Training for Half Marathons? No, I’m Training for Software Conferences

Is that half marathon training? No, it's software conference training.
Last week, I flew to Orlando for software company SAP AG‘s annual SAPPHIRENOW conference, three days of immersion into some heavy-hitting enterprise software. And while I was there, I put some serious mileage on my sensible Vince Camuto ballet flats.
I’m press. By day, I’m a mild-mannered B2B technology copywriter and journalist, and I spend most of my time parked in front of my laptop or on the phone in my home office. In the wee hours, I unleash my superpowers, playing with kettlebells and TRX suspension systems and running long distances. But as last week proved (and I’ve got the data from my Garmin vivofit to back this up!), my worlds collided – hard.
SAP had pretty much the entire Orange County Convention Center to itself for SAPPHIRENOW. If you’ve ever been there, you know that this is a huge venue. Last year, the press room had been on the show floor, so getting to sessions was fairly easy. This year, the press room was all the way on the north side of the convention center, on the second floor – and the keynotes and session theaters were on the south side of the show floor. I flew in Tuesday, flew out Thursday (and ran 4 miles Thursday morning) – and put nearly 7 miles each day just walking back and forth to sessions, the press room, and around the floor looking for users.
For most people, this would be extremely physically demanding. Even for me, by Wednesday afternoon, I was ready to grab an inner tube and float on my hotel’s lazy river for the rest of the day, instead of making yet another trip across the show floor to a meeting, lugging my laptop bag. But I made it through physically – and I fully credit distance running and strength training for that. Sure, my legs were pretty sore Thursday as I was getting ready to board the plane. But all that running? All that time at Conca Sport & Fitness? That’s what kept me moving. I saw plenty of folks – not just press, but regular attendees – who were not used to all the walking. They were the ones who weren’t getting up after the sessions, instead fiddling with their phones or laptops because it was too much (and looking miserable in the process).
So I’m adding another thing to the list of gifts running and fitness has given me: the ability to better do my job.