If you’ve recognized your running self in a raccoon meme, you’ve seen the work of Izzy Seidel. She’s the founder of the Sad Girl Track Club on Instagram and Strava, and a content creator for running brands, a skill she honed during her time in the corporate world. While that may seem like a dream job, it isn’t without its downside.

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Izzy ran cross country at Northwestern, and with an Olympian for a sister (Molly), running has always been a big part of her life. After graduating, she worked at Tracksmith and, she says, “So much of my life revolved around running because of that. I don’t want to say it was the most intense environment ever, but everybody was super into running and it just kind of fed into me wanting to be faster and better.”

She worked on Tracksmith’s marketing team, which “was probably one of the most valuable jobs I’ve ever worked because I touched so many different areas of the company. I think it was really important because I also got to work with other content creators and people who were of influence. It’s funny because there were people who I made connections with when I was working in that job that I now am kind of in their same realm.”

After leaving Tracksmith, she went on to Ten Thousand, a men’s athletic wear company, where she produced all of their photo shoots. “That,” she says, “was where I really got a grasp on the concept of influencer marketing and working with influencers and ambassadors. I worked with a lot of content creators who were making great money and doing way less than I had to do. And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a good job. I want to do that.’

“It wasn’t necessarily that I was like, ‘I want to be an influencer,’ but I hit this point where I was like, ‘I have all of these skills that these people have who are thriving in their jobs; let’s give this a shot,’ and I kind of just organically grew from there. That’s how I got into it. I don’t love the word ‘influencer’ because it’s just so cringy. But at the end of the day, the one thing that I find super valuable is because I worked internally at these companies, I know what these companies want from an advertising perspective, down to a T.

“Especially when you’re producing photo shoots, there’s so many details that you need to be really on top of. And that all translates to digital content on apps like TikTok and Instagram. So I think that’s why I might not have the largest following in the world, but I can make content very well, based on what a brand wants.”

Izzy got into the marketing side of social media as a job, but the other side of her online presence, the Sad Girl Track Club, is more personal, the result of having to curtail her running. She began dealing with health issues three years ago, and was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. “It’s so hard because I think back to the time when I was running 50 miles a week and thinking, ‘My gosh, I’m only running 50 miles a week.’ Now I can’t run. So it’s all perspective. I would kill to be able to just go out for a run and not have to deal with any problems or all of the things that I’ve now had to just accept. 

“I don’t want to say the health problems were a blessing, but they definitely give you a lot of perspective on life and make you realize that there are things that are important and things that are not as important as you thought they were. This is just running at the end of the day. I am so much more driven towards being and feeling healthy now than being fast. Being fast used to be everything to me, and now I can hardly run.

“I started Sad Girl Track Club because it was an outlet for me to kind of make myself feel okay about the fact that I might never PR again, I might not get faster, but at least I can still enjoy this in some way. We can still laugh about it. I can still participate in it, but I might not participate in it in a way that I used to be able to, which is hard to accept. But sometimes those are the cards you’re dealt.”

The sense of community that Izzy has created in Sad Girl Track Club is something that she finds lacking in her job as a content creator, which is why she doesn’t see herself continuing exclusively along that career path much longer. “It’s a super isolating job. I am someone that loves working with people, and even though you are collaborating with brands, it’s not the same as working with coworkers. That’s something I super struggle with. 

“It’s a weird environment to put yourself in because it’s a new environment; this wasn’t a thing ten years ago. I’m somebody that needs social interaction to be happy in life, and I definitely miss that kind of stuff. So things will probably change in the next few months, potentially. I won’t stop doing content because I still enjoy it and it’s a way that I make a living. But I definitely think it’s not the perfect job. There are parts about it that are so amazing and I love, but there are also parts about it that I’m like, ‘Ugh, this is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.’” 

Despite making her living through social media, she’s concerned about the negative consequences of spending so much time online. “I think about those things a lot. I’m not a super anxious person, but one thing does give me a lot of anxiety. I’m so bad at responding to texts, DMs, stuff like that, because I do not think that our brains are built to be as ‘on it’ as we are expected to be with answering texts, emails, DMs, always needing to be on call. I do not think that is something that is normal, and so I actually have no problem not responding to my texts because I’m just like, ‘I don’t think that this is what we were evolved to do.’

“So part of me is like, ‘My God, if we could get rid of phones completely, do it.’ Would I have a job? No, but I would figure it out. I’m like, ‘Can we just live life?’ Part of me just wants to be in the 80s right now, when we didn’t have cell phones. Part of me feels like I would have lived my best life in the 70s or the 80s.”


Izzy’s Instagram

Sad Girl Track Club Instagram

Sad Girl Track Club Strava

Izzy’s website

Izzy’s favorite Tracksmith item

Thank you to Tracksmith, AG1, and Precision Fuel & Hydration for sponsoring this episode.

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