Hello Salty readers! Our 2013 winter break has come to an end and it’s a new year. For many of us, that means new goals, new commitments and re-commitments. It means a fresh start. And for Laura (Salty) and me (Cinnamon), that’s no different. We both have big goals for ourselves in 2014–and we’ll get into those in future updates–but we also have some goals for Salty Running, and we want to share them with you.
But first, I want you to know that our winter break from posting new content wasn’t exactly an off-season, we’ve been working hard, talking it out between each other, talking about it with others, examining strategies, and considering new directions. Since it’s inception two years ago, Salty Running has become something completely different–bigger and better and more inclusive and more rewarding–than our expectations, and for the last year or so, Laura and I have been looking at this wonderful thing we’ve created with a singular, perplexing question bouncing back and forth between us:
Where do we go next?
I confess, it’s a little terrifying to admit to you that we don’t know where this train is headed, but it’s the truth, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working on Salty Running, it’s that sharing my truth with you makes me better, stronger, smarter and more open to ideas I hadn’t considered.
In great part, this problem is due to an Internet’s worth of possibilities. We could be anything! We could be a wear-testing lab! We could be a coaching service! We could be a magazine with ad space and product placement! We could be a message board community, a race review site…
The question brings me back to the root of why we started Salty Running in the first place, and while it’s on our “About” page, I’m not sure we ever really spelled it out here on the site in a post. There are many running blogs that tell us “we can!” and it’s a great message. But often when “I can!” becomes “I did!” we find ourselves wondering what’s next. And if you’re a runner, the natural goal is to try again and improve your time.
At a post-run brunch I had an interesting discussion with Glen Andrews, director of the Cleveland Elite Development team, in which he laid out his training theory for me. “You want to qualify for Boston?” he said, “That’s not a goal. You want to become the greatest runner you can be, and I guarantee that’s better than a 3:40 marathon. Qualifying for Boston is just a stop along the way.”
There are plenty of places people can turn to find out how to run a marathon faster. But you and I both know that it’s different for women. We have babies. We menstruate. But that’s only the beginning; we’re constantly under pressure to do it all. We’re preschool moms and doting wives, the tentpoles of our families when they need support. We cook dinner and do the laundry. If we’re not moms, we’re constantly made to feel our success as women hinges on being married and having babies. We’re community leaders. We have demanding careers. We’re expected to take care of our health, to keep ourselves happy and relaxed, and also to measure our worth in pounds, sometimes to look good and feel good or sometimes for better performance. And we’re supposed to be pretty and smell good while we do it all.
Somehow, we still run. We love it. When we’re running, all the rest is just noise.
And yeah, sometimes that can feel selfish, with all those other obligations. And while it may seem innocuously funny, jokes at the expense of our gender are indicative of a pervasive lack of acknowledgement out there for women who are serious about their running and the sacrifices they have to make for those PRs.
So while there are hundreds of places you can go to read about running, our core value is to be a place where women who are serious about their running can feel comfortable talking among themselves and sharing information and support for one another.
But where do we go next?
Well maybe it’s enough, for now, that we’re here. We’re here when you need a running buddy at 2 am. We’re here when you aren’t sure if you’re late or just training too hard. We’re here when someone snidely asks how you have time to train for a marathon. We’re here when you want to try to break a 5k time. We’re here when your hands are shaking because you signed up for your first 50k. We’re here when your big plans are shattered by a tiny injury. We’re here when your coach tells you not to miss a workout.
But we want to know how we can be more here for you. This transcript of a chat I had with Laura the other night sums it up well:
That keeps being the question. What do we want to say? Who do we want to be? What is this thing?
I want to explain our mission – to be reader centric …
to provide the truth as we see it …
no gimmicks …
no hustlin’ for readers …
no schillin’ for the man …
I want to hustle FOR readers, just don’t want to hustle the ones we have.
We are straight up here because we love it and want to share our love of running and writing about it with our readers to make their running and lives better … period.
But we will not resort to cheap gimmicks and the usual blog nonsense to do it …
We don’t try to sell anyone sh*t so we get free sh*t ..,
We had a contest to reward our readers, not to hustle for Twitter and FB followers or comments or hits or whatever
We don’t do click bait titles
We don’t tell people what they want to hear
We tell the truth
But where do we go next?
We considered opening up the floor to you, to ask what you want from us, what you’d like to see, but I have to confess, that makes me afraid that we’ll only hear silence.
We try really hard to make our site different from regular blogs. We work on being inclusive and informative, “reader-centric” writing as opposed to the self-centered blogging (which is just as good, just not our format). We work so hard to create an atmosphere where you feel welcome to discuss and comment on what you see, we ask questions at the end of our posts to encourage you to respond and even have a feature that rewards those who comment by lauding their awesomeness (and we do believe they really are awesome!)…but the numbers of comments we get don’t even come close to matching the numbers of readers. We want to hear more of your perspectives, and I don’t know what more we can do to encourage that.
So tell us, what can we do to make you feel more welcome to share your thoughts and your stories with us? What do you love about Salty Running? What could be better? Anything you’d love to read here that we don’t already have? Please, give us all you got.
We’re all ears (eyes?)