Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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? 

57 comments:

  1. I've had comments on my blog by people who are irritated because I call 9 minute miles slow. Sometimes, that just feels slow to me! I realize that for other people, 7 minute miles are slow and I have no problem with that. I've never stopped reading a blog because the author runs faster than me - I just find it inspiring.

    Sometimes I have to back away from other blogs though... like by people who have their lives completely together and amazing careers and beautiful children and everything. Because while I have a beautiful child, I will probably never own a house, sometimes my career frustrates the crap out of me because teacher-bashing is so in vogue right now (it has nothing to do with the kids, it's just the general attitude towards public school teachers and I take it way too personally).

    Anyway, now that I've gone off on multiple tangents and vented a little (tl;dr) I'll just sum it up and say yeah, there have been times comparison has brought me down a LOT. And that's when I stop reading

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    1. I love teachers! And if a persons life is displayed just *perfectly* on facebook or on a blog, I assume it's all show. And they're crying on the inside. Truly content people don't feel the need to show it off....

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    2. I used to worry about this so much & would never put any paces in my posts because I didn't want people whose race pace is my easy pace to feel like I was calling THEM slow. Then I had to remind myself that my blog is 99% for me anyway and not about other people's egos. I feel like any time we used the words "fast" and "slow" everyone should assume there's an implied "for me."

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  2. I'm not going to lie, I've read blog posts a felt that "Damn, I wish I could run that fast." There's a twinge on envy, but instead of moaning over it, I get over it and think about what I can do to better myself and the goals that I really want.

    Do I wish I was as fast as you? Sure. But that doesn't mean I'm going to hate you or not read your blog because of it. Instead, I'll high five you because it's kick ass that you are such an awesome runner, be proud to call you my friend, continue to read to see what you accomplish next, and know that if there's something I want, it's up to me. No one else. Comparing myself isn't going to do jack. The end.

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    1. Good attitude. And....secrets out...you are hella fast and athletic. I'm always jealous, in a good blog-supporting kind of way!

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  3. I like to show pictures of how badly my kids trash the house so that people don't think I'm SuperMom. Oh...they don't think that? Shit. I blew my already blown cover :P

    I like reading blogs that either a) make me think, b) make me feel, c) entertain me, d) inspire me in some way. And I like bloggers who are real people. I really liked it that you ran with my slowness that day and acted like you were having fun. Even when...no, ESPECIALLY when that mangy rat waddled right next to us.

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  4. In terms of what keeps me reading: writing style and attitude/approach toward running are more important than a blogger's speed. Although I definitely compare myself to running bloggers who are within my speed range for inspirational purposes (but I've found that to be a positive rather than demoralizing thing).

    Facebook, on the other hand. I swear I am about to deactivate that noise. My minifeed appears to be one enormous litany of brags and all it does it make me feel horrifically inadequate for so completely not having my shit together compared to everyone else.

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    1. I have a fantasy of shredding through facebook with mean comments to the "what a blessed life I have/ my hubby is the best!" posts. I know, terrible, but those posts benefit nobody...and only lead to groans and eye rolls.

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  5. I've never dumped any blogs because they brought me down. I've dumped because I just can't relate to their lives and/or they are too "motivational" (or commercial) for me. Lately, I'm skipping out on the ones that are too "CHEERY!!" and "INSPIRATIONAL." Blah. Every run is not magical and teaches us amazing life lessons. STFU. I really feel like I gravitate towards people who are not only real but also *balanced*. That's one of the things that draws me to your blog. You have a great mix of it all. Love the vacation talk, the filler, and all the great running stuff in between.

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  6. Hmmm, no, but I do get turned off my too much self-congratulatory stuff. I guess I don't find that inspiring. I actually read a crap-ton of blogs where the writer is significantly faster than me. Fastness or slowness is not a factor to my reading.

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  7. This is a great post. Yes, I'm not gonna lie, I do get jealous and wondered why I'm so lame. But I do have laziness to blame. But does it stop me from reading faster people's blogs? No!! I go through their training and see if I can learn a thing or two, of course, I will never be able to call8 min/mile my easy pace, and I will never see the digit 6 in front of my garmin, but I can certainly improve myself!!

