2014 in Review, and My Running (and Non-Running) Goals for 2015!

New Years Eve Run

We are almost at the start of the new year, so I wanted to wrap up my year and running and also look ahead to 2015. I almost wrote this up a couple of weeks ago … but I couldn’t manage to not have proper accounting of my running right up until the end of the year! So here goes …

To get started … what WERE my 2014 running goals?:
Run more than 2500 miles
Run at least 2 Marathons and 1 Half-Marathon
Run an Ultra-Marathon
Set a PR in either Marathon or Half-Marathon
Put in time on the trails

Yeah … so, um … considering I ran exactly ONE race – and it was a 5K, we can guess how three of the five goals ended up! But honestly I don’t think that reflects the reality of my year in running, so let’s get started with THAT!

It is amazing to be sitting at the end of another year (my third) spent as a long distance runner – and I am fast approaching my ’26th Runner-versary’ in February. It is pretty mind boggling! It is fun looking back over the last year to all of the stuff that has gone on in my running life and reflect on what I want for the coming year. I have enjoyed reading so many posts from others and wanted to share my own. I went into details about much of the year in this post, so my 2014 summary will be quick.

Here are a few highlights of 2014:
Start and Finish the year healthy and injury free – After a great 2012, during 2013 I came to the realization that for me the most important thing was just plain running – not a pace, a distance, not even ever running Boston … just being able to get up tomorrow and go for a run. And as you’ll read below … I did. And I stayed healthy from -20F temperatures to 50 mile weekends and beyond!
I ran over 3000 miles … again! – I noted back around Thanksgiving that I was breaking 3000 miles before the start of December. I tallied up my totals through the last full week of the year (ending on Saturday the 27th) and I broke 3250 miles!
More that 300 running days – As I noted a couple of times, I never intended a running streak, but I always run Monday – Friday unless I really need a day off, and if Lisa is working Saturday and/or Sunday I will run then as well. And so more than a few times I found myself running 21+ straight days, 48/49 days, and so on. Overall it came up to 312 days … or not enough rest days, really.
Major PR at a 5K – by Thanksgiving I assumed this would be a no-race year … then I got signed up for the charity run ‘Selfless Elf 5K’. Even better, it was set up for both runners and walkers and had a very organized start so I could go out running strong from the start. I ended up with a 7:21 pace for a 22:48 total. For me … that was just amazing! What a great close to the year!

Here is the chart of my miles:
Miles FY 2014

So what about 2015? Here are five goals for my running in 2015:
Start and Finish the year healthy and injury free – Yeah, this is pretty much going to be my #1 goal from now on.
Run more than 2500 miles – Why not more after two years of 3000+? Because I want to feel like I can focus more on things like trails, speedwork, track time, and so on.
Run at least 2 races – one short, one long – I loved running the 5K, but totally love the half-marathon and full marathon, have never run a 10K and would like to do the Corning GlassFest 5 Miler in May again (did it in 2012). Why only two? Between one kid graduating and then heading off to college, and the other doing college search this summer … I assume I am booked that weekend.
Set a PR in something – I really don’t care which race, nor do I care by how much. The 5K PR will be a challenge, the rest I think are in reach.
Put in time on the trails – While I have dropped the Ultra for 2015, I really enjoyed my trail time this year and want to do even more of it next year.

Of course, there is another huge victory for 2014 (and 2013) that I plan to continue in 2015:

I maintained my weight without unhealthy eating habits or restriction.

Throughout 2014 I maintained my focus on ‘food as fuel’, eating real and whole foods, a very balanced diet, three meals per day … and no restricting. Even the week and couple of long weekends of college search vacation I never freaked out when I wasn’t exercising … I just kept a healthy perspective.

I also did a lot of cooking new meals, with some being well received and others … not. We worked on a Paleo diet for Lisa for a while, which had mixed results due to allergies but helped in terms of a reset. As we closed the year I think the goal for next year is ‘balance’ … which I am working on.

And YES I have my weight as an entirely separate class … which should be obvious to anyone who has followed the blog.

