Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Accidental Blogger… My Journey into Writing by Margaret Schlachter of 'Dirt in My Skirt...'

In May 2011, I found myself just having amazingly enough qualified for a 24 hour Obstacle Course Race, World’s Toughest Mudder. It had been years since I was in training and the 10-mile Tough Mudder was the longest race I had ever run. I was a 27 year-old ski coach, dorm parent and recruiter for a ski academy in Vermont and hadn’t trained seriously since college. Knowing you can fake a lot of things in athletics, I knew you couldn’t fake a 24-hour race. I needed something to hold me accountable to the training needed for this event. That’s when I came up with an idea, a blog.

 Dirt in Your Skirt ( was created initially as an online training journal, each morning I would post on the website’s Facebook page my workout for the day (WOD) then do the workout and write about it before I went to bed each night. Out of this simple idea a movement was born. I did not go to school to write, in fact my business degree and decade of coaching did not lend to literary prowess. As I began to get deeper and deeper into my training the blogs started to become more descriptive and entertaining. Stories started to emerge of run ins with animals while running, musings on life, and training tips.

 As I wrote more my writing started to improve and people started to read my daily blogs. Some were funny, some were sad, all still are brutally honest. Each post is a little part of me. I found the more I wrote the more I was able to write. My blog was born just as Obstacle Course Racing was starting to gain momentum and as the sport began to grow so did my blog and followers. In many ways I grew as a racer and a writer at the same time. Writing blogs for me seemed and still seems the best way to close out a race or major life adventure is to write about it.

In February 2012, Dirt in Your Skirt became the recipient of the 2012 International Weblog Awards – Best Sports Weblog. More and more people began to be engaged in the story of one woman’s journey into an extreme fitness world. The simple blog about daily workouts has grown into a full website offering blogs on training, racing, gear reviews and life experiences as well as online coaching, an online shop, and the first public forum dedicated to Obstacle Course Racing and endurance sports.

I recently quit my day job in education and decided to make racing and writing my full-time vocation. With help from athletic sponsors Gaspari Nutrition, CW-X Conditioning Wear, Mocean Mate, Garuka Bars and training partner UTE CrossFit I have been able to transition into this new life. With the help from these sponsors I have been able to rise up to the #1 ranked woman in the Spartan Race World Points Rankings and have several ultra marathons in my 2013 season. It is amazing how a good run, workout or race can teach you impactful life lessons. I am just lucky to be able to share these experiences with an audience and I thank blogging each day for that opportunity.

People often ask me how you become a good writer; I truly think writing is the same thing as athletics, if you want to be good you must practice. I practice my writing just as I practice pull-ups, push-ups, or runs; I just do it, over and over again. The more I write, the better I become and more I find my own voice. This is the greatest gift blogging gives you, your voice, unfiltered and free.

Margaret is the author of Dirt in Your Skirt... For her full bio, click here.


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