In 2010, I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running. At the time, I was still in college and more of a swimmer than a runner. To do this day, I still believe I was a better swimmer than I am a runner. Not that it matters because I don’t get in the pool at all anymore.
Since starting my blog, my running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here. When I first created my blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now. I wrote a similar post in 2015 and here we are 3 years later.
Even in the last two years social media and oversharing training has grown more. Instagram is much more popular and I am one of the few people left blogging.
Who blogs anymore anyway?
It’s easy to write a novel on Instagram and get instant gratification on social media. I think a picture tells a thousand words so the caption doesn’t need to be. So my captions will stay short…maybe that means less “followers” but I still run for me.
Back in 2010, my blog as not big. I knew 3 people that read it until maybe 2011. I knew my immediate college teammates who ran, a few local runners on other teams, and a few running idols back home. I did not know so many amazing and talented runners all over the world existed! Garmins were the size of your wrist and there was no Strava and people didn’t share their workout every day.
I first created this space to reflect upon my personal journey of running. It started with a 12-minute mile and 8 years later I am here today. My blog allowed me to meet people online who also shared a love for running and working out.
This was before there were hundreds of blogs and blogging became an advertisement platform. Do I like to make money from blogging? Sure. Will I ever sacrifice who I am or what I believe in to do so? No.
When I first started running, I was in my own bubble. I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes! I was in shock of how people could that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like. I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks. It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fangirl them at races.
The Evolution of Running and Social Media’ing:
Now, running and blogging is much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes. With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration. I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not. When reading race recaps and reports the definition of “fast” becomes skewed. Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”? What is the standard? Why does it even matter?
The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.
The athlete that won a local race is also fast.
The athletes finishing their first race are fast.
My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.
With so many different social media platforms it makes me think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once that I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?
Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up they would have won. The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won. Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere. People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.
Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, results are everywhere. Individuals with and without credentials are judging performance. With race results being judged so quickly, I can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.
One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:
Did You Win?
Runners are afraid to say they won or placed in an age category. Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself. Whether there are ten people are 10,000 if you won, you won. Even if you didn’t win, place or just had a bad race, you still ran.
So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability. It’s overwhelming.
Where do this all connect?
Social media is here to stay. Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected. It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different. There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself! It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare. There will always be someone better or faster. You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.
When we let other people’s goals and life decisions influence us, it takes away from what we want to accomplish. For instance, I have been vocal the marathon is not my favorite distance. My goal has never been to break 3 hours or Qualify for the Olympic Trials but I know it’s many other people’s and I’m happy for them. When I run a personal record in any distance, I’m happy for myself and don’t need to think: “well X ran this, so I should be able to run that too”. It just takes away from our own accomplishments.
If you are out there and running, you are fast.