How @susanlacke Got Me Tweeting (4 miles)

I’ve avoided Twitter for years now — in fact, I’ve been avoiding tweeting for longer than most of the general population has even known that Twitter existed.  Okay, so I opened an account two years ago, when I was home with Nat, but that was simply in a fit of mind-numbing boredom heart-warming paternal bliss that resulted from my semester as a stay-at-home dad.  I figured it would give me some way to connect to the rest of the world and keep me occupied, but instead Twitter bored me silly, and after a few weeks it simply lay dormant, yet another account left in my wake like so much digital flotsam for the electronic gulls to peck at.

I haven’t avoided Twitter out of any philosophical devotion to luddism; I’m not a cranky old man shaking his fist at the youth and muttering about how their damn 140 character messages are ruining Western Civilization.  I just realized I really didn’t care what @MarvelComics or @Radiohead or even @JossWhedon were up to, or if I did, I would read their blog or a fan-site, or any of the other countless internet resources I already had at my fingertips.  At best, it seemed to replicate my friends Facebook status updates; at worst, it was just asking for corporate spam and an endless parade of tiny.url and links.

Then I read Susan Lacke’s post over at No Meat Athlete, and it made me reconsider.  What my Twitter experience had been missing was the same thing my previous blog attempts had lacked — a purpose.  Every other time I’ve tried keeping a blog, it’s died after a short, inglorious life because I’ve grown bored of it.  On the other hand, I love writing this blog, and it’s because I’m not just keeping a diary and bitching about work and kids and reviewing the book I’m reading and the most recent episode of Mad Men: I’m focusing just on running.

So I did the same thing with Twitter.  Other than a few close friends, I ditched everyone I followed on Twitter, then started exclusively following runners — @nomeathathlete and @susanlacke to start, and of course every long-distance runner’s hero, @scottjurek.  I checked all my favorite running blogs for their Twitter accounts, tracked down @borntorunchris, and then started adding some of their followers as well.  Suddenly, I had about 35 people that I was talking about running with.  Sure, a lot of it is one-way shouting, and much of the noise on Twitter seems to be the internet’s version of pacing around the subway platform muttering to yourself, but even that is sort of cool if its focused: other runner’s swapping links to great blogs, cool articles about training, shoe reviews, upcoming races.  It’s inspiring to read other people struggles and triumphs, whether they’re a 45 year old mother training for her first half-marathon to some guy who’s going to do the North Pole Marathon for charity (and yes, he’s another Makes Me Look Normal candidate).  And what’s even cooler is the short conversations you have with people.  Matt Frazier at No Meat Athlete and I had a few back-and-forths, some guy at AltraRunning answered a question I had about their shoes within minutes, and a bunch of other bloggers had things to say to me about running in Vibrams.

Tonight I just tuned in to my first Twitter Chat (#nmachat), which I have to say was a bit overwhelming but also pretty cool.  I met a whole bunch of other runners, vegetarian athletes, and bloggers, including someone who is moving to Brooklyn from Charlston later this month and wants to meet up for a running introduction to the City.  I walked away a bit dizzy, but feeling like I was part of some weirdly defined community of sorts.  Okay, this might be drifting a bit far from the mission statement of this blog, but the entire thing is rooted in running, and I’m oddly intreagued by this whole Twitter thing now that I’ve found a use for it.


I did get in a run today, another short one testing the Head Cold waters a bit more.  While I’ve got some minor congestion still, the four miles I did today felt great.  I didn’t push myself too fast, but didn’t go at the recovery run pace of yesterday either.  It was a routine route — back from Gym Park down Kent Avenue to DeKalb then home — and everything felt pretty good.  I was glad the forecast rain held off, but now it seems tomorrow is supposed to be a thunderstorm.  And here I wanted to get in three days of runs.  Ah well, its probably for the best to rest again and make sure I’m back to one-hundred-percent.  Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be good, and by then Nat and I should be able to put in some longer miles.  Okay, time for bed: I’ve got the early-morning newborn feeding shift, so I should get some sleep.

Distance:  4 miles          Time: not recorded


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
This entry was posted in Musings, Other Running Blogs, Routine, Running with Nat, Runs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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