So what about everything else? Here are five personal non-running goals for 2015: By personal I mean not things like repainting the ceiling in the dining room and so on. But about myself.
Music – I am finishing up making my basement studio sustainable over this break, and I really want to take time in the coming year (much more than in 2014, which I would call a ‘year of noodling’) to truly get back to composing and playing at a higher level again.
Programming – just before the holiday break I needed to do something that required me to write my own code, using the ‘C-like’ statistical programming language ‘R’. I got it done, but considering I was writing entire code-bases to run lab instruments I designed back in the 90s and early 2000s … I was less than impressed with the atrophy of my skills.
Focus on the Family – I am proud of my 2014 in this area … and my goal for the coming year is for my family to know every day that they are loved and special through my words and actions.
Reading – Reading rather than blogging/video games before bed is a good choice for me … and I want to be make most nights about reading this coming year. My goal is not extreme – one book per month.
Cooking – As I said my personal health goal is ‘balance’ for 2015, but I want to extend that to the family – we are really omnivores with healthy tendencies … we don’t need a ‘diet cult’ to improve our lives, and this year I want to expand our palette without going too far ‘out there’.

I have no intention of doing NaNoWriMo this year, but am not closed to it. I want to focus on narrower goals to ensure success. I have set up some quarterly goals to check against, and if I am blogging I will share them here. As for blogging … I have no set plans one way or the other. I love this community and general and the people who will read this in particular, love reading your posts and your comments here. So I am not shutting down as some have chosen to do, I just have no specific plans.

I am going to close with the same picture I used last year because it is perfect – me at the end of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Marathon 2013 in compression shorts with my #1 supporter and love of my life!

Post Marathon with Lisa

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Running Holiday Games, Three Gifts and a Thought

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Hi everyone! Hope everyone who got a long weekend for the Christmas holiday had a great and relaxing time, and those who (like me) get even more time make the most of that! Just a quick few things today …

Running Holiday Games

As I have done a fair amount of miles – just over 23 on Christmas Eve, more than 10 the day after Christmas and about the same on Saturday. All of those were mid-day runs, so I got to get a good look around, and I just found it interesting. I typically run the same half-dozen or so routes, so I get accustomed to the sights. I don’t know about anyone else, but when things change – I tend to notice!

– Loads of out of state plates … family all over.
– I miss when their younger daughter was in high school and they put out the big inflatable dreidel an menorah.
– On their phone … on their phone … eating … actually paying attention … on phone …
– Gone for the holidays again, wonder where their families are located?
– Love seeing four generations out together.
– Hey – isn’t that ___’s daughter? Wonder how she’s doing at ___ (small Corning world when this is more than one!)
– They’re gone … wonder if their daughter had the baby?
– Is he actually old enough to be driving?
– Interesting they put up so many decorations and are gone all of Christmas week.
– Biking around Christmas … such gorgeous weather.
– Two people I work with – one is Jewish, the other Hindu … and they have Christmas decorations up for the kids – a reminder of my ‘two Christmas’ theory!
– Loads of cars yesterday, all gone today – wonder where they headed?
– He/She looks so fast but I am catching up to them … this HAS been a good year for me.

Have you been out and about and noticing all of the little things in your area?

Three Gifts

My Christmas list was pretty short – wardrobe replacement. Changing shape means that clothes no longer fit, and at this point I want stuff that fits rather than stuff that is too large. Which means a great new set of awesome clothes and an upcoming trip to the clothing charity donation drop. But I got three really cool running-related gifts I wanted to share:

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Brooks Glove/Mitten Set – I constantly complain about how cold my hands get … so I was thrilled that my boys ordered me a 3-in-1 glove/mitten set. The liners have a fleece interior and are pretty warm themselves, but then the mittens have a wind-block exterior to keep my hands warm and protected. This is just awesome and exactly what I needed!

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Frozen Band-Aids ‘for the nip-nops’ – OK, this just totally cracked me up! You really don’t think ‘bloody nipples’ unless you are a male distance runner – or a family member of a male distance runner! So opening this package … priceless!

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A Supportive Family – This was taken at the Woodhouse pub in Corning, which is really close to the skating rink where we just did a family skating outing. Over the last nearly 3 years of me being a dedicate long distance runner my family dealt with my new focus as it helped with health and weight and fitness, then became weary of how much of an impact it occasionally had, and in the past year it has become part of our lives.

