Sound Mind in a Sound Body

Handshake 2.0 High-Tech Athlete Profile

Gordie Zeigler, 40

For what high-tech company do you work, what is your area of expertise, what is your position, and what specifically do you do in your position? 

I am an Account Manager for SyCom Technologies. We are a network integration firm. We specialize in designing, building, and maintaining stable and secure network infrastructures for voice, data, and video. Our customers include private and public sector clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic. My specific area of expertise lies in my business experience and my ability to bridge the gap between technology and business processes by really taking the time to learn about my customers and their business, and then working with our engineering team to leverage the right technology for our customers’ benefit. Ultimately, my job is to sell.Gordieziegler_2

What is your sport, how long have you been doing it, and how did you get started?

I first ran in junior high school, but did not run my first competitive race until I was 34 years old in 2002. Running is my first love but through a desire to cross-train I have become quite fond of cycling as well. I also compete in 3-4 triathlons per year as well. Notice I did not say I have become fond of swimming too.

Why aren’t you playing Wii instead?

I prefer to play in traffic.

What is your favorite equipment and why?  (Please limit to 100 words!)

A bicycle can be so sexy in so many ways whether it is a state-of-the-art carbon frame with the latest technology or a steel framed classic. But for my money, I like my running shoes. The bike is freedom on two wheels, but my running shoes will carry me anywhere, limited only by my own legs and not subject to mechanical failures. They never flat; they never need an adjustment, I never suffer road rash or saddle sores from running.  This is more than 100 words but… well worth it I think.

I am so much more than a running shoe;
I am the wind beneath your feet.
I am the hurdling of what humbles you
I am the overcoming of defeat

I am what makes you the Prince(ss) of Strides
I keep at bay the years’ advancing tides
I am the path to happy exhaustion
I am darting by cars with no caution
I am the feeding of your addiction
I am a better defense against affliction

I am so much more than a running shoe
I am the wind always in back of you
I am a ticket to mile by mile freedom
I tell your demons you will beat ’em

I am your partner who will never quit
I am the guilt you hear when you sit
I am the vehicle to a leaner frame
I am a smaller swimsuit without shame
I am the breathless view from the top of the hill,
I am better living – without a pill

I am so much more than a running shoe
I am your friend and load-bearer too.
I am a negative split, a new personal best,
Another met challenge, another passed test.
I am your transformation to a cuter back-side,
I am the one to whom you swear and even confide.

I am long runs on Sundays and up before the sun,
When you scream I listen, and I’m the only one.
Yes I am so much more than a running shoe
Just lace me up to see all this come true.

             – Zig 2004

What was your greatest high–your peak experience–in high-tech?

In 2003 while I was head of the NCTC, I had an opportunity to help lead the effort to launch Roanoke’s Free Downtown WiFi zone. It was the very first free wifi zone of its scale in Virginia and one of the first in the entire country. It brought attention to Roanoke on a wide scale. Helping to bring the pieces together to make that happen was something that I am proud of to this day.

What was your greatest high–your peak experience–in your sport?

I have several that mean a great deal to me for different reasons and I could never pick a “#1”.

  • The 29 minute 5K I ran with my 10-year-old daughter.
  • The 5:24 marathon I completed with my sister even though her knee cracked at the halfway mark and we had to walk much of the last half
  • Completing my first Half Iron distance triathlon despite a bout of gastroenteritis
  • Running a 3:22 marathon

If applicable, does your significant other understand your passion for your sport?  If yes, how do you know?  If no, how do you handle this?

My wife knows that I do nothing halfway. Whether she understands that from the standpoint of relatability as an athlete, I doubt. But she knows how I am and we temper each other in that regard. She knows when I appear stressed that I need a run or a ride and she encourages me to seek that. Most days, we provide each other with a nice balance.

How has what you know about high-tech helped you in your sport?

I think probably the reverse is more applicable – how has my sport helped my career? Training at a high level for hours-long events has required me to find better ways to manage my time both at home and on the job. The confidence that I have gained through meeting physical challenges has made me more confident in my work. I find I relish the competition in the marketplace as well. I refuse to be out-sprinted within sight of the finish line.  My circle of contacts has also expanded as a result of the connections I have made through my athletic endeavors. As a person who is trying to get introductions and gain acceptance, being visible throughout the community has helped immensely in my career. My athletic pursuits augment and complement my career nicely.

What question would you most like to answer about the relationship between your high-tech work and your athleticism?

"What IS the relationship between your work and your athletic pursuits?”

What is the answer to that question?

Life is stressful. Work and family pressures can take an incredible toll on the mind and body. Things are moving ever faster in the world of business. We expect instant access today in the age of instant communications, email, and cell phones. I do not know what I would do without the opportunity to zone out for 30-60 minutes a day and just let my own breathing be the pace that controls my life. It is my balance. I do not solve the world’s problems in a 2-hour run, but I can make great headway on my own – if I so choose to devote the energy to them while I run. I run in ASICS shoes not because of this but the name is derived from the Latin phrase: “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” – “Sound Mind in a Sound Body."

AttaainCI Competitive Intelligence Advice for Blog Diva
Ventures of Handshake Media, Inc.


  1. Hey Anne thanks for “featuring” me, glad to be a part of the blog. Glad you enjoyed my submission! I love that poem. It was a rather inspired day when I wrote that. I love the blog! It looks great. That is probably my fav pic too as it combines so many things that I love – competing, family, accomplishment.

  2. Gordie, I laughed, I felt moved, I was made thoughtful by your post.

    As I write this, Handshake 2.0 was “born” 4 days ago. Your post is the top-visited page on the site.

    When I reflect in the future on the success of Handshake 2.0, I will note that Gordie Zeigler’s fine, insightful writing got things started. Thank you, Gordie.

  3. Gordie Zeigler was named to the Blue Ridge Business Journal’s List of 20 Under 40 in 2006.

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