Sometimes, just running the race is what matters most

image Well folks, after eight weeks of asking you to vote for me, and in some cases threatening dance on your front lawn in my red thong if you didn’t (You know who you are), my pursuit of “Performer of the Year” at The Public Blogger came to end yesterday after placing third in the latest round.

While I was disappointed at first for not reaching the finals, it quickly dissipated as I thought about what these past two months have meant to me in terms of how incredibly fortunate I am in my life to have so much support in what I do. From my family and friends, my home town to all of you in the blogosphere, each week I received so much incredible support and encouragament in this endeavor which, truth be told, was exhausting. There were a few times I questioned whether I had gotten myself into something beyond my scope. Being the only humor columnist in a group of poets, photographers and recording artists was a bit like being the only lamb at a coyote picnic; you can’t help but wonder if you’ve gotten the wrong invitation. 

It was your constant support and encouragement that inspired me to dig deeper and, for six out of seven weeks, remain at No. 1 in the rankings. The experience not only taught me about myself and what I was capable of achieveing under pressure, it also underscored something I have always believed to be true: Where you finish in a race isn’t nearly as important as running the race in the first place.

I want to thank all of you for being in the stands these past two months to cheer me on. It was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my career. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And I’m glad I didn’t have to.

It’s a fitting irony that our last challenge was to express who we are in relation to our art, and demonstrate whether we are an immitation or representation of it. As most of you know, I’m a firm believer in the importance and value of humor in our lives — as a means of keeping perspective as well as living in the moment.

It’s because of this belief, and the opportunity I have in sharing it with all of you, that I chose to run the race in the first place.

Plus, there was no actual running involved.

Again, I can’t express how appreciative I am for all of you. It’s something that stretches well beyond this competition and continues each day, with every “like” and comment we share. I am looking very forward to getting back to normalcy and having time to visit more and promote less.

Thank you for your support, your patience and belief in me. And also for not making me wear that red thong again…

(Now that the competition is over, I can include this video from yesterday’s challenge. I think it explains a lot about whether my writing is an immitation or reflection of who I am. And that weirdness is clearly genetic in my family…)


Reminder: My fellow nominees, poet Oscar Alejendro Plascencia and 19-year-old mommy blogger Rebecca Lemke, will move on to the finals this Sunday, Dec. 30. If you follow me on Facebook, I’ll still be offering updates and links to the LIVE finale. I’ll also continue to vote and support the show — and I hope you will, too.


Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

67 thoughts on “Sometimes, just running the race is what matters most”

  1. Too bad. Still, I was impressed by the effort, not to mention the quality and volume of work that went into this. If there is any consolation, you’re wife is the bomb. But don’t mention that at airport security. Well done, Ned.

  2. There was little actual celebrating last night among my household and my folks back home because we are all really bummed that you aren’t coming with me to the finals. No one expected this. 😦 I’m so glad for you that you no longer have to deal with the deadlines and emotionally taxing portions of the race though. I hope you are able to get some rest now. 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks Rebecca 😉 But you definitely deserve to celebrate — and we’re celebrating for you, too! You have our full support!

      And yes, after drinking an entire bottle of champagne we both slept very well 😉

  3. Ahhh, well you are still my all time favorite. Take heart, Einstein himself once flunked math. Also, Kim Kardashian is now famous, which makes me doubt the world knows what it is doing.

    1. I SO appreciate that, and all of the support over the last eight weeks. It has meant a lot — and is one of the things I’ll remember most about this experience. Thank you for that 😉

  4. Congratulations on making it as far as you did! I bet you’re relishing being able to slow down and relax into what passes for normalcy again. Loved the video- especially your mom.

    1. Thanks, Susan. It is VERY nice to come home and not be thinking about the next challenge other than making dinner! Relaxing with my wife last night after eight crazy weeks was heaven.

      And yeah, my mom is a real treasure. She had me when she was 17, so the age factor isn’t much. She’s wise, funny and insighful… everything I want to be when I grow up 😉

  5. Ned, my sister, Gina Castro-Brandt, shared your blog with me and I’m so glad she did! Unfortunately my memory is crap from high school but I’m sure I knew you then!! Keep the laughs coming! I appreciate your humor and outlook on life. God bless and Merry Christmas. Toni Castro Nanneman

    1. Hahaha! I remember you, and how you used to keep Scott (can’t remember his last name) in line. Thanks for the kind words and for following me here 😉

      Best wishes, blessings and the Merriest of Christmases to you and your family, Toni!

    1. Thanks, Christian — I really appreciate that! And it was a great experience. Not sure I’d do it again, but making connections with you and a few others was definitley one of the good things that came of it. Plus I have my own hip-hop song, YO! Didn’t have one of those before all this started…

      1. Hahaa…I gotta check that song out. Yeah man, it was great connecting with you above all. I respect what you have with your writing…I want it for myself. You’re an inspiration. I’m moving to Seattle next month so we’ll only be a 3 hour drive away from sharing a beer. Let’s do that sometime.

