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Day 86 – Social Media Athletes

On this 86th day of my journey to IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, I’m thinking a bit about social media.

Have you heard of the Pathetic Triathlete’s Group on Facebook?

It’s a very large group of triathletes that post almost anything triathlon related. Some discussions get quite heated. In fact, that group, PTG for short, is notorious for banning users who are accused of abusing the “system.”

What surprises me is that triathletes are a much more social group than I would have expected. We often hear of triathlon as a selfish pursuit, however the participation on social media would suggest that many triathletes are reaching out to other like minded people.

Maybe “like minded” is not the right phrase, because of the many arguments that pop up. I suppose they are reaching out to others who have the same problems of seeking greatness through self torture. After all, if we are going to torture ourselves shouldn’t we check with others to make sure we are doing it correctly?

If you’ve seen any of my blog posts from the past few days, you will notice some pictures that include my friends. That’s one of the greatest things about triathlon for me: the relationships formed. However, our lives are rarely linear and rarely parallel. I don’t do much training these days with my friends. But I can always rely on social media for that human to human contact, right? For me, social media is a curiosity. Yesterday I told Mary (part of my coaching staff) that I fear technology. I was joking, but it’s sort of true. Something happened today that made me feel a lot better about social media.

After listening to my favorite podcast on the planet (I’m not saying which planet), I shared the podcast link and thanked Bob Babbitt for bringing that interview to my ears. You really should listen to it. Here’s a link.

What gave me faith in social media is that he thanked me back. Or to put it more precisely, someone with his Twitter handle thanked me back. He didn’t just click a “like” or heart button. He actually thanked me by name. It’s not that big of a deal, but after the solitude of a 60 minute treadmill workout this morning, it’s kind of nice to make a connection with another endurance athlete from 2500 miles away.

I’m not saying he and I are besties. You’re not likely to find me drinking a beer on his porch, but sometimes it’s just nice to be noticed.

Until tomorrow…

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