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Three and a half years ago I sat in a dark, tiny bar in Keene, NH, with a new friend. We had just finished a pretty adventurous night time run, in which we got lost more than once, and figured our survival should be celebrated with a pint or two of a local craft brew. The bar was relatively chaotic that night, between televisions blaring every possible sporting event you could imagine, and a decent sized crowd participating in karaoke and dancing. As I sat there, the email alert on my phone went off, and for whatever reason I decided to check it. It was an email informing me that I had been chosen to attend the 2012 CrossFit games as media on behalf of Reebok and GNC.
For those of you who don’t know me well, let me tell you that “media” is the last thing I would consider myself. Beyond the required English and writing courses in high school and college, I have zero training in journalism. I never took a public relations class, I have no idea how to work a camera beyond the “automatic” settings, and I somehow managed to circumnavigate the dreaded “public speaking” course in all of my schooling. I am a scientist. An exercise physiologist. And I just happen to write a blog that sometimes, people happen to read.
But here I was, a “nobody” in a tiny town in New Hampshire, who was not only headed out to San Diego, CA in mere weeks to shoot a commercial for Merrell, but now I was going to the CrossFit games as media (excuse the formatting on these older posts).
Of course in that moment of excitement I had to share the news with my new friend. Actually, I believe I had to show him the email, as it was so loud in the bar it was hard to explain exactly what was going on. Our conversation quickly turned to the blogging phenomenon as a whole, and I’ll never forget the words he said to me that night:
“Enjoy it while it lasts.”
After the immediate defensive sting I felt, because it seems not many people take bloggers seriously, I realized he had a point. I was very fortunate to stumble into the blogging world early and at the right time. Of course, because I didn’t realize this at the time, I never got around to cultivating said blog well enough to allow me to quit my day job, as many others have. Hindsight is 20/20, apparently. But still, I was there in the early days before EVERY runner and EVERY mother had a url of their own, and thus, readers came easily in the beginning. And that has indeed afforded me some kick ass opportunities over the last few years.
But how long could it last?
How long until the blogging world is oversaturated? How long before readers become bored hearing about a complete strangers day to day, often monotonous, life, and turn their attention elsewhere? How long before companies decide that spending their advertising budget on wanna-be-writers and stay at home moms was a good experiment, but now they feel they should to go back to paying celebrities and professionals to endorse their products? More importantly, how long until readers stop trusting bloggers, who now seem to shill every single product sent their way for a quick buck?
Lately, I have seen these proverbial tables start to turn, and my friends warning from years ago resonates now more than ever. I appreciate every single opportunity that comes my way because of this blog, and try to treat each one as though it might be my last. Because it often feels the blogging world IS headed in that direction.
Yet it boggles my mind that 3.5 years later, I’m still here.
Tomorrow, I hop on an airplane to head to Bethlehem, PA for the 2015 Runner’s World Half Festival. I head there as a guest blogger (for the third time…I can’t believe they think I’m worthy enough to keep coming back!), and will spend four days surrounded by other amazing bloggers, as we are given incredible opportunities to meet big names in the world of running, from professional runners to owners of popular shoe and clothing companies. I will spend those four days learning, laughing, and running, and counting my blessings that 7 years ago I decided it might be a good idea to start a blog.
Thank you, readers, for following my journey through good times and bad. Thank you for letting me have this space where I can share my passion for running and fitness, share my knowledge, and simply share my ramblings when I have something to say. I truly could not have done this without all of you.
Even if this all ends tomorrow, I will be forever grateful for the opportunities, experiences, and friendships blogging has given me. But with that said…here’s to the next 3.5 years, and many, many more.