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!




Work/Life Balance- Our Anniversary Reflection

Today we celebrate our 12th Wedding Anniversary. We are fortunate to be able to celebrate at the end of each year as this provides us with an opportunity to renew our vows to each other based on our priorities for the coming year.   We have had an amazing ride over the last 12 years and have learned so much about each other and accomplished so much together.  We have grown in all aspects of our relationship and feel as though the journey we have been on is truly just the beginning of an even stronger more powerful marriage.

Today, on our Anniversary we wanted to share with you one of our biggest challenges and how we approach it as a couple as we believe it is one of the biggest challenges many individuals and couples face today.  We hope that our messages helps you in a positive way.

Our Anniversary Reflection- Work/Life Balance 

One of our biggest challenge as a couple is to figure out how to best manage our work/life balance especially given the fact that both of us work in the technology industry.  As the new year is around the corner it brings with it the opportunity to look back on our lives as individuals as well as a couple and set new goals for the future- to RESET.  Most people set new goals for exercise, changing their eating habits, saving money, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, these are important and are a part of our overall plan as well.  However, we truly feel the most important goal for us is to set a goal of how we will manage our work/life balance in the coming year.  Without work/life balance, I am not quite sure we can be successful with all the other goals we are trying to accomplish.

Work/Life balance affects everything.  Especially relationships with spouses, family and friends.  As we reflect on the past 12 years, we feel we have done a pretty good job of successfully managing work/life balance.  I don’t think we would have been able to complete a marathon on every continent had we not.  We also realize that there is so much room for improvement.

We believe much of our success is related to the fact that we set goals and guidelines as a couple as to what we wish to achieve together and how we want to ensure that we have a good work/life balance.  Setting goals together is a continual work in progress.  We are challenged every day, every week, every month as our business changes and the demands from our company put stresses on us that we were not prepared for when setting our goals together.  This is going to happen.

Prior to the beginning of each new year we look back and reflect on where we had challenges or communication breakdowns in regards to work and accomplishing our personal goals together.  We look at the resolutions we agreed upon and decipher if the proposed resolution accomplished our goal.  Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.

We then have a serious discussion about how we want to see our relationship improve and grow over the coming year and WRITE DOWN these goals.  We discuss, based on the information gathered over the previous year what hurdles may keep us from having the relationship we desire.  We put a plan (written)  in place to meet our goals as well as how we will deal with the issues as they arise from work, outside distractions beyond our control, etc.  that may interrupt us from meeting our goals.

This has worked for us over the years and each year we learn to appreciate each other more and more.  We have grown closer each year because we have taken the time to “care” about each other as well as to understand what is important for each of us individually.  Don’t get me wrong, we do have disagreements and we do “break” our agreements sometimes due to pressures.  The learnings we obtain from our discussions around our disagreements far out weigh the negatives from our disagreements.

A few of our goals to drive a stronger work/life balance:

  • We put our mobile phones away  at 6pm every evening until we decide to go to bed.  This allows us to spend time together without interruptions.  It creates conversation and keeps us “in touch” with each other. This also allows up to start to tackle many of the action items needed to complete the goals we set out for the year- such as training for marathons, learning to play piano or guitar, etc.
  • Insure that our managers are aware of our work/life balance goals.  When we work- we work hard.  When we are off work, we are off work (accept for those special circumstances at year end/quarter end, etc).  Managers that take work/life balance seriously and lead by example  are the strongest managers to have in your organization
  • Leave our phones in the car when we are dining out as a couple.
  • Set goals outside of work (ie. marathons, time fishing or hunting, time with family, friends and neighbors, etc.).  Make and take time for ourselves.
  • Social Media management.  We take time to look at facebook and other social media networks (mainly on the weekend).  We do not “live” in facebook and other social networks.  We realize that this takes time away from us communicating with each other and can totally disrupt a marriage.

We hope that you have enjoyed this post and would love for you to share how you are driving towards a stronger work/life balance.

Happy New Year

Two-Gether Runners