One Year In The Blogosphere

1yearblogaversaryI’m a woman of integrity and always strive to give credit where credit is due.  September is a big month for me because it marks the 1st anniversary of the birth of this website, and all that has come along with it.  But I wasn’t alone in making it happen.  There are many whose contributions helped push the whole thing into motion, and I’d like to talk about that today.

It all started back in late March of 2012.  I was partaking in my daily perusal of the Bodybuilding.com website, which had recently become a huge source of information and inspiration as I worked toward a few of the key milestones along my transformation journey.  I had visited the Over 40 Transformation section of the site, looking for women like myself who were out to change their bodies and their lives.  What I found there were some amazing females who’d made their way to the other side of the 4th decade experience, and were depicting exactly what 40 can and should look like.  I pored through the smattering of stories as I scrolled through the transformation roster, until I reached the bottom of the page.  In fine print there was a brief blurb about how to submit your own success story.

pants in stack
Old stack o’ pants

Hmmm, success?  I had to ponder it because I was pretty confident that I was successful, but I wasn’t exactly sure.  I was able to surpass wearing all my old clothes and had to buy new ones, I was feeling and looking better than I had in my 20s, and I was starting to get questions from people around me about what I was doing, and how they could do it too.  I still had some areas to work on with nutrition and the symmetry of my physique (I still do, by the way), so I was cautious, but at that point in time I still had a good story to tell because even though I wasn’t finished, I was DIFFERENT.  I knew I could help others to feel this difference too, and this was my chance to do it in a big way (well, big in my little world)!

So I filled out their online form and submitted it.  For the first two weeks I was really excited about it and checked my email constantly in hopes of a reply.  Nothing.  And then two more weeks.  And nothing still.  Just as I’d given up on ever penetrating such a huge media vehicle, the wheels started turning.

The content web developer responded in late April and sent what at the time looked like a HUGE questionnaire to be completed.  It scared me.  A lot.  I let it sit in my inbox for a few days, marinating.  It was just too huge a task.  I had my workouts, my daughter to take care of, my part-time job…what was I thinking?  Looking back on it now, it was no more work than a few blog posts would entail, but at that point it just looked like alotta labor.  I responded sheepishly, thanking the guy for agreeing to feature my story, but that this was a lot to put together and I probably wouldn’t have it all done until at LEAST June.  “There!” I thought,  “That should do it!  He wants this stuff NOW, so this will get me off the hook for sure.”  Difficult-yet-potentially-life-changing-uncomfortable-growth-inducing opportunity averted.

To my dismay, Josh was perfectly OK with that timeline and responded with kindness and complete understanding of my situation.  Because over-40 Success Stories were so few, he wanted me to know that extra consideration regarding submission timeframes was their policy.

 “In this category, because of the lower amount of submissions, we are always on the lookout for securing more so we are especially flexible with this.” 

WOW.  This was the wake-up call I needed.  So few stories.  And I had SO much to tell!  So much information to let women in my old position know that life can be better, and I could be there to guide them and cheer them on!  This is the exact point where my interest in fitness turned into obsession.

I got to work on the questionnaire.  Little did I know that all the content I was building into that Word document would later become the backbone of this website.  I worked hard to get the details right – all the exercise moves, the meals, and what they were comprised of.  Most importantly, though, was the Suggestions for Others section.  This is where it got really good, and I found myself a bit fixated – constantly tweaking and proofing and rereading.  I wanted it to be informative, but it had my name on it.  It had to sound good too…a future blogger in the making.

And what about the pictures?  Upon my original submission, I’d been OK with sending regular old snapshots taken by the Lobster.  After all, I still looked good in them…MUCH better than the before shots, of course.  The difference was clear.  But based on this new obsession I decided to stretch further and get some professional photos taken.  This was the subconscious second step in content creation for the unbeknownst website.

With the pictures and all the detailed content it actually DID take me until mid-June to get my official submission sent in to Bodybuilding.com.  By that time, Josh had become Trent.  Trent was equally as nice and scheduled the story for publishing.  The article hit on July 19, 2012, while I was vacationing in Montana.  Seeing myself on their main page was surreal, and I was over the moon that they’d actually published it.  But that was only the beginning.

connectKeyExactly 2 days later I received a personal email from one of this website’s future founders.  Then 1 week later, another email came, and then another (and they’re still coming).  Soon I was getting a steady stream of inquiries and stories from women just like me, some of them the exact same age.  I was so excited to be connecting with all these people that I knew there had to be a more efficient way to do it.

So I asked some of them about it, and they were unbelievably receptive and supportive of the idea, not to mention completely inspiring to me because I was the lucky one they had contacted about all this in the first place!  We just needed a better vehicle to disseminate all the information.

