Why I Stopped Blogging — And Why I'm Back

Date: January 7, 2020 at 10:53 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 69

Please enjoy all the wonderful throwback photos in this post!

I started blogging here on October 2, 2010. It was a Saturday, and I’d just returned from my longest run ever: 13.3 miles around the southern tip of Manhattan. I didn’t even know it was my longest run ever until I returned to my midtown west apartment and mapped it on MapMyRun. At that time in my life, I was excitedly new to running — I’d run three half marathons and was blissfully unaware of things like GPS watches and injuries — was mourning the end of LOST on TV and was obsessed with Glee, and was getting ready to move into an apartment with my boyfriend at the time.

The relationship didn’t work out, and the blog was one of the things that kept me going.

For a while, I shared mostly mindless drivel: my daily workouts, which, in hindsight, were on a path to excess. My breakfast, which was usually oatmeal, even though I didn’t really like it unless it was absolutely doused in chocolate chips. (But that’s what all the other bloggers were eating, so I ate it, too.) I wrote a little bit about my job as an editor at Dance Spirit magazine. I took so. many. selfies. in the bathroom of my office, and posted my outfits every day. (Why?!) It was neither newsworthy nor particularly interesting, but that’s what blogging was in 2010. And I loved it.

BECAUSE THE INTERNET NEEDED TO SEE THIS OUTFIT! (Actually, whatever. I loved this outfit and will forever prefer boot-cut jeans.)

When I opened up beyond how-I-ate-and-sweat-today posts and talked about the end of that aforementioned relationship, it kind of exploded. (I mean, exploded from tiny to small, but still! Exploded!) People started reading. Started commenting. Started sharing their own stories with me. I still remember getting my very first blog comment and calling my mom. I was so excited. (I still get excited!)

I documented my training leading up to my first marathon. My most-read post of all-time is the one where I introduced Brian, whom I’d been secretly dating and coyly mentioning for a while. (THE SUSPENSE. I KNOW.)

#TBT SO YOUNG. So rested!

I loved blogging. It was never a job. It was always a hobby. Every day, I would wake up at 5 AM, go for a run, take a speedy shower, get dressed, walk to the subway, and then write my morning post in the notes app on my phone during my commute. By the time I got to the office around 8 AM, I would email myself the note, copy and paste it into WordPress, hit publish, and shift focus to my work for the rest of the day. I loved connecting with people, and so many of my closest friends today are people I’ve met through this space or some extension of it, like Twitter, Instagram, or the NYC running community. For that, I am forever grateful.

But when a snark-based website launched targeting bloggers — everyone was fair game, from fashion to fitness to running to “healthy living” to beauty and mommy bloggers — it changed the game. It wasn’t fun anymore. When I discovered this site — and the “I love Ali on the Run, but…” forum, which eventually lost the “love” part, I was shaken to my core. Dramatic? Sure. But I was in my mid-twenties, I was young, and I was just writing about myself! It felt very harmless. I wasn’t giving advice. I wasn’t preaching or telling anyone what to do. I was simply writing about my day, publicly! If people hated it, why would they read it? Why not just ignore it? Plus, I was tiny. My blog had some readers, but never on what I considered to be a large scale. Who even knew I existed?

For a while, I read every word they were saying about me on that site. It got to a point where someone would write a post within minutes of me publishing something here. There was always something for them to dissect. Something for them to make fun of, snark on, pick apart. I tried to ignore it, but for months, I read what they were saying. Sometimes those same people would anonymously comment here on my blog, using fake names and email addresses. I went from loving getting notifications about new comments to dreading them, worrying that it would be someone saying something like — this is one I remember! — “I can’t believe anyone would actually date you. You are the most insufferable human.” (Which, in hindsight, LOL. At least I can laugh at it now! But back then — no LOLs to be found!)

Hello! It’s me! The most insufferable human!