    If I stop reading fast folks blogs, I would have nothing to read!!!

    Just for a good laugh, you try to show that you have bad run days with your 16 miler, I just did mine at 2:45 this Saturday and I didn't take any walk breaks!! It was my first 16 miles ever, but I won't stop reading your blog heheheh

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    1. I'm a jerk....major props to you on the distance PR! How did it feel?

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    2. You are so not a jerk!!!! That's your pace and I have mine!!! I use you as an inspiration!!
      It felt totally fine!! I'm ready for my first 18!! :)

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  8. Great post! I use blogs to push me in everyway. I think it is good to read about the good, the bad, and the ugly in workouts. I guess I have never thought about it in some of the ways you stated above. But in reality if you reality if a person gets so bothered by reading maybe they should do something else.

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  9. These kinds of blogs are the ones I DO read :D I want to learn from/be inspired from a running blog! I actually gravitate away from the blogs that send a message that it's ok to not to try. There are quite a few such blogs out there that glorify failing or missing a goal, and they have strong readerships. People love it. They can feel mildly superior, or just not as bad about skipping their own workout. This type of reading does nothing for me.
    On another note, you can't compare yourself to others on the internet because they may just be full of crap. I had a blog follower for awhile who would post these glorious race times and PR's. The problem was that some of the races she said she was running I was running, too, and I never saw her. Then these fishy stories started surfacing: "My timing chip never activated", "I was lead woman until mile 24 when I fell and skinned myself so badly I quit" "I purposefully avoided all course photographers". Other red flags popped up, too- like she would run a race I had run and say she ran a 1:27:14 chip time, but there were no 1:27 finishers at all in that race. Then she vanished off the internet. I don't have proof, but I'm pretty sure she was making this stuff up. Crazy.

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    1. What crazy devotion to pointless lies. They really wanted to impress you Gracie!

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  10. I only read blogs of people exactly like me. In fact if they are 3 minutes faster in a half marathon I feel like less of a human being and I cry when I read their blogs.

    What are you supposed to do, pretend to be slower? I love reading blogs of people faster than me and slower than me because I like reading what they WRITE and THINK about their training and racing, regardless of their times. And no, I'm not insulted when people say that they did "12 miles at an easy pace of 8:30" because I UNDERSTAND that it is easy for them. Duh.

    People...

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  11. The only reason I stop reading running blogs sometimes, is if there is too much technical information (spreadsheets of splits, pace per mile, etc.). I'm not mathematically minded, and don't like reading through that minutia. I'm more about the bottom line...as in "What was the distance?" and "What was your time?" I'm more in to what the race itself was like, rather than a bunch of number crunching.

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  12. I've never had to stop reading a blog *just* because the author was faster than me, but sometimes when I'm injured I stop reading any kind of blog related to running or fitness: it's just too damn depressing.

    I'd say that the majority of blogs that I read are by people who are faster than me (and thinner, and prettier, and taller): you, Sweaty Emily, Skinny Runner, Runner's Kitchen, Nutrition Success (although she's more of a pro), Health on the Run and many more. Yes, I feel like sh*t about myself when I see how skinny and fast everyone else is, but I don't resent any of the aforementioned bloggers for their weight or speed. I'd hate myself regardless. I read your blog and the others because it's inspiring (so sorry, so cliche-ridden) and because it's interesting to see that there's no one model for fast running: you're all so different personality-wise, some taller, some shorter, with different careers and backgrounds (although college athletics seems to be a common trait) and also vastly different training approaches.

    Do I identify with any of you fast ladies? No. But it doesn't matter: I still look up to all of you. And what's the use of feeling bad because others are better than you? Why not try your hardest every day to get as close as you possibly can to their level.

    Sometimes, I admit, I get p*ssed off when someone runs faster than me or does a good time, but that's usually because I don't like the blogger as a person (hey, I'm a bitch sometimes. Some people make me want to punch my computer screen). When I'm neutral or I like someone, I'm always genuinely pleased when they kill a personal goal, and likewise sad for them when they're injured.

