Blogger Q&A: Melissa

Melissa and I worked together and were friends in high school. Thank goodness for the internet because she moved to Florida for college then to Austin, Texas (where she currently resides). We remained friendly over the years but have become extra close in the past year (we are even running the Philly Marathon together, literally, side-by-side, in November)! Melissa is solely responsible for helping me start my blog! She helped me with every step from creating it, to fixing things, to my first post. I am very grateful for the help! I admire her as a friend, runner and blogger. I basically forced her to answer these questions for my blog. Just kidding, she wanted to…

You were the person who inspired me to start a blog about running. Did you have anyone in particular who inspired you? I started reading Chic Runner and SkinnyRunner in 2009. As time went on, I quickly realized how huge the blogging community was and continued adding running blogs to my Reader. I finished my first half marathon in the fall of 2010 on top of the world, and knew it wouldn’t be my last race. I decided it was time to create my own blog.

How did you use social media to build your blog? Blogging requires a pretty decent amount of your time: writing posts, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, responding to comments on your own posts, responding to emails, etc.  But it’s incredible and I love it. It’s just like a business in that you have to work at it and put a significant amount of effort into it to make it grow. The relationships you form are 100% worth it. Also I LOVE Twitter! When I first started using it a couple years ago I didn’t really “get it” but now I’m pretty much obsessed with it. It allows me to geek out about running 24/7, which I think my boyfriend appreciates. If he has to hear me profess my love for compression or my foam roller one more time…

I had NO idea about how many people I would meet when I started participating in the healthy living community via social media. What do you love most about the healthy living community? I love the support we all get from the healthy living community. No one judges, cuts one another down or criticizes. We’re all on a level playing field trying to balance life, staying active and maintaining healthy eating habits. The support system we have in each other cannot be rivaled.

What do you do to motivate yourself to work out? I’m not going to lie – I really struggle with staying motivated to work out. The alarm goes off at 4:45 and I generally don’t get home until around 6, 6:30pm. After the 90 minute commute and decompressing from my day, the last thing I want to do is work out. I’d much rather get in a pair of sweatpants and post up on the couch with a glass of wine! But that glass of sauvignon blanc isn’t going to help me nail a PR or button up my favorite pair of jeans. I make sure to always have a race on my calendar to stay motivated. Also I schedule every workout into Google Calendar, just like a work meeting or any other appointment. NO EXCUSES!

Can you please explain how you became a ZOOMA Ambassador and what you learned from the experience? Last winter I applied to be an Ambassador for ZOOMA Texas. I loved the idea of leading group runs and encouraging local women during training for their first (or tenth!) race. Running is a huge part of my life and I wanted to share the passion for it with others. It was definitely an amazing experience. I met so many great women and formed countless friendships. There’s something to be said for the inevitable bond runners experience while ticking the miles away out there on the trails. Hopefully I’ll be able to participate again next year!

You have run one full marathon and are signed up for another this fall. What do you consider to be the hardest part of marathon training? For me, the hardest part of marathon training (especially since I keep choosing fall marathons…) is the weather here in Austin. Most of my long runs last summer started at 4:30 or 5am when it was already 80 degrees and 100% humidity. BRUTAL. And that was before the sun even came up. It was always a battle with the snooze button on the weekend. Wake up at 4am or sleep in? Hmm… tough choice. But it’s one of the sacrifices you have to make while training for a marathon.

What is your favorite race distance and why? My favorite race distance is definitely the half marathon. With 5ks & 10ks it seems that just when you’re getting settled into a rhythm, the race is over! 13.1 is the perfect amount of miles, in my opinion.

What was your favorite finish line? My favorite finish line was hands down the Marine Corps Marathon. It was my first full marathon, so that in itself was incredibly overwhelming. But high-fiving two Marines as I crossed the finish line? Amazing. Receiving congratulations and a medal placed around my neck by a Marine? Humbling. The thought of it still gets me emotional! I highly doubt any race will ever come close to topping that one.

What are your exercise and/or running goals for 2012? Quite the lofty running goals for 2012: PR in {almost} every race distance. I knocked out the 5k on January 1 and half marathon on January 29th. I have my eye on an October 10k and plan on PRing the crap out of Philly in November 🙂

Can you give a piece of advice for someone who wants to start a blog or is new to the blogging world? BE YOURSELF!! Start the blog for you, not for anyone else. When you write it like a journal, your true personality comes out. I think a lot of people get wrapped up in fitting a specific “blogger mold” and their content suffers. The best blogs are the ones that are nothing like the rest. Be honest, write from the heart, and most importantly – have fun with it!! The more you enjoy writing, the better content you’ll create.

Thank you for the honest and thoughtful answers. Melissa is an amazing person, friend and blogger. She is hysterical and drinks more wine than I do (maybe? I am not sure, but she does have a section of her blog dedicated to it). Check her out here at MelissaRuns.com. And you can also follow her journey to a SERIOUS PR at the 2012 Philly Marathon 🙂

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