Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Escaping With Social Media."


Sitting down on the wooden bench high above the city below I did something I've rarely done while running: I logged on to FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Google+. Before you start judging what seems to be inability to disconnect, understand I was a bit turned around. I wasn't in any danger, nor was I truly lost. The reality of the situation was that I had planned to run a loop route on Tiger Mtn. and couldn't find the trail I needed to be on. I searched unmarked trails for an hour as I ran around in circles. When I got back to a place where I knew exactly where I was I sat down. I briefly checked out a map and then thought, "I've got a ton of social media friends that know the trails on Tiger Mtn. I bet thy can help."

When I pulled out my phone there was a slime of stickiness on the touch screen. The bag I grabbed off the kitchen counter, admittedly close to the trash can, previously hosted a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Oops. Using my own saliva I washed the screen and got busy posting.

I started with a photo on Instagram and shared it with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Within minutes I had a few likes. I titled the photo, "Perk of wrong turns. Looking for route to Chirico Trail. Ugh." First comment: "I know where you are. I'll be right there." Although we didn't actually meet up, the post spurred on a lot of conversation. People began to reminisce of times they spent on the mountain, and offered very detail directions. But I stared down at the map I brought with me, and after a few minutes realized my mistake.

I put the phone back into my pack sans honey-lined plastic bag and ran down the trail. Sure enough, not more than 400 meters down the trail I found what I was looking for. Well marked and aptly named the Adventure Trail is where I wanted to be. I took another photo. More likes, more comments. My phone vibrated randomly in the waist pocket of my UltrAspire Spry with every notification. It was a weird satisfaction. It was a great pat on the back.

I didn't have to respond, but I did. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to pick and choose what I wanted to share. Trail running, to me, positions the runner against a backdrop of scenery that's built on personal perception. Waterfalls, bridges, and never-ending pathways don't always look and feel the same. On that run I wanted to share. I wanted others to enjoy what I was experiencing. And with likes, and comments, shares, and my ability to react to not just with a smile on the trail but with digital words I felt people were enjoying it as much as me. I think I'm going to make an effort to occasionally bring my runs to others while they're happening. I'd love to be on the other end, too.