And as the gifts above indicate, along with their concern about me ‘getting in my run’ … they really get it. Running is part of me, and therefore is a part of them – but like anything else, it is just a ‘thing’, and therefore when it seems to be pushing too high in my mind I can count on them to call me out on my BS. And that is part of being a supportive family – being there behind each other, but also providing a reality check when needed.

A Thought

Earlier this year I wrote about running from the perspective of the runner, and also the non-running family member. As I noted at the time, the feedback I got about the first one was it was a bit ‘tone deaf’ with respect to non-runners.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I read a post that has stuck with me, because it is a long post that is stunning in the extent that it is reactionary … to the point of saying of non-runners “they don’t understand what happiness really is.” Which is just plain scary. I’m not linking – I left a comment on how unhealthy I found the attitudes presented (not to mention the ‘hive mind’ replies), and that is good enough.

But reading that brought me a realization: if you re-read the post substituting the word ‘Vicodin’ for running you would be concerned for the life of the writer. Running can be an incredibly healthy practice – I am thankful every day that I can get up and go out running for about as many miles as I want with almost no repercussions. But it can be a substitute for dealing with reality, an escape from life and responsibilities, and can even become an unhealthy pursuit when taken to the extreme. Which left me with a thought:

If you have immersed yourself so deeply in something that you are skipping time with family, friends, work events, things you used to enjoy, obligations, think only of that thing, ascribe to it qualities greater than it can possibly deliver, and of those who question your newfound obsession you instantly assume nefarious intentions and doubt that they ‘know what happiness is’ … you might have a problem.

Happy Monday!

Recipe Sharing: No-Bake Peppermint Cookie Truffles with Candy Cane Sprinkles

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

This is a recipe I found on LovaLatte last year and we all thoroughly enjoyed them. Emily is Vegan and therefore her recipe … is vegan (surprise, I know!). So if you are looking for an incredible vegan dessert … DO IT!

But last year I also looked up the nutritional info between the vegan and non-vegan options and was reminded of a certain reality: just because something is Vegan or Gluten-Free DOES NOT mean it is healthy or low-fat/calorie/whatever!

So when I decided to surprise the family with these … I went for the non-vegan options.

Ingredients:
– Package of Mint Oreos
– Bag of milk chocolate chips
– 4oz cream cheese
– Candy Canes
– Muffin cup liners

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Just five simple ingredients

Two Thoughts
– Cream Cheese – mine was the ‘light’, but in this case it doesn’t matter which you choose … so do full fat, light or the non-fat types. It is flavor and consistency that matter (so probably stay away from the ‘whipped’ stuff)
– If you buy pre-smashed ‘peppermint dust’, you are paying WAY too much and losing the opportunity to smash things with a hammer … your loss. 🙂

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Your weapon of destruction

Directions

1. Put the Oreos and candy canes in sealable plastic bags (squeeze out the air)

2. Smash them to bits.

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Former candy canes

3. Combine the Oreos and cream cheese in a mixer until they form a smooth paste. Start on lowest setting and work up … otherwise the cookies will get everywhere.

4. Using the microwave, melt the chocolate until it is smooth and creamy. Tip: it is easy to seize chocolate – so do it for 30 seconds and stir with a spoon, then in 10 second increments. You actually want to see chunk in it while you stir it, as they will work out over a few seconds of mixing.

5. Take a melon-baller or small ice cream scoop and make balls out of the cookie paste. There is no ‘right size’ … I make them large so I only get 12, but there is no reason you can’t get 24 more reasonably sized servings.

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You can dunk the cookie balls or put chocolate on the top and bottom. Either way is awesome

6. This is personal preference, I’ve done both to equal acclaim:
– Dunk the balls in the melted chocolate and transfer to the muffin cups.
– Or, put a teaspoon (ish) of chocolate at the bottom of the cup, then drop the ball on top, then put another teaspoon or so on top.

7. Sprinkle some of the smashed candy canes on top of each cup. Make sure that the chocolate is still melted while doing this so the pieces will embed.

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Just one trip to the freezer away from eating!

