A few days ago this sometimes stuttering blog recorded its 50,000th view. Now if you're in a bigger league, this is the sort of interest you can no doubt generate in a week or so but it's taken me just over 5 years. But from quieter beginnings it's built up to around a thousand hits a month these days, and that's more than enough to encourage me to keep rambling on.
Readers have to be quite persistent as I'm not a prolific blogger. An average of a post about every two weeks is all you get. I've often thought of putting up the frequency but never really got around to it because I always try to wait until I think I have something to say that may be of some interest. I'm no good at writing about training, so I tend to wait until I've done an event, or have a view on some general topic to do with running. What does surprise me is how long-lived some of the posts have become. I'd thought that the whole thing was a bit transitory - publish a post, a few people read it, then you move on and it gets forgotten, but every so often I look at the statistics and discover a post from maybe two or three years back is still getting new views.
Here is a list of the "top ten" posts since I started, in order of popularity:
1. "Well, I think I'd better stop now......" (Oct 2013). Views on what causes DNF's.
2. "The toughest race in the world" (Mar 2012). An attempt to compare the difficulty of a number of well-known races.
3. "Bad news and blisters" (Nov 2013). What causes blisters and how to prevent them
4. "The other Lakeland 100" (May 2013). A recce of the Ultimate Trails Lakeland 100k.
5. "Views on shoes" (Oct 2012). Comparing different shoe types and how to make choices.
6. "West Highland Way Race 2013" (June 2013). Race Tale.
7. "Pacing and the Lakeland 100" (Jul 2013) Pace strategies for the Lakeland 100 mile race.
8. "At the Lakeland 50 and 100" (Jul 2012). Running the Lakeland 50.
9. "A tourist's guide to the Lakeland 100" (Jul 2014) Running the Lakeland 100 "just to finish"
10."So why does my Garmin tell lies" (April 2012) How Garmins acquire cumulative errors when recording ascent and descent.
Some of these are getting out of date now as technology moves on (for example the shoes and Garmin posts), and I've learned a bit more about other things; they're still interesting for me to look back on occasionally, but I'm often puzzled why these particular posts have proved the most popular. I think I've done better than these, but of course it's up to the reader to judge!
Anyway, I'll keep going so long as I still find things that interest me to write about.
Another little milestone for me this year. It's November, the month when the entries go in for the West Highland Way Race. I've become very attached to this event over the years and I've completed eight in a row. I had every intention of making it a nice round ten and was determined not to let anything stand in the way of that. But since I began this series the Dragon's Back Race, first run in 1992, has been resurrected and 2015 will be the third running, after the second in 2012. Two hundred miles down the length of Wales visiting summits in all the main Welsh mountain groups. Home ground if you like, for though I'm not Welsh these hills are where I spent a lot of my formative years. Has to be done, and going by the history to date the next Dragon's Back won't be until the summer of 2018, when I shall be 70. Next year may be my only realistic chance, so the West Highland Way will have to wait a year. I'll be back.