"It's only by going too far that you'll ever find anything to blog about".
TS Eliott was spot on. Who wants to read a blog about someone washing the dishes or decorating. Do you think a website could survive if it was full of people sharing boring things like what the weather is like outside or who should get voted off of the Pop-factor? Would never catch on.
I essentially blog because I am an attention seeking loser with no actual running talent and hence will never be able to impress people my race results and so I just write a load of nonsense instead. I feel like Robbie Savage who had to constantly listen to his boss Martin O'Neill say in public "He's not the best footballer in the world, but he's the most enthusiastic".
I have no chance ever of being the best runner in the world but as my Mother always says "It's the taking part that counts".
I originally got into blogging when I heard that chicks dig guys with big blogs. I may have mis heard that. It was about 6 years ago when I started running ultra marathons, I would write a report of each race, put it online and waiting for the hits to rack up. I realised after about a week that waiting for hits on a running blog is rather like waiting for Emile Heskey to score a hat trick. As Captain Scott famously said
"I'm going out to check the hits on my blog, I may be some time".
But over the years my running and blogging became a bigger and bigger part of my life. I loved that I could just spew out my thoughts on running. I started to think about blogging while I was running, wishing something silly would happen along the way so that I could write about it. Then suddenly one day my world changed, my blog got a hit. Whooo hooooo. Someone out there would have at least cast their eyes over my ramblings about running.
Even if they did get there by googling "testicular skin loss".
My races and my blogs got longer. 50 miles would merit 2000 words of me detailing the terrain, the weather, my thoughts and, more often than not, my bowels over many hours of running. 145 miles would be a 10,000 word epic. I remember the difficulty of writing 10,000 words in my dissertation at university. How could I write 10,000 words on the use of multinomial logit modelling for human choice analysis? I found it much easier and quicker to write the same volume on trying to explain the correlation between miles run, skin lost, looseness of bowels and wanderings of mind.
I think more people read it too.
And then a funny thing happened. Someone who I didn't know before approached me at another race and said "hey, you are that guy who wrote that great blog about the Grand Union Canal Race. I loved it". That was brilliant. I was never going to hear people say "hey you are the guy that smashed that race, I look forward to eating your mud". Now I had a niche, I could run around badly and make it sound quite exciting on the internet. The "fame" increased, I would be running up a hill and some guy would come up to me as say "James - that was hilarious when you tripped over that branch, stumbled head first into some nettles and then got attacked by a squirrel". I'd reply "I thought it was a rabbit? Oh, you mean last week, yes of course".
One of the best moments of my life was when I was crewing at the Grand Union Canal Run and a guy running in the race gave me a dirty look and yelled "Your blog made me do this!"
I felt bad for about 5 seconds, and then really really smug.
In 2011 I signed up for something that was going to be the biggest challenge yet, 70 straight days of blogging while running across the USA. How would I find time and stuff to write about every single day while running 45 miles? Would it get boring? Would I end up screwing the race up and have everyone laugh at me? Well Tennyson said it best when he wrote
"tis better to have blogged and lost than to have never blogged at all".
But the race went well and part of that was because of the blog. Previously all my race reports were autopsies of events past. Here I was writing about running while I was still in the race and the following I got and the messages of support were phenomenal. I really wanted to write about everything to keep a record of what I had done. Along the way I was using my blog to get help, to tell a crap joke in the hope of people laughing or to tell of dispair so that someone might just reply and tell me I'm awesome.
It usually worked.
And now here I am finding things to write about including writing about writing about running. I have a book coming out soon which I hope people who have been reading this website for the past 6 years will like. Blogging and running have gone hand in hand for me for such a long time, I can't seperate them. I'm not sure whether I'd run if I could not bang on about it and I am not sure I would bang on so much if I didn't run.
Anyhow check out Write This Run which aims to bring together lots of the UK's bloggers. I heard there will be beer. Thanks for reading, hope you made sense out of it.
"Run like a butterfly, blog like a bee"