Thursday, March 8, 2012

the ground is rumbling

I was really pleased to find that my ugly Monday post generated a lot of great discussion, both on- and off-line.  Many both people that read my blog have commented, both this week and in the past, that part of the reason why they like reading is because I'm very honest about my life.  It's been described as "raw," and I don't find anything wrong with that.  The problem with being open and honest and raw, though, is that it works against me in situations like this.  Maybe if I wasn't sharing every detail of my life with an audience, there would be less stress placed on me by myself.  Huge food for thought.  I've been blogging for a few years now, and there are parts of it that I love.  There are people that I've met that I otherwise never would have known, very good friends that I've made, experiences that I would have missed out on, all that grew from sticking my nose (ass?) out onto the internet and telling my little story.  


But since we're being honest and raw, there's a lot about it that really pisses me off.  A perfect example is going on right now.  Yesterday was registration day for the Marine Corps Marathon.  My twitter feed - and later, my google reader - became filled with "oops, I didn't mean to register," and "wow, made a bad life decision today," and "why did everyone make me do this?"  It made me want to fling my laptop out of my second-story window.  Here are times when it is acceptable to feel that way.  I am three years old and wet the bed, oops.  I am thirteen years old and the mean girls made me snap the bra strap of the new kid, why did everyone make me do this?  I got drunk and slept with the kid next door's cousin visiting from college in the front yard, bad life decision.  (note: I don't think [?] that I've done any of these things.)  But if you are 29-years-old and you fill out a registration form of your own accord, check the box that says, "Yes, I understand what I am doing and take responsibility for my actions" two dozen times and then hit "register," that falls under none of those categories.  Take responsibility for your actions, for pete's sake.  No one is MAKING you run a marathon.  You know what?  I DON'T want to run a marathon (unless there is a 112-mile ride first), so I didn't sign up.  Sounds pretty easy, right?  If you're wondering what the correct response is to signing up for a big scary race, click here.  You're allowed to be scared, you're allowed to feel nervous, but stop acting like a child and own your life choices.  And while this is first time I've ranted about this on the blog, my real friends, I'm sure, are nodding and skimming because they've heard this exact rant from me five dozen times in the last six months.

And it's things like this, I think, that are leading me - and this blog, by extension - down the road of change.  I think that part of what needs to happen is quieting of my mind.  I need to strip my life of all things that stress me out and holy CRAP is that a long list.  Like I said, I've been really involved in the blogger community for a long time now.  I decided right off the bat that I was going to put up a post every workday, and with very few exceptions, I've done that.  Five posts a week for two solid years.  There have been times where I haven't had much to say (puppy pictures) or have been grasping at straws for a way to talk about yet another aspect of endurance training (granola bars) or just simply am out of content that will generate interesting discussion (the creation of random friday facts, yes I did create it and all you bloggers with your rip-off memes can bite me).  But as I've been doing a stress-cleanse of my blog reader, I've noticed something about the blogs that I want to keep reading.  The authors don't necessarily post every day - although I wish a lot of them would.  Instead, they post when they have something to say, and it's not, "look, I signed up for this race!  Here are ten screen shots of my registration and a picture of me clicking the mouse!"  They post when they want to generate interesting discussion, when they want to talk about training in a way that is not just a simple post of their dallies (although the ones that do simply post dallies don't irritate me, it's just different), or sometimes when they just want to post thirty pictures of their dogs.  But it's not by a forcing of the hand, and I think that's the direction I'd like to go.  I want to keep the people in my blog-life who stimulate my own thinking, and you should do the same to me.  Go ahead and dump me if I stress you out.


The final piece of this puzzle is the comment game, and I've said before that I hate the popularity contest of the comment game.  For the most part, I want to comment on things, I want people to know that I am reading and understanding and reacting, but I also think it's part of the stress that I'm feeding back into my day, the pressure to read and react and write instead of just process.  I feel like over time, I've gotten sucked into the popularity contest and I hate it.  I'm still going to be here, I'll still be keeping up with all of your lives and adventures, but for a while I need to absorb instead of compute and spit out a reaction.  Will I probably lose followers because I don't comment on someone's blog every single day?  Probably.  Are those followers that I mind losing?  Not at all.  Will I be upset if this post generates zero comments because everyone just said, "HRRMPH" and gave me the finger?  Okay, well, maybe just a little.  


I spend a lot of my professional life in meetings and I think part of the way I've learned to be effective, at times, is to listen a lot and speak very little.  It's time to do that here as well.  Please don't be offended if you don't here from me for a while.  Or if you don't hear from me for a while, drop me a note.  Pick up the phone.  Go ahead and facebook friend me if you like pictures of my dogs and complaints about my pool.  Don't rely on my blog to keep you informed about every single detail of my life, but instead, let's just be friends.  And I promise all of you, it's not you....it's me.

