A conversation with a marathon runner

Marathon runners

With Americans across the country watching and supporting the Boston Marathon that took place Tuesday, I thought it would be appropriate to share a conversation I previously shared with Bryce Baldwin, a twenty something who completed his first marathon last year.

Bryce is a humble, but talented inhabitant of the Windy City who made a bold switch in careers, hopped states, landed his dream job and discovered a new-found passion for fitness.

Bryce never pictured himself running a marathon. That changed when he started working as a digital specialist for Nike.

Originally from Indiana, Bryce moved to Los Angeles after graduating college to accept a position at a record label.

“Unfortunately, what I thought was my dream job, wasn’t,” he said.

While working at the record label he also started working for Nike, and he has stuck with that. Five years later he is still with Nike and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago, where he is now.

It’s hard not be interested in fitness when working for the athletic company, he said.

“I like what it represents,” he said of the company. “Sports have been a big part of my life- I’ve always been an athlete.

Bryce got away from athletics in college but decided to pick up running and exercising again after he started working for Nike.

“I saw how much other people enjoyed running,” he said of why he started training. “What started as running one or two miles turned into a Tough Mudder race which turned into a half marathon which eventually turned into a marathon.”

He felt a mix of emotions when he completed his first marathon in 4 hours and 8 minutes.

“The first thought was, ‘Heck yeah, I’m done,'” Bryce said. “The second was my grandmother had just passed away so I was thinking how proud she would be that I finished. Other thoughts were I want to take my shoes off and have this victory beer.”

This year he hopes to run four half marathons and one full marathon. Although he continues to set goals advice he has for others is to keep tentative goals.

On running

His goal for his upcoming marathon is to finish in less than four hours. One thing he has learned from other marathon runners is to keep tentative goals.

“You don’t want to be so focused on reaching a goal that you tear cartilage in your knee,” he said. “You also have to take into account the surroundings — if it’s raining, you’ll have to slow down.”

Advice he has for others considering running a marathon is to “give yourself a chance.”

“I never in a million years pictured I would run a marathon,” he said. “I did it because I liked how I felt after a mile or two.”

Other advice includes getting on a training program. Without a training program, it will be easy to put off running, he said.

On career

Bryce developed all of this passion for fitness when he became a digital specialist for Nike.

“When I first took the job I took it because I liked getting a paycheck doing something I liked,” he said. “Later on I really started to think about options to pursue a career I enjoy.”

Enjoying the company you work for is a definite perk. Bryce said he likes that Nike doesn’t copy other companies and  his favorite thing is the corporation’s innovation.

“Our innovation is top notch,” he said. “It’s cool to talk about what we’re doing that other companies aren’t doing — I’m very proud of that.”

The decision to switch careers has changed the way Bryce thinks in many ways, he said.

And he doesn’t regret it. Instead, he recommends others give their hobbies a shot. “Try to do something you like and go from there,” he said.

A look at some of the questions

How did you get in to running?
Seeing how much people enjoyed running was one of the reasons I first tried it out. What started as running one or two miles turned into a Tough Mudder race which turned into a half marathon which eventually turned into a marathon.

How did it feel to see all your training pay off?

The first thought was, ‘Heck yeah, I’m done. The second was my grandmother had just passed away so I was thinking how proud she would be that I finished. Other thoughts were I want to take my shoes off and have this victory beer.

What goals do you have for this year?

I hope to run four half marathons and one full marathon. I hope to finish my upcoming marathon in less than four hours, but one thing I’ve learned from other marathon runners is to keep tentative goals. You don’t want to be so focused on reaching a goal that you tear cartilage in your knee. You also have to take into account the surroundings — if it’s raining, you’ll have to slow down.At the end of the day you’re competing yourself.

What career advice can you give to those thinking about switching?

Try to do something you like and go from there. I don’t regret it.

Read other Conversations here.

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Things are happening

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Taking a chance is all the rage. Wait, do people say “all the rage,” anymore? Almost everywhere you look you can find a quote, phrase or fortune cookie with words of motivation meant to inspire action.

You don’t have to look very hard to find twenty-something lists urging you to take advantage of life, to not think, but to act and just go for it.

There are the common phrases go a little something like In the end you only regret the chances you didn’t take and take a chance, life’s too short and take a chance, you never know what will happen. All of which are valid advice.

Well, I took a chance. I thought about it, but I didn’t really think about it. I mean I did, but I didn’t. Like, I did in theory, but I didn’t think what it would actually be like? Am I confusing you yet?

Part of the reason I have been lacking in blog posts lately is due to this said chance I took. About three weeks ago I was offered a field editor position at a new newspaper in a new city. Before I knew it, I gave notice at my job, found an apartment, packed all of my things and moved.

Four days after I found the apartment I wanted, I packed all of my things in to my vehicle and on the fifth day (my last day at work) I drove to the new city, picked up my keys and moved what I could before returning home. The next day, six days after I first viewed the apartment, I drove back to the new city with a caravan of family members who graciously helped me move and by that evening I was alone, unpacking in my new apartment.

