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The Positives of Running for Government Contractors

We all know that fitness is good for your body, your heart, your mind, yada, yada, yada. We’ve all heard it. And we know that when we do it we’ll feel better, have more energy, smile at strangers — all good stuff. But there is a point in time that you go from understanding that it’s true to KNOWING that it’s true. I’m at this point.

Anyone who is familiar with the government contracting industry knows that summer is the busiest time of year. It’s the fourth quarter of the federal government’s fiscal year and procurements have to be wrapped up by September 30. As a business owner I’m used to busy days, but during this time of the year 8-hour days are short, 14-hour days are the norm, and working all night is not unusual. I’ve been in the government contracting industry since 1987 so this is familiar territory. I’ve basically been exhausted from June thru September for the last 23 years.

The difference is that this year I’m in much better physical and mental shape because of my running. I find that running allows me to clear my mind so when I’m done I’m much more focused. I’m mean, who can worry about issues (real or imagined) when you’re trying not to trip and fall on your face. I handle my training as I would a client meeting. I schedule it on the calendar and make sure that I make time to run at that time or make up the time on the same day. This gives me work-life balance with life actually in the equation for once.

Running in the morning gives me a lot of energy and I don’t have worry if I can find time later in the day to work out. If things get too crazy during the day, I can take a break and head over to the gym around the corner to get in a quick workout.

But the most interesting effect is that I am recovering from long work days, sometimes only getting 3 hours of sleep, at a much faster pace. A week ago, I worked 21 hours, slept for 3 hours, and then worked another 8 hours over a two day period. After going full steam ahead for so long, I was finally done on Friday at 5 pm. I pretty much fell asleep at the dinner table, but by Saturday morning I felt fine. I even went on a 4 mile run that Sunday, which is my longest run to date.

I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I can meet the needs of my company, employees, and clients and still have time to achieve my personal goals. I’ve planned most of my training runs between now and October, so I know I’m going to achieve my goal of running a 10K race in the fall.

Because of my success in balancing work and training, I also know that I can achieve my future goal of running a half-marathon (don’t ask when – I’m not there yet). However,  I did download the training plan AND I started it. I’ll keep you posted.

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