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Social media won't give you the approval you seek

A man posted in a Zwift Facebook group several screenshots of his latest accomplishment--The PRL Full. Evidently this is a 100-mile ride--a little more than that. He was happy to obtain this final "route badge"--what is the virtual version of a participation trophy. 


I see a lot of these conversations on Zwift--trying to get this route badge or that one. I also see conversations about wanting this jersey after doing a specific ride or race series. I, myself, worked for six Saturdays to get my beloved Norseman jersey, and strangely enough, people didn't treat me differently. I still went to work regularly and no one even noticed.


It's said that a tree that falls in the woods doesn't make a sound if no one is there to hear it. Indeed, that's a metaphor because everything creates sound waves, even if we don't hear them. I often see this perspective, though, when people post on social media about their accomplishments. 


I used to do it, too. When I would do a race, I would spend so much energy on social media posting how excited I was before a race. I would post a pre-race meal or prep. I would get a shot before the start. I wanted a shot after the race, preferably at the finish. Then I would scour the internet for hours looking for race results, even though I knew I might have achieved a podium finish. I wanted to post the race results somewhere.

We didn't do this before social media.

I remember in 1999 I did my first marathon. Each week of training was hard, but I knew it was important to finish each long run and training run in order to sustain myself for 26.2 miles. I savored every moment of the process--the flight to Chicago, the pre-race pasta dinner, the freezing cold start. Back then, we were moving from film cameras to digital cameras. Not everyone had one, including me. Thankfully I got some good pictures of my friends and I at the finish. 

No one knew about it until I told them personally. I didn't have a blog. Social media hadn't quite taken off yet, and certainly no one