Those who know me well know my aspirations to be athletic sometimes trump my actual ability.  Since we started Airfoil back in the day, I have tended to launch a self-professed athletic big bet each year, typically with the moniker “Commitment to Fitness version X!”  I think I’m on Commitment to Fitness version 20, which is odd since Airfoil is only 11 years old.  I’ll say that the outcomes have been somewhat solid, but in reviewing the true reasoning behind said commitments, the actual inspirations are possibly a bit more suspect. 

  • First marathon – 2007: because my brother told me I probably couldn’t do it
  • Second marathon – 2008: to get a dog, which my husband promptly picked out and named; to this day, I think the dog likes the husband better
  • First half – 2009: to earn mojo to win a particular new client; it worked
  • First 10k run on giant hill near Santa Cruz followed by first San Francisco half marathon: to inspire a blog entry; thinking more fitness might net me more blogworthy content.  We’ll see how it goes.

So with this in mind, I attempted this week to consider a few insights that we gleaned from our Saturday traipse through the (thankfully foggy) streets of San Francisco.

The power of collaboration:  I thankfully enlisted active and committed team members who share a passion for the outdoors and aspiring towards a goal; it’s via this collaboration that the energy required for the last few miles was mustered and extended so we could proudly run the bases as the finish line in AT&T Park.  And then limp and make tortured sound effects for the rest of the day/weekend.  Insight -Find a buddy, use their strengths, be their strength when needed.  It’s also a LOT more fun than flying solo.

What get’s written gets done: This is a mantra at Airfoil (can also be said as what gets measured gets done). As my colleague, Kali points out, the clarity of our goal and game plan to get there were important in making the time to train and see through our goals.  And go for a post-work jog when Bravo and Entertainment Weekly were calling my name.

Affirmation = goo-like dose energy:  This is a no-brainer for me, but races remind me of the power of affirmation – both giving and receiving.  Whoever these lovely people were that woke up to cheer street-side with a mug of San Francisco’s finest (that one guy, I know, was Brian Wilson), or the motivated serious runners who made a point of high fiving us laggards, the energy from the environment of praise and acknowledgement was palpable.  We work to have affirmation as a core element of our agency’s DNA to harness this energy source for our people, the work we do and the clients we serve.

Celebrate: Let’s be fair, we really signed up for the post-race brunch at 21st Amendment. We’re in a hectic market, in the hectic work of technology and we balance service on top of it all.  I talk (preach) to our teams about the need to make the time to reflect, acknowledge the progress – in addition to the difficulties that seemed to get in the way (for me, irregularly long toes.)

Final insight:  let’s face it, medals rock.  I’m the adult of equivalent of Peter Brady (he was the Brady obsessed with trophies, right?)  You’ve got to admit, there is something about a large medal that makes a day more interesting and an experience worth remembering.

— Tracey Parry is senior vice president at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.