Monday, 21 May 2012

What I enjoy about this blog

In the past four months (February through May) I've posted on about 55 topics including personal running updates, crossword puzzles, a movie review, math, philosophy, and various running sciences and opinions. My most popular post is my plot of top running times, but I really enjoyed writing this criticism of the stotan philosophy, which required a trip to the library to copy all those passages by hand.

I'm feel nowhere near finished writing about stuff and things, but I will soon be starting a rather full time job. I want to write about that too, since it's a post doc position in a brand new project. Check it out. However with that job the rate of postings will necessarily decline. Not sure who'd be bothered exactly, but this much I promised myself: not to stop. Just a few less posts, that's all, or maybe as many but keep them shorter. Given the out-of-control length of some topics this could be an improvement.

I wanted to make one strong claim about what I write: it's as free from bias (besides my own) as possible. I have absolutely no ties to industry, sponsorship, or some brand line of clothing. The downside is perhaps that my site is eerily vacant (I have not flair for design, but I claim it's inspired by the minimalism of So no banner ads, no company logos, no nothing. I'd prefer that to 90s era tilings. The closest thing to a tie-in is that I'm part of a local club (Montreal Endurance), but they're not in any way responsible for what I write. Nice thing about ME is that it's not covered in banner ads either (among other awesome qualities).

I'm not trying to make money off of this blog. If someone wants to give me their money, I'd accept (a very hypothetical situation, true), but it's not likely to change what I write. Maybe it'd be like street buskers, where you pay them to keep on with what they're already doing. But I'm no theatrical busker; as an introvert I am probably writing more here than what I might speak in a given day (not counting out-loud rants). My qualifications are a PhD in physical chemistry and my years of running: both reading about it and doing it. It's my donation of sorts to you, world, whether you want it or not. Merry Christmas.

Why is anyone reading this blog of mine? Statistics say that most of you are not. That's fine. There are plenty of better Canadian running blogs out there. Reid Coolsaet's Float On is probably the best. He writes very naturally, engagingly and as a bonus his updates are peppered with big-ticket news ('Yesterday I won such-and such race', 'I'm going to the Olympics', 'I'm running in Kenya'). He probably has a future career in sports writing and/or commentary. But he also has sponsorship obligations, especially to New Balance, Power Bar, 7-Systems vitamins, and several Canadian funding agencies (these are the banners on his site). It seems clear that he genuinely digs NB, but if he one day decided that vitamin supplements were, to put it politely, complete garbage*, he'd have to keep mum, certainly not write about it.

So yes, sadly I don't have the problem of companies throwing money at me. It's also liberating. If I want to say Nike sucks, I will. Compression socks? Hogwash and hooey. Might as well say it since there's no feeding hand to bite. Many athletes don't have the time or inclination to make enemies with potential sponsors. I'm impressed Dylan Wykes allowed my comment to stay put where I explained why one of his sponsorship's products Altitude Tech does not work. If you do turn on a sponsor, you'll scare off other companies. A starving athlete may not have a choice of who gives them money.

Most people with enough interest in a niche subject have something to sell, another vested interest. Consider Danny Abshire's book Natural Running, which begins with reasonable advice but degenerates into an ad for Newton shoes. Yuk. I'd like to avoid that route. My money-making scheme will be to make a very unpopular book about running.

It's ok if this blog never becomes popular. If it did I'd have to reply to a ton of questions/answers. Well, that's not so bad, and kind of the point. Maybe I just don't have the patience of Alex Hutchinson's Sweat Science who replies to almost every comment. It's a great blog, sports science commentary and he's a dedicated writer.

I hope to keep writing. I still have lots of ideas for things to talk about. The Riegel formula redux, thoughts on double runs, commentaries on books, etc. Plus every run seems to produce two new ideas, so at this rate I'll never be finished. That'll do.

*To describe vitamin sellers less politely, I consider them among the worst kinds of people you will ever encounter. Lakota, Jamieson, Centrum, it's all the same. Owners are no better than the likes of Matthias Rath, though perhaps less ambitious. If that comparison ranks as the health-food equivalent of pulling the Hitler card, so be it. Vitamins only benefit those with severe deficiencies and cost almost nothing to produce; it's legalized racketeering.


  1. Purist, I like that. Write on, Graydon. and do tell us what you really think! Refreshing.

  2. please do write about the new job with SPARTAN, in fact keep on writing about anything at all!!