I will be running the Columbus Half Marathon in 90 Days. Or two months and 28 days from today. I have 13 weeks left of training having just finished my third week.
The third week of training felt better than the second, that’s for certain. First of all, the cooler temperatures and lower humidity really didn’t hurt. I really enjoyed running and not overheating. It’s my favorite. Secondly, my body is adjusting to the four days of running, the two days of working out, and the one day of resting. I also upped my water intake this week thanks to support from a great group of women online, and I know that helped me feel better too.
I shifted my runs around a little bit this week since I knew I would have to shift runs around this week due to travel. I actually think it worked better with my life schedule, though my life schedule changes a lot. I just have to remember to be flexible with days in the coming weeks.
What didn’t help? Creepers and beepers.
I ran my long run (six miles) on Saturday this week. I initially went to the trail. I like to run longer runs on the trail since it’s flat. As Columbus offers a pretty flat course, I feel like running the hills of Southeastern Ohio during my three mid-week runs and running a flat course for my long run will be okay come race day. I showed up at the trail by myself as my husband was working. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a number of men doing pushups, pull ups, and waiting around for what I assume was their group.
My stomach immediately hurt. I didn’t want to be out in the middle of the trail—an old railroad bed—with a group of men I didn’t know with no one else near me. It was a very #yesallwomen moment. Women who run keep safety in mind while training in ways that our male counterparts don’t. I have no trouble running next to a busier road; I am aware and will step aside as need be. But the thought of being alone in the middle of nowhere with a group of men? Nope. Everything Tracy said in her post about staying hidden while running rings true for me too.
I texted my husband and asked his opinion. His answer? Go somewhere else.
So I did.
I ended up running in a nearby town and out along a busier road. I felt much safer among other people, even if some of those people were texting and driving—including one creeper who wasn’t texting and driving but taking my picture while driving. Gross. And dangerous. Less dangerous but more annoying? Beepers. Don’t beep at runners. Even if it’s your best friend. It scares the bejeebus out of us and then makes us angry, which then makes us run too fast or too slow and generally messes with our pace and, dang it, we’d rather be lost in thought than thinking, “Was that Ricky? Who WAS that? WHY did they beep? Are my shorts riding up in the back? Is there a dog chasing me? WHY DID THEY BEEP?” Usually the answer is “just to be a jagoff.” So don’t do it.
Despite creepers and beepers, my runs this week went rather well.
Monday: Shred, Level 2
Tuesday, Run 9: 3.09 miles, 31:29, 10:11/pace
Wednesday: Shred, Level 2
Thursday, Run 10: 4.01 miles, 39:11, 9:46/pace
Friday, Run 11: 3.00 miles, 28:47, 9:35/pace
Saturday, Run 12: 6.04 miles, 59:20, 9:49/pace
Sunday: Rest day! (But I walked all over camp.)
I ran negative splits on every day but the long run. I feel that if I ran on the trail, I could have hit my goal of negative splits for six miles as well. I had it all worked out in my mind. Then I ended up running on uneven sidewalks, across traffic, at stop lights, and on a route I’d never run before; I just felt happy that I ended up with a pace under 10 minutes.
This week I’ve already started. I won’t be shredding on my non-running days as I’ll be traveling for BlogHer in San Jose. I will be walking a lot though. I’ll pick up the Shred the following week. I’ll be foam rolling tonight and tomorrow as well in preparation for the long flight(s). I’m not looking forward to treadmill runs while traveling, but I’m planning on a workout party with my favorite people, so maybe it won’t be awful.
My mileage doesn’t increase this week, so it’s just maintaining my runs while working a conference, staying up way too late, eating too much, and not drinking enough water. No biggie.
Week four, let’s do this!
This morning I clicked through some shared blog links, my feed reader, and the Internet at large. I saw a number of posts dedicated to the topic of blogging itself, which isn’t shocking as BlogHer ’14 kicks off next week. I read these posts with interest, but have my own list of ways to craft the best blog post ever I’d like to share with you.
Like to hear it? Here it goes.
1. Write your heart out.
2. Press publish.
Ta-da! You win!
