Saturday, July 01, 2006

Why I Blog

I was totally unfocused yesterday morning as I ventured out the door for a run. The air quality was awful, the refinery fumes were whirling around as I walked aimlessly. I was sick of the BART trail and pressed for time needing to get M off to camp in an hour. So I just ran around the neighborhood, less than 20 minutes. It then occurred to me that the short run could just be a warm-up and I could go back indoors and stretch. So that's what I did.
I had prepacked my gym bag with intentions of a swim before work. I didn't know where I'd end up but I was prepared. This is starting to become a routine for me - pack the bag and see where I end up. After dropping M off at camp I headed towards work.

I decided on the Concord community pool because they have the 50 yd. lanes and to my delight the Terrapin Swim team was there. Not that I know any of these people but I do get a kick out of watching good swimmers swim. They make it look so damn easy!!! I dream of swimming that fluidly. Really, I do!

Watching the swimmers haul ass down the lanes, drill after drill, I was thoroughly inspired to push myself abit harder. I had a lane all to myself and I slowly swam 6x50 alternating free and breast. Lots of resting with an occasional switching of strokes midway. Compared to the swim team, I was looking pretty lame, but hey it's like what Spence said in a recent post, it made me feel alive and just glad to be out there!

The euphoria sort've fizzled though in the locker room when I was changing in the presence of the enthusiastic giggly gang of girls. Their youth and energy kind've intimidated me and I quickly got myself dressed and out of there. I had nothing in common with these athletes, a mere guppy by comparison (Ha, more like an old bottom feeder!). Why did I let that happen? I suppose standing naked in a locker room full of 20 something year olds might of had something to do with it! What happen to feeling alive and being glad to be out there? Granted I was nowhere in their league I berated myself later for hustling out of there.

Seems I always get intimidated by stronger athletes. I think if I had a better handle on my swim abilities, had some proper feedback on where I stand in my progress, I'd feel more confident. Working with coach Cali right before the my sprint tri helped build me up, but I've been on my own since then and probably could use some help getting to the next phase. In my usual manner I compare myself to the BEST, which is SO NOT HELPFUL. It completely sabotages and undermines my confidence.

I'm much braver in Blogland. I suck at writing but I don't care, I just keep at it, in hopes that the words and thoughts will find eachother. I just love reading about peoples progress and how great people are feeling about their workouts. People are really doing some amazing things but I admit I do enjoy when folks share the "Darkside" too. I lurk for awhile and if I feel compelled I'll post a comment. Sometimes I'm slow to respond, but I usually get around to acknowledging the commentor sometime down the road. I'm always appreciative when people actually take the time to respond, whether to a post or a comment I've left.

My new mantra is........

"Leave No Supportive Comment Unresponded To"

It's the right thing to do. Period. Now I'm not suggesting that you leave a lengthy response to every little thing but if someones dropped by a few times and you haven't given them the time of day the right thing. I mean really, how hard can it be?

A commentor that took the time to respond was moved by you that day. They took the time to give you kudos and was interested in your efforts. Regardless of their social, professional or academic background they made a deposit in the bank of you. The kindness of strangers has made many a trip more enjoyable and none of us will get where were going alone.

Ok, most days you are on your own while training, but somewhere along the way you will be fueled by the kind words and or support of others. Sometimes by a well known compatriot and other times it will be a new blogger stepping into your world for the first time. So, even though you might not have much in common at least acknowledge the comment and be gracious. I blog to get inspired, to get knowledge and insight, to get and give support, but mostly to make contact with other athlete's as I usually train solo.

Yes, I get support from my immediate family and friends. Their interest in my day to day efforts is greatly valued, yet unless you've agonized over your shoelace coming undone right before you have a shot at a sub 1 hr during your first 10k or how your going to fit the next workout in an already impossibly busy week or blow a tire during a race, you don't fully understand. Bloggers do though. I blog mainly to connect with like minded folk.

Long before I ever got back into running or any of this tri-stuff, I had a co-worker (not the recently mentioned trichick) but another triathlete. She was training for Kona. Now this
gal was pretty full of herself....very focused and completely lacking in social graces. I think somewhere along line though, she developed a little humility and began to soften. Just about every Monday I would inquire about her training adventures. I was genuinely intrigued by this woman's tenacity and discipline. One day she turned to me and said "Chris, I want to thank you for your support. You've always been so interested in my training and I really appreciate it" Needless to say I was pretty floored, this gal by no means was "touchy feely" straight up hardcore and yet even she recognized that being gracious was the right thing to do.

Admittedly, I'm far too sensitive for my own good at times. This post might even be considered by some as a bit whiny. I realize that blogging isn't the same thing for everyone and that some bloggers are just more generous than others. I just know that when I take the time respond, I feel like I've given back a little to the community that has given me so much. Like many of you I'll ponder a post or comment I've read while I'm out their training solo and not feel alone at all.

There are some exceptional blogger/athletes out there. Your prowess surpasses the playing field and your posts are rich in detail and wit and I do appreciate a well written passage. I also appreciate the truthful and the awkward. The ones where the words aren't so slick or fluid. I'm not a blog snob. If it's kind, thoughtful or touches me in someway I'll give most anyone credit for putting it out there. Writing is not easy for me but I am drawn to it. Like the swim, bike and run, it constantly challenges me. I keep at in hopes of making a connection with others and with myself.


Anne said...

I think this is one of the best blog posts I've ever read. You make some wonderful and insightful points that would serve everyone well. From the intimidation of people blessed with better bodies to acknowledging pep talks and honest, heartfelt prose, we could all learn a thing or two -- mainly that we aren't alone out there.

LouBob said...

Awesome post! I really feel like I have friends out there helping keep me motivated and I've always tried to keep in touch because, like you, they have helped me through some places. It's my social life, what else can I say! I'd like to meet up with all of them someday and who knows one day we might even get that done!

susie said...

I've often said that it is the blogging community that took my running to where it is today. I was out there alone, but not in spirit.

Lara said...

This is a wonderful post. You are so right about expressing gratitude, it's as integral to this community as expressing support. I am very often remiss in both areas and your post really set me to contemplating that.