Springettsbury 10k

Saturday was the next to last race in the York Winter Series, the Springettsbury 10k.  I hadn’t raced since the Wildcat 10k in December due to a race being canceled courtesy of bad weather, not feeling well/bad weather for another race (Sickness Slump), and coaching at an indoor track meet during the race prior.  Despite pre-running the course the Sun. before and hating nearly everything about the run (Weekend Winter Woes) I was rather pumped Sat. morning for the race.

I tend to assume most runners feel this way, but great running weather can make such a difference in one’s mood the day of a race.  The rain wasn’t set to arrive until afternoon, and it was warm enough that I didn’t require two layers of clothing though I did decide to go with gloves and my headband after feeling chilly on my warm-up run.  Physically I was a little uncertain given I had only ran one long run (the pre-run) the week leading up to the race.  I did, however, run steps with the track kids during a practice and utilized the elliptical and recumbent bike in the school’s weight room to keep my legs moving.  Mentally I knew nothing could be as miserable as the pre-run so already the race would be better than that.


Pre-race pic – feeling ready to run and happy that the weather was more mild than it had been recently!

Armand (my 70 year old running friend) and I agreed to start out together because he struggles with hills and we wanted to hold our pace back initially to ensure a strong finish.  My dad and Todd took off quickly, but Armand and I kept to our plan and held back even while others rushed to pass us.  I joked that we knew what was coming and they likely didn’t.  The long, steep hill near the end of the first mile was a little more bearable than I expected.  My legs didn’t feel ripped to shreds like they had during the pre-run.  The hills kept coming through the second mile and despite my yelling encouragement to Armand I soon was ahead of him to the point that I couldn’t see him when I glanced back.  Approaching the third mile mark he caught back up to me.  For what he lacks in uphill running abilities he certainly makes up for in his downhill running skills.  He never ceases to amaze me and the rest of our group often jokes that we hope we’re still running at his age let alone running as fast as he does.

The hardest part of the course behind me, I settled into a comfortable race and started to enjoy the country scenery.  I love running races on back roads with limited traffic that allow me the freedom to run in the middle of the road to avoid the camber.  There was a water station just past the third mile mark that I utilized.  I tend to always use them in distances longer than a 5k.  I struggle with hydrating well enough for morning races so it always provides a needed boost for me.  Armand did get a few feet ahead of me since he didn’t take water, but I worked my way back up to running with him.

My first two miles had been around a 9:30 pace, but miles three and four were hitting around the 9 minute mark.  After the four mile mark I just felt energized and strong.  Of all the winter races I had ran, this was the first that I didn’t feel uncomfortable in terms of heating up and cooling down.  My body temperature felt comfortable the whole time.  I did pull my running gloves off to carry, but otherwise I was focused on the run and not sweating or freezing.

I started to increase my pace which is not normally something I would do with two miles to go.  I’ve always been a cautious racer, waiting until I knew that I could truly “go” without worrying about burnout.  I felt strong though and wanted to push it and see if I could hold it.  Armand commented on how strong I was running especially compared to Sunday’s pre-run.  I encouraged him to keep up with me and while he wasn’t running right beside me anymore I could hear him behind me.

I broke 9 minutes at the five mile mark and was determined to push the last mile.  There was a small footbridge to cross in a development and the whole area in front of it was a sheet of ice.  There were two race volunteers there cautioning runners.  Armand passed me at this point.  I quickly turned my run into a “baby quick step” with arms spread wide to cross the ice.  I knew it would cost me a few seconds, but I’m naturally clumsy and wasn’t going to risk going down.  Once I got back on the road I told Armand he was a better “ice runner” than I was.  He told me yet again to go, that I was having a strong run.  I told him not to lose sight of me, that we would finish the race the way we finish our Wed. night runs to and from John Wright Restaurant – fast and strong.

