Freelance writer, distance runner, lifelong learner. Let’s chat! brynnmahnkewrites.com

Freelance writer. Distance runner. Reader. Outdoors lover. Useless facts memorizer.

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Hi! I’m Brynn. I’ve been writing for years, but just recently started putting my work into the world for others to see.

About Me

I’m a freelance writer based in the Midwest. I am married and have seven kids, and before you ask — yes, I know what causes that! Five of our kids are adopted through foster care. It’s been a bit of a crazy last decade or so!

My kids attend school two days a week and I home school them the other days. This blended model is perfect for our family after trying both public school and full-time homeschool.


How I did it, and how you can too

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I like to have a goal race. On the days I’m struggling to get my running shoes on, my goal is there yelling at me, telling me to quit being lazy and to get out there and get it done. I don’t mind cranking out a few miles with no end goal in sight, but having one drives me to work harder and be more consistent.

The racing season won’t start here until April. There are a few frosty 5ks in fall and winter, but in November I suddenly got it into my head that I wanted to go long…


I filed a DMCA takedown notice for the first time — and it worked!

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When you post anything online, you risk having your work stolen. Unfortunately, it’s part of the world we live in. Good content costs money and, rather than paying for it or producing it themselves, some lowlifes are willing to skim content from reputable websites, package it as their own, and try to make a few bucks on the backs of hardworking writers without breaking a sweat.

Some of the more popular writers on this platform have written about their content being stolen repeatedly, but it had never happened to me. Until this month.

The editor at Runner’s Life, Jeff Barton


The benefits of counting birds in nature

A bright yellow bird perches on a branch budding with pink flowers.
A bright yellow bird perches on a branch budding with pink flowers.

What if I told you that you could spend an hour this weekend doing something that would entertain you, teach you something, benefit science, improve your mental health, AND you don’t even need to leave the house?

I’ve always been fascinated by birds. The unique ways they build their nests and raise their young is interesting to me, not to mention the miracle of flight and the different ways they approach it. The fact that they can survive brutal winters and sing their hearts out each morning, despite temperatures far below freezing, is endearing and mysterious.

A month ago, in…


The benefits of rotating your shoes every day

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Running doesn’t require much in the way of specialized gear. Any pair of shorts will do, and as long as your body is comfortable it doesn’t much matter what else you wear. With shoes, though, there’s an art to finding that perfect fit.

I’ve always been pretty serious about my shoes. I try to limit mileage on each pair and get a fresh one after the recommended 400 to 500 miles are pounded out. My closet is a graveyard of used-but-still-useful running shoes, and I’ve donated several pairs as well. They’re still fine to wear after the mileage is expired…


Because running and math don’t mix well for some of us

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I’m an American, and the only reason I have a vague idea of how far a kilometer is is because I’m also a runner.

I learned quickly how far a few common distances are in both kilometers and miles. A 5K is about 3.1 miles, a 10k is about 6.2 miles, a half marathon is about 21 km and a full marathon is about 42 km. These are common race distances all over the world. You might see the odd 5 or 10-mile race distance thrown in there, but all in all, Americans also prefer to race in metric.

Alternately…


GiaB prompt #9 — marine life

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Quiet, unassuming, no one knows
The thoughts he has beneath the flows
Under the surface, under the sun
Cool depths shield him from the “fun”
Inflicted by well-meaning souls
Who can’t see past the end of their nose.
The pressure of outside keeps him in
And when he’s “freed” his pain begins.
The ugliest creature beneath the sea
Was once a normal-looking fish indeed:
Pulled out of his shell, too late to retreat,
Teased mercilessly until defeat
Melts him into a blob of fish. …


HUMOR

Fashion is my new game

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I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. While in the past, I’ve spoken about my inability to use Twitter as well as my lack of fashion sense, the time has come to embrace my new calling.

A new follower on Twitter was kind enough to announce my new career as a budding freelance fashion designer.


TLDR: I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving

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This article is just a self-deprecating joke! I ran a race by myself and there was no planning involved whatsoever. Happy Thanksgiving!

I decided on this race at the last minute. Traditionally on Thanksgiving morning, I run a half marathon which benefits the local food pantry, but this year the race was virtual so I decided to skip it and donate money instead.

Anyway. This was the worst Thanksgiving 5k I have ever run in my life. This race was called

Brynn’s Flat, Fast, and Fabulous 5k Turkey Trot.

The course

First of all, parking for the race was a mile away…


Your goal is to be seen, not blend in

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I watched a boy get hit by a car.

It was just before dawn, the winter sky dark and heavy with clouds, and I was running near a high school. I’d only been running for a few minutes and was approaching an intersection. The streets are well-lit with street lights, and traffic signals let pedestrians and drivers know when it was their turn to go.

The boy was riding his bike to school, waiting at the other side of intersection for the traffic signal to change. The light changed from red to green, and the white “Walk” sign lit up…

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