Microsoft Team “Rocks It”!- Closing FY18 Strong Together- St. Jude Nashville Marathon

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It was another fine and beautiful morning, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Nashville as our group of Microsoft runners and their families gathered for the seventh year in a row on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge  on our way to the start line, joining the 30,000 other runners taking part in the event.  This was the culmination of 16+ weeks of training to take on the very hilly courses in Nashville.  Training this year was particularly difficult in that the weather was pretty tough.    In fact, this was probably the toughest year for training of the past 7 years – but also the best weather day for this event ever .  The pictures attached  are just a portion of our team as not everyone made it to the pedestrian bridge prior to the race for our group picture.  Our total number was over 40 participants.

Our group included participants in every event offered (Full Marathon/Half Marathon/5k).   We had Microsoft Employees coming in from all around the US including Redmond WA, Dallas TX, and St. Louis MO.  This was truly a One Microsoft accomplishment including employees from Southeast EOU, the US National Healthcare Organization, One Commercial Partner,  Public Sector (Education, Federal, and SLG), Microsoft Services (Premier and MCS), and the Dynamics Team.

By training over the past 16 weeks – each member of the Microsoft team was Certified “Q4 Fit and Ready” for the challenges  to close out FY18 Strong.  They have built stamina and have displayed the grit necessary to be successful.

The day started out beautiful with the temperature at around 50 degrees increasing to about 70 degrees upon finishing time.  The course seemed to change a bit from the previous year, although the hills were still very prominent throughout the course providing the challenges that we love and always expect in the Nashville marathon!  Definitely a great leg workout!

As always, the course provided us with a tour of the sights of the city starting on Broadway and providing a glimpse of Bridgestone Arena, Music Row, Belmont University and Mansion, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State Capitol and Bicentennial Capitol Mall amongst many other sights. Spectators were up early and excited about supporting us throughout the day.  We truly enjoyed hearing the cheers from the spectators “Go Microsoft” as we would run by and at the finish line.  We took advantage of ALL the offerings we received along the way such as the shots of beer (no better way to keep those carbs going), oranges and bananas!

Race Support:  Great race support as always this year.  Water was available at every mile with Gatorade available at every other mile.   Parking was abundant and free and the race is set up in a way that you can walk to the start line – no shuttles needed!

Best part of all of this is that we as a team engaged our family and friends to drive towards a common goal (outside of work) that ultimately supported  an outstanding  cause – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital .

We thank all those that participated with us this year and we are looking forward to another great run TWO-GETHER in 2019!

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TWO-GETHER Runners

Microsoft Team “Rules” at the Nashville 2016 Marathon/Half Marathon/5k

 

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“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start” John “The Penguin” Bingham.

Another Microsoft Nashville Team Marathon completed!  This year was another great year for Microsoft participation in the Country Music Marathon.  We had several Microsoft employees and family members run either the 5k, 1/2 marathon or Marathon this weekend.  It continues to amaze us, as each year our attendance continues to grow.  Work/Life balance is a top priority at Microsoft and therefore the continued increase in attendance more than likely is a direct result of our company’s focus on insuring employees are incorporating this in their lives. This is always a great opportunity for Microsoft employees to engage their entire family in a “fun” event together with other Microsoft families.  David and I were particularly excited this year as we had Mitch and Samantha from our family join our team! All of these folks trained over the past few months and prepared for the endurance challenge.

The night before the run we always have a dinner for all employees and their families running this event.  As usual the dinner was great and the sharing of stories and the time spent getting to know each other and their families was very rewarding.  This year “giant meatballs” were the favorite for all the runners.  Typically we have plates and plates of Pasta at dinner..this year Meatballs were EVERYWHERE!

The weather forecast for the marathon was very gloomy with thunderstorms predicted throughout the race.  It was an overcast morning on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 as the Microsoft team began to gather on the walking bridge from Nissan Stadium to Downtown Nashville. Periods of rain were in the area and traffic was plentiful.  The above photos consist of the employees that were able to make the 6:00 am photo shoot. Throughout the race we had periods of light rain but overall it ended up being a welcome cooling experience- much like a kid running through a sprinkler- it was just a 13.1 mile sprinkler in this case!

The marathon also changed the course again this year.  When I heard this, I thought “well it can’t get any hillier then in years past.” Wrong!  This year was the toughest course to date with hills for the first six miles and then a grueling hill the last mile before the finish.   Not sure why they did this but it was definitely part of all the conversations that we heard as we walked through to get our medals as well as the discussions during the party afterwards.  I cannot imagine what they will do next year- no way that they can put more HILLS into this course ( I will probably be eating these words after next years marathon).

This year was also a different race for David and I as we have changed our eating lifestyle.  We are now enjoying a Paleo/Keto lifestyle which is focused on a low carbohydrate eating style.   One thing that we have noted is that eating this way has definitely improved our overall performance and energy levels.  In fact, prior to this race we did not carb load (as we have done in previous marathons) and during the race we did not need to “fuel” ourselves with Gatorade or gu or jelly beans.  Our bodies naturally relied on burning fat for energy alleviating the need for us to  “replenish” or fuel our bodies during the 13.1 miles.  At the end of the race, we felt completely different than in past years.   Typically we are completely exhausted, out of breath, and in a lot of pain. This year, due to the fact that our bodies had leveraged our fat for energy, we felt great at the end of the race.  Other than a few pains in our legs or back (due to the mileage) our energy levels were high, we were alert and enjoyed the time after the race together.   David also had a PR this year for this course beating his PR 10 years ago!

I am sure there were many great accomplishments for our runners during this race!  Just finishing is an accomplishment, especially for our first time runners!    Ten years ago David’s PR on this particular race was 2:05:48.  It just goes to show that some things do get better with age as this year his ‘official” time was 2:03:26!  Mitch also had a overall PR during this race of 2:02 :20 and Samantha had a PR for this course of 1:55:51- Congrats!

Everyone had their own reasons for running this race; to achieve a PR, to challenge themselves, to get in shape for the Q4 activities at work, to embark on their first race or  to engage with their family in a fun event.  No matter what,  everyone running the race committed to a new goal,  worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal and experienced many of the same challenges across the course.  We are both fortunate to be able to be part of this team each year and enjoy and support the successes of everyone on our team!

Another great team event!  Looking forward to next year’s race on April 29th, 2017!