#runner-clouds: Who Are We, and What the Heck Are We Doing?

#runner-clouds: Who Are We, and What the Heck Are We Doing?

Welcome to #runner-clouds: the official Slack channel for the few of us crazy enough to agree to run a marathon.

The channel’s purpose? “Encouragement and support for fellow runners at 9 Clouds. This is a no-negativity channel.”

How I agreed to run a marathon, I’ll never know. I don’t want to say peer pressure talked me into it, so instead I’ll say the promise of beer and donuts at the finish line talked me into it. (We even made T-shirts that say Donut MilesBoy, do we love our donuts!)

But let’s get to the running.

It All Started with an Idea

(Isn’t that what they all say?)

Before I dive into all the gory details of our marathon training, let’s clear up some facts.

First of all — and most importantly — six of us at 9 Clouds have agreed to run a marathon relayI feel that’s most important to get out of the way, because if you know me or have met me for five minutes, you would be shocked to find out I was even entertaining the idea of a marathon.

Second, I truly feel like this is one of those “greater good” moments (no matter how badly I complain about it). I’m honestly excited to join my office teammates in hitting the streets.

Third, the positive reinforcement and motivation from my fellow #runner-clouds have been immensely helpful and encouraging. I definitely would have called it quits without them.

Lastly, as I said, beer and donuts were promised at the finish line. I’d pretty much sign up for anything with those rewards.

So now that the facts are in line, let’s take a dive into the last three to four months of a non-runner’s life, diary-style.

Our Marathon Training Journal [Abridged]

Slack conversation about the 9 Clouds relay team

Day 1: My Birthday

Okay, so I’m not going to give you a day-by-day journal entry for four months. That would be crazy.

But I will start with day one (February 6), because . . .

Day one is my birthday, of all days! Maybe it was the sugar from the cake getting to my head, or maybe it was good, old-fashioned peer pressure . . . but here we go!

The goal? Run a marathon.

I’ve said it out loud, and I’ll say it again. I don’t run. I try, but that’s about as far as I get. However, I know that, with the support of my team and our “no pressure” mentality, it’s possible.

It’s important to get connected with supportive people when taking on something completely out of your comfort zone. There’s no other way I could agree to do this.

2 Weeks In

Holy crap — we’ve only got just over two months until this thing?? 

What’s that saying? “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.” So true.

If I would have gotten this wild hair on my own, I probably would be exactly where I started — but with my team supporting me, it’s been so much easier to get my butt going!

1 Month Down, 2 to Go

Lesson learned from all of this: set attainable goals. Going from zero to 60 (or, in my case, zero to three miles) doesn’t happen overnight. This is why long-term and short-term goals are key.

Yes, the end goal is to run three miles by May, but it’s frustrating to get on that treadmill or hit the pavement and only make it one mile or even two (half walking, half running). Honestly, it makes you feel like a failure.

I’m no fitness expert, but at 9 Clouds, we know a thing or two about setting goals, reaching goals, and breaking bad habits. I’ve set a March goal, an April goal, and a race-day goal:

  • March goal: Kick two miles’ butt
  • April goal: Work in that third mile (and don’t quit).
  • Race-day goal: JUST DO IT.

Maybe it’s the project manager in me, but planning matters. 

After doing this for a month, I’m tired and sore, but I’m more motivated to keep going. I don’t want to let my team down, but I really don’t want to let myself down.

Month 2 Means Mile 2

Today [March 20], I did something I’ve never done before [are you sensing a theme?] — I worked out in a hotel fitness center.

Say whaaaat?

Taking this goal head-on, I figured I should really just embrace it. Since it’s winter, and I’m traveling for client meetings, I didn’t have my trusty small-town-fitness-center treadmill. I had to venture into the strange world of a New York hotel fitness center.

Luckily, I was the only one there!

Yes, I still have insecurities of running in front of other people, but this was fun. I had a new view of skyscrapers instead of a parking lot and relished in the opportunities and experiences this job allows me to have. 

Plus, I also consider it a personal win that I fit my tennis shoes and gym clothes in a carry-on for a weeklong client visit.

Only 3 Weeks to Go!

Heart and Sole 5k runners

So we’re in the homestretch of this thing — but man, any bit of inspiration or guidance is appreciated.

I basically need someone to tell me what to do and when to do it, but I’m too cheap to pay for a personal trainer. That’s just the way it is.

Okay, this isn’t a plug for Buzzfeed, but they do have some awesome stuff. Something they had posted caught my eye: “Buzzfeed’s 4 Weeks to 5K Challenge!”

I thought to myself, “I’m supposed to be doing a 5K, and I’m not any closer to running those three miles today than I was yesterday (or at least that’s what it feels like). I should sign up for this.”

And wow! Some great email marketing, IMO. Smart. Simple. Straight to the point. Just what every person wants when they sign up for something like this. 

Just Can’t Get Enough

Oh yeah, did I mention I signed up for another 5K?

While technically our group is running a marathon, I’m vying for one of the coveted three-mile slots (instead of the five- or six-mile slots). I thought, “Heck, since I’m already doing this, and this additional 5K is for a good cause — Girls on the Run + Heart and Sole of Sioux Falls — what’s the harm?”

Our teammate, Jenny, coaches for the Heart and Sole program here in Sioux Falls. 9 Clouds was a sponsor of the Spring EmBe 5K, and let me tell you something: it was amazing.

I can’t wait for our upcoming team relay. I hope the day brings as much joy and camaraderie between runners as this last race did.  

What Will Post-Race Day Bring?

Our team has been doing a lot lately to give back to our community, and it has been so fulfilling to be a part of it — even if it means spending my Saturday morning running.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on our upcoming race and see how we manage. I can only hope the race-day action shots get me on my good side.

Jacquelyn covered our post-race experience with her take on the big day. Check it out here!

Stay tuned for other posts on community and business from the 9 Clouds squad!