It’s time to sit down on Dr. Nitmos’ couch and look deep inside you. Get comfortable; relax….have a glass of wine. Let’s do some real introspection here. Forget for a moment that the couch is in the back of this windowless van and that I insist on listening with my shirt off…You’re falling into a deep (queue mirror ball), deep (Barry White), sleeeep.
Alright, that’s pretty creepy so forget I said that. In fact, I’m taking this clown make-up off right now.
The question is…why do you blog about running?
Have you ever really thought about that? There are so many interesting topics in the world: politics, sports, religion, books, scholarly research, Tiger Woods’ infidelity. Why running? We all complain about how Runner’s World seems to dust off the same stories year-in, year-out. If they’ve run out of topics, what makes us think we have more to say?
Of course, blogs are personal stories. Some folks use them as a shared training diary. Others like the social networking aspect. Some gather or suggest tips for better running. And some – yours truly – appreciate a forum in which the timing of a bowel movement can be the start of Act III in an exciting three part race recap. It’s hard to work something like that into a political discussion.
Maybe the better question is what do you hope to get out of your blog?
As I read (but not comment*) your blogs, I think the reason runner’s blog usually fall within a few general categories.
1) Social connections. Going against years of widely accepted warnings, some of you are looking to meet other runner’s (or “internet strangers”, let’s be honest) to become friends. If you take running out of the equation, doesn’t this have the makings of an after-school special? No, No, NO don’t go to the park. DON’T GO TO THE PARK TO MEET YOUR INTERNET FRIEND. This is definitely not me. I’m pretty sure most of you are figments of my imagination. The few of you I’ve “met” have been after I ate a basket of shrooms and washed them down with mescaline. Right after I met you, I met Jim Morrison and we did a Native American dance in the dessert. (<-Not a typo.)
2) Information seekers/givers. What better way to avoid snapping your own hamstring than to hear the story about how someone else did it, right? And then leave one of those ‘listen to your body’ comments everyone hates afterwards to really twist that frayed hammy end on them. This isn’t the reason I blog but I think this is the smartest and purest reason to do so. There is a lot of useful information out there with firsthand accounts from other runner’s. Whether it be race details, training successes (or failures), or nutritional ideas, there is a stream of data flowing for the curious runner. The trick is to identify the wheat from the chaff. Find a good source, hook it to your vein and settle back and let the info flow. Find a bad source and you just might be mainlining the guy who answered ‘c’ to every multiple choice test question to “improve his odds”.
3) Puffery. Most of us think running is pretty special. That’s why we do it. And that’s why we spend extra time blogging about it. We all like to proudly trumpet our accomplishments just as we delight in sharing our tales of personal defeats. There’s a lot of exaggeration, metaphors, and the occasional biblical allusion deployed in this area. Highs are described as orgasmic and lows can be organ-grinding. A unicorn makes an appearance. There’s a truthful story in the kernel but it is surrounded and served with midgets atop polar bears fighting an army of Ben Affleck clones. It’s fun. It’s light-hearted. It’s a lot better than Daredevil.
4) The Diarist. I don’t know if it is lack of imagination or lack of motivation but some blogs I read are like a recipe: 3 miles at track; ¼ mile repeats; 2 cups Gatordade, stir, serve cold. Nothing more. The blog is more of a training log like the one I keep in my nightstand. Nothing wrong with that but awfully dry and bland for the rest of us. It doesn’t need explosions and trampled llamas but would it kill you to include at least one tasered Affleck? Most of the diarists seem content just to log their runs, remain guarded and secretive, but still seek some validation from other anonymous runners. I usually view the Diarists as pupae, budding bloggers, in which some will develop into promising laser shooting butterfly bloggers. Keep your eye on these guys to see what comes out of the cocoon.
5) Motivation seekers. This one I really don’t get. Do you read running blogs? I’d say about 2/3 of them are filled with excuses for why someone ISN’T running. Hell, I even posted one earlier this week. If I relied on running blogs for motivation, I do believe I’d quit running altogether. But some of you claim to get motivation from reading them so…bully for you!
So which one are you? You all know me. I’m pretty serious and fact-based around here so I’d have to fall into the Diarist category. Besides, I normally pick on Schwimmer not Affleck.
* Some may have noticed that I've severely cut back on my commenting over the last few months. I still read quite a few blogs while I'm "paying attention" at teleconferences but I don't make the extra effort to respond as much. Sorry. I'm expecting a full shipment of witty, but juvenile, comments to stock up my comment whorehouse soon.
My first 20 mile training run for this marathon session comes....tomorrow. Hooray!
CONGRATULATIONS to Hello Kitty Mystery Runner and fellow Steers LDP team member for completing the Croom Fools 50 miler in 9 hours last weekend. Enjoy your award.....a coffee mug. (Queue sad trombone) You've always been a Fool in my book with or without a coffee mug.