After some deliberation, one of them suggested that I start a blog, like she did.  If you haven’t visited 40, Fun and Fit (and Fabulous), I HIGHLY recommend you get your hiney over there pronto, because Amy has the most hysterical perspective on all things associated with life at this age and really just in general.  She’s an amazing writer, and you never know what her next topic will be so seriously, check her out!

I took Amy’s suggestion, and one curious night last September I created my first post in this fantastic content space called WordPress.  And 43fitness was born.  The rest, as they say, is history, but I wanted to clue you in to the history before the history, and express my gratitude along the way, because as you can see, I have many to thank.

THE CATALYSTcomebackcassye

Bodybuilding.com got the ball rolling, and to this day, my story is still the feature on the Over 40 Transformation page.  It’s the top story out of 272 today.  This position on the transformation totem pole still bestows a fair number of personal inquiries upon my inbox, for which I am thrilled and honored.  It also provides a consistently substantial hit number on my stats page most days, so their presence is a force, and I’m quite aware of my fortune to be a part of it.  I’d like to thank their web development staff for being patient, publishing my story, giving me an audience and tricking me into creating a website I never knew I was longing for.

founders
Inspiring new (worldly) friends

THE FOUNDERS

Getting the word out is one thing, but having the courage to spread it is another task all together.  And that’s where the founders come in.  It’s at this point that I’d like to thank each of them -the original 8 women who were kind enough to reach out (some from across the globe) and let me know they appreciated my story and encouraged me to continue telling it.  And when I did they hung around to listen…again, and comment and press the Like button more times than I’m sure I deserved.  Without their support I know I wouldn’t have taken this path any further than I did with that first article.  I am DEEPLY grateful to you all – what a gift it is to have you in my life.  I really just can’t thank you enough.  I hope you don’t mind if I excuse myself now to get a tissue and go blubber in the corner a little bit.

droo in 43shirt
Dutiful little bro

THE FAMILY & FRIENDS

OK.  All back together!  Now to the ones in years 42 and earlier who cheered me on through support of this site, and during my journey for the entire year leading up to its creation.  All the weird eating, and weirder shopping for eating and exercise scheduling, and endless discussions on either topic.  The constant Facebook posts and links and announcements to articles published about me, reassuring me that I wasn’t conceited for sharing them…again. The brainstorming and feedback about SEO, page ranks, slogans, taglines and campaigns.  The purchase of t-shirts and protein and whatever else I was peddling during your visit/phone call/catch-up email.  You guys are incredible and have always been so gracious by asking about it all, yet never having a negative word to say in response.  Thank you for believing in me and what I feel has come to be my life’s mission.  Even though I’m working for free, the paycheck couldn’t be bigger!

trextigress
Trex to Tigress

THE BLOGGERS

Dads, Personal Trainers, Fitness Fanatics and Everyday Moms transform into artists when they write.  And nurture.  And contribute.  I have received many blog sprinkles from this incredible community and wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for their kindness and patronage.  Although I may not be able to visit their places as often as I’d like, their footprints here warm my heart on a daily basis. Thank you: OUR LIFE IN 3D, Uberbeastmode, trextotigress, garagegym107, losing50laps, manbicep, #myhashtaglife, glutenfreemuscle, willbefit’s journey, leannenalani, chasing the top,  She’s Losing It, mommyverbs

THE FOLLOWERSlike-button2

I ventured into a few social media slots reluctantly in support of 43fitness.  Having so little time already, I was concerned about how I’d keep up. I mean, I was a pretty good Facebooker, but having 2 pages sounded…well, daunting.  Turned out it’s not, and I happen to love it!  In fact I actually post now MORE on my 43fitness page than my personal page, and have over 400 followers.  Incredible!  And Pinterest?  What was Pinterest?  All my friends were using it and were all about it.  I have to admit that on most days I still don’t get this one completely, but I am tremendously grateful for the connections it’s helped me to achieve (and all the cool things I never knew existed).  And don’t even get me started on Twitter, for which I do have an account, but I’ve chalked up to must-be-too-old-to-use because I’ve yet to understand this one AT ALL. EVER.  Thanks to everyone out there posting and liking and sharing and pinning!

Well I think that pretty well sums it up. Except for one last gesture of thanks:

The Blogaversary Giveaway! 

Yes, you heard it here folks!  43fitness will be hosting the biggest giveaway in it’s 12 month history on it’s actual blogaversary – Thursday, September 5, 2013.  Peel your eyes (as the small person would say) for details as the big day approaches!

What are you celebrating and whom do you have to thank for it?  (did you like that?  I got whom right!)

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