For several years, the only time I talked to athletes was at races, and even then, I tended to shy away because I always felt (and still feel) like the poor stepchild riding the beater bike and wearing hand-me-downs. I know my training could use a push from faster athletes now and again and I still find ways to challenge myself as often as possible even though I train mostly alone.
But things are changing in this connected world we live in. Social networks have made my world a smaller and brighter place where I can find people like myself and not feel so alone. For me, social networks Facebook and Twitter are not places to tell everyone what I ate for lunch or where I am at every minute, but they are places where I can share experiences and read other people's stories and feel connected. As an athlete, I am continuously blown away by people who contact me, share with me, or are even interested in what I do. And I love reading about their trials and tribulations. It has re-energized me to work harder in hopes of having my own stories to tell or wisdom to impart as a way to thank them.
Making connections with athletes in social media circles is still new to me, but some of my online resources are the following (this is a personal list, it's NOT comprehensive -- I welcome others' resources in the comments):
- Daily Triathlon (Ning social network for triathletes)
- A Twitter list of triathletes from @athletetraining
- My Twitter list of athletes, coaches, and resources
- USA Triathlon's list of triathletes who Tweet
Some coaches' and athletes' blogs I follow are on the right and there are many triathlon groups and pages on Facebook, which is still the place I spend most of my time.