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My Promises To You
Sometimes blogging is a really wonderful thing. I get to ramble on and on about running and Crohnsing and whatever’s on my mind. It’s cool having my own little place here on the magical Internet where I’m not confined by editors or assignments or word counts.
But other times, blogging is weird. I wake up most mornings knowing exactly what I’m going to write about that day. I usually draft my posts in my head while I’m out running or while I’m hanging out on the downtown 6 train to work, pretending I’m listening to Brian go on and on about Lance Armstrong, when really I’m brainstorming alliterative titles for my upcoming post.
Did you forget that I’m a very attentive person and that I’m up for Girlfriend of the Year? It’s OK. I’ll keep reminding you
So anyway, there are times when I have nothing to say.
Brian refuses to believe this.
In real life, I never shut up.
Blogging is fun when I have lots to say. But I can’t force myself to post.
There have been a few times over the past year when I’ve created posts out of nothing. I look back on those posts and regret writing anything at all.
Yesterday, I didn’t have much to say. Right now I’m just cruising through life, enjoying the day-to-day and loving these last few weeks of plan-less runs. I’ve been working hard at the office and doing really exciting things at night, like folding shirts…
In other words: I haven’t been doing much lately that’s noteworthy.
When my “regular blogging time” rolled around yesterday, I got an email from my friend Lauren. “No blog today?” Nope. Sorry, Lauren. Nothing to say. My brother and mom also asked, “Where’s your post today?”
I think my mom is convinced that if I don’t write every day, it means something is wrong, when really it just means I’m home being boring, eating Tzatziki sauce by the ladle-ful.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I blog. The reasons I started blogging a year and a half ago are very different from the reasons I blog today. When I “launched” Ali On The Run, it was because I wanted to write about running. I wasn’t training for anything at the time. I just loved to run, and I had been reading running and “healthy living” blogs for a few months. So I started my own, hoping it would not only let me keep track of my running, but also be a part of a community. I wanted to make new friends in NYC, and, remarkably, my blog has allowed me to do exactly that.
So now that I have a few cool friends, why do I keep blogging?
Well, most of the time it’s just because it’s fun. I blog for the same reason I run. I’m not the “best” at it. I don’t have a million readers and I don’t post pictures of my oatmeal garnering 116 comments each time.
And I’m fine with that.
When I started blogging, I never anticipated anyone actually reading it or commenting on my posts. My mom and my brother were my most faithful readers from that very first day, and eventually a few more people made their way over here. It blows my mind whenever someone tells me in person that they read my blog, whether it’s in the locker room after a spin class (Hi Julia, remember when we met at SoulCycle in the locker room!) or at a college alumni event at a bar.
And then crazy cool things happen, like this:
I got the July/August issue of FITNESS last night and geeked out quite a bit.
No, I would never refer to myself as being “inspirational.” That word makes me feel weird, mostly because I blog primarily about mediocre running and the number of times I go to the bathroom on any given day. But I guess if you’re inspired by that, awesome?
I recognize that people read my blog each day, or each month or whenever they feel like it. Some people read because they like it, and I’m sure some people hate-read and find me annoying and think it’s fun when I attempt a speed workout and fail miserably. It’s cool.
Blogging will never be my full-time job. It’s a hobby, it doesn’t pay the bills (or even one bill, or even a fancy dinner bill) and it’s not something I ever expect people to take very seriously. If I don’t take it seriously, trust me, you shouldn’t either.
But I do have some integrity, and I plan to keep it. And so, as a blogger, here are my promises to you:
I will never post if I don’t have something to say. There have been times in the past when I’ve written lame “filler posts,” and I cringe each time I come across them. I won’t do that anymore. There’s no need to waste anyone’s time filling your Google Reader with crap.
I will never apologize for not posting. I think we’ll all survive. “Sorry I haven’t posted in three days!” Not my style.
I will probably not delete your comments. In the time I have been blogging, I have only deleted one comment ever, and that’s because it was just nasty and not at all helpful. I don’t ever expect everyone to agree with my opinions, even though I’m always right. It’s true. Ask Brian. I am literally correct all the time. It’s crazy.
