Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media—Bane or Boon to Trail Running?

Social media is a boon to trail running.

I stay inspired by all the men and women who are writing about trail running. As a triathlete/runner who spent the winter trail running in Tucson and Phoenix, I was inspired to go longer this year after reading several blogs and joining a trail running group on Facebook, Trail and Ultra Running.

Trail running in Saguaro East, Tucson

I follow over 20 trail runners on Twitter. At the end of the night I look through my feed and follow links from trail runners who post about nutrition, strength training tips, offer motivational advice, and post photos of themselves in their running environment.

I follow runners who tweet and post to Facebook as they drive to their event, then post photos of the start – I’m as excited as they are about their race. I get a good picture of what the race venue is like and think about the race for the following year. I even stay tuned throughout the day to see results and what they post after the race. I especially like reading race reports about how they felt during the race, what they ate, and what went through their mind after several hours on the trail.

But the most important aspect of social networking is reading about runners like me – the age groupers, the ones that don’t finish first. I get a firsthand look at what drives other runners like me.

Social media has helped me realize that I’m not crazy. That there are people like me in the world who want to push the limits, who want to go longer, and yet, just want to finish; not necessarily first.
One of my favorite bloggers who I follow on Twitter is Sherpa John

He recently wrote this blog post about Risk Addiction and when I read it, I thought, This is what I have been feeling and thinking, but have never been able to put the words together as eloquently as he did.

He said, “Take another step back and look at who the people in our community are. We're all addicts. People always ask us, "What are you running from?" We're quick to jump to our own personal defense by saying "nothing." The reality is, many of us are. Many of the runners in our community are replacing a bad addiction or habit, with a better addiction. That addiction is running. All of us know someone who at one time had an eating disorder. Now they're a runner. Or someone who was a drug addict, and now they're a runner. Or Someone who suffers from depression, bi-polar or some other manic disorder, now running helps them cope. I'm not sure a single one of us is running just for the hell of it. Our personalities and needs are what require us to take on the challenges we decide to face. So let me cut to the chase. We're all addicted to adrenaline.”

I love these bloggers, writers, social media types who run and share their lives with the world. They want to become better. I want to get better, and it starts by engaging like-minded athletes. Social media helps us connect so that we know we are not crazy and certainly not alone in this world. 

1 comment: