Two months ago, I launched this site. The other day, I caught myself wondering what I’m doing and whether it’s worth my time.
I spent over an hour figuring out how to add Google ads to the sidebar column so that I could make a few bucks. And I really mean a few bucks, as in $3, if that.
Then I logged onto Twitter to hawk my link shamelessly to a bunch of strangers doing the same thing. My eyes ached while scrolling through the literary equivalent of a strobe light, and I renewed my pledge to help save those endangered species called paragraphs and punctuation.
Then I read a depressing but insightful column by David Carr in the New York Times, “At Media Companies, A Nation of Serfs,” detailing why writers, or “content providers,” make virtually no money in today’s new media equation.
What do I have to show for this? Who cares about all these frothy stories about running-and-traveling jaunts? How can I even call this ephemeral digital blather “publishing”?
Blog, blah, blech!
And then, out of nowhere, came this message from somewhere in Northern Virginia from somebody named Norah:
“I stumbled upon this site … and I absolutely LOVE it! All the stories are so interesting and inspiring. … The area where I live now is so boring, which makes my runs considerably less enjoyable and fewer and farther between. Reading this blog, though, lets me imagine myself running in these beautiful places and traveling all over the world to new races, my dream since I studied in Southern Spain sophomore year. This blog is giving me the motivation to keep running through this awful wall, so someday when I have the chance I’ll be able to complete more races in beautiful places, even if where I live now is hideous and boring.”
Norah, bless you. You made my week.
Norah from Northern Virginia splashed cold water on my face, reminding me why I started this and whom I hope to reach.
Two months after I wrote the welcome post seems like a good time to assess what The Runner’s Trip has accomplished, how I hope to develop the site in the coming weeks, and how I hope you will consider helping me. But first, here’s another great photo of Salt Wash, Utah, along I-70. (I didn’t have any other photos to run with this post, so I hope you enjoy these pics by Morgan from our drive to Colorado.)
What have I been doing, anyway?
I started this blog to inspire runners with training and travel advice. I want to help them (and me) run stronger and longer, discover more of the world, and avoid burnout. I put as much care into each blog post as I would for a real freelance assignment in an honest-to-goodness magazine, trying my best to write articles that are accurate, informative, thoughtful, and most of all: fun to read! (Friends and siblings, you must promise to write a comment that says “that was BORING” if ever I lose your interest.)
The articles so far have:
- spotlighted great races and destinations in Europe, New Zealand, Central America, and California;
- provided a forum for interesting and inspirational runners to share their stories—people like Tamara in Costa Rica, Renato in Portugal, Andy in Australia, and Ed in Spain;
- given me a forum to share my struggles, accomplishments, and ruminations while motivating me to run, travel, and write—three things I love to do but often need prompts and encouragement to get started and follow through;
- caught the attention of Arianna Huffington and Rodale Press. (I wish! Just kidding.)
Since the December 27 launch, I’ve posted 24 articles that attracted over 2100 “absolute unique visitors” in Google Analytics speak. The Facebook page has 149 fans. These numbers aren’t too bad for the first eight weeks, but I sure would like to multiply them by 10 at least.
What am I planning to do?
In the weeks ahead, I promise to produce:
- more profiles and Q&As with notable runners. In January, I interviewed Bart Yasso, and in the weeks ahead, I’ll post conversations with extraordinary runners and travelers, including Lisa Smith-Batchen (50 miles in 50 states in 62 days) and Monica Scholz (25 100-milers last year);
- more features on great destinations, with a special focus on summer trail-running camps and tours;
- more reports from me as I tackle races such as American River 50, along with race reports from others;
- more recommendations on cool gear and training tips;
- more videos (I hope, anyway …)
How can you help?
If you’ve read this far, thank you! The average web reader has only 96 seconds of focus, according to Blog Traffic Exchange, so I don’t take your time and attention for granted. But that doesn’t keep me from being wordy. I write like I talk, and just as I sometimes get the runs on runs, so too do I suffer from logorrhea. OK, so my point is this: If you like The Runner’s Trip, I really hope you’ll help me by doing the following:
- if you like an individual post, then share the link on your Facebook profile, tweet it, and email the link to your friends;
- subscribe to the RSS feed to receive regular updates;
- if you’re on Facebook, “like” the page;
- send me comments in the comment box below with feedback, and let me know what types of stories you’d like to see;
- click on the Google ad links and Amazon links if you’re interested in the products;
- consider submitting a guest post if you have a story to share that you think would interest readers of this site.
Hey, look at that! Ryan Knapp of Kansas City sent me a note that says, “I just stumbled on your blog and thought it was a great idea! I get to travel a lot for work and got into running a year ago after playing competitive soccer and basketball for most of my life. Running is such a great way to get to know a city. Look forward to reading more!”
No doubt I’ll stick with this, and I hope you’ll stick with this site, too.