Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Love Social Media

There’s just something about the glow of the computer screen (or even the notification pop up box on my iPhone) that get’s me going.  Being one of the last of my friend’s to ever have a computer of my own has somehow led me into become an addict.  I love social media and it’s no surprise to most people who know me as I’m always checking in, catching up and passing it along.  It all started with Myspace, which then lead to Livejournal, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Blogger, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, Empire Avenue, Spotify, Stumble Upon, Google Reader and lastly Google+ (and likely more that I’ve forgotten about or lost interest throughout time.

Here’s a few reasons why I love social media…
  1. Friendship/camaraderie/support: I can’t tell you how many amazing friends I’ve gained along the way. SM (social media) has just opened so many amazing doors that never would have happened before.  Through the blog world and Twitter I’ve fostered much friendship and support.  These people, many who I’ve never met in real life, have at times helped ignite the spark to get me moving and motivate me (especially with blog chats such as #fitblog and #fitstudio). 
  2. Keeping in Touch: Think about how much easier it has been to keep in touch with “in real life” (IRL) friends. Jobs, distance and lack of time sometimes get in the way, but with SM it’s been so much easier to keep in touch. It doesn’t replace face time, but it sure helps bridge those gaps at times.
  3. Free Stuff: I’ve gotten so much awesome free swag through social media, including: countless movies tickets, free food (cases of yogurt, protein bars/powder, samples galore), free clothes, credits to companies (Score Big, The Clymb), books, the list goes on. I mean, what’s not to like about free stuff…no complaints here! A strong social media presence can really increase your Klout score which increases your chances of Klout Perks which offers free samples/offers to people influential in certain topics.
  4. Info, info, INFO! The blog world is awesome.  I could get drawn into for hours and often do. Countless recipes, workout plans, travel ideas, craft tutorials, home projects, etc.  I was planning a vacation up north and Think Michigan Now (@thinkmichnow) was able to ask around and find some amazing information for me about the area I was traveling (special thanks to @lancehill).  Some of these were things that I likely would have not seen had it not been for SM. 
  5. Be the real you: Sometimes I think we can get wrapped up in our day to day life and the expectations that others have for ourselves. I think that for some SM allows them to unwind and be themselves without the pressure because the online world can offer a bit of a buffer.  It’s kind of an introverts getaway. It’s a place to bond and create links with others that are like minded. It allows you to speak your mind, get new perspectives and spread the word about topics that you are passionate about. 
  6. Opportunities: You never know what these friendships and connections can bring. Recently, my husband found and was offered a new job that has completely changed our lifestyle because of social media. A random post can lead to so much more than you ever imagined.  You just never know! 
Are you a social media addict? What’s your favorite thing about it?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm Officially a Warrior! Michigan Warrior Dash Recap

A couple weeks ago I had the awesome experience of Warrior Dash.  I had signed up for this 5k+ several months ago and had some reservations about it since I had never ran one before.  I’m by no means a natural when it comes to running so the thought of adding obstacles to a 3 mile run added a bit more worries to this race. I just have to say, I TOTALLY LOVED it. 

This event was a blast and I couldn’t have asked for a better 5k to break me into races.  And you know what, I think I finally understand what everyone means about the runner’s high and addiction of running races such as this.  I can’t wait to do it again and am super excited to see that they are already planning on coming back. 

The weather that day was great.  A bit on the hot side, but lots of sun and a slight breeze made it more bearable.  It was great to see that this event brought so much revenue into the Flint, MI, which it desperately needed.  The Warrior Dash brought in nearly 26,000 participating runners, and that's not including all the spectators!

Ryan and I were signed up for the noon leg.  We had originally signed up with some other friends, but unfortunately they weren’t able to make it.  We made our way to the front 25% of the line in order to try to avoid the backlog that we had heard about at the obstacles. For the first mile and half we ran together, but I was having issues with breathing since I was fighting an infection and could not breathe through my nose AT ALL so I encouraged Ry to go run ahead because I didn’t want to hold him back.  I needed to take a couple run/walk breaks to catch my breath between obstacles, which was disappointing, but I’m still pretty excited about the run.  I wish I had been able to trim my time down some, but I’ll take what I had.  Now I have another, more specific goal for next time.  I also met some great people along the way. Everyone was so supportive, friendly and really looking to have a great time.

Some of the obstacles found at our event were:
  • Junkyard/tire run
  • Blackout (so hot in there!)
  • Raised nets to climb over (easiest if you roll)
  • Teetering traverse (balance beams of a sort)
  • Up and downs (jump over wall, climb under, etc.)
  • Logs to climb over in water
  • Peg climb
  • Rope climb
  • Tall net
  • Fire!
  • 2 mud pits (one was so deep/thick and smelled like poo and the end one was much thinner, but had to crawl low)
I have to commend them on a well put together and organized race.  It was so easy to register and get to where we needed.  The swag was pretty fun too! It was just a great day and so much fun to get down and dirty and spend time with great friends that we met up with after our race. If you never ran a race like this, I highly recommend it.  I know that I’m HOOKED!

The fun hats everyone got. This is before we've ran. Notice the white shirt!

And after. There was mud everywhere! 

I'm sad I missed his front flip into the mud!

The wash station.  Not that the mud really came off. My shirt was ridiculously dirty after 3 showers in that so I just dumped it.

My knees and shins got completely jacked up! Bruises and scratches everywhere, but it was worth it.
I like battle scars ;)

So many shoes were donated! I wonder how many pairs they have after all the races? All shoes get cleaned and donated to third world countries.

They had awesome, huge turkey legs for $6.  I was starving!

Two of my favorite college girls, Holly & Angie. I love them and it was so great to spend time with them.

This guy ran the whole race as the cardboard robot.  I can't imagine climbing nets with all that bulk.

Angie killed it! She beat all of us girls with her time. Nice job!

My favorites!

We spent a lot of time at the finish line watching people bomb the mud pit.

The question now is: What's next?  I need to find another challenge for myself to keep my running going.  I think I'm going to do a little web research tonight to look for another race to run. There is the Dirty Dog Dash in September in Pinckney, but I'm thinking that something local might be more feasible (less money and easier to get to). Maybe we'll do the Turkey Trot that is held every year in Detroit. Either way, we're at least signing up for something soon!  

How do you keep yourself going after reaching your first goal? Do you have any fun races/events planned? Have you ran anything similar to this?