Well, let’s see. Where to begin… When I was a little kid, I HATED running, with the exception of playing tag in the backyard. I was into swimming and playing soccer, but HATED the running aspect. Go figure, right? When middle school came around, I decided to join the track team, mostly for the discipline of training, being more fit, and, well to be on a team. I wasn’t quite fast enough to be one of the sprinters, so I was on the “long distance” team (400 meters to 1 mile). My endurance for long distance wasn’t great, so I ran 400 meters and trained like a crazy person. Hearing horror stories about the high school track team’s training I decided not to join in on the torture, err, fun, instead returning to my beloved soccer and dance. However the foundations of my middle school track training stayed with me and changed my outlook on running. Throughout high school I ran recreationally. When we had to run in gym, I relished the time I got to spend counting how many laps I ran and how quickly I could loop my classmates. In college I would take 2-3 mile jaunts 3 times a week, or as my work load would allow. Then I entered into the real world; not making any time for running I became somewhat more sedentary, even though I did continue working out sporadically.
In 2008 my friend and roommate at the time had surgery on her back and was excited to make her return back to running, as she had run cross country and longer distances since high school and her back problem kept her from doing what she loved. Seeing how excited she was to get back into action, I decided to start running with her. At first it was simply a means for me to get back into shape and to keep her company, but as I continued through the training schedule, I started to love having a set routine to follow and discovering new things in my neighborhood and surroundings. That year I ran a 5k and a 10k, but never ever fathomed wanting to run a marathon in my wildest dreams. Seeing my friend and so many other runners cross the finish line at the Chicago Marathon inspired me to want to do the same. I really didn’t think I would be able to ever run 26.2 miles. I had a year and I had some friends with the experience to share with me and I had my trusty internet to look up information about all things running.
Flash forward to ’09 and my big jump into using Twitter. I had been an avid user of Facebook to update and connect with friends and family, but the running updates were starting to get on people’s nerves. On Twitter I was quite impressed with the fact that there are literally a plethora of different niche groups of users who love talking all things running, or any other topic you can think of. Not only that, but meeting other runners in person, who had been running as long as I have or even longer was such a great discovery for me. During the tough Summer training months, I grew more and more confident after completing every Saturday long run. It was a whole new feeling of accomplishment. This feeling inspired me to start a Facebook page for other runners who may feel the same way about running as I do. Through Facebook and Twitter, I was able to connect with more and more people. My 2009 Chicago Marathon experience was a bit bittersweet as I caught a cold two days prior to the race and I still ran the whole thing by myself by choice.
After my 2009 marathon experience, I caught the running bug and remain today addicted to running, even though it can tend to be a love / hate situation. During my 2010 training season and my current training season, I have come to realize that training with a group of people and meeting up with people to train, participate in races, eat post-run and talk all things running with was way more exhilarating than simply joining a Summer training group and do most of my runs by myself. Through social media, I have been able to connect with runners, help motivate other runners, answer beginner’s questions and discuss my experience with others.
What’s so great about that? Well, the Facebook friends of mine who could care less about all of my running updates don’t have to be bogged down by my status updates so much, because I can share my love for running with those who want to hear about it! The running page that I created is still up and running and even has international fans! People feel open to share their questions, favorite race photos, opinions on all things running and even help motivate each other when someone may just not be feeling that double digit long run.
With Twitter, being one of the #runnerds is an honor and a treat. It’s great to see what people really think about running and what makes them a “Runnerd”. If you have yet to join Twitter, you may want to consider it a try when you can find so many others to relater to and converse with!