You can write it sitting down at a computer, standing up on your phone while waiting in line at Starbucks for your latte fix, on the train commuting to your job while balancing your iPad on your lap, dictated through an app on your phone or to your kid who types faster than you. You can even write it on paper, kick it old school with a journal and a pen and a lake and the sunset; type it into your blog later, when you have time, energy, space removed from the immediacy of whatever it was you needed to write right then, in that moment.
You can put a picture on it. If you do, it can be a fancy pants picture you took with your DSLR, full of shiny bokeh and perfect focus. It could be a snap from your smartphone. It could be filtered within an inch of its life. It could have text on it. Or you could simply not put a photo on your post. The world will not end. Your words don’t matter less if you do not include a photo on your post. “They” say that posts with photos are shared more. I say that good writing is good writing is good writing. True facts.
You could share it. On Twitter or your personal Facebook page or your Facebook Fan page or Google+ or Pinterest or StumbleUpon. Or you could just let people find it, relate to it, and share it at will. Or you could do some combination thereof. Or nothing. It doesn’t matter.
Because crafting the perfect blog post has less to do with views and shares and potential for going viral and more with writing what you want to write at the time you want to write it. Too often, and more so in recent years as we’ve become hyper-focused on making sure other people want to share our posts instead of simply reading our words and relating, we censor ourselves. Or we forget to tell our story and instead blather on about things that matter very little to us in the end. Or we completely lose track of why we started blogging in the first place. Not to say your reasons can’t change, but our voices have changed over the years and a lot of that can be attributed to people telling us what success in blogging means, what it means to be a “good” blogger, what it means to be listed or not.
Remember when we came to our spaces and blathered and pressed submit and didn’t think twice about if it was retweeted or shared eleventy times? Remember when pressing submit on a post you poured your heart into—the very essence of your soul—left you feeling accomplished and proud of yourself, proud of the work you put into your own virtual space? Remember when telling your story meant something to you?
I’ve been working for the past few years on reclaiming that for myself. Last year at BlogHer, I spoke on a panel with three smart women, talking about brands, branding, success, and what it all means to us. We had different experiences, opinions, and processes. I keep coming back to my statement that pressing publish is enough success for me. I’ve written some hard stuff over the past year. I’ve also written about my running journey and sometimes neglected to share with regularity for fear that others might find it boring or trivial or not in “line with my brand.” Then I remembered that I’m not a brand, that I’m a human being and running is part of my story. So is losing my grandmother, watching these brothers figure out brotherhood together, the way I’ve learned to dress myself and this body of mine over the years, my struggles with anxiety and mental health, and everything else I’ve taken time and heart and energy to tippity-tap type out into this space, press publish, and send out into the world.
I recognize that I say this from a complete place of blogging privilege. I’ll walk across a stage in San Jose on Friday night and read a post* at the 7th Annual Voices and Photos of the Year Community Keynote in front of a room full of people I know and love, people I’ve read, people I’ve never read, people who don’t really like me, people who don’t know I exist. I’ll read a post that ranks as one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. Pressing publish on that post, putting it out into the greater space and showing that part of myself marked a success in so many ways. Instead of hiding, I pressed publish. Instead of censoring myself and being brand friendly, I pressed publish. Instead of letting someone else tackle it, I pressed publish—because it was my story. I’ll be recognized for the success of pressing publish. I get the privilege I have in saying, “Oh, pressing publish is success enough.”
But if I hadn’t been pressing publish for years and years and years and gotten back to a place where pressing publish was enough for me—more than enough for me—I never, ever would have written that post, shared my truth, and sent it out there for others to read, to relate to, to share. It simply wouldn’t have happened.
And so, keep writing your hard out and keep pressing publish. You are successful every single time you do so. True facts.
*=Voices of the Year readers have been instructed not to share which post they are reading on the stage until that night. I will have a post that goes live that night so those who cannot attend BlogHer ’14 can re-read what I wrote. Rumor has it there will eventually be video of the Community Keynote as well. Here’s hoping I don’t biff it in my brand new (epic) shoes.