What can CT5K and Community teach us about the web?

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Image by Brian Cribb via Flickr – I looked a lot like this when I was running, really!

The CT5K
Recently a young family friend went to the hospital because of heart issues.  Not totally uncommon among American society today – but alarming, none the less.  Shortly after I caught a Facebook update which said something about CT5K – I didn’t know what the meant at first, but finally figured out he was working on a popular running program called “Couch to 5K“.

It looked pretty good and with a dark outlook on my life expectancy (I’m very over weight and have been for a long time, my Mother passed away from breast cancer in her early 50’s and my Dad of a heart attack at age 61) – not the odds you want to bet on.  So I downloaded an iPhone app to assist and started the CT5K myself this week.

Community (the real stuff – not this “made-up online stuff)
On my first day of training a family friend had stopped at our house just before I had a chance to leave – we talked for a bit, he left and I started my 9 week (which I’m gonna need at least 12 to get through) training regiment.  This friend is an avid runner, about 1/2 way into the “run” he passed me on the  road…he didn’t stop to chat, just smiled and a waved – it wasn’t “regular” wave, but it was a “I’m proud of you Tom wave” and I know he was.  It made me feel good – a nod of approval.

The second night of the program was last night.  It went a little better than the first, but the best part was when i was in cool down mode and almost home.  My neighbor from a few houses down pulled up beside me and said “Hey – are you exercising!?”  I said “Yea, is that OK?”  :)  She said yes, but you know – if you keep that up we might have to start too.  We talked for a bit longer – I cannot tell you the last time I spoke to her…it had been a while – but I felt good.  I couldn’t help but think of this as a community experience.

How does it all tie together?
I just couldn’t help but think of my work as a web designer and as a technologist and social media user/advocate.  I thought about how many hours I have spent online – building websites, reading about social media, reading about how a successful community works, thinking about new ways to engage audiences and it just basically hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s about doing – not watching/lurking/monitoring.  We have to wade in the river – for realz!  Not read about the best practice, not buy the newest plugin or pickup the lastest book by the coolest new author – but really just do it.

So what?
It felt so comforting to know that two real people where proud of me and tat we engaged in something.  Now – I know, this same thing can happen online and virtually…but it still ties in.  You have to get off the couch and get in the game.  And when you do – you know what, its kind of fun.

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