed by season 1, season 2 and season 3.  Now I’m just starting season 4 so you can see how that went.  Being sick and unable to run has its advantages (I guess).

Podcasts: Obviously I like Can I have Another by Lindsey.  She’s interviewed a bunch of interesting and fun people.  I like listening while getting ready for work on Friday mornings.  Even if you aren’t a runner, you’ll enjoy the conversation.  I feel like I’m just hanging out (or evesdropping) on someone’s conversation.

Food:

I’ve basically been eating anything with Calcium and Vitamin D: As I mentioned earlier this week, both my Calcium and Vitamin D levels came back in the normal range.  That being said, I’m still attempting to get as much as possible without overdosing or getting a kidney stone.  Luckily for smoothies, milk and cheese.

Sunwarrior sent me a few samples of their latest meal replacement shake powders to try. While I’m not running, 160 calories is a nice snack.  The new Illumin8 mix has a blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  It’s not a full meal, but it’s a good pick me up in the afternoon.  I’ve been blending them with ice, milk, cocoa powder and sweetener.  For one of them, I added leftover beets which surprisingly tasted great and made me feel healthier.

Sunwarrior Protein Illumin8

After trying the samples they sent, I think I’m going to go purchase more.  I like the taste, and extra protein is not a bad thing for me right now.

 

Workout Related:

I’m doing all of my walking around in the Asics Quantum 360.  I nicknamed the shoe, the tank because there is so much support and cushion.  I ran in it for a while but because it’s the most cushioned shoe I’ve ever owned in the forefront, it got the promotion of moving from my running shoe to my only shoe.  asics quantum

This weekend I plan to run in the newest Asics Cumulus.  I love my Saucony shoes, but I need a shoe with more cushion in the forefront right now.  Who knows, the newest Hoka Clifton 3s are wider and actually fit my feet..so they might make a cameo on LOLZ blog.

So that’s what I’ve been up to and enjoying the last few days. 

Questions for you:

What have you been enjoying lately?

What is your favorite recipe? 

Bloggers Guilt

As bloggers, we often find guilt of not creating content daily.  Or when we have an off day, it shows through the blog.  Tone can often be misjudged through text and sometimes posts don’t come out as anticipated.

Bloggers Guilt

For running blogs like myself, my blog is a chronicle of my own running, training, and personal life.  It’s filled with the highs of PRs and the lows of bad races or injuries.

But it’s not a full picture of my life.  A blog is not the complete picture of anyone’s life, and it shouldn’t be.

This past month I’ve been in a funk.  It’s included a lot of things such as my personal life, running and blogging.  Thinking out loud, it started around the time of my hamstring injury and continued into a downward spiral from there.  

I found myself asking:

What will I blog about when I’m injured?

What if I skip blogging for weeks?

What if my blog becomes boring and whiny because I’m injured yet again?

Why does it even matter?  No one wakes up thinking: “the first thing I want to do is read blogs.”  If you do, that’s a whole different topic of unhealthy behavior.

Unlike elite athletes, celebrities or professional bloggers, I’m not making a living from LOLZ blog.  My life and means to survive do not come from blogging.  Like any blogger I find myself fearing the lack of content, being “too boring” or criticism for how I’ve chosen to live life.  Just like the comparison trap, it’s something self-inflicted.

My times aren’t going to win the US anything.

My reviews of shoes or diners won’t make or break a company.

And my blog probably isn’t going to provide you any medical advice.

My blog is just a chronicle of my life, the good, the bad and the ugly (like when I thought bangs were a good idea or dyed my hair blonde).

I chose to put my blog and life online, at the end of the day I’m just an ordinary, average person.  Putting anything online opens you up for feedback both positive and negative.

So what’s the point of this post?

It’s a reminder to myself, to anyone that at the end of the day, blogging is blogging.  Your life does not revolve around a single hobby, whether it’s blogging, running or something else.  It’s important not put all of your eggs in one basket.  Comparing yourself to anyone (including yourself) isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Questions for you:
Bloggers: Do you ever feel bloggers guilt?
What is the last thing you felt guilty about?

Blogging about Blogging

The last 5+ years of blogging have been enjoyable.  I’ve learned a lot about social media, blogging, running and, of course, myself.  Through blogging, I’ve met incredible people and done amazing things.

If that isn’t the most cliché and kissass introduction, I don’t know what is.

Blogging about blogging

Just thinking out loud, like every blogger, I started by blogging for myself.   I never expected to blog five years later, and I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do.

Obviously, I’ve grown as a person since blogging.  I started LOLZ blog as a 20-year-old junior in college. Like any college student, I was confused with life, school, sports and training.  I began blogging as a way to document my personal journey.

As I continued to blog and connect with others, I even had a few readers.  I was no longer blogging just for myself because I had an audience. Whether I knew each individual in real life or not, I had readers.  My tone didn’t change, but it did make me think more about what I said on the internet.  Whether you delete something or not, the internet never forgets.

With or without readers, I blog for myself, but I also blog to share my journey in hopes someone can learn from me (both my success and mistakes).  

In blogging, twitter, facebook and social media in general, people enjoy feedback…that is why we do it.   

Would I blog as much if no one ever commented?  I’m not sure, I could have a personal journal at that point. 

I enjoy blogging, and it’s a fun hobby to have.  Life is too short to do things you don’t like.  Right now I like to blog and run…so I will make time for those hobbies. 

There is a lot more to blogging than write a post and make it public. 

It’s a lot of time, effort and commitment.  I’m far less “active” in the blogging world these days, but even the simple task of writing a post takes time.  Now there are so many platforms to promote and engage readers.  Those platforms were small or didn’t even exist five years ago.  Blogging has also become a huge advertising channel.  Sure it’s great to make money from blogging, but many people seek blogging out as a full-time income versus starting a blog “because they want too”.