    What's the point of being satisfied with being mediocre just because it makes a person comfortable? Living in denial about being slow or whatever else is a bit pathetic really - it doesn't stop you from being slow, it's just the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting 'lalalalalatherearenorunnersfasterthanmeeee' all day long.

    xxx

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    1. Also, what are these people going to do at any races they run? Jump up and down with a megaphone at the start and yell 'nooo, no-one run faster than me because it'll make me feel baaaaad about myself. I'll cry when I see the results!' Jesus Christ.

      I'm not sure if it's even 'intimidation' because to me that sounds like something contrived by the fast blogger. It sounds more like sour grapes to me.

      xxx

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    2. Sent you an email pretty Jessica

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  13. Great freaking post. Seriously. My favorite quote lately has been "Comparison is the thief of joy". If I spend too much time comparing myself to someone else I am robbing myself of my experiences. IDK sounds cheesy but it's true. :)

    I had a crappy half marathon on Sunday, for about 3 miles I beat myself up but everyone has bad runs. The definition of "bad" might be different but every run/race can't be a PR.

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  14. I really dislike when people have a negative attitude towards someone who might be a stronger runner then them. I love blogs written by people who are faster then me so I can learn from them. I'm happy with trying my best and I think it makes you look insecure when you take down others or talk trash about them in Internet forums. We should all try to just be happy with who we are!!! I might be an okay runner but I sure do suck at a lot of other things!!!!

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  15. I think that things are boring everywhere. as in, "it's not me, it's you."

    but agree on your ranting. people are fucking idiots (can I say fuck in your comments? well, now I have. twice. fuck.)

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  16. So yeah, Lizzy is freaking amazing! I think it is super important that we as bloggers are encouraging and supportive of one another in our endeavors. Everyone is going about their own journey. I love reading others blogs and it helps get me fired up about running and remember why I started this thing in the first place.

    I just found your blog recently and I love that you are funny and you keep it real! :)

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  17. I don't think I've ever quit reading a blog because of comparison. If anything, I am more likely to keep reading because they are better than me at something because it's inspiring and makes me want to either try harder, or gives me new ideas of ways to push myself.

    The main reason I usually quit reading a blog is because the person is reaaallly annoying or boring. Just keepin it real.

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    1. I was thinking of your blog when I wrote this! Because I can't cook...but even so, your blog never intimidates me. Definitely inspires. Especially those white chocolate cookies....mmmmm

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  18. I felt guilty for being a "blog reader snob" I usually only like to read about runners that are faster than me. I like to see how much they actually train. It definitely motivates me to get my ass in gear when I don't feel like working out. On the other hand there are a few runners that I have followed that have gotten gradually faster over time and those people really inspire me. I know my body and I know my limits. Just because someone can handle 70-8O mile weeks doesn't mean that I can.

    I also don't like blogs that are full of motivational posters: "Strong is the new skinny", "No matter how slow you run, you are still lapping everyone on the couch" its bullshit.

    Keep on doing what you do Rose. You are good at it :)

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  19. To say I never wish for the speedy fast times or ease of logging insanely high miles that I read on other blogs would be a complete lie. However, I don't have the desire to put the time and effort into those times/distances and every once in a while I need to remind myself that...by doing something ridiculous, like running Fargo this weekend.

    In the end, the most important part of a blog of any time is keeping it real. And not the "I keep it real so I'm going to be honest about this one time when I ate 1.5 cookies instead of just one that I was supposed to have"...the honest to goodness, flowing, casual reality and honesty. Thats what is important to me and what keeps me reading blogs that I can't exactly relate to - like ultra runners, triathletes, mommy blog, diy-ers, etc.

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  20. I'm pretty sure that track workout is meant to take you to failure. Ha.

    So, when I first started reading running blogs I would occasionally get butt hurt over the runners who seemed so talented and so fast and I would never be that fast boo hoo.

    But, the thing was, I wasn't trying very hard. So I wasn't going to get faster, let alone as fast as the people who were running 5 times a week and doing actual running drills and *pushing* themselves.

    But then I started, you know, actually *trying* to better my running. And a funny thing happened. Suddenly, those wicked fast runners? Made me think "huh, I wonder, if I worked that hard, maybe I'd be faster than I was before." Who knows where I'll cap out when it comes to speed, but looking at people who are trying harder than I am makes me want to try harder, the same way that running with people who are faster than I am makes me run faster, while running with people who are slower than I am drags me down.