I took a deep breath, shook my arms loose and prepared to kick it as much as possible.  I turned into a development and upon exiting passed the six mile sign.  One final turn in the parking lot and I was striding out as much as possible to the finish line.  My official time was a 54:12 – almost a 9 min mile pace.  Unfortunately my Garmin as well as Todd’s and another runner’s registered the course at 6.1 miles instead of 6.2, but I know that happens and I try to not get too hung up on it.  I ran a strong, smart race even if it was .1 short.

Armand finished close behind me and said he had tried to catch me at the end but couldn’t.  I was fortunate to have him to race with as I think it really helped me to start out smart.  Of all the winter series races I have ran this year, I think the Springettsbury 10k was the strongest hard race I have ran.  I even enjoyed a good portion of it thanks to the scenic countryside.  A chocolate chip bagel at the end was also a nice touch.

One race to go in the series – the Northeastern 5k the first Saturday in March.  After all these longer and hilly races I’m excited to see what I can run when I’m not so focused on the pace and miles left to go!

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Running Stories

“No guts no glory, no struggle no story” – Prince Brathwaite

I used to be really big into reading motivational quotes in high school, particularly running related ones.  My track coach always gave us a sheet of quotes as part of our welcome packet at the beginning of each season.  I loved helping to choose which quote would go on the back of our t-shirts each year even though some I liked, such as “We bust ours to kick yours”, were never deemed appropriate enough to use.

Yesterday due to yet another round of snow/sleet/ice mess schools were closed which meant winter track practice was canceled.  This gave me a chance to put on the DailyBurn workout of the day.

For some reason when the trainer, Prince, said the above quote it just really stuck with me.  I think because I’ve only ever heard the first portion of it, “No guts no glory”, and that in itself was never a quote that really motivated me.  It’s a bit ironic since my dad has said it several times throughout my life.  I don’t consider myself a gutsy person in the least and am not much of a risk taker.  I think that quote speaks more to those who are.

Instead it was the second part “No struggle no story” that really resonated with me.  I thought about how many blog posts I wrote in the past year about training for the Blue-Gray Half Marathon.  I also thought about how many blog posts I’ve read that were written by other runners.  While there were plenty of happy, accomplished posts, there were also ones that spoke of challenges, discouragement and sometimes defeat.  From awful-feeling runs to horrible weather, the struggles really did tell the whole story for each runner.

I reflected on the stories I told my running friends about regarding workouts I did by myself while training.  Quite often even the runs that ended on a good note had a struggle somewhere in them and that struggle was what made finishing the run even more worthwhile.  Many of the runs did not end happily other than to just simply have finished them.  If I went out and ran a flat 5 miles on a perfect weather day it wasn’t worth saying much about other than to simply say I had a good 5 mile run.  If that run was hilly though, or in scorching heat or freezing cold, then it became worth sharing.

Much like an action movie without a well developed plot, easy runs really have no story to them.  That’s not to say they don’t have a purpose or aren’t enjoyable.  I love the easy runs that result in runner’s high and get my creativity flowing along with my adrenaline.  I quite often come up with good blog ideas after a good easy run.

The hard runs though, the ones that push me mentally, making me curse the hills, curse the weather and sometimes even curse myself for being a runner, those runs are the ones that tell a story.  Those are the runs that I remember.  Those are the ones I share with others and eagerly listen to or read theirs as well.  The story-telling runs are the runs that unite the running community – those of us who physically run with one another and those of us who have never met, but who have bonded through our shared passion and with it, our shared stories.

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Weekend Winter Woes

I like to think that for the most part I have been less whiny than usual this year when it comes to winter.  I’ve been outside more which has helped keep any seasonal depression at bay.  My chilblains have been limited to one finger and five toes, an improvement over last year despite colder temps this year, and they have not itched or been as painful as previous years.  I’ve gotten more running in than I have since my senior year of winter track.  I have survived multiple days in a row of sub-zero temps and took them in stride by layering up and turning up the heat.  I dealt with my first legit cold in quite a few years.

