• by , July 25, 2008

In about a week, after nearly a month of house-sitting, I will be moving into my new apartment. Although I'm pumped about my move off campus, there is one downfall. No sidewalks.

When I convinced myself that I was going to train for a marathon about two years ago, I bought the necessaries: Nutrition for Dummies, a new pair of running shoes, and of course, spandex of all colors and lengths. Now that I was fully equipped to go running, with my take-me-serious new clothes and miles-per-day training schedule, I had to decide where to run. At this point in time, I was staying in my parents' house in the suburbs where I had lived my whole life. Over time, I had accumulated several familiar routes and had used my car's odometer to track the approximate distance. Well, once I moved back to college and was without a car to track the mileage of new routes, I wondered how I would stick to my training schedule?

This time I decided to consult an experienced friend of mine for advise. Among various other helpful websites, she pointed me to As the name implies, I used this site as my personal GPS to plan out several different routes for the months of my training. In addition to the running routes I created, others had posted their personal favorites for public access. Now I had a plethora of options, which always makes running more fun. (I use that term loosely of course.)



In case you're wondering, I never did run the marathon, but I never forgot about So in anticipation of my big move, I visited the site again to familiarize myself with my new neighborhood and my potential running routes. To my surprise, mapmyrun had now blossomed, adding mapmybike and mapmyfitness sites. Mapmyfitness was particularly intriguing since it provides a means for both personal and social accountability. For those of us who are single or the only person in the house who works out, it offers a social networking component for individuals without a workout buddy. I like having someone or something outside of myself holding me accountable, while also being able to track progress.

For a while now, I thought facebook and myspace were really the only social networking sites. Yet, more and more, I'm finding social networking components popping up all over the internet. I wonder, as technology makes it easier and easier for us to maintain relations without in-person contact, are we increasingly trying to build virtual forms of social interaction to compensate?

I intend on using this social networking tool to my full advantage. If all bodes well, I hope to have a "Take Action" tab added to so that I can begin petitioning for more sidewalks along my running routes. Hopefully urban planners are avid runners in their time off.

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