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  21. When I started running races and started reading blogs — two things that came really close together — I had a hard time. Until I started racing, I didn't know how many people ran faster than I did (obviously I knew people ran faster, but I guess I imagined it to be more like Olympians --> almost Olympians --> everyone else), and until I started reading running blogs, I didn't "know" any of those people. So, at first, that was actually pretty cool -- whoa, man, this person who's kind of like me runs seven-minute miles; INSANE! And then I'd see those speedy people write things like "Guh, my average was 8:30 pace, might as well just stop running forever" and be like ... oh jesus, I guess I shouldn't even bother getting out there then, given how pathetic I must look to everyone.

    Eventually, though? I realized that's stupid, because of exactly what you wrote above -- my hardest effort feels to me like someone else's hardest effort feels to them, even if those times are minutes (er, hours, ahem) apart.

    As sad as it is, though, I do sometimes have a hard time reading about people who have improved a lot in their sport by doing things similar to what I'm doing (or at least what I think I'm doing, which may be the key point there). I wonder why I'm still stuck at the same paces, why I'm not improving at the same rate. Sometimes that kind of reflection can be helpful -- "Oh, maybe I'm actually NOT putting in the work quite right" -- and sometimes it can be temporarily frustrating. But that's always, ALWAYS about *me*. Not the blogger. Me and my dumb issues.

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  22. If I didn't read blogs of people who are faster than me, that would severely limit my reading! That doesn't mean that I don't feel (stupidly) envious or jealous sometimes. I don't so much feel envious of the people who are WAY faster than me. It's more when people who I consider "like me" get PRs that I can't match, or continually improve while I struggle to get back to where I was last summer (an annual effort), that I feel a little jealous and bitter. (But only secretly, in my heart.) But I still like reading about their accomplishments!

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  23. If I stopped reading people who are faster than me, I wouldn't have anything to read at all. I stop reading people when they get too preachy, too technical, or too commercial. While I do like to learn about the sport, I read blogs for enjoyment and inspiration, not for a constant stream of how-to manuals. And you simply cannot convince me, when you're doing at least a review a week, that you love love love every single product.

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  24. Ha I love this! I like to read blogs of people of all paces just because it's cool to see that we all experience the same emotions no matter what pace we take, running hard is hard for everyone. But I do get this and see that people do the "we she/he is better then me so I hate he/she" and then go to sites like GOMI and blab all about how this person is lame and annoying. Wish everyone had the confidence to jut do their own thing without caring what the hell is going on with everyone else, but this seems to make people hate me and think I'm super lame.

    I feel like I could really care less if people think I'm a raging b**** because I clock faster splits, but I personally enjoy reading faster peeps blogs (like yours wheels). Honestly, maybe this makes me a little ragid around the edges, if others don't want to read my blog for whatever reasons they have...it doesn't effect me. Read it, don't read it, it's all the same. Value doesn't seems to come from blog stats for me. I just get annoyed when people DO read and leave snarky anonymous comments just to be douchey, if that's even a word. Why read and put forth the effort if you hate what you're reading??? Just seems silly to me. Totally off tanget I suppose.

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    1. Whoops sorry for those typos, this damn iPhone always gets me ;)

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  25. uh oh! I hope I do not intimidate you, because I want to come run long with you on the weekend...soon!!! :)
    I do really really like pain! I wasn't aware of how much that comes across in my blog!
    I like writing race re-caps, because they allow me to reflect/learn which each race experience (but obviously the drinking/eating while running knowledge is taking a long time to sink in!) :)
    ...and I really enjoy reading about other runner's race re-caps, no matter how fast or slow they are. <-I feel like I learn a little bit with each re-cap I read. There are some blogs with WHINEY/WIMPY running authors that I just cannot stand to read, so I don't!! hah simple as that!
    I've honestly never seriously compared my training to another runner's because I know what my body can and can't do (+80-mi/week is a no no for me!) I do like to read faster runner's blogs so I can get some ideas for hill workouts/tempos/sprints.
    and I'm so happy that my craziness can excite you to run a little harder, you are so strong willed too!!