All that being said I think winter finally caught up to me this weekend and has made me gone full blown “I hate winter” whiny.  Unfortunately it caught up to Jason as well.  Fri. afternoon he developed classic flu symptoms – fever, chills, aches and a cough.  I kept him company at work that evening (he works 2nd shift and is the only person in the building after a certain time except for the cleaning crew) when he realized the systems were behind and he wouldn’t get out on time.  Like me he rarely ever gets sick so this hit him rather hard.

Sat. morning he still had a very low fever and cough so he decided to stay home while my dad and I made the 40 min trip to Harrisburg to Ashley Furniture’s warehouse to pick up our new couch.  This was the 2nd one that was ordered as I was called weeks ago when the first one came in damaged and told to reschedule the pick up as they would need to order a new one.  The warehouse worker cut open the plastic wrap and cardboard and began helping me inspect the couch only to discover the back part of the frame was either bent or broken.  I was devastated and could’ve cried.  The worker said they could order another one (keep it mind we originally ordered it over MLK weekend) or have a technician repair it.  I called Jason who was livid and the warehouse worker could tell I was frustrated.  He went to the office and came back and said they could deliver a new one for free (normally over $100 which is why we agreed to pick it up to begin with) but Jason and I just wanted a refund.  We ended up having to go to the actual store that night to process the return.  I apologized more than once to my dad who had wasted his time and gas driving his Explorer and small trailer up there to haul it for us.  Fortunately he was chill about it, but I’m still upset by the whole situation as I loved the color of the couch and the chaise portion of it.  I also hate shopping in general so knowing we have to go find something new somewhere else annoys me.

Sun. morning I met my dad and two running friends to pre-run the Springettsbury 10k course that we’re set to race this Sat.  The weather seemed tolerable until we actually started running.  While it didn’t feel as if there was a wind, there certainly was a head wind when we started.  The relief that came when we turned into a development was quickly destroyed by having to run up one of the longest, steepest hills I think I’ve ever ran.  I cursed hills the entire way up and cursed winter for limiting my training and not feeling as in shape to be running that type of hill.  The only perk was having ran it I now won’t have the awful surprise when I race it on Sat.  My legs felt destroyed for almost the whole rest of the run and even the smaller hills felt torturous.

Mother Nature saw fit to add to my agony by increasing the wind speed and adding in snow for the last two miles.  I wished I had worn sunglasses just to prevent my eyes from the stinging.  I kept my head lowered and pushed through each step as best as I could.  If it wasn’t for running with Armand (dad and Todd were way ahead kicking our butts) I likely would’ve walked though I knew that it would just take even longer to get back to my car which is all I wanted at that point.  I can only hope the actual race conditions are much less brutal as the hills will be challenging enough.

The picture below was me after the run – wind burned red cheeks, frozen feeling eyeballs and just overall worn out feelings.


The rest of the day seemed to be more pleasant as I came home to take a warm shower and make chocolate chip pancakes for lunch.  Jason’s symptoms other than the cough had subsided and we watched episodes of the X files before enjoying slow cooker Thai chicken for dinner.  Then we settled in to watch the Superbowl.  Although I tend to hate the Eagles I was rooting for them just so that the Patriots wouldn’t win another Superbowl.  I was glad that the whole game was exciting from start to finish as the years that it’s been a blowout ended up boring me.

Going to bed on a high note didn’t last as around 1am Jason woke up with a nosebleed.  This has happened to both of us before as the electric baseboard heating and space heater we sometimes use tends to dry out the bedroom air substantially.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t get it to stop.  I called the doctor’s office to have the on call doctor paged, but when he removed toilet paper from his nose and a huge blood clot came out I made the decision to just take him to the emergency room.  The closest one is less than 10 minutes away but all the lovely snow/sleet/rain mix from the day had created an icy glaze at spots.  My car skid turning from the one road onto the highway ramp and I partially panicked and did actually cry a little after out of fear of crashing.  It’s aggravating trying to safely drive in winter conditions but wanting to hurry as well.

