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Grandma’s Marathon Recap

June 24, 2010 3 comments

Some of you may know that on June 19th, I completed my first marathon. I’ve tweeted and Facebooked about it, and even wrote a haiku about it yesterday:

Marathon complete. | I trained. I ran. I conquered. | Doubters: try again.

Since Saturday, I have had a few people ask for a recap and my insights to my training and during the race. Friends, enjoy:

If you follow my blog, you will know that it was my ‘New Years Goal/Resolution’ to run in and complete a marathon. I was aiming for the Twin Cities Marathon in October, but was convinced by a very persuasive friend named Kenny. During his birthday celebration in January, New Year’s resolutions were brought up. Upon mentioning my marathon goal, he states ‘you should run Grandma’s with me!’ After responding with ‘I want to take more time to train, knowing the next few months are sure to be busy.’, Kenny gives me ‘the look’ and states ‘c’mon, friend! You should run Grandma’s with me! It will count as your birthday present to me.’

I was guilted into signing up to do Grandma’s Marathon.

Training began soon after on the treadmills of L|A Fitness. One issue: I hate treadmill running. It is safe to say that I did not run for too long each time on a treadmill, or even get to L|A Fitness, as my life schedule prevented me from doing so.

Once the weather became accommodating, I started to run outside. While this was easier, I never logged the ‘long runs’ for marathon training. I am willing to admit that my longest run occurred the week of Grandma’s Marathon of 4.5 miles.

Yes, a marathon is 26.2 miles. I understand the math.

My thoughts on such a plan, called ‘plan A’: I was concerned with my pace, which is common for first time marathon runners. if you start too fast, you will burn out quicker and decrease your chances at a strong finish. Remember, it’s not a sprint… 🙂 I thought if I would get my pace down in 3-4 miles, I could replicate that throughout the race.

And that plan worked perfectly, until mile 11.

From the start to mile 11, I did not stop to walk once. I had my 10:15-10:30 minute pace going very well. I never felt winded, tired, or worried about finishing. I actually became more confident as I passed each mile marker. Inexplicably, I chose to walk through the 11th mile water stop. This is where trouble started to brew. I felt my legs be more wobbily than at any time during training, which sent me into a mental panic.

I walked through the water stop, killing time until I chose to run again, wondering if I could run to the halfway mark, let alone the finish. I had to switch to plan B: walk through each water stop, and run in-between. That worked until mile 14, which was the first time I chose to go to the bathroom. I sat down, mostly to get a break. Looking back, getting in a sitting position was the dumbest thing I could have done, other than choosing this particular bathroom, for there was no soap, or toilet paper. Bathroom break: cancelled.

I was running my little heart out crossing the 15th mile marker when something awful happened in my left quad. It felt like something blew up in there, causing the two quad heads by my knee to have little strength remaining. I stopped to do numerous stretches, thinking it was a cramp. Whatever it was, I was unable to run at length the rest of the race.

Hobbling my way through the next two miles, I was looking for a medical tent to get it inspected. I did not think I could continue; I was ready to quit. Lucky for me, there was no tent at that point.  There was no way I was going to disappoint those supporting me in Duluth or back home. There was no way I was going to make any doubter of mine correct. I had no choice but to continue; I can heal later.

I went to plan C: power-walking. I knew I could do that around 4 miles per hour, which put me (at the time of injury) around a 5 hour 30 minute finish. I did not have a serious time goal, I just wanted the medal. As long as I finished under 6 hours to qualify as a finisher, that’s all that mattered to me.

At mile 20, I clocked in at 4:14:15, which put me near the estimated time above. I kept power-walking and running when I could (usually downhill). One benefit of being injured was being able to enjoy the scenery that Duluth provides.

Mile 23 comes by, and my friend Britni was there to cheer people in our group on. She tells me one of the guys is only three blocks ahead of me. My mind said ‘go get him!’ My body said ‘don’t even try.’ It was disappointing, but my goal of finishing was still in tact, and still my priority.

Finally, after 5:42:11, I finish Grandma’s Marathon. Everyone else in our group had finished before me, which allowed for everyone to see me finish. It’s a surreal feeling to run down the final stretch, hear your name called, and hear the final beep from your chip over the timing pad on the finish line. Mission: accomplished.

Reflecting on the whole experience of training and the race, I know I can do more and do better. That’s why I will be running Grandma’s Marathon next year, and hopefully another marathon before then. Don’t assume I am addicted, but knowing that I can and will do better is too great of a draw for me to ignore.

Thanks to all who supported me, sent me good vibes, and had faith in me to do this my way. I brought home a medal, which a little piece goes to you. I hope I did not disappoint.

