My Seven Links

As a blogger, I come across a lot of opportunities to play “blogger games.” (Think Hunger Games, only without the oppression and killing.)

For example, bloggers give out “awards” to fellow bloggers, which you’re supposed to post in your sidebar, and then give the award out to a few others, and so on.  Okay, I get it, but not for me.

But earlier this week, my friend Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point did one that I really enjoyed reading (it’s more a meme than a game).  It’s called My 7 Links, and the point is simply to call attention to one post in each of seven specified categories.

Caitlin nominated me to be next, and since we’ve gotten a lot of new readers around here recently (including 13,000 fans on Facebook!), I thought it’d be a good way to highlight some of my favorite posts in the two-year history of this site.

Here goes…

Most popular post

63 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine.  This also happens to be the post that took me the longest to write, about eight hours.  But that work was rewarded when it went crazy on Stumbleupon, and to date it’s been viewed 133,374 times.

Most beautiful post

Beautiful??  Maybe this is why I don’t do these things very often…

Luckily, we have Susan for that.  Her post On Refusing to Settle and the Incredible Power of Denial, in which she reveals her disability and utter refusal to allow it to limit her life, is as beautiful as they come.  (Susan recently did an inspiring interview on the Badass Project where she talks more about it, so check that out.)

Of the ones I’ve written, I’ll go with An Open Letter to My Unborn Baby.  But as far as “beauty” goes, well, it was written by a dude, so don’t expect much.

Most controversial post

I’ll define controversial as “most polarizing.”  In that case, The Great Moderation Hoax gets it.  Some people thought it was the best thing ever; others literally told me I sounded like an idiot.  Choose for yourself.

Most helpful post

This one may come as a surprise, but I honestly think The Perfect Smoothie Formula is the most helpful post I’ve ever written (it’s actually an excerpt from Marathon Roadmap.

So why would I pick a lowly smoothie recipe as my most helpful post?  Because I honestly think that if you’re out of shape, the simple habit of starting every day with a smoothie has the power to change your life.  That sounds melodramatic, I’m sure, but it was only once I developed this habit that I was able to really stick with a training and eating program.  And even today, if I let my diet slip a little bit, that daily smoothie is always there to prevent me from going too far astray.

Post whose success surprised you

Tarahumara Pinole and Chia (originally titled “Get Your Tarahumara On”).  This post is from the old days, when No Meat Athlete was little more than a training and eating journal.  I figured the article would be just another food experiment that a few people who had read Born to Run would appreciate.  It turned out to be a big hit with Google, and still sends 300-600 new people to the site every day.

Post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

Tough one.  I’m of the belief that if a post doesn’t get much attention, it’s precisely because it didn’t deserve much attention.  You know, take responsibility.

And — booyah — I’ve got a post on that exact topic.  And guess what?  It didn’t get much attention!

But I like it, so I hope you’ll give it a read: The Belief that Will Take Your Training to the Next Level.

Post you are most proud of

Caitlin’s was her Today Show appearance — so rather than a post she was proud of, she chose a post about an event she was proud of.

I’m going to go the same route here, and pick Down to the Last Four Miles, the recap of the marathon in which I finally qualified for Boston by breaking 3:10:59.

Qualifying for Boston was the hardest I’ve ever worked for anything in my life: harder than high school, college, or anything else.  And what I love about the journey is that as difficult and painful as the seven or eight years of training that went into it were, none of it was harder than the qualifying race itself.

There was a point in that race, about 20 miles in, where every part of me believed that I was not going to make it.  And yet somewhere — I’m still not sure quite where — I found it in myself to keep going at the pace I needed to in order to qualify.  There is incredible power in proving wrong your own limiting belief about what you’re capable of, and I hope you’ve gotten to experience it for yourself.

If not, then I hope you do something about that.

My nominees

If you’ve got a blog, I invite you to do this on your own.  In particular, I’d love to see it from these friends of mine:

Have a great weekend, and stay cool!



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  1. I literally laughed out loud (LLOL, perhaps?) at the Hunger Games mention!*

  2. This is really cool. My blog is too new for this, but I hope to be able to do this in the future.

  3. I would agree about the smoothie post being the most helpful. Someone I work with told me she starts everyday with a super nutritious smoothie because it’s one way to get your day going in a good direction no matter what else may come your way. And a good smoothie is hard to make (for me at least).

    • I agree with her. I think a smoothie in the morning and a salad in the afternoon are enough to keep you on track. Even if you get into a rut where you’re eating junk in between, those two things remind you how good healthy food tastes and feels that it’s hard to stay astray for long.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I love reading the blog, but don’t always have the time to visit past posts. This was a great synopsis and the final category moved me. I had a mini moment like that this morning running in 93 degree heat with high humidity. Somewhere down deep tells you not to stop. Love love love your blog. Keep it comin’!

    • Thank you, Stephanie. I like this 7 Links thing for that too: It’s a really quick way to learn what a blogger is about, based on the posts they think are worthy of being listed.

  5. Hey Matt. As a father (of 2 little ladies) myself I’d say your “beautiful” post was beautiful indeed. My wife and I share your thoughts about raising independent thinking children. It’s working so far.
    I was really struck by your thoughts on how your wee lad had started life meat free. I’ve never thought about it that way before.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. I used your smoothie formula yesterday morning and it worked perfectly. I plan to read the other 6 posts too, thanks!

  7. love this series that is going around the blog world.

    I think I first found Born to Run through your blog. Myself and another friend (with no guidance from me) both found your blog through the guide to your first marathon post.

  8. I would have to say the 7 reasons why being a vegetarian sucks or whatever post was pretty controversial too!

    I still cry when I read Susan’s post.

    • Hey Bridget, great to hear from you again! Yeah, I guess that one was pretty controversial. I don’t think it really offers much value though; it was more just me complaining. So I tend not to link to it much.

  9. Love it!!

  10. I love these posts– I agree with Bridget that your post about why being vegetarian sucks was probably pretty polarizing, as well. This is a pretty cool meme 8D

    I didn’t know you were friends with Mara(!!!)– she’s awesome. 😀

  11. Loved the recap and will go back and read (I was tagged and now have guilt I need to take part). What struck me was what you said about every part of you thought you weren’t going to make it and yet you did (in this case qualify). I have felt with running that to get where I want to go I can’t have that negative voice. Interesting to think, that voice can coexist with another, perhaps stronger voice that takes over.

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