A Virtual Run
At a family gathering I was talking to someone about some success I was having with my Facebook page. “I got 80 new likes overnight!” I was exclaiming to them.
“But are these REAL people?” Someone else asked me. “I mean, who is “liking” you?”
It’s an interesting question in a virtual world. Who ARE all these people? Why are they liking my page and what do they want from me? They have to be malicious. They HAVE to have some sort of personal agenda in everything they do, correct? What do all of these people WANT!
I am an active virtual runner. I have a facebook page and instagram account dedicated solely to talking about running. I am very actively involved in quite a few running groups online (as well as in real life) Some days I consider myself a better runner because I have these communities to support me in my journey, and somedays I feel just a little more sane because of them.
Have you ever had a day where you just did NOT want to wake up super early, crawl away from your comfy bed and wonderfully snoring kids and go out in the darkness of the morning to complete a 3 hour long run, all alone. You sit on the couch and think why am I doing this? No one is paying me to get out there. I’m not going to win any medals or money in the end. This is just a hobby so I can do whatever I want!
After the internal battle ensues you grab a cup of coffee and sit down to be ever so productive and start browsing facebook. You look through your newsfeeds and see your friends posts from the night before. At the bar, out to dinner, dancing and drinking and up until all hours of the morning. No one has posted anything yet for the morning because, oh yeah it’s 5:30am and you're the only crazy one up obviously.
So you hop on over to the running group you are a part of just to kill a little more time and you see a post. A selfie, of course, of a lady with her running gear on. “About to head out in the dark for a 15 mile run. Wish me luck!” The caption reads. Well, theres two of you at least. Then you see a status. “Up and attem! Excited and nervous for my longest run to date! #marathontraining #geterdone” Ok, theres a few you think.
As you keep scolling you see more, posted from this morning. Motivational images of in shape people running, statuses of people heading out for a run or from a run.
Over and over you see all of these people who are apparently just as crazy as you. Going to bed early on a Friday night, waking up before anyone else on a Saturday morning, setting goals for ‘no reason’ and getting them done without any reward. But they are so happy doing it all and you suddenly wish that you were like them, happy and running and having people think you’re crazy for doing so. And then you remember... that that IS you. That’s exactly how you feel lacing up early and being done by the time most of your ‘friends’ on facebook are just logging on.
You hit that “STATUS” button on the top of the page and write “Thanks for the motivation everyone! I needed that this morning! Good luck on all your runs, headed out the door now!” and hit post as you shutdown your computer and grab your headphones, heading out the door to a new run and a new day.
So whether or not these people are your real friends or even really people, in a world where we, runners, are considered different within our usual circles we may lack the support system to help us get through our times of doubt and fear. We are lucky to live in a world where we have the option to have these support systems of others that share our passion. To ask questions to, to seek motivation from, to vent to openly yet anonymously in times where you just need a little encouragement and perspective.
And sometimes its all worth it to just feel like you're not alone
Dream Big. Inspire Others. Run Long.
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