Friday, June 24, 2011

The Perils & Pitfalls of Business Travel....

I love my job!

I'm very lucky to head a small group doing global business development for a major bio/pharmaceutical company, but pretty much by definition my job requires a lot of travel, including to many international destinations.  When I was younger I used to absolutely love this and hunger for the adventure, but as I've got older.....   well let's just say that the novelty has worn off!

Firstly, I have a family now and am always very impatient to get home to them.  Then there's the sheer drudgery of airports, 13 hour plane rides, hotel rooms and so on (not to mention the jet lag that my tired old body doesn't seem to shrug off like it used to!).  And now....   there's the disruptive effect that it has on my triathlon training as well!

The demands of family life and work (even without travel) already mean that I'm probably The Puppeteer's worst nightmare as I continually have to "move things around" in my training schedule.  But add in the travel and the frequent short notice trips and itinerary changes and she's probably pulling her hair out!  

What's the point of this rant?   Well next week I will be in Washington DC for our biggest trade event of the year - the BIO International Convention where tens of thousands of "suited and booted" executives and wannabes from all over the world will converge for presentations, tradeshow, receptions, forums and meetings.....   yes, meeting afer meeting after meeting....  breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings, coffee meetings, meetings in the partnering forum, meetings at our tradeshow exhibit....   endless bloody meetings!

It's actually a great event - this will be (I think) the fourteenth year in a row that I have attended and every time I come back absolutely exhausted!  The days run long - starting with breakfast meetings and usually running long into the night with a huge array of networking receptions and events sponsored by all manner of companies and regions of the world trying to attract our business.   And now, on top of all this....   I have to find time to train??!!!

The other frustrating thing is that for the third time in a row I have to travel on a key training week just before an event (Triangle Triathlon on July 10th).   Ah well, not much I can do about it.

So what's the plan?  

The first good news is that I'm staying at a hotel with a good gym, so treadmills, stationary bikes (not expecting much) etc. are available.   There's also a pool, but I'm assuming that it's a typical 10 or 12 M hotel pool - not much use!   So plan A is to get up early and use the gym.   By early I mean 4:30 or 5:00 am (gulp!) because my first meetings typically start early and I'll need an hour or so to work out, then time to cool off, shower, dress, eat breakfast and get to the meetings.  The Puppeteer has, as always, done a great job of adjusting my plan to accommodate the situation and the available time, so I have a "run-centric" week planned with a lot of core strength work thrown in!

Next challenge is how to find a way to get to bed somewhat early.   If I'm traveling on my own this one is pretty easy, but it will be virtually impossible next week as not only will I be "on duty" at a host of networking events, but I'm also traveling with colleagues and sure to meet up with lots of old friends, so sleep will be at a premium.

Which brings me to my next challenge - eating right and staying hydrated.   Business breakfast, business lunch, business dinner and lots of opportunities to snack and over-indulge on the free booze in the evenings.  This one will just take will power - I can do it!   I will also be taking my water bottle and Nuun tablets and doing the sip, sip, sip routine all day.

Another piece of good news is that there's a chip timed 5K fun run associated with the event on Monday morning in Bluemont Park in Arlington, VA and I'll be doing this with my colleagues - every little helps!  Going to use this as a tempo effort and throw in a few extra miles before and after.

....and finally, at least this year the event leads in to a holiday weekend, so I'll get an extra day to rest on the end of things!   :-)

OK, I've steeled myself and I'm ready.....   bring it!   :-)  

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