Software Development & Running

I had the opportunity to give a quick talk at an internal company event in 2021 where we were asked to present a personal topic of our choice, and I chose to talk about running.

Why running, you ask? I’ve been running since I was in 8th grade, so by some measurements, I’m more qualified to talk about running than I am about software development!

The slides from the presentation are included below, but continue reading on to discover the parallels between training for a running goal and building a new product or feature.

Software Development & Running Slides

Running: (Almost) Anyone Can Do It

The great thing about running or walking is that almost anybody can do it regardless of their fitness level, so long as they have decent shoes and sweat-wicking attire. I know the word “running” can evoke a negative reaction from many folks, but how far and how fast one can run doesn’t matter; in fact, walking is a fantastic form of exercise, too. Many walkers and hikers participate in races; most running events have a walking option.

Successfully starting and maintaining a running ritual hinges on proper goals, planning, and training. With the right combination of all three, running can be fun and provide amazing physical and mental health benefits.

A photo of the author running in a race and giving a big thumbs-up!
Photo courtesy of runners.photos
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2021: aka, an Ever-So-Slightly Improved 2020

I’ve procrastinated on writing my yearly recap post simply because 2021 felt like 2020 in many ways, didn’t it? That said, I’m thrilled to be vaccinated and boosted (as I had hoped in my 2020 post), and the world is starting to ever so slowly return to a pre-pandemic normal even if COVID continues to ravage onward.

My 2021 started off cautiously, but by April we decided to get out of Washington state and head down along the Oregon coast. While Tym and I had been to Portland a few years ago, it was our first time to the coast and I enjoyed exploring Pacific City and sightseeing areas such as Thor’s Well and the Devil’s Punchbowl.

A picture of Thor's Well along the Oregon Coast
Thor’s Well

After we were finally fully vaccinated, I flew back to Pennsylvania in July 2021 to see my family for the first time in over a year and a half. It was a bit of an emotional reunion, and I was pleased to be able to travel back in the fall as well. I hope to never go that long without seeing my family again!

In addition to our east coast trips, Tym and I spent a week in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, and also traveled on a short getaway to Colorado. In California, we rode roller coasters at Six Flags, spent a day at Universal Studios, and also got a lot of sun — it was over 100 degrees in Palm Springs! While Joshua Tree National Park was a great experience, we didn’t do a lot of walking because of the heat. Our trip to Colorado was Tym’s first time in Colorado and my fourth, so I enjoyed showing him around my favorite areas of Denver and Colorado Springs.

A picture of Joshua trees taken in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
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Goodbye, 2020! Hello, hope?

Looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of the Salesforce Tower, San Francisco

2020 was a year that felt like a decade, yet was over in the blink of an eye. While I’m grateful that I’ve stayed healthy throughout the past year, as I write this I haven’t been farther than an hour and a half from our home in Seattle for more than twelve months. That picture above taken from the Salesforce Tower is from a work trip last February! I did not end up visiting any family last year, so once I’ve been vaccinated a visit to Pennsylvania will be one of my first post-vaccinated travels.

That being said, I have much to be thankful for. I excelled as a new lead developer on my team even with us living in a pandemic for most of the year. We launched a new product in nine months! It certainly wasn’t easy, but I’m so proud of the team I work on and can’t wait to watch our success continue. I’ll have more professional growth and learning this year as well, as my role at work is changing again.

Outside of work, I biked a lot more in 2020 and kept up my running routine throughout the pandemic. I also enjoyed virtual boxing/HIIT classes through my boxing gym, but I was not able to achieve my goal of taking swimming lessons and completing a triathlon. While I’d say I would love for this to be a goal for this year, realistically I’m excited to just get back into staggered-start trail racing — running with friends and others again would be ideal. There’s my main fitness goal for 2021: social running. Seattle will soon have a few new ice rinks thanks to our new hockey team, so perhaps I’ll even consider skating lessons!

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Working Remotely During a Pandemic: Tips for a New Year

I’ve been working remotely in various forms for over seven years and even I have felt 2020 to be particularly difficult. It’s not easy to stay productive and focused when there’s a worldwide pandemic! I first wrote several tips way back in 2014 (Working Remotely: I Do It, & So Can You!), and now I’d like to offer a follow-up post of additional advice that I have learned over the past few years.

One of my tips from that blog post centered around finding a coworking space. With most coworking spaces temporarily closed, and many coffee shops offering takeout only and no dine-in, options for working outside of the home are limited and not recommended. However, staying in the house 24/7 is not ideal either, as long as you take the appropriate precautions to keep you and others around you safe. Here are a few alternative suggestions to break up your workday:

  • Get outside at least once a day! “Commute” to work with a walk around the block, or get in a bit of exercise with your activity of choice. This is probably the easiest and safest thing you can do to simulate getting ready for the day. You can even go for a walk at the end of the day before transitioning into leisure/family time as well.
  • If possible, turn one of your walks into a coffee adventure and support your local coffee shops and cafes. While my morning meeting schedule can sometimes be too crammed together to do this as often as I’d like, I enjoy going to one of my local coffee spots at least once every week or two to pick up a cup of caffeine to take back to my home office.
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Ups & Downs: My 2019

As I’m currently writing this recap during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to think of 2019 as anything but sunshine and roses. Wasn’t life so much better back then?! But unfortunately for me, it had its down moments too.

The good:
Over the summer of 2019, Tym and I had the opportunity to upgrade to a bigger house in the Central District neighborhood of Seattle! We’d been casually looking for a few months but weren’t quite certain it was something we’d commit to in 2019. I’m happy to be back close to the Capitol Hill and downtown areas, which is where we lived for our first two and a half years in Seattle.

As far as fitness goals, I continued my fitness regimen of running and boxing. This resulted in a PR in the 10k for the first time in almost 10 years! I also completed another trail marathon, DNF’d a 50k, and started biking to work more often (even during our rainy winter!)

Venice, Italy – Fall 2019

My husband and I’s big adventure last year took us to Italy, which had been on my bucket list for several years. We spent almost two full weeks exploring the beautiful cities of Venice, Rome, and Florence. I enjoyed each city for different reasons, but I certainly wouldn’t mind going back to Venice and spending more time there one day.

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