8. Transfer to the freezer to chill.

9. Enjoy!

And that is it for me until next week – I hope everyone who celebrates has a great Christmas, everyone who gets time off from work gets to relax and enjoy, and in general I wish the best for everyone 🙂

Parent Brag Moment – NYU Tisch Film School Bound!

All The Broken Little Leaves

Last week I promised to share some good news with a little tease, and noted that those who follow me on social media already saw it. So for those who don’t, here is the news: our older son Danny applied ‘early decision’ to New York University and specifically the Tisch School of the Arts in the film program.

And … he was accepted! Not just that, he got what my wife called a ‘BIG ASS SCHOLARSHIP’ that meant rather than the expected tense sitting around the table with computer, pencil and slide rule trying to squeeze out enough money to get him there … last week were able to simply say ‘you’re going’, click the ‘Accept Offer’ button (which naturally comes with a good sized ‘deposit’ requirement) and that is it … he is part of the NYU class of 2019.

If you asked me a year ago when we were going to be now … I wouldn’t have known what to tell you. He was getting solid grades but his study habits were atrocious, and in one of his AP classes it was having a significant impact, and so we got him involved in a special ‘study plan’ that involved the teacher and guidance office. We did that for a few months and while I would like to say it helped, I think that simply maturing, having older friends graduating and heading to college and having his own aspirations are what mostly got him back on track.

It has been an amazing transformation – he has grown up and matured so much into an amazing young man, with an incredible artistic vision and deep and insightful way of looking at the world.

When looking at colleges it is one thing to look on paper, another to see it in person. So while he had an interest in RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), he pretty well hated the campus. He liked the University of Rochester Campus, but not the programs. His other schools he liked for both academics and the campus were Syracuse, SUNY Purchase, and Boston University. But NYU … there was just a palpable difference … this was totally his place. There was no question – it was a great fit.

I want to share his portfolio video that he submitted (and wanted to get his permission, which he gave me yesterday), but first wanted to share some images from our trip:

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This was taken from the window of our apartment where we stayed for the week.

 

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Couldn’t have asked for a better place!

 

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Washington Square Park – NYU surrounds this, calling it ‘their unofficial quad’.

 

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In the bookstore … these were the books they were looking at …

 

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… not these. I was looking at these.

 

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Filming a jazz combo playing in the park.

 

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At Alice’s Tea Cup on the upper west side

 

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Central Park selfie!

 

It was a great vacation, and more importantly we came away with the school that was far and away his top choice … and will now be where he is living starting in Fall 2015. Here is his portfolio video (note – there is NSFW language and difficult themes):

Friday Five – Blog-ospheric Inspiration and Love

RW QOTD

OK, so while I noted I wouldn’t writing as much, that hasn’t stopped me from reading. And while I complained a bit a couple of weeks ago about what felt like ‘post fall-running hangover’ hitting lots of blogs with the ‘blahs’, and last week about some lazy link-ups … this week has been brimming with great stuff! To the point where I am quoting stuff below and feel bad because there is so much more great content out this week that I left behind.

As for the image at the top, it might not really seem fit with my theme – but it was in an email I got from Megan at The Lyons Share today, and she said “This quote is just SCREAMING “Michael”!!!!!!! Couldn’t help but think of you! Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂 🙂 “. It was an amazingly kind and thoughtful thing to do while I was sitting at my desk scrambling to get a ton of stuff done before heading home … and was so very much appreciated!

What I wanted to highlight was some of the amazing things I have been reading this week – there are just so many awesome people in our community that have important things to say. So I will start with posts from my two ‘Most Inspiring Runners’ and go from there:

1. T-Rex Runner – Eating Disorder Recovery

I have repeatedly recommended Danielle’s ‘Life with ED’ series as ‘required reading’ for anyone who needs to eat food, and last night she posted her last entry, about trying to normalize her relationship with food and her body especially in the wake of having had both major and minor surgery this year. Here is a little bit:

Eating disorder recovery isn’t linear, and it isn’t easy. I will probably never call myself “recovered;” I’ll be perpetually “recovering,” at least, I hope, since that is better than relapse. It’s a process and something that takes a lot of hard work. No one can do it for me. While some days it seems hopeless and that I’ll never be able to change the way I think about myself, some days are days like yesterday. And then I think, “Maybe not today, but one day.”

