I think every once in a while it's good for people to really step back and think about why they're doing something. I've been doing that a lot lately with running. Well, not running so much. I know why I run. It's more that I've been evaluating the way I talk about running, the different ways in which I log my runs on social media, and how much of what I'm doing is more about bragging and seeking attention than actually about running.
I have several areas where I log runs. My garmin automatically uploads to garmin connect, which logs everything I do. I have my settings set so that only my "connections" can see my activities. I also use dailymile, which is sort of like facebook for running. I post my run on there, and people can comment. You can post your time, so that everyone knows your pace, or you don't have to. I also upload to Strava, and only have a few followers on there. Then there's Facebook, where I post random photos, or elevation profiles, or I just brag about my miles.
Lately I've gotten more and more uncomfortable with posting about running, and posting each and every run for my dailymile friends to see. I started by just no longer posting my times. I would be running and struggling, and keep pushing myself beyond what I should be doing just because I didn't want my friends that are all faster than me to see my pace. I realized this is ridiculous, so my answer was to just stop telling what my time is. Then I don't have to worry about it. Doing that felt so freeing. I no longer needed to care what anyone thought of my pace. I stopped logging every run. I still post most of them, but not all. I've decided that some runs are just for me. I just go out there, do my thing, and come home. No one needs the details of that run. I know, and I'm the only one that matters. I also lock down my garmin connect randomly. I'll go through a phase where I just don't want to share my running, not even with my closest friends. I mark my activities as private, and it feels so good. I always bounce out of that and eventually open it back up. I think it's good to just step back from that stuff every once in a while.
Something else that I've put a lot of thought into lately is the stickers on my car. I have one that says "ultra marathoner" and then one for each distance above a marathon that I've completed. A few weeks go I looked at my car and wondered why? What is my motivation for doing that? I discussed it with Ryan who came down firmly on the side of removing the stickers. I told him I felt like I had only put them on there to brag. That is the reason. I know myself well enough to say that is 100% why I did it. I don't remember exactly what he said, but he agreed with me that if bragging was the sole reason, that's not good enough. The next person I talked to about it with was my mom. I've actually been talking with her a lot about my motivation for this stuff. She told me keep the stickers. She said they motivate people and they're also good conversation starters with new runners. She said some other stuff that made sense. Ultimately what I decided is that they make me happy, and when I go to get in my car I see them and smile, so I'm keeping them. Plus it helps find it in a parking lot! After decided to keep the stickers, I realized over the weekend the ones on the back are starting to peel off. It is the ultramarathoner one and the 50k one. I took that as a sign and last night I removed them. I still have my 50 mile, 101k, and 100 mile. As they start to peel, I will remove them. Will I replace them? I don't know. I'll overthink the situation and decide when it happens :)
In the end, I've decided that I really just need to run for me. The more I brag on Facebook, dailymile, garmin connect, etc, about my runs, the less I feel like I'm running for myself. I think everyone has different reasons for posting runs or not posting. For some it motivates them to keep going. They also do it to motivate other people. I think it doesn't really matter what someone's reasons are, as long as they're their reasons and not just because it's what everyone does. Please don't think I'm going to stop annoying people by talking about running. I'm totally going to keep doing it. I'm just going to be more thoughtful of why I'm doing it. Sometimes it's just going to be bragging. I'm ok with that. If (when?) I finish Heartland 50 this weekend I'm guessing I'll be pretty excited and you guys will see more pictures and posts than you care about. If I DNF, you'll know because their will be total silence from me ;) Ok, not really. I tend to be pretty honest about my running, even when it sucks. This is going to suck, because my training has been awful. I'm going to give it everything I have though!
I would like to make it perfectly clear that I'm not judging what anyone else does regarding social media and running. To each their own. My feelings have nothing to do with anyone else.