When my husband and I decided to settle down in Pittsburgh, I was ready for the change. I grew up in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania, and he is a local Pittsburgher. Even though I went to college in Western Pennsylvania, there is something different about deciding to set up roots and call a new place “home.”
I did not adjust well to living here. I begged my husband to move. It is so hard as a married person with no kids to find friends – especially in 2012. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I went on social media.
I had just started running again and decided to search some hashtags to connect with other runners. Even though I went it alone the first few years of my return to running, it was nice to just follow along in other people’s journeys. I even decided to start blogging at that point to share what I was going through.
After a while, I felt comfortable enough to meet up with some people in Disney World. That turned out to be the best decision I ever made! I have been so closely connected with these people ever since. We travel a lot together, talk about life and are just there for each other in general. Our group has grown since then, but I can honestly say that trip is was when my running changed.
After meeting all of these amazing people, I just started feeling more comfortable. My running got better; I was getting out of the house more and being social. I also really fell in love with blogging and sharing my journey. The biggest thing I learned from all of this is how different runners are!
Through the next few years, I connected with runners from all over the country. Even from different parts of the world! I have traveled to a bunch of states and honestly have met some of the most amazing people in my life. Just by going on social media. How crazy!
However, social media can also be an intimidating place. I try to not post a lot of my paces on social media. There is a reason for this – we are all different. My bad days can be your great days and vice versa. If I can get anything across to anyone reading this, do not compare your journey to anyone else. Just because you see someone running a long run at a seven-minute pace does not mean that you should be doing the same.
Running is an incredible thing that is achieved all by you. You put in the work and you see the results, so let social media be the place where you celebrate your victories. If you ran your first 5K, congrats! Post it! Let the world celebrate with you. If you BQed, you better believe I am going to be super excited for you. That is the beautiful thing about this. You will always find someone who is on your level, who you can connect with. As long as you are real and genuine, you will get that same response in return.
What are some ways you like to connect with other runners on social media? I think hashtags are your friend. I always use the #RunPGH and #WeRunSocial hashtags. You can search those hashtags and just find other people who are also using them. Also, comment, follow and connect! Spread the love. On Twitter, you can also join #RunChat every Sunday. That was my introduction to a lot of runners and also products.
Remember, social media can be a beautiful thing, but it is not for everyone. In my situation, it helped me so much. It is all about how involved you wish to be. And don’t be afraid to say hello to people you follow on social media at races. You never know the friends you might make in the process!
Steff is one of our 2018 #10YearsRunning Official Bloggers. You can follow along as she trains for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on her blog Run Steff Run, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.