Editor’s note: Running may be an individual sport, but there’s something about it that inspires people to share their experiences. From race reports to reasons to get out the door for a training run, there are blog posts about just about every topic you can imagine, helping to make it a great time to be a runner.
Sarah Schlaack doesn’t think of herself as a writer and—like many runners—she sometimes even doubts herself as a runner, but over the past couple of years she has been writing about her adventures on her blog, Run Strong No Regrets. We asked Sarah how she became a running blogger (or blogging runner?), and what keeps her going.
By Sarah Schlaack
I called my first blog, which I started a couple of years ago, It’s Not a Mid-life Crisis. Its name stemmed from a conversation I had with my brother about one of my races/adventures when he asked me, “Are you going through a mid-life crisis or something?”
I was looking for an alternative to Facebook for posting about my adventures, and a blog seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t end up sharing very many of my blog posts. I felt awkward promoting them. Since I am not a writer, I didn’t think the posts were share-worthy and really felt that, other than a handful of people, no one would want to read them.
In 2013, I met Sandra Laflamme during the Winter Wild series. We usually finished within a few minutes of each other during the races and eventually started chatting. I started following Organic Runner Mom and really admired Sandra and enjoyed reading her posts. Following her posts got me thinking about my blog. I decided to create a running blog. I wasn’t sure about the title, but eventually I settled on Run Strong No Regrets. You can read the not-so-glamorous story of how the name came about here. I learned more about blogging through following Sandra and other bloggers. Sandra has been very supportive and graciously allows me to bombard her with questions.
In the past I have been hesitant with sharing my posts. During every long run and race, I think about what I could write about yet I probably only write/share 25% of the time. I am a shy person, and I don’t like to stand out. Seriously, I don’t. At times I hide my insecurities and shyness well; however sometimes I feel people might think I am a snob, because it’s not easy for me to talk to people, so I just keep to myself. At several points in my life I have avoided social situations because I wasn’t always comfortable around people.
In my profession I have to be personable and confident—fake it till you make it. In my personal life, running and racing have helped me get over some of my confidence issues, but it is still hard for me to approach people at races and start up a conversation. It took me a long time to feel comfortable sharing my blog posts, and I still hold my breath as I hit the share button. The nice thing is that when I share a blog or post on my Run Strong No Regrets Facebook page it can turn into a conversation starter when I see people face to face. It also can allow me to express who I am without having to awkwardly stumble across my words in real-life conversations.
Over the past couple of years, I have been approached via Facebook by former classmates, acquaintances, and friends telling me that I have inspired them. To hear this is very humbling. I don’t feel like have done anything all that exceptional, but it feels good to know that my story and my adventures might help inspire others to live with no regrets. They are one reason I am getting more comfortable hitting the “share” button.
I mainly write about my running adventures. I don’t try to pretend to be a running expert. I don’t give advice. I explain what works for me and suggest things if people ask me, but I know that I am not the perfect example of a runner. I am horrible at sticking to a training schedule and speed workouts/cross-training is often a skipped workout.
I share my writing with the hope that people will read about my adventures and want to take more risks and not have regrets. I hear so many people say “I wish I could do that,” “I am not as strong as you,” “I am not brave enough.” Why can’t you? How do you know? Have you tried? It really only takes a couple of times of stepping out of your comfort zone to have the time of your life, and realize that if you REALLY want to do something, you CAN do it. I am currently working up the courage to step even more out of my comfort zone and would like to pursue being a brand ambassador and am starting to look for opportunities to do product reviews. I am currently a Fit Approach/Sweat Pink Ambassador and that has started to open a few doors for me. Baby steps.
Almost every time I share a blog post I preface it with “I am not a writer.” I write as if I am having a conversation with you. When you read my blog you will find spelling and grammar errors—if you can’t handle that I expect you won’t read my blog. I don’t try to pretend to be someone I am not. I “keep it real.” If you’re looking for useful information and tips to help you with your fitness and running my blog might not be for you. If you’re looking for encouragement, a few laughs, and stories that you can relate to, please stop by and read my blog.
One of my biggest compliments so far has been from my dad. Recently he told me that he enjoys reading my blog. If dad approves then I must be doing something right!
When she’s not out on a running adventure, you can find Sarah Schlaack on her blog, Run Strong No Regrets.