It took a major hit on my self esteem. I developed pretty serious anxiety. I lost sleep. And writing wasn’t fun anymore. I knew that no matter my intentions, no matter what I was saying, no matter how I lived my life, some anonymous person wouldn’t approve, and a gang of people would join in. For all of the amazing things I’ve gained from the internet, blogging, and social media, that one little corner stole my focus, my energy, and my optimism.

I eventually quit reading the site. I still remember: It was Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t make sense of why I was spending time and energy reading negative, anonymous things about me and about my friends. Why wasn’t I present? Why wasn’t I focused on the dozens, the hundreds of amazing people, amazing comments, amazing supporters? Why wasn’t I focused on real life?!

I quit reading, and I was happier. But I still knew it existed. I still feared it a little. I still found myself picking apart my own writing, wondering what people would think or say or what tiny detail they’d decide to harp on and critique. As I got older and more mature, it bothered me less, but I don’t think I ever fully forgot it was there. (I still haven’t forgotten it’s there!)

I’m always an open book. I love to share. I will always let myself be vulnerable. That all comes naturally to me. But the fear of any type of backlash is always there, too. It’s not like I’m doing someone’s taxes and they’re coming back to me saying, “Hey, this number is wrong.” That would be objective! That would be fine! (Except, ew, I hate being wrong. I also hate taxes.) But this is all personal. This is my life. My family. Me. It’s hard not to take things personal.

ME AGAIN! Posing in a bathroom! (I wish my hair were still that voluminous!)

As my career changed and I went freelance, I simply had less time for blogging. I needed to make money! My paycheck was no longer a guarantee, and every minute I wasn’t working — and blogging, for me, was never work or a real source of income — wasn’t worth it to me. So I scaled back. And after launching the Ali on the Run Show, I mostly stopped. I wrote weekly pregnancy recaps when I was pregnant with Annie, which was mostly for my own sake. I knew I would appreciate documenting that time and looking back on those posts someday. (Already true!)

But also, my life wasn’t all that interesting! My workouts were fun for me, but not worth documenting. And for a while, I just didn’t have much to say here. I no longer feared criticism from anonymous sources or sites, which was good! An improvement! I just felt more like living, and less like writing it all down.

And then Annie was born. And then any thoughts of dedicating unpaid time to writing seemed insane. I didn’t write monthly recaps of her development and milestones and activities, despite my best intentions. I didn’t write about my return to running after having a baby. And that’s OK! I jotted down a race recap or two, but mostly, it wasn’t something I could spend time on.

Now, though! Now it’s a new year. We’re in a groove, at least for now. We’re all sleeping much more than we were a year ago. And I miss it! My life still isn’t all that interesting day to day. My workouts are productive, but repetitive. But I miss writing and sharing, and I miss having this space to connect with people. I love love love the podcast, but this is fun, too.

And so! If you’ll have me back, I’ll be here!

And by “I’ll be here,” this is what I mean…

I’ll write what I can, when I can. That’s pretty much my approach to everything these days. That may mean four posts a week, one post, or no posts. I’ll write when I’m inspired. Never when it feels forced. I won’t have a schedule or a plan, so your best bet is to just check in regularly or subscribe in an RSS feed or something like Feedly. (That’s what I use for blogs I still read.)

The site itself hasn’t had a refresh since 2011. Shameful, I know. It’s old. It’s ugly. It’s impossible to navigate and icky to look at. It’s getting a total overhaul this year. Expect to see a new, prettier site sometime this spring. I’m finally taking the time and making the investment, and it’ll be beautiful and clean and user-friendly. Maybe I’ll even learn how to resize photos properly!

You can always expect high-quality photography here! (Also remember my favorite Sony headphones? I would go through like eight pair every training cycle because they broke constantly. PRO TIP, BUY AFTERSHOKZ.)

If you’ve been here for a while, I’m so grateful. If you’re new, welcome! All I ask is that this remains a positive, kind, uplifting place. We don’t have to agree on everything! Certainly not. But we’re all human. Beyond these screens, we are all real people, doing our best. And I think leading with kindness is the most important way to do that.