We arrived safely and proceeded to spend the next 3 hours in the emergency room.  My sister said that actually wasn’t a bad period of time to be there as when she went last year she was there 8 hours.  I know patients have to be prioritized on the basis of need and that most hospitals are short staffed, but it was an exhausting experience nonetheless.  Jason was triaged within the first 45 minutes and they had him wear a plastic clamp on his nose which after about an hour stopped the bleeding.  We really just wanted to go home and sleep, but we knew that they would want him seen by a doctor.  The doctor didn’t feel it was necessary to cauterize his nose and around 4:40am sent us on our way.  I had texted my manager that I wouldn’t be starting at my usual 7am but still did end up starting by 10am.

I can honestly say I have not felt this exhausted in a long time and am spoiled in that I almost always get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  I’m surprised I have the energy to blog but knowing I might not get to the rest of the week was motivation to see what I could get written.  Not to mention a vent session was needed to try to clear out the negativity and reset for tomorrow in hopes that the rest of the week will prove uneventful.  Here’s hoping for some good sleep tonight!



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Struggles of considering a new position

I have been toying with the idea of applying to a position I saw posted at my company last week.  Originally Jason had interest in applying but decided he wants to keep an eye out for openings at the bank he works for instead.  Once he decided not to apply it crossed my mind to consider it.

In March I will have been in my current position for 2 years and in September I will be at the company 4 years.  Overall I enjoy the work I do albeit I don’t need 40 hours to complete it all (my disdain for the 40 hour workweek shall be fodder for another blog rant someday).  The main perks, however, are getting to work from home and design my own schedule within reason.  I had to give up coaching jr high cross country in 2011 when I obtained a full time job as the hours did not allow me to be off work in time to get to practice by 3pm.  I never imagined I would ever hold a position that enabled me to coach again.  It goes without saying that working from home is awesome.  No longer do I stress about bad weather and I live in athletic pants, tshirts and hoodies.  I simply wander to the fridge when I’m hungry and never have to wait in line to use the bathroom.

For these reasons I have never really considered leaving my current job.  I won’t go into details as to why I have some dissatisfaction with the position (you never know who may stumble upon my blog and there’s no certainty I won’t be staying in this position a lot longer), but it’s gotten to the point that I’m willing to entertain another option even if it means possibly giving up coaching, my real career passion, and working from home.

I had to update my resume which wasn’t too painful since it really only required adding my current role.  I did do some better formatting and Googled whether it was acceptable to have 2 pages.  There’s no way of condensing it into one without shrinking the font to unreadable levels but at least there’s only one job and education history listed on the 2nd page.  I tried to include as many “buzzwords” as possible in case there’s any computer scanner that reads it before an actual human does.

The most irritating part of applying for a job though has to be writing a cover letter.  For someone who enjoys writing as much as I do, I despite writing cover letters.  I think it comes down to feeling like it’s professional bullshit.  Instead of just writing as myself I have to make sure to fancy it up to make myself more appealing.  I would much rather be blunt and be like look, I have A B and C skills and you’re looking for that and I’m interested in this position for X Y and Z reasons.  Straight forward and to the point.

I remember years ago after graduating college I did a phone interview for a position with an insurance company and the lady asked me what my dream job was.  I was honest and told her a high school athletic director and gave the reasons.  At the end of the interview she offered me a “tip” and said in the future if I was asked that question to not give an answer other than the position I was applying for.  I was baffled – she asked what my DREAM job was – did she honestly believe that was going to be an entry level insurance company position?

I actually had to Google how to format a cover letter as it feels like ages since I wrote one.  I rewrote portions of it a few times as I felt like it was too formal and stereotypical and my own voice wasn’t really coming through.  I tried to write it how I would speak, but more professional of course.  I’m grateful to have it finished though and I’m sure it helped my writing skills to complete it.  I’m going to have Jason and Angel read it tomorrow just to be sure it’s ready to be submitted.

Now that the hard part of applying is over I am content to sit back and see if fate decides I should be headed down a new path or am meant to stay where I am.


