I had to skip my long run this weekend (major bummer since it would have been my last with my Bia) because of pesky kidney stones. I was super bummed not only because it was going to be first double digit since the half-marathon, but because my United Snails team could have really used those miles.
I'm on Twitter. A lot. It's kind of perfect for the way my brain works. I follow lots of runners and lots of runners follow me. Back in the fall I heard about something called Earthathon, a 25,000 mile virtual relay race. 25,000 miles is the approximate circumference of the Earth so we'd be running across the Earth as a team. I needed the motivation to run having just completed my half and facing the cold winter, so I joined the team. It was a great experience of runners congratulating, motivating and inspiring other runners.
The method is a little different for 2015. Instead of one team and 25,000 miles there are 10 teams running. When we are all done we will collectively have run 250,000 miles. That's pretty cool. We all tweet our runs and then log them into an online spreadsheet. There's a competition between the top teams on who will reach 25K first. I am helping lead a team and we are nowhere near the top which is actually a little freeing. Although there's competition, there is unity as well. When the top teams finish, they will help the lower teams finish. So eventually we'll all be one big team again.
There are roughly 60 members of my team but not all of them are active. There are a handful of really active runners-- people who run all the time, people just starting out training for their first 5Ks and those of us in between. People who can't run much but cheer for the rest of the team. We've got streakers: Rob, Warren, & Phil who never miss a day of running. Rob often does double digit days as well! He is the definition of hardcore. John is a new addition to the team who runs 6 days a week and logs a lot of miles. We've got Tamara who just finished her first marathon with 4 little kids at home! We've got Xina & Lisa who ALWAYS have a kind supporting tweet for all of us. Lisa just did her first half-marathon. Soo balances cycling and running in the never ending winter of Canada. Laura finds time to run on a busy nurse's schedule. Claudio is a long distance runner from Italy who is not afraid to run in a speedo. We can always rely on Martin, Sarah, and Stefan for some quality long distance miles. Charles, Jeff, Mark, Paul M., Erik, Susan, Fi, Maggie, & Shannon all contribute to our hardworking snail team. Not all of the runners are far away... one of my BRF's, Jen, is a snail too! Our leader, Michael, is battling some shin splint problems and taking a much needed break from running. He excels at finding snail clip art. I'm sure I've left someone off this list but there's only so much I can remember. They are all so supportive and inspirational!
The cheering and support from this team has made running this winter bearable. The bond we've created--people from all over the world--is simply awesome. We may be at the bottom of the leaderboard in miles, but we're at the top in enthusiasm and support. I couldn't have picked a better team and I am so lucky to have been chosen to help lead them.
If you're a runner looking for some virtual support, it's not too late to join. Make sure you choose UnitedSnails as your team.