48 comments:

  1. This is the BEST post you have ever written!

    And you summed up perfectly the "oops! I didn't mean to sign up for X race." It too, drives me INSANE!

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  2. Apparently, you've been reading my mind. I just posted about this in less direct terms yesterday. Cutting out all the crap of the blogging world that I am sick of. Google reader has been cleared. My posts will be written when I have something I want to say. If people leave, oh well. I don't really care.

    And honestly, I've always loved your take on things. Pretty sure that there's not much you could do to lose my following.

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  3. I think this'll probably still be my favourite running blog. In fact, I know it will. Or tri blog, or whatever. Don't sweat it, dawg. Take it anywhere you want to go - it's yours, after all.

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  4. Aw, I liked the mean girls making you pants the new kid version. Oh well. PS - it makes me super happy that we're friends.

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  5. Katie- I have always liked your post and show off your pics of your dogs to my BF. I will be in DC area at the end of the month so maybe we can get a meet up together :)

    www.runningisalife.blogspot.com

    Sarah

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  6. I think this is a very healthy way to treat it all. We all need to put blogging into the perspective that is right for us. You've got yours figured out--booyah!

    And on the marathon thing--one of my pet peeves. If people can't enjoy the journey, and there are plenty of them, why do it?

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  7. Whoomp there it is! Totally appreciating this right now.

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  8. Yep, yep, and yep. I 10000% understand, and agree. I'm not going anywhere, AND I may just friend you on FB too. Whoa. Thanks for being real, it's refreshing.

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  9. AMEN. The MCM thing annoyed the hell out of me. Really? You feel peer pressure to run a race because everyone else is doing it? I LOVED MCM and honestly would rather run it again then run NYC this year but I've already spent close to $1000 on the NYC Marathon and I'm not about to jeapordize my running that by signing up for a race a week before. OMG it's 96% full! I better register even though I had no intention of doing so until I saw that it was 96% full. Gag me.

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  10. The one thing I do love about your blog, is that even though you post often...I don't ever feel like it is fluff. Your posts are always thought provoking or just make me smile (like puppy pics).

    I don't understand those people who accidently signed up for MCM. Like Miss Zippy said, it is about the journey and they are already starting on a negative foot. So, we have 7 months of complaining tweets and blogs ahead! I have done 7 marathons and 1 ultra and I can tell you that it is a painstaking process each time to evaluate the pros and cons of deciding #1 - if to do one at a certain time and then #2 - which one to do.

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  11. Spot on as usual.
    I haven't signed up for a single race this year yet. Don't know when or if I will. But I own that decision just a much as the ones I do sign up for.
    Not the point of your post, I know. but that's what I felty like sharing.

    I'll still be a reader because I thoroughly enjoy your posts. I'm also not a "comment on every damn thing someone has to say" person. Perhaps one day our paths will cross over thar at Target or just out and about.

    Carry on.

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  12. You're awesome and this post is awesome.

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  13. I often wonder about those very negative "announcements." Own your actions, baby. Well said!

    I am a brand new reader to your blog, but I love what you have to offer from what I have seen so far. You are honest, funny and have real sh*t to say. Thanks for keeping it real!

    Over the last couple of months I've been feeling really bogged down with everything and found that blogging was feeling like a chore. I have since given myself permission to blog when/if I want to, read my favourite blogs when I have time to actually enjoy them and comment if I have something to say. I still have guilt hanging in the back of my mind, but I'm working on that.

    Regardless, I will continue to read because you have quickly become a fave, even if I haven't been commenting on every post.

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  14. From someone who (a) has been blogging since 2004 and (b) blogged every single day for one year, one truth I keep for myself is that my blog is MY blog. I can post what I want and because I make all my comments go through a moderator, if I don't like someone has to say, I won't post it. Blogging shouldn't stress you out. Have fun with it and make it YOUR blog.

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  15. I love your blog. The content (besides raw/honest) is always something fresh and thought provoking. You never disappoint.

    I took the first bug of the season to the forehead last night on my bike. I think that's a sign we are due for a ride! And some cooking.

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  16. You ROCK.

    I have my favorites and go to them. My Google Reader is FILLED with sh*t that I mark as read everyday and don't read unless the title just grabs my attention.

    Those that post with good stuff whether it be daily, weekly, monthly or whatever are the ones that I keep around. I chat with them on FB and Twitter too.....people like you.

