Maybe I’m projecting, but this week the universe has been telling me over, and over, and over again- to be my own advocate, put myself out there, and maybe even be a little loud about it in the process.
In a recent blog post, pro runner Phoebe Wright likened attracting sponsors and media attention to her attempt at crossing a busy street. Every time she went to step forward, drivers were either completely oblivious, or even worse, sped up. Moments later, a group of baby ducks wandered out into the street. They took their time crossing and a traffic jam formed. At first the drivers were angry, but that soon dissipated when they saw the cute little ducks they had to stop for. Then Phoebe said this:
It’s at this point that I realized I am less assertive than a duck. If you want people to stop for you, you have to make them stop for you. That’s how it works when you cross the street. It’s slightly risky, but odds are, most cars will stop.
That’s also how it works in professional running. If you want sponsors to stop for you, or media to listen to you, or for race directors to notice you, you have to put yourself out there. Don’t give them a choice to not notice. Also, I assume it helps if you are as cute as a group of baby ducks.
Being outspoken does not come naturally to me. I love to create and I love to share but I tend to let people sort it out for themselves if they want to listen. That’s the way I prefer to be treated myself considering when everywhere I go, every time I open an app, anytime I do practically anything, someone is trying to sell me on their brand or product. The last thing I want to do is contribute to the noise. I often shy away from sharing something, introducing myself or pitching ideas because of this. On the other hand, I have things to say that I think are worth sharing and I believe in the value of what I do. This week I took a few leaps and reached out to some brands and publications that matter to me, whether it was just to say I admire the work they’re doing or inquiring about a collaboration or partnership. I created a Facebook page to coincide with this blog as a place to post and share my thoughts on all things running, and against every natural instinct I’ve actually been sharing about it and inviting a whole bunch of people to like it (200 and counting so far, thank you!). Self-promotion and simply getting someone to notice you can be mortifying, but if you don’t advocate for yourself, who will?
Below are the rest of my newly coined Friday Gems. Every week I’ll post a wrap-up of quotes, recipes, gear, good reads, anything that’s helped my outlook on running and life or something I simply found interesting. Along the same lines, I added a new link to the menu above called “The Vault”. There you’ll find a treasury of sorts of all my favorite things and resources which I’ll continually add to.
“Everybody says winning’s easy for me. I’m like, ‘Why would you say that?’ Yes, it looks easy. But it’s not. There’s a lot of work and dedication. It’s rough. I want people to understand that what they see on the track is because I work so hard to get there.” -Usain Bolt in a recent piece by Decca Aitkenhead in The Guardian.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from following pro runners, or really anyone successful, is that they didn’t get there by accident. They got there with hours, weeks, months, and years of unglamorous work. They’re extremely deliberate about everything they do. Bolt always seems to be joking around at the start line, which is actually a mental strategy he and his coach incorporated into his race day approach. He says, “No matter how much pressure is on, I never think about it, because it starts creeping in and plays with your mind. That’s why I clown around before a race. I’m relaxed, I enjoy myself. And it works. My coach is very smart.”
Charles Bethea just released a fascinating read in Outside Magazine about the founders of letsrun.com, twin brothers Robert and Weldon Johnson and their two full-time staffers Jon Gault and Steve Soprano. I sift through letsrun several times a day for running news from the far reaches of the world, extensive race previews and recaps, and athlete interviews with knowledgeable, not your run-of-the-mill questions. I love this write up that does a deep dive into their operation.
That’s all for this week. ‘Til next time! -L