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    1. I hope you know I meant all of that as a sincere compliment...your blog motivates and excites me every time you post. You even handle your injuries with gusto!

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  26. I don't make it a habit to gush in blog comments about how awesome the blogger is, but that said... you're awesome and I love reading your blog. You're also hella faster than I am. Whatever! :)

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  27. I read your blog and others when I'm at work and can't run. Reading about bloggers and their running experiences inspires me to run more, run harder, and to attempt to achieve greater goals. We are lucky to have other runners that selfishly (probably) take the time to pour their thoughts out into a space where other runners can hopefully benefit from the information, ESPECIALLY when the blogger is an experienced runner!

    I'm new to running (started last November) and I recently pulled my left upper hamstring. I couldn't run AT ALL last week and it has been super depressing. Your blog among others helped me realize that getting injured and recovering is all part of running or any sport and that it will get better if I play it smart; THANK YOU FOR THAT!

    And lastly for all those downers out there, I got this from quote from a bag of tea:

    "It is no noble thing to be superior than some other man. True nobility lies in being superior to one's previous self."

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    1. 6 months without an injury...pretty good start! I wish your hamstring well, hope you stick with running FOREVER, and I love love that quote. Good ole tea.

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  28. I always like it when you recommend blogs to stalk, I like your taste.

    I read a variety of blogs, all for different purposes. I enjoy faster blogs because they inspire me. Oher blogs are enjoyable too, just for different reasons. Maybe it's a really cute girl or something. Just kidding, I'm not that shallow. For the most part, I enjoy reading people who make me think. I don't like negative nellies who complain 24/7, but at the same time I usually don't like people who are 100% rainbows/sunshine either.

    Even though I feel like I don't really open up a whole lot on my blog, I prefer to read about people who DO open up on their blogs. BUT it's only certain people that I'm interested in reading about. Some blogs that look like novels give me a huge headache, but if it's the right person writing it, it's irresistible.

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  29. I drop blogs if they stop being updated. Or if they stop being interesting to me. Not everything I follow is on my blogroll. Mainly I look for people that have an honest writing voice and something to say. It doesn't have to be about fitness. Mine has been migrating away from just tri training. I follow some pro blogs and what's interesting is that they go through the same struggles. They just finish the race faster. I don't mind a bit of commercialization, but too much and it has to be a really interesting blog. Too twee doesn't do much for me. A bit of kids is fine, but a mommy blog is out. Food is good, but nothing but food is boring. Some fashion adventures is fine, but nothing but fashion is boring. I think you get the idea.

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    1. I do get it...you like Goldilocks blogs. Not too much of any one topic....Juuust right.

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  30. I feel like people who get offended or upset when a faster runner talks about times/races/frustrations are reading a whole lot into things that aren't there. Their eyes read what's on the screen, "I ran a race, my time was xx:xx" and their brain adds in a whole extended paragraph from there that goes, "and I pass judgement on everyone behind me in a condescending fashion, why do they even bother getting out of bed, I curse them and their progeny for all time with the bottoms of my shoes as I leave them behind, they are not fit to pick up my discarded aid-station cup". No matter what your time is, it is frustrating and disappointing to miss your goal or have a bad race or an injury, and thrilling to pr. But ultimately, if people are than unhappy hanging around, good riddance. Though I do hope they get the joy back in their run.

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  31. I am your shy anonymous reader who loves everything you write. The best part about you is that you don't take down criticism or feedback that go against something you say. Grow up! you say and write controversial things which invites so many types of responses. Bloggers who complain about "anonymous snark" get off my Reader quicker than someone who is gunning for a sub three like you - and I'm a supa-slow runner!

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  32. I have no problem reading bloggers who are faster than me. It's inspiring, and it's a way to learn. I really don't see why someone would stop reading a blog because another runner is faster, unless they were actually condescending about it. The reason I'll stop reading a blog is because it's boring, or the writing is bad or annoying or fake. There are SO many running blogs out there, it is impossible to read all of them, so if a blog isn't keeping my attention, or if the writer bugs me, for whatever reason, then I stop reading it. I admit, I troll the GOMI forums from time to time, just to read them, and it's all just ... bizarre to me. If someone hates a blog so much that they would basically e-gossip behind their back ... why not just stop reading the blog? I mean, do they really have nothing better to do with their time? I understand the concept of a "hate read" and there are some bloggers who annoy me and I occasionally peek at their blog out of curiosity, but then I remember why I don't read that blog regularly and just move on.

