Why does one blog? I dislike that phrase–“blog”–instead preferring the more traditional verb “write”. My main motive here is primarily because a blog seems to be a nifty, adaptable, individualizable format for recording all of the running that I (typically, when not injured) do. For years and years (since April 12th, 1995, to be exact) I have kept my running log in a very standard lined-notebook format. Then, a few years ago, I joined an online training log so that all of us members of the Colorado College cross country team could follow along on one another’s running–ostensibly deriving inspiration and motivation from each other’s daily and weekly numbers. However, because I am prone to writing a lot and because my daily or twice-daily runs are much more than just calorie-burning endeavors for me, I found myself recounting the run but always editing my training log posts for length because I would unfailingly go off on some barely-related tangent that I’d been thinking about while running and the training log almost turned into more of a daily life journal than just a pure running log.
So, the first-order answer to “why blog?” is that it provides an arena into which I can write whatever I want, running-related or not. However, I intend to keep the contents of it primarily running-related/inspired. This blog will mostly serve as a detailed record of my running.
BUT, why not just do that in a private Word document? This is where things get prickly, but I think most people aren’t being true to themselves if they don’t agree at least a little bit with what I’m going to write next. There is no reason to post one’s life on the internet (especially in such an interactive format as a blog) other than to feel as if you have some sort of agency as a human being. That is, that your actions–and posts–are meaningful to someone other than oneself and that they affect other humans in some way: to inflame, inspire, degrade, invoke joy, etc., etc. That is the only–yet incredibly crucial–difference between maintaining a meticulous personal Word document on one’s hard drive and posting to a public blog of one’s own creation. The internet allows others to see you–provides an audience–and this helps tremendously to validate one’s existence.
But, why or how would someone like myself–who mostly believes that life is inherently meaningless, absurd–be swayed by such a notion? Because, I guess, I also believe in the freedom that we have to create meaning in our lives and that that is not a futile quest–in fact, it’s very worthwhile–and that identifying with and relating to other like-minded (or not) humans is a key part of doing that. That’s about as philosophical as I hope to get today.
Finally, as one might have noticed if he or she were to make it this far, I like to write. And, as romantically attached to the tradition of writing with a pencil and paper as I would really like to be, I’m just not. Wendell Berry and my own father notwithstanding (two people I greatly admire), I really like the speed and efficiency of writing and revising with a keyboard and simple word-processing software. My mind simply operates much quicker than my clumsy cursive-wielding fingers and wrist will allow, but with a keyboard, my hands can keep up. However, I will certainly allow that a pencil and paper is still highly appropriate in some contexts–love letters come to mind. And, in the end, despite this nascent training blog, I still plan on keeping up my pen and paper version of a running log (albeit, in a simpler, more bleak format), just as I have for the past 12 years.
Over the years I’ve had many failed attempts at keeping a daily journal (beyond a running log), and I hope that this format will keep me motivated to record my daily life if only for posterity and my own future enjoyment of what will soon be past events. I don’t pretend to believe that anyone other than myself really cares about what I will be putting in here (well, maybe some members of the niche ultrarunning community and my immediate family and friends), but obviously I’m leaving that possibility open.
In the end, I’ll write about whatever the hell I want, but this should primarily be a record of my running and thoughts pertaining to. However, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.