Do I think it would be awesome to make more money from LOLZ blog?  Sure, but do I want to promote products every post or promote ANY product I don’t personally try or care for…no.

I don’t want to blog for giveaways, paid reviews and advertisements.  They have their time and place, which is not every post.

Six Lessons I’ve Learned From Blogging:

Not everyone will like you, and that is fine

Many people won’t agree with your training, writing style or for whatever reason they just don’t like you.  That’s fine! In a world where everyone is brought up winning a trophy and taught “you do no wrong”, it’s a harsh reality.  Don’t mistake not agreeing with hating.  Constructive criticism is something I value greatly.  We don’t grow as humans if we are told we are always told we are perfect.

Don’t lie to promote something

Lying to promote yourself, your blog or product is just dumb. What’s the point? As people and bloggers, we are allowed to change our minds about issues, products and life but not every other blog post.

People (and bloggers) grow apart

I’ve grown apart from several blogs I followed.  There are two blogs that were blogging when I began in 2010.  People change and grow, it’s fact of life. There is no need to read every single blog in the “blogging world”.  If a topic doesn’t interest you, then it doesn’t.  I’m sure several readers could care less about diner reviews, and that is fine!  Believe it or not, some locals only care about diners!  I never blog with the expectation that people care about any and every post. Believing that only sets us up for failure.  I don’t read every blog post by every blogger I follow either.

Blogging is not a profitable thing to do.

Unless you want to shill products you don’t care about or sell yourself out for trivial items, it’s not worth it. You aren’t going to become a millionaire from blogging.  To be honest, if you want to be a full-time blogger, you will also have to insert multiple ads, products reviews, and trivial nonsense that you or your readers don’t care about.    I’ve been contacted by several companies to promote things as adult diapers, maxi pads, vitamins that aren’t FDA regulated and even pet products.  None of those products match my blog, so I don’t promote them.  Sure I turned down money, but it’s not worth it to me.

I’m going to use my blog to shill out things that I could care less about.  I’ll promote products I like and my readers could find useful. It’s a big reason I’ve chosen not to be a full-time blogger.  I couldn’t take myself seriously if I turned my personal blog into a billboard for women’s hygiene products or other random junk.  Yes, they are important but not relevant here.

Just because you can use Google, does not make you an expert

If I am looking for an expert medical advice, I will seek someone who is qualified.  I read blogs because they are light hearted and fun.  I don’t read because I expect the blogger to be a medical professional.  Google does not make you as qualified as a nutritionist, dietitian or medical expert.  In this blogging day and age, it seems most bloggers are either a coach, online nutritionist or some sort of life coach.

Every blogger has chosen to omit something from their personal space online

It’s smart.  When reading a blog, you don’t see the full life picture.  For instance, when my husband and I chose to live together a few years ago, it wasn’t as if I woke up and wrote a post titled “I’m moving” and shotgunned a move.  We had discussed it for a while but I didn’t announce it until it was final.

Maybe a person is struggling because they ended a relationship, maybe they are having financial problems, or maybe someone just doesn’t feel like sharing a personal tidbit.  Blogging is a fine line between sharing and oversharing.

I am a part of an important volunteer campaign that I’ve chosen to omit.  Does that make it any less important?  Absolutely not but it isn’t relevant to my blog.

Click to tweet: Don’t overshare.  The Internet never forgets.  

For better or worse blogging has come a long way since 2010.  It’s far more commercialized, and people expect to be compensated for their “time” blogging.  No one is forcing you to blog, and it should be something you actually enjoy.  Don’t start a blog if you think you’re going to become rich, famous or an internet sensation.

In any case, I love to blog, and I’m not going anywhere. 

Questions for you: How long have you been blogging?  How has it changed?  

How Social Media Skewed my Thoughts of Running Fast

How social media skewed my thoughts of running fast

I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running.  My running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here.  When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now.  A few years into blogging, I wrote a similar post to this.  Even in the last two years since writing the first post, social media, and running has advanced more.  My thoughts on running have advanced as well.

When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now.  I did not know that so many amazing and talented runners from all over the world existed!

how social media skewed my thoughts of running fast 1

I first created LOLZ blog to reflect upon my personal journey of running.  It started with a 12-minute mile and 5.5 years later I am here today.  My blog also allowed me to meet people who also shared a love for running and working out.  This was before there were hundreds of blogs and blogging became an advertisement platform.

When I first started running, I was in my own bubble.  I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes!  I was in shock of how people could that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like.  I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks.  It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fan girl them at races.

Like Mollie and Kris
Like Mollie and Kris

Five years later, running and blogging are much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes.  With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration.  I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not.  When reading race recaps and reports the definition of “fast” becomes skewed.  Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”?  What is the standard?  Why does it even matter?  

The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.

The athlete that won a local race is also fast. 

The athletes finishing their first race are fast.  

My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.

With so many different social media platforms it makes me think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once that I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?

Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up they would have won.  The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won.  Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere.  People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.  

Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com,  results are everywhere.  Individuals with and without credentials are judging performance.  With race results being judged so quicklyI can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.

One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:

Did You Win?

Runners are afraid to say they won or placed in an age category.  Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself.  Whether there are ten people are 10,000 if you won, you won.  Even if you didn’t win, place or just had a bad race, you still ran.

So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability.  It’s overwhelming.

Where do this all connect? 

Social media is here to stay.  Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected.  It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different.  There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself!  It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare.  There will always be someone better or faster.  You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.

If you are out there and running, you are fast.

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Question for you: 
Who are your inspirations and role models?
How has social media changed your training?