Saturday, June 2, 2012

Living In The Running Blogosphere

"Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own". - Carol Burnett (1936 - )

When I started my blog back two years ago, I didn’t know about many other running blogs, and I really wasn't sure what the difference between a blog and an email was. I had been writing a long, weekly email to my TNT trainees for more than ten years, but when my formal coaching tenure came to an end, I still wanted to write. What I wanted to write about, I didn't know, but I like to write and I like to run. But, a strict training blog is rather limited (boring) - I mean, how many times and how many different ways can you say "put one foot in front of the other for a real long time"? Of course, Runners World has found a way to say this monthly for a generation! I decided to put my thoughts, memories, and whatever crossed my cranium down on paper electronically, to be eternally entered into the cloud (still haven't figured out that "cloud" thing).

I didn’t know if anyone apart from myself was ever going to read it. I assumed some of my old trainees would read it to be loyal, or maybe more out of habit, but could I keep them interested enough to come back the next week? Well, when you start something new, you need some instant pats on the back, and I got that by seeing that not only were my "locals" reading RWA, but this blog counter thing (see the lower right sidebar of this blog) began to light up this map of the WORLD to show where folks were dialing in from. Now, it didn't matter to me that half of these folks probably erroneously stumbled upon RWA while meaning to type in TWA (Trans-World Airlines) or NWA (NorthWest Airlines) or any other other letter combined with "WA". The map began to fill up with little blips from every continent (except Antarctica, but you really can't count a continent that doesn't have anybody living there, can you?) and lands that I really never heard of...geography was so much easier when I went to school...after all, Russia and China took up half the world, and (not to offend anybody) there were only about a handful of other countries we really had to learn. So looking at my map, fellow worldly neighbors from 71 countries, including 48 US states have tried out this blog - BTW, if you know anybody that lives in Alaska or Wyoming, tell them it would make me EXTREMELY happy if they would read my blog. And when some reader actually takes the time to write a comment, man, I am flying high. Can you imagine ME getting a comment from Ireland??? The point is that the blogosphere is a lot bigger than I ever thought it was.

I look at and subscribe to loads of other running blogs, and I find reading them really addictive (which means I shouldn't really do it while at work!). I have a whole screen on my smartphone that is just for bookmarked running blogs I'm following! There are blogs from people with all kinds of running abilities, but mostly I read blogs by ultramarathoners that are really good, but when you read their blog, you find they're just like you and me. "Why did I bomb on that run?"..." Peanut Butter Gu is great!"..."Should I eat vegan or should I eat every piece of meat I can find?". Just like us, good runners get injured and absolutely HATE it. They rationalize, then they try to push too hard, then they say how stupid they were, and then they come back when they do things right. You read this all in their blogs. And you can comment on their blogs, and like a 65 year old groupie, I get excited when I get a (re)comment on my comment from a Western States winner that says "Thanks for the support Al". It's one thing to read in a magazine about these guys, but to read their own words means they sat down like me and put their thoughts down for no other reason than to let it flow and hope somebody will read it. You don't have to be a Western States winner, or an Olympic Champion to write down interesting thoughts about running. Running is running.

I won't list the blogs I read, but here in Alabama, we have some really good bloggers like Jeff Martinez, David Tosch, Dink Taylor, and Danny Haralson. Sometimes finding a good read takes a little searching, but that's all it is...a search. Put in a well-known runner's name that you think of, follow that with the word "blog" in your search, and you'd be surprised how many very good runners are out there putting down their scattered thoughts and just hoping somebody will give them a read. Better yet, try your own blog. All you have to do is sit down and type. Might be a rant, might be a rave, might be a gear review, might be just how you feel about running. Be yourself. You might not think it's interesting to anybody but you, but somebody will. My running is pretty low key these days, but just put a comment on my blog, and man, it's like winning at the slot machine...keeps me coming back to write again. But, now that I think about it, even if you don't comment, I'll probably still come back to write again. After all, I've got to get a hook in somebody in Alaska and Wyoming before I stop!

Hope you all are enjoying this warming weather. I run better when it's cool, but I sure do love the heat. You keep drinking and I'll keep writing and running, and as always, I'll see you on the roads - AL
"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"


Yo Momma Runs said...

I ran with one of your trainees a few weeks ago, and when she mentioned you, I was so excited that I had already "met" you (by reading your stuff) in blog world and knew who she was talking about. When I first started reading running blogs, it felt like so many of them were from writers in Cali or the northwest. So it's very cool to find other Southerners (especially Alabamians) representing!

AL said...

There are tons of good writers doing blogs. Yes, many are from West of the Misssippi, but so are many good runners. seems like trail runners do more blogging, so that may explain some of the majority going west. But, really, thanks for reading and commenting. I do get a kick out of knowing somebody's out there

Anonymous said...

Hi Al, here your comment from Ireland and actually with a touch of Sweden since I'm Swedish. I'm read e few running blogs and "click" around from time to time to find new interesting blogs to read. I'm here now and will keep reading as long as you write. Keep up the good and interesting job! / Håkan in Dublin

AL said...

Thanks for the comment Hakan. I'll keep running and writing and hopefully, you'll keep reading.

Suz and Allan said...

I found your blog recently through Yo Momma Runs and I was excited to find another Alabama runner to follow. I really enjoy reading local runner's blogs. Nice to "meet" you!

Al D. said...

Thanks Suz and Allan. You sure do follow a lot of blogs! Hope mine in enjoyable enough to keep you interested and reading.