    Do what you like and f*ck the rest. Those that leave were not here for you and those that show up will appreciate your posts.

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  17. I love your blog and have since I first stumbled on it last year. I think yours is the only blog I still comment on, actually. I stopped reading a lot of others because, in addition to all the navel gazing, I feel like there's a little bit of a creepy peer pressure (or maybe self pressure?) thing going on to keep up with the Joneses. Or at least that's where my crazy head goes. I actually considered signing up for the MCM yesterday because my Twitter was exploding, and then I was like, oh wait... I hated training for a marathon. Why would I do that again?!

    Selfishly, I hope you keep blogging!

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  18. Also if you don't WANT to run the race, you should have left the spot for someone who desperately wants to run but didn't have a spare $100 yesterday.

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  19. You don't stress me out, I read your blog because you make me laugh!!! Hope you are able to get the results you want. Good luck on your journey! So no more ass shots!?!? :-)

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  20. I have said the "OOPS I REGISTERED" thing before, especially when I was new-new-new to racing (as opposed to the just regular new I am now), and I think for me it was part of the same fear of trying hard/doing well I wrote about in response to your Monday post. Like, OMG, I put my money down and now I have to actually do the work, and that's scary, so I'm going to try to pass it off as an accident and be all cutesy about it so that when I embarrass myself by not doing well, I can say "well I didn't really MEAN to do it, haha, whoops!" It's dumb and irritating, and I'm trying to work my way out of doing crap like that and own my decisions instead.

    I feel awkward moving from "comment relationship" to "actually communicating" relationship with bloggers I like, so I just overshare in the comments. (Case in point...) The internet is weird, yo. But I'm really glad you're on it.

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  21. If you were getting paid to blog it would be one thing, but since you're not you should do whatever you feel like. At least that's my opinion.

    While I also find the "oops I signed up for a race" chatter annoying, I do enjoy a good "I secretly sign up my spouse/significant other/friend for a race and am not going to tell them for a few months" story.

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  22. if most people who do that whole "oops" thing are kidding then it's fine. it's hard for me to believe that they signed up and don't really get the gravity of what they have done. but, yeah, it's totally dumb if they signed up and don't get it. i signed up for my first full and thought "hell yeah! i'm doing this!" (it hurt like a mother f#cker but i never thought "oops" so i get your point)

    on the other topic, i used to feel that stress of reading and commenting but now i don't. if i have time to others and comments - i do. espcially the ones i really enjoy. but, i don't always have the time and neither does anyone else. NBD either way ya dig?

    keep writing and rocking and we'll keep loving you. great post.

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  23. This totally reminds of an actual FAQ on the Grand Rapids Marathon site:
    "Is whining allowed on the course?
    NO! You signed up for this on purpose. Deal with it. I don’t care if you were drunk when your friend talked you into it."

    I hear you about the blog. Blogging has been a great way to meet new people. And now that I have met a lot of them, we keep in touch via email/Twitter/FB/text/phone/smoke signals/carrier pigeon/etc. It's not that I don't want to meet more people, but I no longer feel like I have to blog just to be social.

    I'm all about commenting when I have something to say, but if I read a blog and the only thing that comes to mind is "Nice post!" I'll generally just move on to the next post in my Reader. (Besides, typing the stupid Google word verification in would be longer than my actual post).

    I love your blog and I'll continue to read (and comment when necessary) whether you post daily or monthly. It should never be an obligation for you to do. It should be something you enjoy doing.

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  24. Well put. I got a lot of that in my tweet stream as well yesterday. I was wondering who on earth made someone sign up for something or why on earth would you complain about it.

    I do feel the same way about blogging-it feeds back into my stress levels sometimes when I can't blog or can't comment. Then I realized-no one will judge me either way. Have a great time and I do love how open and honest your blog is!

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  25. This kind of sums up why I took/am taking a hiatus from blogging. The things that annoy me make me want to stay as far away from it as possible. I'm still reading the blogs I love but no longer commenting unless I really have something to say (like now!).

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  26. I don’t have much to contribute, but just wanted to say that your blog is one of my favourites. I actually “save it” so that it is the last blog I read each day – maybe because it always makes me smile, or because so sooo often I can relate to what you are saying (umm, like Monday. Hello? Were you in my head?), or perhaps it is just because I think your puppies are super cute. So, no matter how often you do or do not post, I will continue to read and follow your adventures and if you ever make it over to the West Coast of Canada, drop me a line.

    Also, in regards to yesterday’s post, your swimsuits are the best. Where do you find such fun swim gear?

