Mark Reidy, Growth and Operations Manager on Running and Cycling

Hi, my name is Mark Reidy, and I am currently working on an Ecommerce start up called Bellanove as the head of growth and operations. I was born in the US, just outside of Washington DC. I moved to North Carolina when I was 16 to attend boarding school. I stayed in North Carolina to attend UNC for my undergrad. After graduating, I moved back to DC to work, but then I decided I wanted to be in California. I looked at business schools that were based there and decided that UCLA was the best fit for me.

I love that I live in Los Angeles, because I can drive 20 minutes and be in mountains and go running and see zero people or homes. I also love that I can go the same distance the other direction, and be surfing iconic waves or riding my bike through canyons or along the beach. Nothing really compares to the options you have in California.

My interests in cycling go back to when I was around 4 or 5. My dad was a cyclist, and I remember the first single speed bike he bought me. I eventually got a mountain bike that I would primarily ride around my neighbourhood and occasionally on trails around DC. I did not get my first road bike until I was 16. It was a hand me down from my dad, a Trek 2200, which I still have and use as my commuter to this day.

I started running competitively in middle school as part of the track team and I continued to run it all the way through high school. I did not really have a speciality though. I probably tried nearly every event at one point or another: 300m hurdles, long jump, high jump, 400m, 800m, and the 1600m. I even pole-vaulted my freshmen year of high school. I had the most success in the 200m though. I was the anchor of my 4×200 team in high school (3rd in the state), and I placed 6th overall in the 200m state championships. I really started to transition into more of a long distance runner in college, mostly using the long runs to think and blow off some steam after a long day.

Cycling is a fantastic outlet for me. Being part of a team when I was in DC was huge for my social life. I met some of my best friends through that scene. Running is also a great outlet and an opportunity to clear your mind. The best part is you can do it everywhere. I never travel without packing a pair of running shoes.

I think its also easier to set goals when you are outside. It is so easy to get on a treadmill with the goal of doing 10k and when 5k rolls around, you are super bored and decide that it is enough. When you are doing a loop on a run, you do not really have that choice, so it just makes it easier to finish.

Having a plan or schedule for your outlet helps as well. Before I went to grad school, I raced a lot more. I would train for at least 2 hours every day, and I took it very seriously. I think that working at a job that ended a set time every day helped me with this training routine. In grad school, I had a much more chaotic schedule with so many events and group projects that going on, it made it really hard to get the miles in on a regular basis. I realized then that a routine is so important if I want to hit my training targets. Since graduating, I am back on a more regular routine.

I absolutely think you have to have a creative outlet to be successful. I think the biggest way that this leads to success is that when you are creative, you are just trying something new out. If it sucks, no big deal; being used to that feeling is crucial to success, especially in technology, because most of your ideas will not be good, or even fully formed. Knowing that the creative process involves that feeling will eventually lead to great outcomes.

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