Three days later I started my new job. To say things are happening is an UNDERSTATEMENT.

It is all so very new to me. I moved out of my parent’s house and in to my own place in a city.

I’m learning my about my new job, which is a writing position at an agricultural newspaper and a lot of that is researching the subject matter. I went from covering local news to specifically covering agriculture state-wide.

I’m learning how to live by myself. I know I’ve talked before about it being different to live in your home town and back with your family, but it’s also different to live by yourself in a new city.

I’m learning how to meet people. I forgot how easy it was to meet people in college, when you have 60 friends instantly because you live on a crowded dorm floor together. It’s not as easy post college.

Although I’m learning all of these things I am SO very excited. Don’t be fooled, I’m also terrified, but mostly excited and optimistic.

A specific quote by Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, comes to mind: “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.

I plan to hustle aka work my ass off to succeed at all of these and more. I’m sure I’ll have some posts about the hilarity of failures, successes, “firsts” and more.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride, friends. xoxo

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Business cards — who cares?

As a 23-year-old I loved the feeling of being handed a box of my own business cards. It felt very grown up to have something list my name, title and contact info, even if it was a small piece paper. 

When I was a government reporter I handed them to city and county officials who I would be contacting often. After working with the same officials for several weeks they handed me their business cards and, if I was lucky enough, their cell phone numbers on the back so I could call them when I was under deadline. 

While cleaning out my wallet/purse tonight I found business cards from various people I met my senior year of college and this summer while I was interning in Penn. And those business cards I collected months ago at work? They’re in the back of my desk drawer. 

I started thinking about it and business cards can be compared to giving an attractive boy/girl your phone number and having to wait to see if they’ll respond. The person you gave the number to could have tossed it or they could be waiting an amount of time before calling you.

Regardless, in a working environment, giving your business card to people won’t solve anything when what you really need is their information. Let me ask you a question. Which situation do you see panning out? 

A.) Attending a work event, being charming, chatting for a few minutes and handing your business card over

or 

B.) Attending a work event, being charming, commenting on the work the other person is doing and asking about it and telling them you would like to talk about it sometime. Giving them your business card and receiving theirs as well. 

My point is business cards are only successful when partnered with networking. A minute introduction and business card will be forgotten before a friendly conversation with genuine interest in the person  is forgotten. We’re all trying to succeed at something but if we are only focused on ourselves and our goals in the work place we won’t make the relationships that could lead to something bigger, better. At the very least it could lead to a more comfortable working atmosphere. Networking > business cards. 

Plans might change, but mother always knows best

Today Marks the beginning of my last semester of college classes ever (fingers crossed).  I say fingers crossed, because after a quick visit to my advisor, I found out I have two credits left to take.  Really? two credits.  There aren’t even classes available worth two credits, only one or three credit classes  (thanks for toying with my emotions IU).

My first  reaction was anger.  Not only do I have two measely credits I have to take, but the credits can’t be in journalism, advertising, communication, media, or tellecommunications, or english.  That means that I can’t take any class related to my major or minor. 

My second reaction was frustration.  Because after trying to fit those two little credits in my final schedule, I found out that I can’t because I am already taking 18 credits.    So I need two credits but I cannot add two credits to my already full schedule. 

My third reaction was panic.  I’ve been applying to internships everywhere for the past three months for this summer.  I had hopes of an internship at a magazine in Indianapolis, Chicago, or New York this summer. 

My fourth reaction was _____.  I called my mother.  This should have been my first reaction.  My mother calmed me down from “if-I-don’t-get-two-credits-fit-into-my-schedule-I-will-fail-at-not-only-this summer-internship-but-the-rest-of-my-journalism-career-and-life.” Yes, I know that was a dramatic thought process, but that’s how I was feeling at the moment. She not only gave me great advice, she made me see that I currently can do nothing about the two credits and worrying about it will only drive me insane. 

My mother informed me that if I have to take a first summer session class at IU, I’ll survive.  First session classes start in May and end in June and I would still be graduating in May.  I also have already paid rent on my house for the summer, which means I have a place to stay and I won’t be losing any money.  She also informed me that it’s okay if I don’t get an internship at the beginning of the summer, I can get one later in the summer or I can get one in the fall.  I already have two jobs, and taking one class in the summer would allow me to have the time to save up some money for when I do move.

Tacking on one more class to my other six, would only ensure that I have zero free time to actually enjoy what’s left of my senior year. So what did she tell me you might wonder? She told me to work hard, but also make some time to do something fun.  She informed me that sometimes I worry about making other people happy (i.e. finishing in May and getting an amazing internship immediately) and I need to focus on myself. Last, she told me to make mistakes and enjoy what’s left of my senior year, because whether I know it or not, everything will fall into place. Thanks to my mother I realized that it might not be such a bad idea to stay around this beautiful campus a  little longer.