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  27. I stressed myself out trying to be the best darn blogger possible. But you know what? You can't comment on every blog, every single day, just like you can't blog every single day and expect what you have to say to always be thought provoking. I stopped trying to blog more than once or twice a week awhile ago and I it has made all the different in the world. I no longer feel stressed out or guilty that I'm not blogging. I also stopped commenting on every single person's blog who commented on mine or started following mine because it was just too freaking hard to keep up. Now I post when it matters or I have something to say and that is that.

    As for the "oops" tweets and posts, *ROLLS EYES.* You said it best, own your decisions!

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  28. YES! I would also argue that it is neither brave nor badass to sign up for a race. Anyone with a credit card and the internet can do that. What impresses me is dedication and hard work towards that goal.

    As for blogging, its only as stressful as you make it. Don't have anything to say? Don't say anything. You don't owe the internet anything, and those of us who care will be around on gchat, email, facebook, phone and in person regardless of when your last post was.

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    Replies
    1. "I would also argue that it is neither brave nor badass to sign up for a race. Anyone with a credit card and the internet can do that. What impresses me is dedication and hard work towards that goal."

      My favorite quote. Bravo.

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  29. I agree with you, on all counts. And I'm glad that you're going to post as you feel like it, instead of doing it because it was a promise to yourself that you would do a post every work day, etc.
    I do enjoy reading your blog, but I think if you feel less stressed out, you'll feel better to back away a bit.

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  30. I've been blogging and journalling online since 2000 and have gone through so many times where I felt guilty for not posting regularly enough. When I revamped my current blog a little over a year ago, I decided that I would never once apologize for not posting. It's MY site, nobody is paying to read it, and why should I write if I have nothing to say?

    The same thing goes for commenting. I read/browse/skim a bunch of blogs, but I don't comment too often. If someone gets mad that I'm not commenting, I don't care, and I frankly don't want to add to their statistics if they're going to be that shallow. I'll comment if something strikes a chord in me. Otherwise, I'll smile at the puppy pictures and ponder the ideas, and then I will move along with my real life.

    Kudos for prioritizing. I'll still be reading (mostly silently).

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  31. Hello, followed a trail from another blog to yours and just read this post. Love it. Just be yourself, even if that means being "raw".

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  32. I read certain blogs because I like them, not because people write comments on mine. I like your blog - and I will continue reading it even if you don't post every day or ever comment on mine again. Just sayin'. :)

    This post is ironic to me because I have limited time today to read blogs and I went to yours first. I didn't check to see if you commented on mine first either.

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  33. Great post. I've been feeling a lot of these things too. I don't want to post everyday just because I "should." I want to post b/c the spirit moves me.

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  34. I also agree with you on all this stuff. Great post!

    Especially on the blogging thing. I've had my blog for about 6 years and sve gone from posting a lot and being kind of a comment whore (um, not calling you that) to posting rarely and having almost no readers. Probably not a great model to follow but I actually like it. I don't have much to say on a daily basis and don't have/make time to post anyway. Same with commenting- I just read and move on! In fact I don't know if I have ever commented on your blog. But it's in my reader and I really enjoy it! My main excuse is I read exclusively on my iPhone on the bus to/from work and commenting from the phone is a hassle. But if I have something productive to say I make the effort!

    Anyway, do what you want but your blog is great!

    Also, can we agree the "oops" is overused and super annoying in general? Especially as in "that was supposed to be an easy run. Oops?" ugh.

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  35. I am actually going to take a time out from my non-blog-commenting life to say KUDOS & happy hiatus-ing. So much of what you described here is what annoys me about the blog world too, and I'm glad you are taking steps away from that nonsense. It's very liberating for me... and I hope you find it's the same for you. And if it's not, well, I'm a heartless, souless bitch & now all of the Internet knows. I don't care about that though, because what I sincerely care about is truthful, honest content... and that's what we need more of. You're cool. The end.

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  36. Yes, yes, yes.

    I rarely comment on blogs these days because while I like the platform they give people (well, some people)...I feel like always commenting is a bit of a chore. I'll do it where its warranted (natch), but that's about it.

    And yes. This TEE HEE I REGISTERED FOR A MARATHON! act is trite and infuriating.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

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  37. I don't normally comment, but I did want to tell you that your blog, even on days that are random or puppy filled, is one of my favorites. I totally get you on the commenting all over thing, though, no one wants a hobby/outlet to become a stressful job/chore. Hope the break, even if long or permanent, helps you out!!

    And yes, people that are "forced" to make a "poor life choice" are stupid and need to own it... or just don't do it.