2. Gluten Free Treadmill – Falling in Love

Speaking of essential series, I really want Laura to re-publish her series from her ‘And This Is Thirty’ blog, but that is an entirely different topic. Right now Laura is doing a ‘Best of 2014 Series’, and the other day looked at her resolutions and bucket list. If you follow her you know she had a relationship earlier this year, so I loved reading this:

8. Fall in love. I did, and then fell out. But it was totally worth every second and I’m a better person for it and really ready for the next time.

And of course this one as well:

4. Be awesome and all-around hard-core. Obviously.

There is a ton more, and the rest of the series is great. And, oh yeah – she’s running ACROSS THE COUNTRY next year. So there’s that.

3. Fit Fresh and Funny – Loving Life While Facing Challenges

I have always enjoyed Laura’s blog, because she has had to deal with serious medical issues – and handles them honestly (i.e. they suck) but is always funny and up front with them. Recently what she thought was a migraine turned out to be viral encephalitis (in other words, swelling of the brain caused by a virus). If that sounds like serious shit – it is. But that didn’t stop her today from taking stock of all of the fortunes and happiness she has in her life:

Because I am exhausted, have a brain infection, and a relapse going on that makes me sorry I pushed myself the last week. But I also have a husband upstairs cooking me dinner while singing to the Violent Femmes at the top of his lungs.

4. Paleo Running Momma – But I Don’t WANNA!

I like to give Michele at Paleo Running Momma a hard time about being linear and structured – and she says it wasn’t always that way – but I also know how my wife doubled-down on structure and organization as a stay-at-home mom with little ones. It just works that way … or you get even more chaos! (heck, we still have a wall calendar with everyone’s stuff on it in our kitchen that we live by!). But yesterday she wrote about how without the rigor and schedule of a training plan in support of a marathon goal, she is floundering a bit finding motivation. I love that even as she is working hard to build her brand and coaching business (btw – she is doing special coaching deals right now, hit her up for details), she beings out some totally honest posts like this one. Check it out:

Because every morning I have been not wanting to get up to run. Like there hasn’t been even one day I just got out of bed without hesitating, it’s a struggle every day.

This really sucks! It’s amazing how I will complain either way. Which is it? Do you like getting up early or do you wish you could sleep later? Meh, I think it’s both. But right now I’m wishing I was happier with early. It makes for a much less rushed and stressful morning.

5. Fueled By Lolz – Body Image Insanity

Hollie can be totally hilarious – but she is often also quite pointed in what she is saying. Her post about signing a wedding dress waiver earlier this week is one such post. Because the need for a waiver is fairly new, and is based on the whole ‘bridezilla’ thing coupled with the trend of associating body image with a size number (which is why they say that the old store ‘5-7-9’ would now be ‘0-3-5’0! And so rather than think ‘I want to look my best on my wedding day’, it is ‘I am wearing a size 4 for my wedding’. See the problem for dress shops? Hollie takes it further:

It takes me back to this straight forward point: no one knows or cares what dress you are. No one cares your weight. At your wedding, people notice how happy and how glowing you are…not your damn dress size.

I used ‘bonus’ because I am sticking to ‘Friday Five’ as a theme and then cheating by adding two bonus items. So there are seven.

Bonus #1. Running Out of Wine – Phantom Technology Woes

I love when Lisa, who always comes across so structured and organized in her posts, lets things wander about with a ‘Thinking Out Loud’ that is true-to-name. This was one of those weeks – and what she said had me cracking up:

My Garmin keeps buzzing in the other room right now and I have no idea why. And I am too lazy to go check/go make it stop. Its also continued to do whatever it wants on many of my runs. Like the map will make it look like a ran through the harbor. I swear I’m not that talented.

