Everyone loves a good list, and after four previous rounds of my blogging extravaganza “week of lists” posts, I’ve pretty much confirmed the old (if slightly modified) adage: If you write them, they will come. Again, seven days, seven lists: and this time the topic honors my starting-this-week marathon training efforts for the summer of 2013, locked in step and stride on this, the week of lists number five, the Twenty-6-Point-Two Miles Edition.
In this post I start off a little on the meta side of things and ponder the question: do you, my dear reader, actually want to read a series of posts about marathon training? Maybe? Well, then what are…
1 : Glimpses of Everyday Obstacles
I’ve been blogging a long time and I’ve been running a long time too, it seems. And while it would be easy enough for me to share many of those not-so-thrilling tales of distances I’ve shred and paces I’ve surmounted — territory into which I’m guilty of straying on occasion — it’s the story of the everyday obstacle that seems to get the hits. When it comes right down to it — and while it’s important for me, personally, to log my klicks and my times — the story is not even hidden in the numbers so much as it is hidden in the wry observations of the trails I’ve tracked and the barriers I’ve leaped. Let’s face it, there are trails I’ve run times uncountable and rarely do I mention those dusty roads. But, when we replace the dust with fifteen centimeters of snow, the obstacle becomes a story the hits on that post double.
Some kind of ineffable… something.
2 : Writing from the Heart
Admit it. You read “writing from the heart” in the heading title there and you immediately thought of those “Chicken Soup for the Anthology Writer’s Soul” books, am I right? But writing from the heart isn’t just about penning out countless drab sappy tales of feel-good-ery. Heartfelt stories are baked full of some kind of ineffable… something. It might be a story of raw emotion, or fueled inspiration, or mixed companionship… or maybe just a few words about getting out of bed a little earlier than is rationally conceivable. Or just possibly it’s a story of all of those things baked together with a classy photo to tie it neatly into a warm-cup-of-jo tale that gets nearly a thousand eyeballs reading it before you even realize it’s popular. People like those stories.
3 : Tales of Indecision
To waffle is human. And as much as I like the kind of waffles defined by bready-breakfast goodness drizzled in maple syrup, herein I use the term waffle in the OTHER sense… as in to waver in a state of indecision, to sit on a metaphorical fence, or to just be plain unable to make up your darn mind about something. I waffle frequently. Waffling can be a sign of a rational mind, a mind that is still open to multiple possibilities and has not be cemented into a single focus — at least it is rational as long as one is waffling prior to that vague point in time when a decision SHOULD be made. I waffle on this blog occasionally, too. I waffled about marathon training, in fact, a few months ago, writing about the balance sheet of rational decision making that needs to go on about choosing to do something big or difficult. It helps me decide things, I know that for sure. And people read it, too, so it must be moderately entertaining.
Silly failures of rational thought.
4 : Stories of Epic Failure
While I flaunt the term “epic” as if it will soon be out of style, putting a pin on a firm definition of the word is a little more tricky. Failure is an odd topic, and perhaps a dirty word in the spotlight of inspirational tone I often strive to embody. But right now, failure means admitting mistakes or owning up to shortcomings. And these failures of our heart or our soul, on the long road of marathon training, can come and go before we even realize they were failures. For example, pig-headed determination to run in a snow storm can be an epic failure, particularly when that training run results in a mild injury a couple weeks before a race. And a blogger’s attempt at justifying failures — be those silly failures of rational thought or unfortunate failures resulting from injury or illness — have proven to make good blog fodder.
5 : Tips on Simplifying Difficult Tasks
Here’s the rub. I try very hard not to stray into the fast-fix, easy-answer department of blog-writing. I’m not that guy. And that kind of thing gets my back up, particularly when folks do it for profit and to take advantage of desperate people looking for easy answers to hard questions. I’ve written many posts on “simplifying” tough objectives. I wrote — still am writing, in fact — a whole series called “hackable me” where I explained the moderate level of gamification I added to my life to take some of the edge off of a weight-loss decision I made. It worked… for me. And people read that stuff, ask me for solutions, and email me questions about it. I don’t have “easy answers” — but I have tips on how to take the edge off of tough tasks. But those tasks are still tough, and as much as everyone likes reading them I like writing them, too. Just… don’t be evil if YOU write them too.
Lists are just cool.
6 : Lists of Nearly Anything
Of course sometimes you just gotta put a list together. Case-in-point: you’re reading this. But those kinds of list don’t even need to be useful or serious. Perhaps all that training has granted you, the writer, some kind of pointless or eclectic insight into an almost academic line of pondering the universe and — hey — you never know when it could give somebody a chuckle… or even a bit of potentially live-saving advice. Lists are just cool. And who would I be to argue against THAT point?