The comments here are open, they’re not moderated (first-time comments have to be “approved,” but that’s just so I know you’re not a spammy robot, and then you’re good to go) and as long as they’re not cruel, I welcome them. The one comment I deleted was basically someone calling me a bunch of names and listing all the reasons I’m a bad person. There are plenty of reasons I might be a bad person, but those reasons weren’t quite constructive, and so I ditched that comment. It was a year ago. My skin is slightly thicker now.
I will try to proofread. I always give my posts a quick once-over before hitting publish, but the font is small and sometimes typos get in there. I try really hard to avoid them. I’m an editor. It’s what I do. But I’m not perfect (I know, you are surprised by this information. Don’t tell Brian. I’m trying to convince him that I am, in fact, super perfect.) and mistakes happen.
I will not work with companies just to get paid. I have never read a blogger’s “sponsored post” and thought “OMG such good points! I need to go buy that product now, and yes I will use your discount code so you can get a portion of my sale! Thank you so much for that!” It’s totally fine and as a blogger it’s nice to get paid for those things. But it’s not something I’m interested in.
I will do giveaways if I think it’s something people truly want. The few giveaways I’ve done before — Billy Elliot tickets, a Subway gift card, Saucony shoes, an I Heart Sweat shirt and a pair of legwarmers — were because these were things I thought you might enjoy.
I have never been compensated for doing a giveaway and I’ve never received anything on my end from them. I know some people don’t like giveaways, but I think it’s nice to offer up free stuff and a chance to win something cool every now and then.
I will not claim to be an expert on anything. Especially running. When I’m writing about running, working out, whatever, I’m writing about my own experiences. I’m not saying you should do what I’m doing. I’m not posting my workouts with the expectation that you’re going to use them yourself. If you want to do the same speed workout I did one morning, go for it! But if you hate it, or if you do it the night before a race and then you bonk during your race, I’m going to go ahead and say that wasn’t my fault. Sorry.
I post what I do — that’s not necessarily what you should do. Whenever I’ve gotten an email with someone asking for running advice, I cringe, because I can only offer reflections on my own experiences, which are kind of pathetic and simply based off trying, not expert methods.
Working with Coach Cane has taught me a lot, but my goodness there’s still a lot to learn. There’s a difference between sharing a story and offering advice. I’m sharing stories. My only advice to you is to not go too crazy with the 16 Handles flavors. Mix more than three yogurt varieties and you’ve overdone it.
I will keep it real. Do people still say “keep it real?” Or is that, like, a 1990s thing? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m not a person who likes to sugar-coat things. Most days I really am having a good day. I like being optimistic! It’s fun! But sometimes I have shitty days, and I’ll write about those, too. That wasn’t a Crohn’s joke.
I will always try to convince you that Celine Dion is the most talented human alive. If you’re not on board with this yet, I’m surprised you keep coming back.
I will not change my blog merely to please you. I will always post what I want to post. I like that I feel I can write openly here — isn’t that the point? — and I don’t ever want to censor myself. As much as I write because it’s fun knowing people read, I ultimately write because it’s therapeutic for me and it’s a good way to get things off my sports bra-clad chest. There’s only so much “Can we talk about my splits more, please???” talk that Brian can take. Ali On The Run is my little dumping ground for my brain crazies.
From the bottom of my warm-and-fuzzy-and-sometimes-made-of-stone heart, thank you for reading Ali On The Run. I really do love it every time I get a comment or an email or something that lets me know I’ve connected with someone. The emails I get from people who have Crohn’s or colitis are the ones that really knock me off my small feet. Those are the best.
Oh also, I officially officially love biking.
I spent this past weekend watching Brian ride 111 miles like it was no big deal.
And now, naturally, I want to do that too.
I also want to do some running races, so the other night, this happened:
Anyway, those are my thoughts for today, and my blogging promises to you. Thank you for reading. Thanks for being so nice. Thanks for your helpful advice and your funny stories.
Happy Wednesday! Happy Summer!