Bonus #2. The Lyons Share – Own Your Feelings

I alreadu mentioned Megan for the quote at the top – which was an awesome event today. But I always love her posts – she is mainly doing a ‘Motivation Monday’ and ‘Foodie Friday’, but makes them all worth reading (such as this or this). Here is a great quote from her post about dealing with your feelings:

Even while there is a time and a place to put on a happy face, though, it’s not healthy to bottle up all of your emotions inside and pretend that you never feel anything but happy. I talk to my girls at Girls on the Run about the fact that emotions might be “comfortable” and “uncomfortable,” but they are not “good” and “bad.” Being angry, frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, or anxious might not be the most pleasant way to feel, but those feelings are valid and should be expressed rather than smothered.

How about me?

Well, if you follow me on social media you know I have had some good stuff happening in our family, which is exciting – more on that later. But aside from that it is just the normal wonderful life I enjoy – Lisa, the boys, the dogs and cats, great job, nice home, and so on.

What thoughts do YOU have to share?

Monday Moments – Grateful ‘Leftovers’, Pet Peeves and Random Reality Checks

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I survived 30 days of Grateful posts … and while it was rewarding and I loved all of the great comments, it was exhausting. But I was left with a bunch of thoughts – positive, negative, etc – that I figured I would just spill out … so here goes:

Grateful ‘Leftovers’
1. I am grateful for YOU. Anyone reading this, as I get a bunch of reads and views from non-commenters (which is fine, of course). The comments here, the great thoughts shared on your own blogs, fun pics on Instagram, and so on. They are great and make me proud to be part of this group.

2. The running community Here I am talking about online, local, pretty much everyone who runs or volunteers to help runners or works in some capacity helping runners. The stories I hear all over the place warm my heart.

3. The non-running community These are the people who get us to races, cheer us on, worry when we aren’t home when we said, and so on. They are also the people who deal with redirected traffic at races, runners with headphones not following traffic rules, and so on. I complain about the occasional ‘morning moron’ who intentionally tries to push me off the road, but in general everyone I meet and talk to and deal with is incredibly encouraging and kind.

4. My Co-Workers I have talked about how wonderful everyone was when I was losing weight back in 2012, and also noted the supportive people on my project team going back and forth to Kentucky last year. And this year has been great as well – I have loved watching as some people have succeeded at joining the ‘100+’ club and looking great, and continued enjoying the support. I got asked a couple of times about my 5K this week, and it is great.

While I’m at it let me add ‘The Power of a Simple Text’ – the way my company works is very project based, so I have worked with more than a dozen separate groups of people over the 6.5 years I’ve been there. For the most part things just fade into the background, you say a quick ‘hi’ in the hallways, or at local events if you see each other. But then there are occasional friends who stick with you – and I got a fun and friendly text from one person the other night that was just super-nice and very much appreciated.

5. Humor I love laughing and having fun – which is why I have shared things such as the Oatmeal talk the other day. I love comedy movies from Airplane to Monty Python to the Marx Brothers to Blazing Saddles and more …web comics, Dilbert, Bloom County, and on and on. I love the Instagram account ‘Unspirational’, and things like this:

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Pet Peeves
1. OK, this isn’t a pet peeve, but when I said in a post I would alienate some people … I wasn’t wrong. In spite of putting out content consistently for a month I have lost readers and subscribers and followers – and that is after being virtually silent for a month!

2. ‘Clean Eating’ – I am a huge fan of eating well, eating REAL food, and so on. But as I have said, ‘Clean Eating’ is seldom used in a positive way – I see it on Instagram, blogs and so on as a ‘brag-term’, or sometimes a ‘superiority hammer’, but never as anything constructive. It is a vague and largely meaningless term as used. It might as well be ‘#ImEatingCleanerThanYOUBitches’ for the way it is portrayed!

3. Instagram Hashtag ‘Attention-seekers’ (because I don’t like that word that rhymes with ‘store’, and find it still has negative connotations towards women) … um, there was one young runner whose blog I used to follow who tagged all of her Instagram posts with things like #fitnessmodel and #fitspo and about 25 more #things … and it attracted the type of attention you might expect. Sure Instagram is another way of getting yourself seen … but what is your message, and how do your hashtags convey that and what type of audience are you attracting? I do NOT believe that all attention is good attention.