If you don’t love what you’re reading here, that’s OK! As much as I want to be loved by everyone and for us all to get along and also for world peace and for Glee to come back, I know that’s not going to happen. But I ask that you not get into a habit of hate-reading. I don’t think that’s good for either of us! I ask that you share your own stories! I would love to hear from you, in the comments, on Instagram, on Facebook, wherever. I’m not a great email pen pal. My inbox is awful. Comments here are better, and I’m more likely to really sit and read them and respond. (I read the emails, I promise. Every word. But I don’t always get a chance to respond, which I hate!)

LOOK AT ALL THIS FRIENDSHIP!!! This was in 2011. It was the greatest day!

The world is…a lot right now. My goal is to keep things here light, uplifting, and positive without ignoring the realities of motherhood, of stress, of anxiety, and of all that so many of us go through and feel every day.

I’m super happy to be back in whatever shape this takes. If you’re here, I’m thrilled to have you. I’m really excited about 2020, and I have a lot of goals, plans, dreams, and intentions for the year. I’ve got a podcast episode on that coming up, if that’s your thing!

Happy New Year! I love you.

Posted in Happy Things and tagged -

69 Responses to "Why I Stopped Blogging — And Why I'm Back"

Welcome back! In whatever form it takes 🙂
Personally, I like the daily recaps and the photos

So happy you’re back! I have been refreshing your blog on a regular basis hoping you’ll always have a new one <3

This makes me SO happy!!!!

I found your blog somewhere in the middle of your training for your first marathon, and have been hooked ever since. At the time, I was a brand new, baby runner.. I think I was maybe signed up for my first half marathon and searching for tips. YOU were a HUGE part of my inspiration and developing LOVE for running. Seriously, YOU. More than anything else that inspired it, you did and we’ve never even met! What a weird and wonderful world.

I’ve run dozens of half marathons and two full since those days and love it just as much now, although it certainly ebbs and flows.

And the best part is that my love for running (even w/o a blog!) inspired probably about 10 of my friends to also start loving running and that number continues to grow. Every time I go to their “first” races, I just cry thinking all we’d miss out on without the joy of this sport/hobby/life.

So, THANK YOU Ali on the Run. Your words matter. I’m so glad you’re here!

Oh my gosh, I love this SO MUCH!!! This is amazing. We are basically best friends now and I hope we get to meet and hug in real life someday. Thank YOU for sharing this with me. (And agreed — those first races are SO special!)

Yay! It’s always so great to read what you write. There is always humour! Happy new year!

Welcome back!

Yay! I am here and always happy to read whatever you put out!!! I hate that people would spend their time picking you apart, it really says more about them than you. Either way, I am happy to have you back and also, I kind of love your site, in particular the archive feature is easier to use than any other blogs I have seen.

I can’t remember when I found your blog, someone on the runners world forum (which they don’t even have anymore!) suggested it when someone else was looking for running blog recommendations and I’ve been a reader ever since! I’ve had my own changes recently as well and I’m glad to see you back!

The perfect “comeback” post! So happy you’re back!!!

Welcome back! Love the podcast, but glad to have your “voice” back in writing too!

Stephanie says: January 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Welcome back! 🤗

TEAM BOOT CUT JEANS FOR LIFE!

So glad you are making a blogging comeback! I have followed your blog since the office OOTDs and you are such a vibrant, refreshing personality in this online world. You truly DO keep things light and fun despite all the chaos and negativity that is out there in the world. Thank you for shining your light, Ali!

Yay! I love the blog in all forms and frequency it comes in!

So happy to read this! I live on the other side of the country but always felt so connected to your positivity and also we have like the exact same favorite movies and TV shows. And it takes a special person to have such awesome taste in movies!

YAY. A lot of these same exact reasons—snark, not wanting to focus on unpaid work once I started freelancing—are why I scaled back, too, but I’m also trying to write more now too 🙂

elizabeth says: January 7, 2020 at 12:57 pm

I’m glad to read this today – Looking forward to whatever you write whenever you write it – I’ve missed it…although I do listen to your podcasts!

