Follow Up: Demand Generation is a Workout, Part Two of Two
This is where we left off last week on my Pittsburgh Marathon Workout Odyssey. Please remember what I wrote last week: this will not be a profile in excellence.
Tracking Systems and Meeting Milestones
On New Year’s Day, I charged my dusty Jawbone UP, long suffering from intentional neglect. Then, on January 2, the training began with the UP on my wrist. The pain. Oh the pain. But that was nothing compared to inputting everything, and I do mean every da_n thing, I ate into the ubiquitous dieters app, LoseIt.
Results? Here you go:
- 204 miles on the treadmill, 6.3miles/day average for the month
- 25k total caloric deficit for the month, at least according to LoseIt
- An amazing 12 lbs. vanquished
- 200 miles on the treadmill, 6.9miles/day average.
- 27k caloric deficit
- Another 6 lbs. gonzo
- 127 miles run on the treadmill, 4.1miles/day average
- Caloric deficient ... umm, I dunno.
- Weight ... don’t know either.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see something happened in March. I had heavy business travel that month and suppose I let this throw off the training regimen. Then, a few days before Easter, my lower back started complaining. No problem. I’d give it a week to settle down and then pick up the training again.
- What happens when you set goals and develop systems to measure progress against these goals? Good things?
- What happens when you take a break from your new good habits? Bad things?
- What happens when you stop tracking? More bad things?
It’s now the second week in April and I’m significantly off course. I haven’t meaningfully run in a month, I can feel some of the weight coming back on, but I’m too scared to step on a scale. The back pain is still awful, to the point where it’s affecting my performance in my hockey league, which is the diversion I look forward to more than any other.
The marathon is in jeopardy. Worse, on March 21 — literally a couple of days before the back issue happened — I went public about my marathon ambitions in this blog.
I went to a chiropractor three times. It helped, but didn’t cure. Now what? I finally said enough is enough. Sometime around mid-April I forced myself to go running. (I don’t know exactly when, because I had stopped tracking!) For those of you unfamiliar with Pittsburgh, we have hills. Our hills have hills. I live in a part of town called the North Hills. It’s named that for a reason.
I’m now so out of shape my 7-mile performance that day was more of a walk-run than a run or even a run-walk. I went to bed contemplating failure in the marathon. If only I hadn’t blogged about it, fer crying out loud!
The next morning, an amazing thing happened. I felt better than I had in a month. I took that day off but the next day I did a 10-miler, far better than the painful 7-miler 48 hours earlier. Slow, but amazingly pain-free. This changed my outlook from how am I going to do this to, now let’s set some race day goals.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” — Steve Jobs
- Are you able to beat back the bricks tossed your way?
- Are you willing to commit to improvement?
- Are you OK with being an imperfect businessperson?
Get the Right Help at the Right Time
May 1. 7 a.m. Game on. I’m on the starting line. My goal is a sub-5 hour marathon. Not crazy aggressive. Entirely doable. At the halfway point, I was on pace for a 4:39 finish. By the 15.3 mile mark, I had slipped to a forecasted time of 4:44. By the 20 mile mark, I was now on pace to finish at 4:53.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist figure out what was happening: the tank was empty. The likely outcome: a 5-hour plus marathon, a.k.a. failure!
Now what? Time to call in the big guns. My wife had offered to run me in. I spoke to her around the 22-mile mark and took her up on her offer. She joined me for the last three miles and started to tell me how great I was doing. That may be what she wants to hear when I run her in (like I had in the very same marathon the year before), but that’s not what I needed. I asked to monitor her watch and keep reminding me the goal was sub-5 hours. On queue, she nagged me beautifully (is it nagging when you ask for it?), all the way to the finish line. My time? 4:56:41. Again, most guys wouldn’t be bragging about this slow time, but for me it was a success.
- Can you recognize when you need help?
- Do you know where to go to get the help you need?
* * *
Did I meet all my goals? Not really because I still have a few more pounds to go. Will I keep slogging at it until I get there? I think so. Was it fun crossing the finish line of my first marathon in 30 years? You bet. Savor the moment? Not really. The next morning, I caught an early morning flight for a meeting in Utah and was back on the treadmill by the end of the week.