Thursday, December 13, 2007

A working mother

An internet sport channel here in Italy asked me to do a series of interviews on different subject: triathlon, women's running, pacers, etc. My only problem was that the day they asked me to do it Piero wasn't going to be around so I couldn't leave Evan at home. The interviews were done at a marathon expo, so no problem in bringing him with me. I just had to find a way to keep him still while I answered their questions. It was about five o'clock, an hour when he gets a little tired (me too!). Oh, I forgot to tell you...he has this habit. He breasfed for sixteen months and then since I had to do some solo traveling I had to wean him. It only took a week and he was at an age that I could actually tell him things about it. One thing that stayed though was that he still likes to put his hand on my br3ast. (I put the 3 in so I don't attract freaks...) At the time it didn't bother me, plus it would put him to sleep instantly.
Flash to three years later. When he's a little sleepy and we're sitting next to each other he'll still put his hand on me and go to sleep. Which is what he decided to do during this interview! So this is me talking while Evan is trying to shove his hand down my shirt. I'm desperately trying to concentrate on answering the question while I try and seem like nothing is happening. You don't need to speak Italian to get a good laugh!

Monday, December 10, 2007

How much is your time worth?

Last week a gentleman that had taken part in one of my 16 week marathon programs a few years ago emailed me and told me that he wanted to be trained for NYCM '08. I sent him the two standard documents: a questionaire and my price list. He took a while to get back to me, but when he did the first line of his email was "you're outrageously expensive!". Then he went on to say that for the same price he could sign up at a gym near his house for a whole year. I didn't write him back right away, I sort of wanted to sit with that for a day, which I did. I wasn't offended or taken back by his statement, I was actually sort of amused. How much is my time worth?

I've been working freelance for myself since 1997. I remember when I used to undersell myself, asking for a lot less than I thought I was worth. Then I'd do whatever job it was with an edge of begrudgement and feel cheated when I was finally paid. I'm sure that also came out in my work in some sort of shape or form. When I started personal training I naturally looked at what the other trainers were asking. I also looked at what I offered and what kind of customer I wanted to attract. Besides writing the actual schedule out, I spend most of my time either on the phone or answering emails on anything related to their training schedules. It sucks up a lot of time. Some clients never bother me except to understand an exercise. Others will email me from their Blackberry five times a day. I settled on a price that I felt was equivalent to the quality of service that I give. I know that I am more expensive than others. I also know that I give the most personal service, much better than my competitors.

So I wrote the guy back and told him that he should definately sign up for the gym if it really costs so little. I wished him luck in his preparation for the marathon. I felt really good about the interaction because it made me realize how far I've come professionally. Not being afraid of your own worth is a good thing. Last week four new clients signed up with me so I know I'm on the right track.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Milan Marathon

I'm on day two of lounging on the couch after being hit by some sort of intestinal virus. This is the second time I've gotten sick this season and winter hasn't even started! I sort of want to blame it on being outside in Milan all day Sunday, but that seems sort of like a lame excuse. It's a good introduction to saying that I was outside all day in Milan! We were there for the marathon, of course. Piero had one athlete running and I had five. Mine were just there for fun while his was trying to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. The day was cold and overcast which was good, but there was a lot of moisture in the air and the streets were wet which is not good. If you're an amateur marathoner it probably doesn't influence you that much. When you're running around three minutes per kilometre the story is different. You really use your feet to push off and the surface you use for that counts a lot. Ottav1o had decided to stay with the second group that was supposed to pass the half marathon mark in 1h05'. Right from the start you could see that they were going a little too slow. He said that he tried to speed them up by saying something to them (2 pacers) and pushing them ahead, but they still were going too slow. At 14 miles he decided to go ahead alone. He ran by himself for 17 kms. That's a lot of time to runby yourself. He was actually able to catch a few from the first group, but inevitably he paid for all that effort on his own and lost a full minute in the last 2 kms. His final time was 2h11'41", not good enough for a qualifying effort, though many comments were made on his courage to go out on his own.
He'll have to run another marathon in the spring. This means a road trip for us, I'm pushing for Paris :-)