Next time, I’ll train harder, be stronger, healthier, faster, and will not disappoint.

J

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My 7,000th Tweet Can be Yours, If The Price Is Right!

June 7, 2010 1 comment

Yes, the title does not lie.

Last week, in a moment of creativity, I decided that I would try and sell my 7,000th tweet.

What could this mean for the potential buyer?

  • You will reach my 1,600+ followers, with the overwhelming majority of them being in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
  • These followers include influencers in the marketing, advertising, professional sports, and television world.
  • Large amounts of awareness and potential conversation about your brand, message, and/or product.

The big question: how will we track success? This largely depends on your objective. For example: if your objective is awareness, we can measure tweets, re-tweets, and overall conversation.

This is something I will be willing to do every 500th tweet, which at the rate I tweet, will not take too long.

Right now, I have 6,970 tweets, which means you, Mr. Company, Mrs. Small Business, and Cousin Corporation, need to act quickly!

Please email me at jasonmichaeldouglas@gmail.com, connect with me on twitter: @jasondouglas, connect with me on Facebook: Jason Douglas on Facebook, on connect with me on LinkedIn: Jason Douglas on LinkedIn.

Remember, only 25 tweets separate you from some great, affordable exposure to my network.

I already have one offer for my 7,000th tweet, so hurry now!

Note: all messages will have to be approved before sending public.

Highest bidder wins!

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

~Jason Douglas

It Was Your Birthday? Social Media Didn’t Tell Me That!

June 2, 2010 15 comments

In case you did not know, Tuesday, June 1st, was my birthday. Surprise!

For most, it was a surprise.

Months ago, inspired by someone who did what I am about to describe, I chose to test my friends to see who actually remembered my birthday by taking my birthday off from Facebook and avoiding any discussion around my birthday.

Why would I do this? This was not a loyalty test. I felt there was an opportunity to make a statement about how social media is impacting the quality of all relationships, even if it is at the expense of my birthday.

Just five years ago, people did not have Facebook to keep track of their friends’ activities, happenings, current events, and important dates such as birthday’s, anniversaries, and more. We had to use our own brainpower to remember the important things about our friends and family. If you forgot someone’s birthday, you were considered a bad friend.

This brings me back to yesterday, the day of my experiment. I get online around 945am to see only one Facebook happy birthday wish from my girlfriend’s Mom, an early one at that.  I started g-chatting with my friend Nick, who wished me a happy birthday in the chat, as he was the only person who knew of my experiment. We kept track of birthday wishes, which was not difficult.

Suddenly, it was 10:35, and I had zero twitter friends wishing a happy birthday, and only one new happy birthday wish on Facebook. However, I did have four business emails wishing me happy birthday. For those keeping score: Email 4, People on social media: 2.

This confirmed what I had thought. Without a reminder, very few people would know about my birthday. Everything changed when my girlfriend, Amanda, sent a happy birthday tweet and Facebook status update. Experiment: dead. Before her status update on Facebook: 6 birthday wishes. After: 30. Before her tweet: zero. After: 40+.

Even though I told myself that I couldn’t be mad at anyone for forgetting my birthday this year (since it was part of an experiment), I had mixed feelings about certain people or groups forgetting my birthday. From most of the people in my office (yes, the place I work and spend 40+ hours a week forgot save for two people), and even friends I have had since junior high (you know who you are), it was a bit of an eye opener.

Imagine not having a girlfriend to send out a simple message to her network of friends that would trigger such a reaction.

Imagine having your birthday forgotten.

That did not happen to me, as after the tweet & facebook status posted by Amanda, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. I have so many thank you’s to give out. Amanda made this the best birthday  I have ever had. I will forever be grateful to her for that.

To those who did wish me an early, day of, or belated birthday, thank you!

I cannot point fingers without pointing one at myself. I rely on the birthday reminders as much as the rest of the world. I suck. But, isn’t that a statement of how relationships have changed?

Why do we have to know our friends when we have social media to know our friends?

I work within the social media and online marketing world, and see all of the good it does connecting people who otherwise may never cross paths. There are some negatives to what social media is doing to society, notably, the impact it is having on relationships.  I know hundreds, maybe thousands of people moderately well. Ask me what day their birthday lies on, and I will fail miserably. You would do the same.

It makes me wonder: how well do my friends know me? How well do I know my friends?

So many people worry about the relationships that corporations and brands have or should have with followers, fans, etc. What is more important: the Minnesota Twins following you back on Twitter, or a close friend wishing you a happy birthday?

Let’s get back to solidifying the friendships that social media have provided to us. Otherwise, what’s the point?

~J