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Weekend Randomness

Normally I struggle with writer’s block but for some odd reason tonight I just have too many thoughts all trying to come out at once that it seems impossible to stay focused on one topic.  I wrote about half a blog entry on the concept of choice only to start in on discussing careers while ranting about 40 hour work weeks in my head.  Then I started to write about listening to your body as an athlete while thinking about how, without even trying it, I’m reducing my sugar consumption and naturally looking for healthier alternatives.  I almost gave up on writing tonight completely but I’ve been doing well at being more consistent at writing that it seemed a shame to throw in the towel.  So my compromise is to just ramble about the various items that filled my weekend in hopes that will calm my brain back down so that I can write a more well thought out post later this week.

Friday evening my mom came over to watch 47 Meters Down on Netflix with me.  We had considered going to see it at the movies when it came out but were hesitant that it might not be worth the money.  She and I don’t have a lot in common, but we do have a shared loved for shark movies of all kinds, the good and the bad.  Deep Blue Sea is my personal favorite.  It turned out to be better that we watched it on Netflix as I was questioning various things throughout the movie and mom was commenting on a lot of it.  We have a tendency to do that with movies that aren’t of the highest quality.  It certainly was better than Open Water though which I will forever rank as the worst movie ever created and how they made a sequel when the first one had nothing happen whatsoever is beyond me.

Saturday I spent most of the day at F&M College for an indoor track invitational.  We only had a few athletes go, but they all performed well overall.  I hadn’t been inside that facility since 2003 or 2004 when I competed in high school.  I forgot how nice it was and the kids were all impressed by it as well.  A school that charges over 40k a year (no idea what the tuition is now, that’s what it was back when I graduated) should have rather nice facilities though.

There are two events that as a spectator fuel my energy more than anything else in life – concerts and running competitions.  More than once I have nearly teared up watching the kids I coach compete.  There’s just this overwhelming adrenaline that fills me.  I have often wished that in my actual job I felt the same passion that I feel when I’m coaching.  While the cold weather practices wear on me some days (we do stay indoors if truly necessary but try to go out as much as possible) overall I leave practice more energized.

The invite certainly made for a long day as I didn’t get home until after 5pm and called Jason when I was a few blocks away.  He was as hungry for dinner as I was so we headed out to Lyndon Diner which was our 3rd trip this month.  Their menu is just so extensive and we want to try so much of it.  They make the best french toast I’ve ever had; it’s cinnamon swirl done with a thick bread that literally tastes like the inside portion of a cinnamon roll.

Sunday morning we went to the grocery store and fortunately beat the “post church” rush.  Having worked at Weis through most of my college career (and some after) I tend to be a good judge of when to go to avoid the crowds.  The one annoyance we did run into (almost literally) was a mother who let her daughter push one of the kid carts beside her.  This was cute to see for about 5 seconds until we couldn’t get around her and she got more in the way while trying to move out of the way.  We fortunately got far enough ahead that we didn’t have to deal with them in any other aisles.  Ironically when we were almost finished we spotted the mother and the child no longer had the cart.  I told Jason later that I don’t understand why those carts are made for children likely around 3-6 years old instead of around 8-10 when they could actually help the parent out picking out needed items.

Jason ran on Saturday while I was at the track invite and had much nicer weather than what Sunday brought.  I kept hoping it would improve and while the rain slowed to a tolerable amount, I still talked myself out of my 6 mile loop and opted for my hilly 4 mile one instead.  The first half mile I almost turned around as I didn’t wear gloves (it was nearly 50* so I didn’t think they would be necessary) and the bits of rain and wind were wearing on my mentality.  Fortunately when I entered the one development conditions improved and I ran the rest of it in fairly good spirits.  After conquering the toughest hill I enjoyed a speedy 1 mile run down main street before turning to come home.

I spent more of Sun. afternoon in the kitchen than I normally prefer.  Jason had eaten the rest of our energy bites (a recipe we obtained when we went to a sports nutrition class in the fall) so I decided to make more.  He fortunately is always willing to help so I let him roll them as he’s much better at it than I am.  I then made homemade bread.  I had gone to a bread baking class last Tuesday determined to do something more than just read about homesteading.  We sampled various breads in the class, learned about ingredients, and made a no-knead crusty white bread dough to bring home.  I am happy to report it turned out fabulous and Jason and I ended up eating one of the two loaves I made.  Finally I had to make dinner which was garlic chicken fried chicken.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to make it again as other than the cook time being longer than the recipe indicated (why do recipes say 5 mins on each side when chicken breasts never cook the whole way through in that short of time?) it’s super easy and super tasty.

