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How Appian Has Supported My Fitness Aspirations

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Hi! My name is Scott McGowan and I’m a Software Engineer at Appian. I started back in July of 2020 after graduating from Virginia Tech in May. I work on the Databases and Search team which helps to both develop and maintain the databases and other data-related products for Appian. Outside of work I enjoy speed-solving Rubik’s cubes, reading, hiking, and competing in triathlons!

To me, being physically active is a fantastic way to relieve stress and meet others. I’ve always been an active individual, from swimming and running track in high school to continuing to run several times a week in college. Now that I’m working, I decided that triathlon would be a fantastic way for me to stay in shape, meet new people, and travel around the world! In honor of National Employee Health and Fitness Day, I’d like to talk about my fitness journey and how Appian has provided ample opportunities to meet others who enjoy the same activities that I do.

This May, I competed in the 2021 Ironman 70.3 North American Championships held at St. George, Utah. This was my first ever Ironman 70.3 (also called a half-ironman, which includes a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run) as well as my first triathlon since I was about 10 years old. Training for this race took a significant amount of time and energy: I usually spent 15–20 hours per week swimming, biking, running, lifting, or stretching.

The actual race went pretty smoothly! The swim portion was in a reservoir located in Hurricane, Utah next to St George where the water temperature was 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The bike route went from the reservoir back to St. George and included some breathtaking views along Snow Canyon located outside of St. George. Finally, the run led athletes through the Red Cliff Desert Reserve above the city before returning us back to downtown St. George. I finished the race in 4:42:43 which was 5th in the 18–24 age category and earned an entry into the 2021 Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

As I accomplish my fitness goals, I notice how important it is to have support from my peers. I also have seen how great it feels to work for a company that takes an active role in the health and wellness of their employees. I have been a part of AppianWellness, one of Appian’s 7 affinity groups, since joining Appian in July of last year. I was initially interested in this group to connect with other Appian employees who were interested in running and triathlons. I have updated this group with my training plan for this most recent race, my resolutions for the year, and offer tips and support to other Appian employees that are also competing in similar races. Knowing that I can share my goals with this group of people and getting an enormous amount of support both publicly and privately was a huge motivator for me to persevere through the long hours of training. Following the race, I was certainly excited to update AppianWellness members about the result of my race, too!

Since I’ve only been at Appian for less than a year, I’m looking forward to getting to meet up in person with coworkers to go on group runs, group rides, and other activities together once the time is right! I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people at Appian who also focus on their physical fitness and have experienced firsthand the increased levels of concentration and energy during work as a result. When employees are healthy and are encouraged to prioritize their well-being, it results in a better workplace environment which leads to better results for everyone involved!

If you’re looking for a team that supports you in all that you do, check out our opportunities at Appian because I could not have made it to the start line without them.