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Intimidation

Did things get really boring in here since I came back from vacation?

Well let's turn to a conversation that I have thought about before, and tucked it in my pocket for a slow day.  The topic is: "When People Stop Reading a Blog Because it Makes Them Feel Bad About Themselves."  Alternatively called "Stop Comparing Yourself to Strangers on the Internet."

Something I hear from time to time, in comments on blogs besides this one, or in other forums/discussions, is that readers feel alienated from...blogs written by strong runners, or long-time runners.  I have read some say they don't enjoy such blogs because they cannot relate.  They cannot relate because, for instance, they are new to running, or have yet to run farther than a 5k, or are working on cracking a 9:00 minute mile.  Another take on this sentiment is that runners who blog too cheerfully or with too much running success, make the reader feel bad.  Can't help but compare themselves. 

I think I understand this.  Sometimes reading about someone's fabulous 20 mile run, or killer PR, makes me feel jealous or like a lard-ass for sitting at my computer reading about it, on slump days or when my last run was a bad one.

I also understand because I don't think there would be much benefit to me to regularly read a blog by Desiree Davila or Ryan Hall.  Way too intense for me.  Reading about their 3-a-days, in which every mile was faster than 5:30, would make me want to hurl and conclude that running is the stupidest sport ever.

On the other hand.  On the OTHER hand.  Serrrrriously? We're going to avoid or dismiss a running blog because they are....good at the sport?  Because they are better than thou?

The comparison game is ridiculous.  We are all just running the best that we can.  We all go into a race with goals, and when we are IN it, we run as hard as we can.  My hardest effort probably feels exactly the same as YOUR hardest effort, even if the end result is a time on the clock that is a few minutes faster or slower.

If someone chooses not to read my blog--and of course, that person is already gone, and probably not reading this--because it made them feel bad about themselves for not running as many miles or not loving running or whatever other annoying running thing I do, then that blows.  Grow a pair!  How could you feel BAD for yourself because of some lame-wad stranger who writes stupid stuff on the internet?!  On the internet, we aren't each others competitors.  We are here to share mundane running (and other) stories, and to possibly hopefully inspire each other to run on those days when we don't want to.  Or inspire a new workout.  Or inspire a can-do-anything attitude on race day.  Or motivate you to suck it up and learn how hard you can push it, if that dorky blogger girl can do it.

My blog has never really been a YOU CAN DO IT!!! RUNNING FREE FOR ALL!! kind of blog.  But I sure never intended for it to make anyone want to run less.  I don't dream to inspire, but fuck YEAH if I do inspire even one person...and something is terribly wrong if I inspire anyone to quit running.

Por ejemplo.  This chic is one that I love to read.  Her brain is crazy.  Like, so crazy.  She loves pain, LOVES IT, and does impossible things like run hella fast without drinking any water during a race (the faster you run, the harder it is to drink, fact).  Sometimes I read a race recap of hers and think, "shit son, I suck.  She has a will of steel, and I have one of tissue."  But her attitude leaves a trail in my memory, and sometimes, while running, I think of her and her strength and her attitude and hunger to succeed and improve.  And I run a little harder.

While I do love reading blogs of runners whose skill/training I can relate to, I think I like it even more when I can't relate.  Like rockstar over here who trained for a 50-miler, or rockstar over here training for a triathlon.  Can't relate, but intrigued and inspired all the same.

And if anyone doubts that I am relate-able, here are two examples of some of the super sucky running that I have been participating in for the last 3 weeks:

I tried to go on a weekend long run last Sunday.  I took an obscene number of walk breaks.  I ended up running 16 miles in 2:35....that is just about a 10:00 pace.  Almost all flat.  CAN YOU RELATE TO ME NOW?  I have bad running days.

This morning I attempted to do an epic track workout. I had planned on getting as far as I could into a workout that Rose mentioned to me.  The workout sounded rad.  It was 1x1600; 2x1200; 3x800; 4x400; 5x200; 6x100.  I don't know what speeds.  Just fast.

I ran one 1600 (aka mile) in 5:56, one 1200 (aka 3/4 mile) in 4:30, and then started a 2nd 1200....stopped.....and didn't do anymore.  Workout, fail.  No good reason.  Just had a weak brain today.

I am your average normal runner.  You can be one too!  I push hard sometimes, I wimp out other times.  No need to seek out blogs that make you think "hey, I can run faster than that, this blog makes me feel gooooood about myself."  Try not to compare or be intimidated, and remember that every runner has their bad days or slow streaks or slumps.  Probably even Desiree Davila.  Please stay here.

Fess up:  have you ever stopped reading a blog because you couldn't quit comparing and it brought you down?