All my hard work in the kitchen allowed me to feel guilt free indulging in the X Files that evening.  As a kid just the music at the beginning of the show freaked me out and I never watched it.  Jason loved it though so I told my mom to buy him the box set for Christmas as I had no ideas to give her and figured that would be a good surprise.  We are both enjoying it and I can attest it’s a good thing I waited until I was an adult to watch it as I likely would’ve had nightmares from some of the episodes had I watched them as a kid.

Well I believe I have ranted myself out for the night so here’s hoping the randomness is out of my system and I can write a more insightful post soon!

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Life After Death – Damien Echols

In 2017 Jason and I watched a lot of crime/court related stories.  Some such as The People vs OJ Simpson and Manhunt: Unabomber I was familiar with having been a child in the 90s.  I didn’t know the stories in full detail though and found the shows intriguing.

The story that stood out the most though was one that I had never heard of.  I’m not sure if it wasn’t covered much in my area during the 90s or because I was so young (born in 1986) that I just wasn’t paying attention to the coverage to remember it.  Jason and I came across the HBO documentary trilogy, Paradise Lost, while browsing Amazon Prime one day.  It is the story of the West Memphis 3 – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.  Three teens charged with and convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.

After watching the trilogy I was horrified by just how corrupt the legal system could be.  Everyone has heard of “dirty cops” but this went far beyond that.  It was true injustice at every juncture of the legal system.  Not only were people not doing their jobs correctly, but it seemed they were intent on convicting three innocent teens of murder for no other reason but to quickly close a case and look like heroes in their town.  I believe it’s the closest thing this country has had to a modern day witch hunt.

Damien was pegged as the “ring leader” and sentenced to death row.  I have never determined my opinion on the death penalty.  I think part of the reason is that I have never done enough research into the justice system or societal benefits/downfalls of it to have an accurate picture.  Another reason is I feel so far removed from hard crime and prisons (fortunately) that having no personal experience leaves me further limited in my true understanding of it.

For Christmas Jason bought me Damien’s book, Life After Death.  It was written in 2012 after he had been released in 2011.  I primarily read fiction and if I do read non-fiction it tends to be self-help or financial related books.  This was the first I ever read a memoir.

I can certainly see why it was ranked as a NY Times Bestseller.  Damien’s writing style is transfixing and encompassing.  It’s not a “woe is me” story, but rather a journey through his poverty-stricken childhood to his being targeted by the local cops to the true mental trials of being on death row.  It is beautifully written in a near horrifying way and even has elements of sarcasm, wit and humor sprinkled throughout it.

To be taken inside the mind of someone who spent half of his life alone in a cell for a crime he didn’t commit is eye opening to say the least.  Many times while reading I paused and reflected on some of the seemingly small things such as the way Damien described what it was like to not feel snow in 18 years.  So many details of life that most of us taken for granted that he could only wish to experience again.  At times the book made my heart hurt.  Other times it frustrated and made me angry to know that there are humans who exist who could be so cold and malicious to another human being.

Like Damien I cannot say what needs to be done to fix the justice system.  There are certainly dangerous people in this world and those who are guilty of horrendous crimes.  I just now know that for those who are innocent, death row sounds like the truest Hell on Earth.

I finished reading Life After Death last night and I am still wrapping my head around all of it.  It’s impossible to comprehend the psychological torment Damien experienced and how he ever found the will to keep pushing through each day.  His book will be one that I will certainly reread again, for the magick in the writing and the lessons to be learned from just attempting to understand a world and experiences so vastly different from my own.