4. THIS! – I mean, is there even a web site there?

Is There a Site

OK, it is pretty clear if you look at the title what site that is, and I have emailed Michele about it, and we still follow each other and comment on posts and it is all in good fun, but here’s the thing – on the one hand people need to pay for their sites, maybe for the effort they put into blogging, and if lucky enough to get a few more $ on top of that. I also understand that to get that money requires advertising, which requires code that needs to be *seen* to be useful.

But on the other hand there are limits to what people should have to deal with – and if I am an email subscriber to your blog, and click on that link in my email, I should NEVER see another thing to sign up! That is just not cool – and it is not an ad that is making you money. And to have them double-stacked with an advert on the bottom? Yeah, pretty much useless. There are more than a few sites where I see the sign-up bar at top – and I already get the daily email from all of them. Please make it stop – we should be partners working together for the best overall experience, and while we know that usually includes advertising … try to minimize the clutter wherever possible.

5. Deleted Comments, Non-Replies, Link-Ups.

Look, it is your blog, do what you want. But always be mindful of what you are doing compared to what you want for yourself. I have had a couple of ‘interesting’ experiences recently…

Replies – We want people to comment, and should honor the time they put into reading our stuff and commenting with at least a small acknowledgement. Or not – but be consistent. If you get 20 comments and respond to 5, that is one thing … but if you get 50 and reply to 49 – not so cool. And if it seems to happen fairly consistently? … well, I have ended up unsubscribing from a few sites after what felt like a campaign of non-responses.

Deletions – Personally I have never deleted a comment. I know several bloggers who HAVE deleted some, but generally because they are offensive and/or inappropriate. This past week I saw a blog post that I found a bit ironic (it talked about what it was like in the ‘old days’ and the blogger is under 25) … and replied in a light but needling manner. I started getting notifications, and headed to the site to read more comments … but noticed that there were fewer than when I had left my comment – which was also gone. Oh well – not everyone can take a joke, and it is the right of every blogger to control their own narrative.

‘Living for the Link Up’ – I love ‘Thinking Out Loud’ posts that actually ARE somewhat random – because let’s face it, at this point in our blogging community I will see close to 100 posts on my blog feed that are just ‘Thursday’s Post’ with a TOL slapped on it just to get in on the link-up. We get it – link-ups are a great way to build readership (or at least increase numbers of followers). But while anyone can add a link to the link-up, PLEASE at least try – an ordered list on a single topic? That is NOT a TOL post 🙂

OK … enough whining 🙂

Random Reality Checks

1. Exhaustion – I loved doing the 30 days of Gratitude, but similar to when I pounded out those ’10 Days of You’ in 10 days, while also doing other things … well, I am burnt.

2. Plans for Rest of 2014 Blogging – I have a couple of other posts planned: (a) a Year in Review and Goals for 2015, and … Chances are that will be all I post.

3. What Happens in 2015? – no clue. As of right now I have no concrete plans. I would like to say I’ll do a weekly check-in, but I have no idea. I’ll still be running, and you’ll see me on Instagram, but I don’t know how much (if at all) I’ll be here.

4. Focus on Being a Good Friend, Rather Than Popular! – here is the thing: as I have slowed up blogging two things have happened: (a) I enjoy my favorite bloggers more and (b) my tolerance for BS and shenanigans has dropped to nil. So rather than do the normal ‘follow 100 blogs and comment like a mad fool to try to get more followers and so on’ … I have already pared my list back considerably.

5. I Miss My Other Writing / Review Crew – before I launched this blog (and even with overlap) I was an editor at another site, and had been writing running-related stuff (The Monday Mile) for a while. But I felt like it encroached on the unified voice of the site (though no one ever said that to me) while restricting me from really exploring what I wanted to write about.

In the past 14 months I’ve published nearly 400 posts on this blog, and have really enjoyed myself, but it has been all-consuming of my internet time. So on the other site I went from being an editor to a contributor to a no-show (and on another site I have totally disengaged) … and frankly I miss that crew. These are the best people I have worked with in the 20+ years I have been writing things on the internet, and when we all met in person for the first time it was as if the email discussion just continued but live – and when Lisa joined us the following year she was immediately part of the crew. I want that back, and have started working on writing more for that site.

So that is everything for now!

Thanks again for all your support!