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  33. I only read 3 running blogs, and all three of you are way faster than I will ever be. I get jealous sometimes that I'm not as speedy as you all, but I also get jealous during the Olympics every four years of those amazing athletes!! I consider it a good jealous because it makes me push myself harder. If you are entertaining and motivating then I keep reading!!

    I love reading about crap runs. I don't know why but sometimes I think fast people don't have off days....dumb, I know. It is good to see that you are just like us normal joggers....just at a faster pace!

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  34. This quote sums up things perfectly - "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."

    For an extreme example, we will never be Ryan Hall or Desiree Davila. And that is fine. Comparison between runners is not a good thing. Though I will say that one of my friends who I've ran with a ton over the years is close to the same speed as me. I know that if I'm beating him in races that I'm running well. If he's beating me in races, then he is running well. We go all the way back to high school in terms of comparison with running. He used to beat me all the time in high school, then recently in 2009 and 2010 I started beating him for some reason - ebbs and flows.

    Main time I stop following blogs for a bit is if I'm injured. It it hard to read about others running when you can't run. I guess I get detached from running this way. Which is why the past year has been hard because I've been on and off injured for like a year.

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  35. I think I can relate to people who react to some blogs like that because back when I was young and insecure I sometimes did. (Though, to be fair, some of those same blogs were the ones that spurred me to work harder and shoot higher and change my ideas about what was possible. "If SHE can do it, then fuck if I can't too!")

    Since then I have grown up & definitely became much more secure about myself both as a runner and just as a person. Now when I read blogs I barely even think about whether that person is faster or slower than me, because 99% of the time it's irrelevant -- running "hard" and PRing is tough and feels awesome whether you're running a 5:00 mile or a 12:00 one, and sucky / tired / hurt days suck equally for all of us. As someone has interesting things to say about their experience, I don't really care how we compare.

    I think the only thing content-wise that will make me stop reading a blog is if the whole thing is literally a litany of whining and moaning and negativity. I like that people share their struggles as well as successes, but if all it does is make me depressed all the time, I probably won't be reading for long.

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  36. I read blogs if something is 1) Entertaining 2) A talented or dedicated athlete or 3) I dunno...they just suck me in and it seems we'd get along.

    But I won't lie - I am competitive and I try to make myself only feel joy at other's huge PRs but I do feel jealous as well. But I tell myself, that someone will always be better than me so to chill out about it.

    That said, as Chacha mentioned, being overly self-congratulatory at any speed is a pet peeve and particularly grating to me from a really good runner. If Meb, Kara Goucher and Desi can be (apparently) humble at their achievements so can the rest of us.

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  37. There is a HUGE blogger I stopped reading cause it made me feel insecure, fat, and lazy...plus it's all pop up ads now. Thanks for reading my blog post regarding this issue. Don't worry, I didn't "quit" you. I've just been too consumed in reading 50 shades of grey. Did you just eye roll? I think you did.

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  38. I have definitely been guilty of jealousy when I read about some people's PRs when I don't understand how I need to work so hard to PR and they seem to do it easily but I've never dropped someone just because she is faster than me. I've also been guilty of posting one of my own PRs or goals on my blog and thinking "oh man, is anyone making fun of me because I think that's good?" But then I get over myself and run just for me :)

    In the case of you - I know I'll never be as fast as you. But that's ok. It is cool to read about what you do and maybe I can use some of it to get as fast as my body will let me...All any of us can do is live up to our potential.

    When it comes right down to it, as long as we're having fun, who really cares how fast any of us can run?

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  39. People who feel bad about themselves after reading a strangers blogs are... Kinda dumb. They must be really insecure to feel bad because of someone else's thoughts/life/time whatever.

    Anyways it's Harlow. I find your blog inspiring. It's nice to read the thoughts of someone who loves running and has a sense of humor. also motivating.

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  40. Great post! You tell it like it T.I. is! LOVE your blog...keep up the great work. :-)

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