Awww YAY, welcome back, in whatever form it takes!! I can’t even remember when I started reading your blog – I feel like I’ve just always read it! So it’s a comforting, familiar, happy feeling that you’re back 🙂 (Is that weird?) I hate that those forums exist, because I know the feedback would hurt me so much and so I imagine it’s super painful when you’re the focus of the “criticism” – I use quotation marks because it’s so often people projecting their own issues onto bloggers versus bringing up valid points. (Not that the forums should exist even for bringing up valid points, because, like you said, people could just stop reading.) ANYWAY SUPER HAPPY YOU ARE BACK!!!!

Great! Looking forward to reading your posts! You’re here for all your loving audience, and not for the haters. So happy you are back.

So lovely to have a new post and hear your thoughts! And now I’m going to try speaking things into existence more often, since it was maybe 1-2 weeks ago that I DM’d you, hoping you would blog again 🙂 🙂 Happy rest of the week!

This makes me the happiest. I have loved the podcast but have really missed reading your blog as well. So thrilled that you’re coming back more regularly!

I am so happy you’re back at blogging… blogs will always be my No.1 favorite social media platform . I am very sorry that you had to go through what you went through with this awful sites where people talk about other bloggers (I heard of it, don’t know the URL – luckily – and would be very afraid to check if a thread about my blog exists there as well)… but I am also glad that you’re moving beyond that, that we have to except that haters will be haters and that we can only control our own reactions to it.

I am excited to read more from you again… I’ve been reading you for while (before you stopped LOL).

Annouschka says: January 7, 2020 at 2:02 pm

Looking forward to reading your future blogs. I am a huge fan of your podcast and always look forward to your posts on Instagram. There can never be too much Ali.

I’ve been reading your blog for what feels like forever – I think I found you via google, looking for some inspiration in other young(ish) women in NYC doing the “fitness thing”. You’re the one that resonated with me the most and the only one I’ve stuck with after all these years. Welcome back, and by the way, THANK YOU for sharing the glory of Aftershokz! The headphones I’ve been looking for my entire life!

Welcome back, I’m so happy to read this! I love reading about your daily life. Maybe because we both have babies and are the same age-ish, so everything is so relatable. I remember loving your daily outfits, and wanting all the yogurt from 16 handles when reading your blog back in the beginning.

So excited you at back on the blog! It was always my break at work to read and see what you are up to. Love you!

This is why you’re a TOP FAN!

Welcome back, it is so great to see you blogging again! Love you, love your posts, love your podcast. More Ali in 2020! Yay!

Welcome back Ali! I’ve been reading your blog since early 2011 when I googled something to the effect of “running blog”. I was new to running and about to train for my first half marathon! Reading your blog helped me love running, even when it was hard. I’ve loved following along all of these year and look forward to hearing what you have to say, whenever you have time to say it!

So glad you’re back!! I first found your blog while in college in 2011, and always looked forward to catching up on your posts while waiting for classes to start! So sad to hear that people are so spiteful, but your writing and humor are so genuine and I appreciate that you share so much. Thank you!

VERY exciting news!! I think I found your blog in 2012-ish, during some of my marathon training years. It was always so fun to follow along with your training and the connections with your fellow blogger/runner friends. It felt like a whole cool community (I picked up only subtle mentions that there were meanies “out there,” but had no clue how bad it got). I love your writing, so I’m really happy that I’ll get to read more of it blog-style.

Carrie McFarland says: January 7, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Sooooo happy you are back! I still wear my I <3 Sweat shirt you sent me after I won some random comment giveaway. Glad to see more regular blog updates! Keep em coming!! xoxox

Jess Young says: January 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm

I’m selfishly glad for this development – I miss reading your posts! My bathroom at work has a large, full length selfie-appropriate mirror and every once in a while the thought will strike “remember when Ali on the Run used to post her outfits?” (Is that weird? Probably.)
I don’t think there is ever an age or maturity level where character assassination doesn’t hurt. I’m just glad you’re (trying) not to give it power over you. Keep writing; we’ll keep reading!
(And for what it’s worth – I was standing near you in the corral at the 5th Ave Mile and had the “should I introduce myself?? THIS IS MY CHANCE” dialogue in my head and couldn’t work up the nerve…rejection is scary!…you’ve already demonstrated super human bravery in your willingness to put yourself out there.)

