A Balancing Act
Among the various hats I choose to wear through life, being an Executive Team Leader (ETL) for Target Corporation and a marathoner are by far the most contrasting of roles.
As an ETL, my life typically functions on a bi-weekly cycle. I work roughly 100 hours within these 2 weeks; 60 one week, and 40 the other. I work every other weekend. My days usually begin around 6a-7a, and at least once a week I work the closing shift, wrapping up my day around 11pm. I have a “sacred” day off, Tuesday. I love my Tuesdays.
At work I am on my feet a lot. Like 90% of the aforementioned 100 hours lot. My core roles revolve around driving sales culture, implementing strategy, and managing the culture of a retail team of 150-220 team members. There is no “typical” day in my role, and I love my job even more for it.
I call myself a marathoner, because this beast of a distance has been my frenemy for the past 2 years. During my past 4 build ups, I’ve ran 80-110 miles a week, and raced at least one tune up before the big dance. My training is average in the sense that I run a lot, do a consistent long run, and other “typical” marathon type workouts. However, I often make a lot of adjustments to my training to accommodate my professional career.
I mentioned my weekly "day off" as Tuesday. On various occasions I’ve used Tuesday as my long run day. Sounds weird right? Not if you apply the principle behind Sunday long runs. Most people long run on Sunday because they don’t have work, it’s a day you can truly dedicate to the run and recovery. Most recently, I’ve been on an adjusted 10-day cycle, with more recovery days between workouts. This ensures I am actually able to reap the benefits from hard sessions without redlining.
All of these unique adjustments are awesome and have worked out really well for me. The other side of being on a unique schedule is that it also means I’m alone for many workouts and long runs. Prior to my move to Boulder, I trained alone every day. Though it was as miserable (at times) as you might perceive, it helped me learn pace, patience, and refined my sense accountability. Now, some of my sessions overlap with my team, while other times, Brad or Luis (my finance) provide me essential support and companionship.
Striking a Balance:
Months before I graduated from the University of Kentucky, I found myself at a cross roads of choosing a professional career or chasing a long cherished Olympic dream. I am a native of Sri Lanka, and throughout various points in my athletics career, my PBs were considered National Records. Though my college career wasn’t all that I wanted it to be, I still believed I had chance to reach my dream. Then, I had to consider reality. I had just invested a lot of money to get my MBA and had student loans to pay. So I decided to not choose. Instead, I accepted a job offer with Target and began training for my first marathon.
Fast forward 2 years, I’ve trained and ran 4 marathons, including Boston and the Olympic Trials, and developed my position within Target. The balance I speak of happens daily. I try to compartmentalize as much as possible and devote my 100% of myself to work when I’m in the store, and to training when I’m on the roads. Still, bad days are inevitable. Luckily, a bad day at one office is easily mended by turning my attention to the other!
Though I'll be the first to admit I sometimes find myself wanting to just sleep one more hour when my alarms goes off at 5am, I love what I do. I appreciate the sense of security both financially and professionally that my career offers. I enjoy the mental sanity I derive from my daily run(s). My support team is fantastic, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. If I had to remake the decision I did two years ago, I would still choose the same, a balancing act