Social Media and the Runner: How Much Is Too Much?

Blogs are a lot of things! Image courtesy of www.community.pennfoster.edu

I’ve had my fair share of running blogs. And non-running blogs. I’ll pour my heart (and training) out to the world for a few months and then get this scary feeling inside that tempts me to want to hit the “delete blog” button as well as deactivate my Facebook account, slipping back under the radar. And my bedroom comforter.

How did we celebrate our accomplishments and achievements before the internet? I’m young, but not that young to remember how it was done in the late 80s and early 90s. The Neighborhood News was my (very) local newspaper. I remember reading about the little league baseball world series held at the ballpark down the street or my older neighbor’s wedding engagement. I longed for the day that I could be mentioned in the paper for something. My dream came true by surprise in high school when my mom sent them a write up about me winning my 15-19 year old age group at a local 5k. Such big news back then for a small town paper would now be small time news for the entire world to see. Aint it funny?

Prior to joining the Salty team, I distanced myself from blogging about my running for roughly 9 months. I switched to a calendar-type running log under a name that might have been hard to find. I wanted to, well, run away. Hide what I was doing and just train the old-fashioned way. At times I even toyed with going back to a paper and pen log but I was hooked on having the computer add up mileage for me. Yeah, math was never my forte.

My very first training log.

During my retreat, I ran my fastest times in races and workouts. I even stayed injury free for six months! But then I got hungry again. I liked what I was reading when Salty launched the first version of our site. And then the ideas started flowing. I felt like I was beginning to embark on a new route with my fitness and what better way to share in the journey of getting faster than to blog about it? I got the writer’s high in the first week, pumping out 2-3 articles ahead of schedule. I was even excited to share my training log in a new medium.

Two weeks in, I became injured.

Really? Image courtesy of www.therunningadvisor.com

Feelings of inadequacy and uselessness set in. They’re never going to believe that I ran 40 miles a week this winter! They’re gonna think I’m making it up that I’m injured! They’re gonna think that I’m not that serious of a runner! They’re gonna think I’m a sissy when it comes to pain!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I’m quite the insecure being. Yet, each day at my job, I help build people up to realize their strengths in the midst of adversity. Even the smallest of achievements deserve praise. Hell, praise for just being. One of the greatest joys for me is seeing a person smile after you just paid them a compliment that they didn’t expect. But outside of work and on the interwebs, I can get overly critical in my head. Quit bragging about your kid. Big whoop that you ran that half marathon. I can do it faster. So what you got the job. Lucky.

I feel judged by others. Therefore, I judge others.

Pretty much sums it up. Image courtesy of www.zazzle.com.

The other day, I posted a Facebook status about receiving my professional counselor license. I was feeling a sense of pride, a desire to share it to the world, or at least with a few hundred of my “friends”. I didn’t have to think twice about hitting send. I didn’t care how many likes and comments it would generate. I was happy. And I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. It was in that moment then that I realized, whom am I to criticize others for wanting to also shout from the rooftops?

Maybe I’ve read too many Letsrunย message boards, where it’s nearly a requirement to be critical of others. But getting these uncomfortable thoughts off my chest helps me to see that I just shouldn’t care so much. So what if I haven’t done a long run in over eight weeks? So what if I only ran ten miles this week? So what if I still haven’t broken 22 minutes in the 5k? And so what if I never do?

We could all take some advice from this bunny, eh? Image courtesy of thefatbunny.com

I’m not running away from the internet this time because I’m finally brave enough to be me. I am writing to share knowledge that I am confident in having in an effort to maybe help someone else. I am also writing to share my defeats, the lessons learned so that maybe someone else can relate or not make the same mistakes. And when the time comes, I’m writing to share my accomplishments. Whether it’s a local newspaper or the world wide web, there’s nothing to be ashamed of here. To me, blogging and social media have become this great, big community where we can all share a little bit of ourselves with each other. A place where we can learn and grow, even if it feels uncomfortableย at times.

It takes a brave soul to be loud. Rawr!

Courtesy of animalszooguru.blogspot.com

What about you? Do you get jittery after publishing an article? Do you long for the good ol’ days before the Internet? Why do you blog?

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I write about mindfulness, mental health, and the professional sport of running with the occasional poking fun at the sport. When I am not running, I'm either helping people as a counselor or trying to make them laugh as an amateur open mic comedian.

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6 comments

  1. Such a great topic! I post quite a bit. For me, a freelance writer and runner, it’s a great marriage of my passions. Something pops into my head, I put it into a post. But I agree–there are times I just want to hide (like after a bad race) but with a blog, it isn’t happening! I guess we all have to find our comfort level and go with it.

  2. Aww, that was my first running log too! My mom had to get the bookstore to special order them.

    I used to have a running blog and decided I wasn’t comfortable with it for a few reasons. I just wanted it to be a simple blog of what I did and what worked, not telling people what to do. The main reason I deleted it was that there is that line of Internet anonymity which is hard to maintain when you’re taking about specific races and times. I still enjoy reading and commenting on blogs – it was just too much for me to put out there.

  3. What a cool post. I can totally relate to lots of it. Getting ‘high’ off social media, but then using it to bludgeon myself with the mileage and accomplishments of faster runners, feeling insecure and not wanting to post my times since they don’t match up to a blogger’s I’m following, or feeling pressure to run a certain time in an upcoming event because, damn it, I’m gonna have to tweet or post my time, and fearing ‘they’re all gonna laugh at you.” It’s a crazy maelstrom of time-sucking evil sludge, sometimes, or a great way to branch out and connect to others.

    You took a nice risk just by writing this, and its something many feel, I suspect. Anything you write is opening up yourself a bit, but the most raw and honest stuff comes out the greatest.

    Yes, if we only knew how little others really pay attention to our racing times. I try to remind myself I don’t want my ego to show up and watch me run, I want my ID, my primal self to come out and ROAR loud.

    (Congratulations on your LPC!! Here’s a saying. What’s the difference between a social worker and a LPC? Well, a social worker helps feed the hungry, and a LPC asks them how they feel about getting fed.)

  4. Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I’m glad I’m not the only one with these mixed up feelings. I did get that scary feeling with this post, too!

    And Mark, I’m so glad we could connect! The way you integrate running and the mental health field is very thought-provoking and unique. It definitely gets my mind thinking more about how everything connects, thus making our “job” more than just a job- a way of life! Thanks!

  5. Great post! I agree it is hard to put yourself out there. I think the hardest part for me is how overwhelming social media can be to keep up with. I want to follow lots of people on twitter, keep up with Facebook, and stay on top of my blog. It can be time consuming! I go back and forth between loving social media and hating it. Sometimes, it really helps get me through the day, other times, I feel really overwhelmed by it!

  6. I agree, Jen! Especially Twitter! I wish I could keep up with the daily tweets of many fellow runners and athletes but there are days where I miss a ton (like yesterday and today) and it’s too overwhelming to catch up!