I’ve been reading since shortly before your first marathon – and I’ve found myself missing your posts! I also miss your bathroom mirror selfies, especially since I loved your style and took inspiration from them. (I take bathroom mirror outfit selfies and post them on my FB, a remarkable amount of people love them and ask for them!)
Welcome back!

Yayyyyy! Welcome back 🙂

So excited you’re back! I read your blog from the time you trained for your first marathon (I still have my I ❤️ Sweat shirt).

Awesome!! Best news so excited to see you back!!

Nicole Smith says: January 7, 2020 at 7:41 pm

Yes! I’m so glad you’re back! I was a faithful reader for years and have missed your blogs.

LOVE your writing and can’t wait to read more!

I’ve been so sad that all my favorite bloggers have turned to podcasts. I must be one of the only people that just does not enjoy podcasts! So I am THRILLED to see you back.

YAY! I always loved and looked forward to your posts, and started reading shortly after you shared the sitch about your ex when you were training for your first marathon (I still remember, crazy!). They got me excited about running and fitness! Also, loved the blogging world back in the early part of the last decade.. it was so fun and carefree and I actually liked the grainy pics and mundane sharing, where people were less focused on making money or a job out of blogging (just my two cents, no disrespect to fulltime bloggers!). And I still regret not ordering an “I heart sweat” shirt. 🙂

Glad you plan on posting more! I love the podcast and IG, but there’s just something about reading a blog post that can’t be beat!

So glad you are back Ali! Can’t wait to catch back up on your day to day life! ❤

Welcome back! I vote bring back I <3 sweat tshirts!

Longtime reader since 2011. I still remember sitting in my dorm room reading your posts (pretty sure I found you via Runner’s Kitchen)! Loved the mirror pics and the oatmeal with chocolate chips (I did that too). So glad you’re back on here! Love the blog and the podcast! You’ll been part of my life for nearly a decade and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to say hi at a live show (last time I just stood kind of nearby, too nervous to say hi haha). PS: I agree, please bring back the I <3 sweat shirts!

Aaaahhh I love this post! I started reading your blog in late 2010 right after I ended a relationship on the east coast, moved to the west coast, and stumbled upon it sitting in my cubicle while searching for running blogs and trying to re-inspire myself to train for more marathons. From Ali on the Run to Emily Sweats to Hungry Runner Girl to Team Watermelon (I think??!), I loved catching up on all things in the blog world without actually being a blogger (perhaps #squadgoals before squad goals were a thing). I bought (and still have) an I love sweat t-shirt from one of the first batches.

I read your weekly pregnancy updates and longed to be pregnant myself (spoiler alert, I have an 8 month old 🙂

Now I live in Santa Barbara, work from home and read a lot fewer blogs (refer above to said 8 month old).. I guess we’re all growing up. But I still pop in now and then so I’m glad you’re back! Also, I love the podcast – I’m a little behind there too, but am a loyal subscriber.

Happy 2020!

Bravo! 💗

Geraldine Mc says: January 8, 2020 at 4:27 am

Very happy to have you back, I love reading your blog- it’s the only one i’ve ever stuck with!

Yay!!! I’ve missed you!!

Stephanie says: January 8, 2020 at 11:41 am

Yay – glad you are back! You’ve always been one of my favorite bloggers. I still have my I ❤️ sweat shirt.

