Accountability goes SOCIAL!

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 8.45.53 PMI remember when I decided to quit smoking. I attempted to quit smoking several times over 20 years. I just wasn’t a very good quitter. I thought long and hard about what a smoker CAN NOT do; I decided that a smoker could not run. “Anytime I want a cigarette, I have to run.” I decided.

But how would I truly enforce that? “I will run the New York City Marathon,” I said to myself. If I signed up for a marathon, I would have to run.

Between you and me, I had no idea what a marathon was. I thought a marathon meant that you just ran for a few hours. I had no idea it meant you ran 26.2 miles until you completed 26.2 miles. But, shoot… I told my entire network of friends on Facebook and every single one of my followers on Twitter that I was quitting smoking and running the New York City Marathon. Yikes, I can’t back out now, right?Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 8.50.46 PM

I am obviously not a good quitter. The truth was, after I realized what I had done – I was too embarrassed to quit.

I decided to join the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation endurance team and commit to raising a minimum of $3,500. I began a series of posts on my social networks. I started this blog to document my training. I used RunKeeper to track my runs. I was completely plugged in every step and every mile.

Any time I ran, my RunKeeper would auto-magically post to my Facebook page. What if I didn’t run today when all my friends knew I would be running? The public accountability constantly kept me in check.Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 9.36.28 PM.png

Eventually (I like to say because of my social prowess), Pix 11 news decided to cover my story. Who is this overweight woman who thinks she can run a marathon and raise funds for the American Cancer society? That would be ME!

After that interview, social accountability for me went through the roof. There was no way I would fail my marathon. I remember when I finally was running my first marathon, I hit a wall at mile 17. I didn’t want to complete it. But what would all of my friends think? I ran, and ran, and ran, AND RAN for nearly 7 hours. Finally, I completed my marathon.

In a way, social media (read: my network) was my accountability. Technology (think: RunKeeper, GPS watch, videos, blogging) was my motivator.11062676_10154428580282575_7633209325059059498_n

I am grateful for media and technology. Together they have helped make my new life possible. I’ve completed 3 marathons, 6 half-marathons and countless smaller races. Now, 4 years later, I am embarking on my 7th half Marathon (Detroit in October) and my 4th Marathon (New York in November).

And now that I’ve posted about these races, I’ll make it so.


2 thoughts on “Accountability goes SOCIAL!

  1. Sunny McCall

    What an inspiration your are, Alexandra! So proud of you and your journey . You just may have coined a new phrase courtesy of your quitting/running experience…#quinning!-:)

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