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Running the race of blogging

I liken many things I encounter to running. The training I put into my first half marathon changed my life. I have never experienced so many days of pain consecutively. I pushed myself harder than I ever have, and also experienced the moment of “victory” as I crossed the finish line. 
After my first half-marathon. I forgot to put my medal on for this picture! 

There are tons of people I have spoken to who said they would never pay to participate in a half marathon. Why waste the money? They argue you can do the same thing on your own time. 
I disagree. Had I not spent way more than I should have to basically experience four months of misery, I would have never ran the half marathon. No way. I would have given it to excuses, stopped training when the going got tough, or just found a new hobby. I do lack self control…
There was also something magical happening as I ran the half marathon. I choked up several times in tears as I witnessed cancer survivors running beside me. I ran through a garden as “Oh Heavenly Day” By Patty Griffin came through my ear buds. I ran into the ZOO as “Welcome to the Jungle” came on, and got goosebumps! I saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “I used to weigh 400 pounds. If I can do this you can.” I ran next to people two generations older than me. My heart was filled with awe for what people can do when they put their minds to it. It pushed me harder than ever. I felt all my training come to a beautiful high note as I ran beside these other people who had the same vision as me. As I crossed the finish line, I felt sicker than ever. I wanted to throw up. It didn’t matter, though. I was finished. I did it! I looked out at the other multitude of people hugging, crying, cheering, and celebrating with their friends and family who made the same life-changing decision I had that day to run a little over 13 miles. 
I didn’t even want to wear the medal. I just wanted to cherish that moment, next to these other people who did what I did. I wanted to go home, drink a good beer, talk about what happened, and eat a cheeseburger with my family. 
I realized something important:
Running is not about being the best. It is about the journey and the celebrating. 
Blogging is not about being the best. It is about the journey and the celebrating. 
Keepsakes for my daughter. Without blogging I would not have done these! 

I am writing this post because I have found that blogging is the same. I get up every morning, power up my old computer, and sit down to write a post. Sometimes what comes out is lovely. Other times it is horrid. I find myself, day after day, coming back to this place and pushing myself harder. I make new goals, re-evaluate my decisions, try new techniques, and show up to the same place hoping to go a little further than yesterday. 
One of my favorite blogging memories with my daughter. An Etsy shop sent us matching necklaces. She loved it! We took fun pictures and dressed alike for a day. 
I find that in the journey I experience moments of failure. I want to quit. I want to find a new hobby. I wonder if it is a waste of time. I feel discouraged. I feel less than others. 
I also experience moments of elation. I find myself searching for a pen and paper as quick as I can to write down a new idea. I can’t wait to share my heart of a new subject. I long to bury myself into writing for hours. I get on a “writer’s high” and can’t stop. 
Blogging, for me, has ebbed and flowed over the years. I have been on and off rhythm. Yet, I can look back at my journey and smile. I am a different person since I started this space. I know how to do things I never imagined. I know what SEO means. I know how to make pictures look pretty. I’ve tried new recipes, made new friends, shared my faith, and tried to capture my feelings on being a mother. I’ve pushed myself to be more real and transparent. I’ve learned how to self-edit, how to manage social media, and how to evaluate statistics. I remember trying to learn these things in my past job. I’ve taught myself these things, from home, with a baby around! 
Mainly, I’ve put myself on the line. I have given my all in writing and baring my soul in the hope that just one other person out there might feel a little less alone, worried, or discouraged. I’ve written things here and there in which hitting “publish” was terrifying. 
As bloggers, we encounter moments where others “win”, right? We see people get big, get awesome jobs, or get to be in the “Blogher” network. We wonder, “how do I measure up?”. 
My first blog post, on Writer’s Block. Over a year later and I still relate to this post! 

Today I pose the question, does it really matter? Because, to me, I feel the same now as I did about blogging when I had 25 followers. I love it the same, I struggle with it the same, and I show up to this place every day wondering how my post is going to turn out. I get weary, I have moments where I feel on top of the world, and I hope to keep pushing on. 
In the end, I view blogging a lot like running. Training for anything is never easy. It can be painful. It can get tiring. Yet the payoff is amazing. Seeing the journey and remembering where I have been and where I have come is beautiful. 
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