I’ve read your blog for a long time but never commented…I basically never write comments anywhere online, but I just think you have such an authentic, positive voice that I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it–and how happy I am that you’re back! Also, I started listening to your podcast last fall when I changed to a job with a slightly longer commute, and am currently working through the archives while up with my second baby at 4am, and am loving the Motherhood series! Thank you for putting yourself out there–you clearly touch a lot of people, as evidenced by all the comments before mine 🙂

Yay Ali!! It’s great to have you back. And I have to say I have been LOVING the podcast. I actively commute via run/jog/walk (depending how tired I am lol) and listening to Ali on the Run always motivates me to push that little bit more 🙂

Well, strongest contender for best news of the year and we’re only a week in! I also stopped blogging around the same time, mostly because the blogosphere changes so much and every second post was something pedalling some product a company had sent them for free. It just didn’t feel very authentic and so I stopped reading blogs (for the most part) and, for that and other reasons, stopped writing on mine too. I’ve always loved your post and excited to have your humour back in long form again. We need more of that.

I can totally empathize, 100%! I remember emailing you about the snark site, and it caused me so much anxiety on a daily basis. I still think about it, and I’m always thinking about quitting soon because I just can’t stop those thoughts. I appreciate that you wrote me back that time. And I’m really glad you’re going to start blogging again! As you and I both know there are HUNDREDS of people who leave nice comments, and then we get focused on that one negative one. It really sucks. Anyway, please reach out if you ever want to chat!

*quitting blogging* soon, I meant!

Hi, Ali! I only started listening to your podcast a few months ago so I was somewhat unaware that had an active blog at one time. I was super excited to read that you’ll be starting it up again! I have you on my Feedly feed and look forward to reading your stories and updates and race recaps and training anecdotes…whatever you want to share.

I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging myself for a very long time. Like you, I was so active in the blogging community over 10 years ago, but over the years I’d fallen out of the habit, and this despite the fact that I actually *work* for WordPress.com! So this post has inspired me to get my own blog up and running again.

I look forward to reading your posts! Happy New Year!

Yay!! So glad to have you back!!

I read one of your blog posts (old or new) every morning as part of getting ready for my day. You have such a positive attitude and its energy makes its way through the internet and into my brain and puts me in a way better mood than I’d be without you and your magical writing. Thank you, Ali, and I’ll happily– very happily– welcome any of your writing into my days and into my life. THANK YOU.

Happy to have you back! Can’t wait to read more this year

I’m so glad to hear you feel excited to write again :). I found you forever ago when I made the jump from running around the block to deciding I wanted to do a race. However, my intestines hate me. I had so much anxiety about being able make it through a run where my bathroom wasn’t less than a mile awa. I knew NO-ONE else with Croh’s that was active like that! Then, there you were and suddenly races didn’t seem so scary. You were the far away friend there telling me that it might suck but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. It’s been an exciting ride for me over the last 5 or so years (I’m actually doing my first ultra this spring) and I’m forever grateful to you for helping me find the courage to start! Super long winded way to say Hurray for coming back and Thank You for everything you have done.

omg so embarrassing I apparently can’t even spell my own disease some days among other things. Crohn’s not Croh’s

So glad you’re back! I enjoy your writing and your uplifting content and motivation!

I am so happy you are back, Ali!!
I am a big fan from Brazil.
I Love your podcast and I really missed your posts! Have a great 2020!

I was just thinking earlier this week, ‘I wonder if I should leave a comment saying, ‘Ali, please start blogging again?” I didn’t, though, figured you were just far too busy (I have a five-month-old daughter, so I get it!) I didn’t want to add any stress to your scene. Anyway, all that to say, so glad you are back! I don’t listen to podcasts much but I love your blog. 🙂

Great minds think alike! (And congratulations!!! Five months is such a crazy time. Hope you’re doing well, and I am always here to chat mom stuff!)

Alex Waldron says: January 11, 2020 at 4:51 pm

I’m new to your blog. I’ve just binged my way through your our New York marathon collection. It’s great stuff! What the hell is wrong with people that makes them spend energy tearing into a blogger? Their lives must be tragically empty. Regardless, I’ll be merrily reading.

So glad to have you back! Very excited for more posts from you!

http://www.areweadultsyet.com

Elizabeth says: January 18, 2020 at 9:02 am

Glad you’re blogging again. Have missed your posts. People suck, glad you have found a way to navigate around the negativity.

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