Don't let the colorful autumn Maine scene fool you, this is a triathlon blog. I just like the picture. It's colorful, inspiring, familiar, natural and honest in a way that I have strived to share my triathlon adventures from one season to the next.
This place pictured above will change and evolve through seasons. The warm vivid beauty shown is about to move towards the biting lonely winter. Then, this very spot will wake up to release spring debris and still be delightful come summer. In every phase there is beauty and there is significance to be captured. This blog over many years has had its share of circling through the seasons...my many triathlon seasons. It has collected zany summery ideas, documented icy personal demons wrestled, seen friendships blossom and celebrated the high moments without omitting shadows that serve to intensify the brighter spots in time. My blog has been a place to share adventures in sport and also my evolution as an athlete while connecting with others. I keep the focus specific to the triathlon lifestyle I've embraced. In the blog I only share as much as I'd feel comfortable or where relevant, those close ones I care about feel comfortable with me contributing. The thing is, I have always felt open to sharing A LOT in this sport and open to disclosing triathlon's many teachings.
However, I gave away a lot of myself and my time last year and those choices weren't always beneficial for me. Its prompted me to cut out the distractions in my life, so that I can focus on what matters most. I have big goals in this sport and although I don't go on about it in social media there is a whole lot going on not involving swim-bike-run that I balance. Each activity that consumes time, I'm weighing & evaluating in terms of the importance, relevance and value in my life. I'm prioritizing (as always) family (including the closest of my good friends), my work and of course the theme of this blog, my adventures in triathlon. I've asked myself why I started blogging and should I continue? The blogosphere in tri world is different now both In terms of purpose and presentation and I'm a bit out of step. If I keep it up, should I change my focus or blog style?
Many triathlon bloggers who held onto or started the tri blogs we read today are:
1. Selling something (service providers)
2. Building a brand & a following (many elites & pros)
3. Required by contract to promote products (every level including age groupers)
4. Making money off the blog itself
5. Looking to be a famous blogger/athlete with notoriety
6. Requesting donations
None of that applies to me. It doesn't mean these blogs are all bad or that the driving reason invalidates good content. They just aren't reasons for me. Some pros and even age groupers who blog are often required to write a blog to keep a sponsorship or be part of a tri team. Some contracts stipulate how often one must post and to which media forms. (I should note in fairness that I became a brand ambassador for Coeur Sports just last year, but there is nothing in that contract that requires me to post on social media or write a blog. I just do it because I have a fascination with connecting with others and enjoy the benefits of social media in my life. Coeur is probably unique in that flexibility though as most teams I know about have strict social media guidelines).
Posting here is an adventure I leaped into in 2009 when preparing for my first ironman. A lot of my friends, ok almost ALL of my triathlon role models and training partners kept a triathlon blog when I entered the sport. We wrote race reports and read each other's training stories encouraging our buddies along the way. Once I had some extra time unexpectedly while rehabbing a grade 3 quad tear (camping injury) I joined the blogosphere. My friend, Missy said, "In regards to blogging, I would say just write whatever and have fun with it!" So I did exactly that. It was great fun. Writing a blog instilled a habit of mindfulness & intentional reflection. It gives me an awareness of the lessons I'm learning. The ideas swirling in my mind after races or milestones or seasons just seem more tangible when I write. It provides insight & perspective to my own mindset during the process and upon later reflections. I can analyze my data on past races but when I read the stories in my reports the experience I captured comes to life again and sometimes I take away more from it. It's also a fun place for me to express whatever thoughts happen to pop up. I also like the depth and lasting power of the blog. Blogging has served as a creative outlet for my high energy mind. Further, I want to look back at this and read about my own adventures & re-live them when I'm a old lady. Yet, as I've been asked many times, "why don't you just journal?" Well, there is more...
While rehabbing that injury that led to my first blog posts, I also discovered many other tri blogger athlete across the country or the world going through similar adventures and leading a triathlon lifestyle. My friend Jonah recommended a few and told me she looks for the blogs where athletes open up and share their stories. When I have a race coming up, I research blogger race reports for insight and to set my own expectations based on the course challenges they describe. If I am shopping for a special new product often times bloggers give the most relevant and honest reviews. If I suffer an injury, I find strength in the blogs of other athletes who have been there. They get it. Some bloggers have become true sources of inspiration to me through their willingness to share their own stories. Some write informative articles and I learn about the science and training process. The ones I like best are where athletes open up about vulnerabilities and balancing their personal lives in sport, navigating tri struggles, their actual mindset around competitions regardless of the level, the psychology of the sport, dealing with injuries and how they face adversity and come back strong. Reading some people's blogs has made me want to be a better athlete and helped shine light when I have experienced my own dark moments in sport.
I want to give back to those who give to me and I want to give back to the sport that has given me so much to be thankful about. Sharing my stories in sport could help someone similar to how those "random" blogs helped me. Whether it's a experience they can relate with, a product they didn't know about, a good laugh on a rough day or a race insight that helped in preparation, I think that is wonderful thing. If I write about a deep heartbreak in the sport where someone might face a similar situation and feel less alone, I will do it. If that happens just once, I feel it was worth it, even if it is someone I do not know.
Mostly, I want to live and blog in an authentic way that will inspire others to also be bold, brave and passionate and to dream big then go after it in their own lives.
That's what made me realize when I record my triathlon experience, I'm not just doing it for me. I can help people the way those bloggers, regular people impacted my life through sharing their journeys. I can write informative honest reviews and provide tips to others in the sport. I can share my zany sense of humor with the select few who might also laugh. I can contribute my stories for the sport of triathlon and perhaps offer perspective that could guide others through their obstacles or in most cases simply help someone who is bored pass their time reading my blog rather than playing "candy crush"- haha. Maybe I can enable someone to give self-permission to celebrate their own accomplishments freely just by being an honest example in my own blog. I'm just a regular person, but so are all those other brave bloggers out there, sharing their journeys that impacted my own experience for the better. I can share the love I have for triathlon with the world and hope others find their passion (and share it) whether in tri or another interest. It is bold to continue blogging about a sport that's so deeply personal in a heartfelt manner and in a world where fleeting connectivity of other platforms is more popular. It does expose me to some critics because I put myself out there with my heart on my sleeve. My passion for the sport creates excessive trust on my part that can cloud my judgement of character at times but the wide net I cast generally brings back a whole lot of goodness... so it is worth it.
The lessons I learn from this sport seep into every area of my life. It is an absolute blast to create a blog and it serves me as well as potentially helps others.
That being said, I still don't have a lot of time to spend expanding on the sophistication of my triathlon hobby blog. My blog is not a polished work of art. I have it on a "free" site. There are typos as I often write when I'm exhausted between more pressing commitments. The formatting is unrefined. My photos are from iPhone 4 usually or are pasted from random sites. I do not believe the time it would take to give her the professional luster is something I'm willing to give right now seeing my reasons for blogging don't require it.
Yet, I do believe the blog is worth keeping. I'll retain the nature of writing and content that's tri related with posts varying from those that are playful in nature, some informative, some on other athletes and and other posts that are raw and serious. It is worth hanging onto. It's about adventure, new things, learning, growing, achieving big goals, overcoming hurdles, connecting with friends and having fun through triathlon.
I will continue to "write whatever and have fun with it!"
Here are some posts I 've written ove the years. I'll keep with it. It's a random mix, but so is the adventure.
Trying new things
Race Reports or Info
Racing and Development
Being zany and having fun