Last Updated on April 29, 2015 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
In attempting to build my unexpected career as a writer in the fitness industry (both here and with numerous freelance gigs aside from the blog), my own personal fitness has tanked.
How is that for irony?
Lately it seems that I spend more and more time sitting, and less and less time moving. You see, freelancing is typically never guaranteed, therefore you take what jobs you can get when you can get them, even if the deadlines come one right after another. And on the blogging side, page views and social interactions are everything (supposedly) when it comes to building an audience, and thus, receiving the kickass opportunities and financial compensation that comes along with it. So not only do you need to spend a ton of time writing quality content, but then you need to promote it, cross promote it, interact with your readers, interact with other bloggers, and hit up all available social media sites. Oh and don’t forget the photo editing and creating “pins” for Pinterest. It can sometimes feel endless Now, please don’t get me wrong, I actually really LOVE doing all of this work. How amazing is it that I get to share my knowledge as well as personal adventures with the world? It truly is a dream come true, and I feel fortunate that you guys even stick around to read what I have to say.
The reality is I get so caught up in my work that in the blink of an eye, I’ve been completely sedentary at my desk in my chair from 8 am until 3 pm…and then I’m off to work another 7 hour shift at the gym (unfortunately, not working out there either.) It is a lot of work, and while I love all of it, it’s taking me further and further away from the very thing I enjoy writing about.
So to be honest, my body has taken the hardest hit. In addition to slow and steady weight gain, I’ve begun to experience extreme lethargy, and what I can only assume is the onset of sciatic nerve pain. After all, I have a tendency to shift my weight to my left butt cheek while I sit here, typing away. I’m moody, and while I’ve still got my fair share of spunk, I’m not the same outgoing person I once was.
Say it with me now. FIRST. WORLD. PROBLEMS.
I do feel somewhat silly writing about this, and in essence, complaining about the parameters of a job that I truly love to do and I am fortunate to have. But lately, the disconnect between what I am writing about and the actual lifestyle I’m leading has been weighing heavily on me. I don’t feel good, physically and emotionally. And not only does this make me feel like a hypocrite to my readers, but I feel untrue to myself.
The last one is the hardest to come to terms with.
Yesterday, Geoff and I took our first trek of the season up a local mountain. Actually, mountain is bit of a stretch, I like to call it more of a “big hill”. Slightly over a mile of base trail followed by another mile or so of a 600 ish foot climb to the summit. We cut off a lot of the fire road by taking technical single track that has been carved into the mountain by years of hikers. But it’s trail running and climbing and I can safely say that besides a large handful of human beings in my life, there is nothing I love more. The climb up the mountain was intended to be a run, and I did what I could, while completely sucking wind. As much as it hurt, I felt so happy. THIS is what I love to do, THIS is the passion and the excitement that I want to share with others.
A quick stop at the summit and we were on to my favorite part of any mountain run: the descent. Since moving back to Vermont 3.5 years ago, I’ve learned the art of running up hill, but more importantly have fine tuned the art of running DOWN hill. You would assume downhill running would be easy, but you’d be surprised how many runners inadvertently fight gravity and tense up on the descents, perhaps out of fear of falling. I’ve also mastered the art of falling…as in, I fall a lot…so the fear aspect is pretty much gone. Barreling down trails feels like flying. The same way running down a hill as a carefree 7 year old once did. Though I’m not quite as good (or even close for that matter) as these guys, the sensation is unreal.
I think a lot when I run. Everything from insignificant, random facts to much bigger problems that are plaguing me. As I was running those trails yesterday I thought a lot about this blog, and the situation I mentioned above. And in one single second of death defying (well, at least broken ankle and chipped tooth defying) rock hopping, I had the realization that this space is becoming something I never intended it to be. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. I’m happy to share useful, even if redundant, tip posts such as “how to choose the right running socks.” And product reviews? A total blessing. But the fact that this outlet of mine is becoming more and more of those posts, and less and less of what I always intended it to be makes me…uncomfortable.
And why has this happened? A total case of keeping up with the Joneses: the blog edition. There is pressure from the industry as a whole (yes, the blogging industry is huge, believe it or not). You have to have at least this many page views, and you have to post so many times per week, and you have to have a minimum of this many followers, you have to constantly engage…if you think you are doing enough, DO MORE! And then there is the painful (painful because I hate that I do it)act of comparing my work with others who have somehow managed to not only make this a full time job, but a profitable one at that. I wanted that for myself…but do I want to sacrifice myself for that? It’s not a conundrum anymore, my choice is becoming obvious.
I just want to run.
There, I said it. Again, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I am so appreciative for the opportunities this outlet, my blog, has given me. But I want to get back to what brought me here in the first place. And lately, I’m very far from that place.
This blog post is not meant to be a farewell. And no, I’m not “taking a break” either. I’ll still be around, rambling as usual. In fact, many things won’t change around here at all. But the one thing that is going to change is the outlook on what my priorities truly are when it comes to this space, and my role in this community as a whole. Hard work always pays off, but being true to yourself pays off even more in the long run. I’m going to take that second road.
So if you find some empty spaces in the place where daily posts used to be…now you know why. As always, thanks for your continued support.