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  38. I swear, you're reading my mind. Blogging is stressful if you try to post everyday and don't have content. I've tried that a few times and it just doesn't work for me.
    I too am cleaning out my Reader and keeping/adding blogs that inspire and make me think. I'm not interested in seeing every bowl of oatmeal someone eats or that they ran 4 miles again today. Great, fine, keep doing it, just not what I want to read when I have time.
    I think your new approach is a good one - I'll still read and enjoy and comment when I have something to add to the conversation! Hope you can de-stress your life more...it's hard for me to do as well.
    Oh, and totally agree on the OOPS I signed up for MCM. Also, totally annoyed with the people who signed up "just in case" they decide they want to run it. Hoarders...

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  39. So, I'm someone who really censors what I say when I blog and probably otherwise, and that is good and bad. There are times when I'd love a greater level of transparency or vulnerability or to just put myself all 'out there', but I really like protecting myself to a certain degree. It may make me less interesting, but I like blog to be about an aspect of my life. It is NOT, however, my life.

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  40. I like your blog and I love the ranting (probably because I rant a lot too?). As for the comment contest, I am obviously a loser since I don't get comments in all of my posts (but that's ok!). I find that if I write something hard (like admitting I gained 20 lbs in less than a year) people will come through for support. That people are reading it, even if they don't always comment (because seriously, you should only comment when you have something to add, not?).

    As for people registering for the MCM and going "ooops" that PISSES ME OFF. Because SO many of my friends didn't expect it to sell out in 2.5 hours, and didn't make the cut off. Then a lot of those "ooops" people will slack off in training and then later try to sell their bib on Craigslist. Why not just leave the registration for the people who were committed from the get-go?? (And I can understand that life changes happen -- you get injured or something else fucks up and you have to drop training, fine. But when you're already making it a joke before training even starts? Ugh. Training for a marathon is not a joke! You need to be committed to it from the moment you press "ok" to register!)

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  41. im glad that when i clicked on "41 comments" for me to share what i want to say, the page went right to my comment box and i cant read what everyone else has to say. yup, i can scroll the mouse up and read them all but i dont want to be influenced by what others have already said (although im sure i know already).
    this post is excellent. we all make choices in our lives each and every day. ill admit ive maybe written blogs or tweets or a fb status to (gasp!) ilicit a response... but the "whoops" posts are crazy. one of the things i like best about you is that you are REAL. tell it like it is. for you, not for anyone else.

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  42. I think this is the first time that I have commented on your blog even though I've been reading for about a year now. I think I found you when I started having SI joint issues last year and have been stalking ever since.
    I am tired of most blogs, it's usually the same old shit all the time and I don't really like the comment game. For the last few months I've only been blogging off and on when I feel like it and I only read and comment on blogs that I really like.
    I have stuck with you because a.) you have a little bit of an attitude (like me)
    b.) form and SI joint issues (like me)
    c.) you are a triathlete and I am slowly worming my way into triathlons
    d.) this should have been #1 actually, but you have golden retrievers and I am all about goldens...love them.

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  43. You said a lot of things here that I completely agree with. In fact, I recently changed my Google Reader labels and put an "every day" category for bloggers who blog every single day. Oddly many of those people don't say much; I end up browsing through them and only relating to a few things they say.

    Also, I don't get the comment game; I also don't get people who say "I can't believe I'm close to X page views today." Nobody cares about that crap.

    There's lots more I could say, but I have to say that I'm glad you're stepping back a bit. I love reading your blog and so many others, but when I can't get to reading blogs but a few times a week, it's very tough to try and catch up.

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  44. Great post, Katie. I totally hear you on the MCM thing. I am registered for Richmond but all of the excitement on the Internet made me feel like I was missing out by not registering! You make a very valid point about post frequency. I think effective blogs are about quality and not quantity. I like your blog because I'm interested in you in a person, and it doesn't matter how often you write. Post when you want to, don't post if you don't want to. Remember you do this for fun, and you're in control of what you say, how you say it, and when!

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  45. HA! Your blog cracks me up and you typically voice many of the things I think about but don't say or write about. So, you have a loyal reader in me. And I agree, don't pressure yourself to blog every day or 5 days a week or whatever - while I always enjoy reading what you have to say, it is a blog and it should be a run aspect of your life, NOT a stressor. And yeah, the "oops I registered for a race" postings are one of those things that piss me off but I don't have the guts to say it. So thank YOU for saying it :)

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  46. Agreed about the registration BS. Really?! You are SOOOOO crazy and nuts for registering along with 20,000 other people for a fun adventure :-)

    Anyway, I am going to keep on reading you so that you don't think I am nuts when I am cheering my head off for you, sonja, and my hubby in CDA this summer!

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