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July 5, 2017

Confessions of a Track and Field Vlogger

Last week, like every other week which has preceded it during my lifetime, I made several bad decisions with a few good decisions weaved in for good measure. I drove from Flagstaff to Bend, Oregon to attend a great friend’s wedding is an example of a good decision. I mixed a Red Bull with a large gas station coffee is an example of a bad decision. It was only a bad decision because I was convinced I didn’t need to sleep for the next 36 hours which is dumb, but my liquid speedball actually led me to making a great decision.

As we arrived to Bend after driving 1,100 miles through the night, I felt like I had mainlined cocaine. Still being convinced sleep was something only a weaker, previous version of myself needed, I headed out on a run and took my phone. History was made.

I know exactly what prompted me to do what I did next. It was Nick Symmonds. He did it. Blame him. Before his final track trace at this year’s USATF Outdoor Championships, Nick decided to film his entire week before the race and post it online. The vlog was born and I was hooked.

Each morning that week, my routine was the same: open my eyes, brush aside my girlfriend as she tried to riddle me with morning pleasantries, fire up YouTube and relish in Nick’s latest video blog. I hung on his every word, on his every strange video angle. I hung on for every Run Gum plug. I cherished each shit-eating grin. I believe there is a religion in a far away land that presumes you live several iterations of a life within a life and I can safely say I lived a life pre-vlog and I’m now living my best life post-vlog.

Please shift your attention back to me. A few days ago, as my heart raced at 160 beats-per-minute and my mind was in no place to make a life-changing decision, I made a life-changing decision: I became a vlogger. During that initial vlog, I became enchanted with the possibility of sharing every detail of my life with my 600 closest internet friends. What started as a joke to make a 10-mile run pass by a bit quicker, quickly spiraled into a crippling addiction which made those same people question their place in my life.

The run was nice. And it lived on the internet for eternity. I literally couldn’t think of anything better than that. As we headed to the wedding, I decided I would vlog the entire weekend because a) there was no way it would be annoying b) there is nothing better than video evidence of drunken debauchery. So it began.

I was capturing content at an unsustainable pace. As I flew closer and closer to the sun, I could feel the glue from my wings begin to melt. The name “Icarus” was being whispered in the woods. I paid it no mind.

All I cared about was being able to put “INFLUENCER” in my Instagram bio. I thought I was only a few vlogs away from being offered a sponsorship deal with some detox-diarrhea tea company. I was TECH, I was SYNERGY, I was the UNICORN.

And then it all crumbled as I crashed into the sea below. My caffeinated-induced manic state had finally faded and I realized I was a mere mortal with limits like any other man. I could not vlog and live the life I wanted. There are people who vlog to live and those who live to vlog. I do not know which I am and I think there are other people in the world, but I do know I cannot vlog for a while. It took over my life. It took over my weekend. I look back on the wedding and I can’t conjure up images of the bride and groom. Instead, I see direct messages from people goading me into another vlog update. I was peer-pressured to vlog and I gave in.

I do not regret my decision to vlog – it was based purely on sleep deprivation and a cocktail of caffeine and B-vitamins and I had no control over either of those – but I do not wish to vlog for many moons. Perhaps if I learn to vlog in a more balanced, middle of the road kind of way, I will return to the internet. But, until then, fly safe, young Icaurus.

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