Running on Twitter

I’m signed up for the Wellington Round the Bays half marathon in late February so I’ve been following their Twitter feed at Wgtnroundthebay. They’re doing a great job of tweeting training tips and encouragement to participants, especially the new runners. They’re also getting active with heaps of other tweeters, both in the running and local communities.

One of the tweeters I came across thanks to them is seedouglasrun who’s organising a virtual #TwitterRoadRace. It’s a nice example of using Twitter to build a quick community around a one-off event, where participants sign-up online for a 5k race that they run anywhere on Saturday 21 January 2012. It’s similar to some of the virtual/real runs and events that Nike organise but without the taint of corporate backing. Details available at Doug Cassaro’s blog, I run because….

Something I’m keen to see from future race organisers is for them to collect Twitter handles as part of race registration and then live tweet runners’ preliminary results on race day. Would create a great online buzz for the event and give runners something to smile about while they wait for their official time.

Running man

My dad grew up in a place called Makino. Nowadays it’s part of Feilding, on the north side of town with Makino Road and the Main Trunk Line running through the middle. Back then it was three houses, and everyone knew each other.

There were gum trees and poplars and arum lilies growing in the paddocks. Dad thought all these plants were native, or not so much native as just part of the landscape. There was no native and no exotic. The houses huddled around the Pakeha Brand Butter dairy factory. A few houses and a dairy factory; that was about it.

Dad was a member of the local cubs. I find that kind of surprising given his left-wing upbringing but the left politics and childhood militarism aren’t totally exclusive. (His father was active in local Labour politics and was one of the first to sign up in Feilding for the first world war.)

The cubs were in town. The movies were in town. Everything was in town. He remembers cold winter nights coming home from town, picking out lampposts to run between. He’d cover three lampposts at a run, then walk a lamppost, then run another three. That’s how he covered the two miles home from cubs or a movie in town.

Last time he can remember running was a decade ago when he still had an office and a desk and a stationary cupboard on Lambton Quay. In his seventies, he tried to run for a bus, but his legs forgot to keep up with his body. He stayed on his feet but missed the bus.

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I’m getting obsessed with running at the moment, as anyone close to me knows. Something I know is that for people not doing it, running’s a dull subject. Conversations with my dad remind me again and again of his deep interest in the lives of people around him and his ability to personalise his response to them. It’s a quality I hope I’ve inherited.

Making tracks

This is the one post I plan to write on why Twitter is good for you.

Recently I started blogging over at Run Boy Three* about my training for a half-marathon I plan to run in June. As I live near Wellington’s northern hills (or western hills depending who you ask) I’m keen to run the Skyline track. Problem is the routes up to the Skyline were, to my knowledge, few and far between. Finding a good circular track of a length that I could manage was proving tricky.

Enter, this tweet, and a whole new world of hill-running tracks has opened up before me. (Not to mention a homegrown online community about tracks. It’s good stuff!)

And this is Twitter’s not-so-very-secret secret: if you follow people you like and read what they say, chances are they’ll often say something interesting and useful. That’s it, no more justification needed in my view.

* totally out-of-context homage to 80s band Fun Boy Three

Playing catch-up

Missed out on a run over the weekend but got in an 11km cycle ride to the bike shop and back instead. Not much of a distance for a seasoned cyclist but that’s exactly what I’m not – I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve cycled in Wellington and can honestly say that my body is not used to hills.

Started today’s run with a minor back ache and ended it with a worse one and stiff calves after running out to the Point from Queen’s Wharf. Probably took it a bit too fast but it felt good to be running without shin-splints or tired lungs. Now just need to sort out the back…

Have downloaded the intermediate training schedule (warning: loud inane music) for the half-marathon in June and will start on that in about a fortnight. Leading up to that I’m planning on three or four runs a week, mainly around 30-40 mins but hoping to do 50 mins or more once or twice over the coming weekends.

Today’s run: a little over 6km; 30 mins