Marathon Monday, Running Related

The Cost of a Run: Now and Then

Every time I check the On This Day in Facebook, there is inevitably at least one or two memories of me going for a run.  My posts were pretty boring in the early days of FB (spoiler alert: they still are).  The longer ago the memory, the longer the run it would seem.

I use to think it was hard to get my mileage in back in my single, younger days.  Back then I had more energy to run faster and more endurance to run farther. I was more fit and healthier and of course younger.  I also had the temporal equivalent of  disposable income aka Free Time.  Yet somehow it was next to impossible for me to get up before work and get that run out of the way.  I’m not the only runner who faces this challenge.  Many of my running friends have to walk the line between sacrificing sleep and getting in their required run.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Meyers

Photo Courtesy of Robert Meyers

Back in the day, I use to ask myself, is it worth putting on running clothes for this distance? Back when I could run fast and far, the minimum I would bother with was 4-5 miles.  Anything less wasn’t worth sweatin up my running clothes.   To be fair, I was usually training for some marathon and the scheduled mileage was too much to try to fit in before work.  Except at the beginning and end of the training season, when the mileage is lower, then I would manage to squeeze in a run before work and feltl like a rock star for getting my lazy ass up before work for a morning run.

Today I am challenged by Old Age and Young Childrens.  I never know if my kids are going to wake up at the ButtCrack of Dawn or earlier, so if they let me sleep in, I sleep.

Nowadays, the question  I ask myself is: “do I have enough time to get any miles in at all?”  I cannot really run before work because we are either stealing as much sleep as out terrorist twins will allow, or we are up because they got up and need to get them ready for daycare.  Running after work is out of the question because by the time we put them to bed, we have like an hour of alone time to try and decompress and get ready for the next day.  There may or may not be adult beverages in the equation.

That leaves my lunch break during work.  I belong to a gym next door so I have the option of either running on their indoor track, their dreadmills (or a combination thereof), or running outside and using their facilities afterwards.  Whenever possible I prefer to run outside.  So in a perfect world, let’s say I punch out at 12:05.  It takes 10 minutes to get from my desk to the locker room and change into my running clothes.  That is assume the elevator doesn’t stop at every floor.

These days at my current level of endurance, I can usually belt out 3 miles in just under 30 minutes.  So that means I have 20 minutes left to shower and return to my desk, inhaling whatever food I brought for lunch.

So if you are lucky enough to have a flexible work schedule, take advantage of it and run when you can.  Otherwise, make the effort to get up in the morning and catch up on sleep by going to bed earlier, or deal with the fact that your evening is gonna be shorter than you’d like because you are making up mileage.

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In the not too distant past, I had a job interview.  Even before the Big Announcement — that TopFive was moving to a Managed Service Model — I was quietly looking for a new job because I knew I was on borrowed time.  In Corporate America, we use the terms Capacity and Demand.  For the last few years, I had had much much more Capacity than Demand.

My skillset is kinda niche.  In laymen terms I’m a  Subject Matter Expert for a software system that is used primarily by law firms, but I hadn’t done that since 2011.  Also, working at a law firm, even from the IT side, is not always a pleasant place to be.  If I was going to go back to a law firm environment (Work From Home?  Sure you can work from home all you want after you put in 40+ hours at the office) it had to be a more meaningful position than the one I previously held.

As luck would have it, I applied for a position I had seen posted for over a year.

Bonus Gallery: The Perils of Navigating a Badly Designed Job Application Interface


The first round was a phone screening with the HR generalist and she asked me why I was looking for a new position and I told her about the move to a Managed Service Model.  That’s about as good of a reason to be looking to leave your company as you can get.  And had we stopped there, I might have been more enthusiastic about the position.  However, there was something annoying about the phone screening.  She  went over my resume line by line and asked me why I left each position, going back the Beginning of Time.

“Well I just got too old to deliver newspapers on my tricycle.”

I know that she has to ask certain questions.  I know that is just how it is.  I know you’re doing your due diligence to screen for any issues or patterns that might show up over time like doesn’t get along with authority.  You’re might get lucky and get someone who says “well I was tired of sleeping with my boss” or “I needed to get out of there before they found out how much I was embezzling”.

Here’s the thing.  No one leaves a job  because they are overpaid or too happy. And no one wants to replay the drama of 4 jobs ago even if they can remember  why they left.  That’s like asking someone why they broke up with the person they were with 3 relationships ago or why you didn’t marry your high school sweetheart?

I did make it to the next round, a phone interview with my potential boss. There is a reason this position has been posted and re-posted for over a year.  Reading the job description, I could tell they were trying to fill at least three distinct positions with one person.  I can tell you that this type of candidate doesn’t occur organically in nature. Iit was like trying to find a Brain Surgeon, who also was a carpenter, and knew how to play the saxophone while also speaking fluent Estonian.

Recruiters call this a Purple Squirrel.  And that’s what they were looking for.  Alas, i didn’t get an offer and am okay with that.

Stay Tuned….

This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring.  I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.

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Corporate America, Life Lessons, OutSourcing Ordeals

Job Hunting and the Purple Squirrel