  6. Regardless, you are still a winner, and a fine man, husband, father, firefighter, writer, heart-attack-saver, leather-clad biker, lightsaber-wielder, red-thong-wearer, romantic funnyman. You are inspiring to all of us for all those reasons and more. And it’s been tremendous fun following your journey. Now, on to the Presidential election…..

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and all the support, Tara. It’s because of the good fortune of having so many wonderful people in my life — at home and around the blogosphere — that I walked away feeling just fine. And knowing what I’m coming back to is already pretty special.

      Now, about the campaign trail…

  7. I have to say I’m truly surprised. I thought you had this one aced, really, and while everyone in the competition had/has talent galore, I just knew you would rock it all the way. Life just loves to surprise us like that, now and then, though I’ve never figured out why. Just know that to everyone who visits you here on this blog, you’ll ALWAYS be #1. And to that special woman in your life, you’re a ROCK STAR! So celebrate the rest of your holiday like mad, Ned, and know how much you mean to many, many people. Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

    1. You’re the sweetest, Marcia. And so very right about taking time to celebrate. My wife and I agreed that whenever this thing ended, earlier or later, we would have a glass of champagne together. Sure, it actually turned out to be a whole bottle, but as you said: celebrate like mad!

      And so we are.

      And so am I, celebrating the gift of friends in the blogosphere like you. The happiest of holidays and New Years to you as well!

  8. I’m sorry to hear that. On the upside, it sounds like you actually get your life back, because this contest seemed incredibly time-consuming.
    P.S. A lamb may wonder why it got an invitation to a coyote picnic, but the coyotes are usually happy to have it there – just case the pizza’s late. 🙂

    1. Having my life back is a definite perk. Just waking up today and not having to think about what I was doing next was pretty nice. In fact, my wife had to remind me to dress before I left for work. THAT’show much I’m enjoying not thinking about what’s next.

      PS. I just want to say how much I appreciate your good humor and support. And not just in regard to the competiton.

  9. Congrats on how far you went and even entering in the first place. I can’t imagine how stressful and sometimes scary it may have been. You have lots to be proud of.

    1. Thank you for that, Gibber. There were definitely moments of panic, but many more moments of elation— especially with my wife and during the collaboration challenge. Then again, I’m always elated aroud my wife 😉

      Thank you, Gibber, for all of your support. Always 😉

  10. I will still do a back flip on the lawn for you – but no red thong

    You win on so many fronts it’s almost an embarrassment of abundances. Well, I say that in utter envy, but – we also know you’ve earned them. Well done, Ned.

    1. I really apprciate that, and you, Robyn. Your support and encouragement has been — and continues to be — something I am very thankful for.

      But before you do any backflips on the lawn, let me pooo-scoop first, just to be safe… 😉

  11. You will always be a winner to all of us. You done good. Loved the video and your mom’s memories. Listening to older people tell stories is what made you the outstanding writer you are today. Congrats, Ned! Have a very merry Christmas!

    1. Wow, thank you so much for those words, Darla. It means a lot. I truly appreciate it. And my warmest Christmas wishes to you as well. I hear you can use some warmth in Maine about now…

      Cheers, and thank you!

  12. I SO wanted you to win this! That said, it’s been an amazing event to watch unfold. So many times I thought to myself, “How can he keep the energy up to do this so well?” followed closely by other thoughts, “He doesn’t really have red thong footage, right?”
    Seriously though, you should be proud of all that you’ve accomplished. Now, I hope you’ll take some much deserved R/R and enjoy the holidays.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle. It was truly an amazing experience that, much like my red thong, forced me to stretch myself in ways I didn’t know I could. Being able to spend the last round with my wife was the perfect way to go out, and I couldn’t be more proud of her — and what was accomplished oveer the last 8 weeks. Thanks for all your support and kindness. And yes, I am sooooo enjoying taking a long breath and settling back into normalcy again. Figuratively speaking, of course…

      The Merriest of Christmas wishes to you and your wonderful family, Michelle 😉

      P.S. I see what you did there… “red thong underwear” “How can he keep the energy up..?”

      Well played…

  13. I thought from the beginning that you and Oscar would be in the final two…boo. Thanks so much for the must see Sundays, threats of red thong and all. 🙂

    1. Haha! I appreciate that — and thanks for following along and for your support. It’s goiing to be an interesting finale. I’ve gotten to know Rebecca pretty well and she’s a real sharp cookie.

      Again, thanks so much 😉

  14. Sounds like you got your sense of humor from your mom! LOL!
    Oh well! You did great and we are all very proud of/for you! 😉
    You will always be Number ONE to us!!!
    Merry Christmas my bloggy friend!!

    1. Humor is on both sides of my family. And not just in our looks…

      Thanks so much Courtney. You support has been really wonderful and much appreciated.

      And Merry Christmas to you and your hubby as well 😉

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