I’m one of those people on your Facebook feed. The one who posts about her awesome workout, checks in at the Y, or lets you know she ran ten miles with the jogging stroller at an 8 minute pace (just kidding, I’ve never done that; that’s fucking impossible). You might see posts from these people and think “shutthefuckup about your smoothie-drinking, super-active, workout-every-day lifestyle, I can’t even drag my ass off the couch for five crunches, never mind a five mile run.” Yep, I’m one of those. And I’ll bet about half the friends on my Facebook feed have either tuned me out, long ago added me to the “ignore” list, or shit, unfriended me without me noticing. That’s just fine with me. I’m not going to stop. And here’s why.
1) Positivity is Contagious.
If you read my post about my kickass hills workout as some sort of commentary on what you didn’t do today, you’re missing the point. When I post about a run, swim, or trip to the gym, I’m posting about feeling good. I’m posting about doing what is great for me. This is a difficult world to live in sometimes; it demands a lot of women, of moms, of professionals. Taking the time to do something that makes me stronger sometimes feels like the biggest effing victory of the century. Damn right I’m going to post that victory on the book of faces. You should, too.
Wouldn’t the world be a little more awesome if we all posted the wonderful things we do for ourselves and others on social media? If, instead of bitching about our bosses, we rejoiced in our professional successes, even when they sometimes feel few? If, instead of complaining about all the bad drivers we encountered on the way home, we thanked our significant others for starting dinner while we battled traffic? Instead of reading my post as a humblebrag or some other such bullshit, why not see it as my way of spreading positivity, joy, and strength? Why not respond by spreading something awesome that you did today?
2) You Post About Your Hobbies, Too.
All of us like to post about the things we like to do. Watching football. Cooking with our kids. Chillaxin with our dogs at the park. Going for hikes. Climbing rocks. Whatever. Running and training for races is my thing. And in many ways, it’s my only thing. I also like to cook, so sometimes that sneaks in there, but basically my life goes like this: sleep, mom, run, mom, work, mom, eat, mom, repeat. Throw in “write” or “hang out with friends” or “travel” once a year, and you’ve got my life in a social media nutshell.
So yeah, I’m going to tell you about my hobby, because you told me about that awesome thing you knitted (damn do I wish I could knit), that Pinterest-inspired batch of cupcakes you made (Seriously, HOW did you make that cupcake look like Donald Duck? You are a fucking genius), that incredible contraption you built for your basement (people who build things impress me), or that river you kayaked last week (invite me next time!). You checked in when you went out to dinner with your friends, so I can check in at the park where I stopped to refuel and stare at some damn ducks. They were cute, so I took a picture for you and posted it to Instagram. You’re fucking welcome.
As an adult, I have lived in four states in 13 years. That’s a fair amount of moving around. My friends — including my running friends — are all over the country. They run excellent races and post about them, which allows me to learn about races far and wide that might be of interest to me. They keep in touch and encourage me from afar. They post ridiculous memes to their pages about how ridiculous runners should stop ridiculously posting on Facebook about their runs. We all share a collective LOL in the digital world and keep on posting, because social media allows us to keep up with one another, to cheer one another on, and to support one another’s journeys.
Sometimes it might seem like I’m posting to brag, which is just another way of saying I’m trying to make you feel like shit about yourself, but newsflash: shit I post on social media isn’t about you. Sometimes those posts are directed at my network of runner friends, friends who also sometimes run, or friends who support runners. We are saying “hey, I’m still at it!” or “hey, I could use some support.” Which brings me to my next point…
4) There is Strength in Imperfection.
I do not always post about running “wins.” Sure, I’ll let you know about it if I lay down 7:30 splits on a 5-miler in the driving rain, but I am just as likely to post about tough runs. See, I believe in #KeepinItReal, because running is fucking hard, and anyone who thinks it’s easy can go straight to runner hell with all the other jackasses who qualified for Boston within their first year of running. That Barney Stinson bullshit is wack. I worked my ever-loving ass off to become the runner I am now. I’ve dealt with injury, pregnancy, and the worst winters on record in two different cities, and I’m still chuggin’ along.
Every run is not graceful. Every run does not go well. Sometimes I hurt. Sometimes I’m slow. Sometimes I can’t make it very far. Sometimes I skip runs. I post stats from these runs right alongside stats from my best speed workouts and my most impressive races. I am purposeful about this, because I feel it’s just as important to acknowledge the struggle and hard work as it is to acknowledge the victories that are the result of that struggle. And also because…
5) My Daughter is Watching Me.
Granted, she’s only 8 weeks old. But she comes for brutally slow, plodding, painful runs in the jogger with me already. She’s learning at a prodigious rate, and I want her to learn that her mommy is strong, her mommy is determined, and her mommy takes care of herself. Because that’s what strong women do, dammit. And they don’t hide it or apologize for it.
Which is why I won’t apologize for posting about my run on social media. And if you don’t like it, don’t “like” it.