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Forgoing Facebook Benefited My Blogging

I have written in the past about Facebook as well as taking breaks from it – Facebook Robots, Goodbye Again Facebook, Hello Again BlogMy MIA month from Facebook.  One thing always occurred after deactivating Facebook; I ultimately reactivated it and resumed the bad habit of wasting my life (or at least most of my evenings) away on it.

I think for a lot of people becoming addicted to social media tends to be like consuming sugar.  Nearly all of us enjoy it on a daily basis and think that as long as we’re not over-doing it then we’re fine.  The thing about both though is that they find a way of sneaking into our lives and affecting us more than we realize.  In the case of sugar it’s hidden in so many foods under so many ingredient names it’s nearly impossible to avoid even when we’re actively trying to do so.  Facebook is even sneakier though.  While we may be committed to limiting our time on it (some may even set a timer to ensure they’re sticking to their goals) we can’t easily see the long term psychological effects it has on us.  If too much sugar can warp our physical health and lead to diabetes, then too much Facebook can sabotage our mental well being and turn us into narcissists.

I deactivated Facebook in September, not long after posting pics to show off Jason and my wonderful cruise with friends.  The drama over NFL players kneeling during the playing of the anthem pushed me to a breaking point; I was literally sick of seeing nonstop posts and people fighting each other over it.  I figured like most of my Facebook breaks in the past that within a few weeks  I would be back on it.  Besides reactivating for about 15-20 mins in Dec. I haven’t returned nor do I foresee returning.

I will add in that Jason also deactivated his Facebook around the same time and that certainly was a help in cementing my decision to quit for good.  If neither of us had any gossip to share from the news feed then there was no chance of either of us wanting to reactivate it.

It goes without saying that by not wasting my evenings scrolling away on Facebook, I have begun blogging more frequently.  It was if I actually added time back to the day.  That is just the tip of the iceberg though.

I have started to learn what it means to truly blog, to develop a voice and writing style and engage with others who inspire my writings through the reading of theirs.  Unlike Facebook where there is this underlying expectation to “like” most of what your friends and family post, when I like someone’s writing I’m liking it because it truly resonated with me.  I like to think that bloggers who like my writings are doing it for the same reason.

I’m also finding that most bloggers are “real” in the sense that they post the good and the bad, not just try to showcase the best elements of their life or dramatize the worst ones.  They’re not writing just for attention (like most people’s reason for posting Facebook statuses or pics), but to share a piece of themselves be it as a stress outlet, hobby or a means of connecting with others.  When others post vacation pictures it’s to share their experiences rather than to just show them off.  I have learned about so many places (and have now added them to my mental “must see before I die” list) because of bloggers who write about their adventures and not just post photos as is often the case on Facebook.  I have discovered recipes, books, travel advice and running tips all through expanding my blog subscriptions.  Adding more friends on Facebook never did that.

I never put much thought into writing my Facebook statuses.  Those that I did, such as when the Dakota Access Pipeline protest was going on, seemed to never inspire or educate people in the way that I had hoped.  Quite often posting a mundane status about a new recipe turning out well garnered more attention than posts about the environment.  It was discouraging and fueled the cynicism and “glass half empty” mindset that I already struggled with at times.  I don’t have that problem with blogging.  Even if I write a post and it doesn’t generate any likes, I know that there is the possibility of someone, somewhere connecting to that piece.  Not to mention the writing of the post itself enhances my skills and improves me as a writer.  I can’t say posting a new Facebook status everyday ever did that.

By blogging more I feel that my mind is sharper.  Instead of dulling it by scrolling memes, selfies and attention seeking posts, I am getting my creative juices flowing, exploring new writing styles and becoming more confident with each post.  Blogging helps balance my mind much the way that running does.  Reading posts by other wonderful writers (some of whom have deeper insight than I do or wittier ways of writing) expands my mind and makes me ponder new subjects either to research or write about myself.

I know there are those who will argue the benefits of Facebook, and I will admit I miss the ease of being able to find local events by seeing who else has “liked” them or are going to them.  In general though the strides I’ve made with my blog and personally have a writer are well worth quitting Facebook for good.

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