Burning the Candle at Both Ends

This weekend I was able to enjoy my first days off in more than two weeks. During the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I ended up work 75+ hours in 6 days–often 12-15 hour days on my feet. I was working in a sponsor booth for Bit of Britain during the day and covering the Kentucky Reining Cup event at night for an online publication.

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Oh, yeah, and sand volleyball season has started at the German bar where I ref two nights a week. So here was my schedule:

Monday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30 am, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-7
Wednesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-6
Thursday: Rolex 8-6, Press Dinner 6:30-9pm
Friday: Rolex 8-6, Reining 6-Midnight
Saturday: Rolex 8-5, Reining 5:30-10:30pm
Sunday: Rolex 8-9:30, Reining 9:30-Noon, Rolex/Teardown 12-8pm
Monday: Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-11pm
Wednesday: Work 9-4:30
Thursday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30
Friday: Work regular job 9-3

Mix in writing articles at night for publications that were due at night. I didn’t even have the energy to blog, let alone catch up on my usual blogs I like to read.

This past Tuesday I started coughing…and throughout the week it has morphed into more than a cough. I was supposed to run 8 miles as part of my half marathon training on Saturday, but combine whatever the illness is that I have (some say a cold, others bronchitis, we’ll see what the doctor says Monday), I strained my back doing thrusters (while coughing) at CrossFit on Thursday. Yeah….I’m a hot mess.

My mother always warns me about burning the candle at both ends–you burn out a lot quicker than you’d like. That has definitely rang true for me this past week.

I’m taking stock in everything that I’m doing, and it’s time to prioritize things. My day job (aka “regular job”) will soon be going from part-time (33 hours a week) to full-time come June (or so we hope). I’m also trying to grow and promote my freelancing business a lot more: I have picked up a few new publications/websites in the past few weeks that will start to require more of my time for brainstorming, interviewing, and story writing. I’m also wanting to get more serious about my CrossFit training and have a half marathon coming up in almost a month. Not to mention training the dogs in agility as classes are getting going in the warm weather, etc. Oh, yeah…and spend some time with my husband.

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For four years I’ve been a ref for a sand volleyball league at a German bar here in town. I used to ref 4-5 nights a week, but then cutback to 2 nights a week. For two years I’d ref Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 pm to 2 am. But this year I’ve decided I can’t do that any more. I need to take care of myself and make sure I’m getting decent sleep–I can’t be falling asleep at work the next day because I only had a few hours of sleep, and I don’t want to slack off on my training. So I will still ref Monday and Tuesday nights, but the latest I’ll ref is to 11pm. Yes I’ll miss some of that extra money, but I’ll appreciate my sleep more.

While I haven’t been able to enjoy the gorgeous weekend weather because of being sick, it has proven that I’m not Superwoman and I need to take better care of myself. I need rest just as much as I need activity, money, etc.

I might not be blogging as much as I used to, but I hope to focus on my quality blog posts, and for that, I hope you understand.

Your turn: Have you ever just hit the wall? How have you combatted burning the candle at both ends?

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Sometimes You Just Gotta Do Nothing

Continuing with my theme of “Sometimes You Just…” that I guess I started last week, I give to you the OK to be lazy.

If you know me, you know that that was really hard to say. I hate feeling lazy. I hate being lazy. Growing up on a farm instills in you that you spend as much time outside as possible when the sun is out and the weather is decent. You wake up early and get moving early. You don’t spend hours in bed, and you don’t spend days not doing much.

But this weekend was a rarity for me. After waking up early to meet a friend for an 8-mile run Saturday morning, I came home to walk the dogs (well, Dally plus two dogs from my friend that I was watching) two miles, showered and then settled down with compression socks and knee sleeves to recover. I had every intention to spend the day writing articles, blog posts, and cleaning the house…but none of that happened.

Sunday is usually my one day to sleep in. I did sleep in…until 7. Then I rejoiced in the quiet of the house until M came home from work at 8. We had a lazy Sunday morning breakfast: he had scrambled eggs with chicken, cheese, and salsa, and I had scrambled egg whites (w/1 whole egg) with sautéed spinach, chicken, cheese, and salsa and leftover Amish cinnamon sugar bread (recipe to come). Considering my mornings are usually rushed between coming home from CrossFit and getting ready for work, this was nice.

The rest of the day? Well, after grocery shopping, it was supposed to include writing and cleaning. Nope…not much of that happened. I did do some laundry, and I ended up pushing myself to belt out a story (out of two), but not the productivity I was looking for.

When I complain “I feel so lazy…I have done nothing all weekend..” M reminds me that I ran 8 miles Saturday morning and was dog sitting all weekend. Yes, but that’s not the productivity I’m talking about. “It’s OK to just relax…it’s OK to just do nothing,” he says.

Sometimes the lack of motivation might be your body and your brain’s way of telling you to take a break, to truly rest your body and mind. Maybe you don’t feel a cold coming on, but your body might be fighting off illness, and you just don’t know it at the time.

Sure it means you have to make up for it later, but hopefully by then you’ll have the energy to accomplish everything you need to.

Sometimes you just gotta do nothing…and be OK with it!

Your turn: How do you feel about lack of productivity on the weekends?

Some Times You Just Need Rest

This week I have just felt exhausted. I hadn’t slept well all week, either, which doesn’t help. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve started to amp up my workouts for my half marathon training, or just one of those things where you just feel drained.

Some times you just need to learn to listen to your body and sleep, much like what the Stump Kids do on a daily basis...

Some times you just need to learn to listen to your body and sleep, much like what the Stump Kids do on a daily basis…

Either way, I decided I needed to listen to my body. Yesterday morning I wanted to do speed intervals for four miles on the treadmill, but after about two miles, I knew that wasn’t going to be, so I aimed for 3.5 miles. Suddenly, at 3.2 my legs just felt dead and I was worried I’d injure myself, so I stopped sprinting and just walked the last 0.3 miles at a slight incline. I took a little extra time to stretch, and then went home to walk the dogs and get ready for my day.

That night I wanted to do some weight training on my upper body, so I spent 20 minutes working with free weights (my activity was limited, since I had forgotten to pack a sports bra…grrr) and then headed home, relishing in the idea of relaxing all evening. M took the reins on dinner, so I grabbed my Kindle and read on the couch until it was ready. Later, I fixed myself a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea from Celestial Seasonings (yum, one of my favorite flavors), and actually went to bed to read at 10. Half an hour later, I was out like a light!

I woke up this morning to my alarm going off at 6:30–the latest I’ve been able to sleep in a long time. I took my time getting out of bed (had to snuggle with the Corgi, you know) and then took my time getting ready for work after doing a few yoga poses to stretch and wake my body. It was perhaps one of the most relaxing work mornings I’ve ever had.

Today is a total rest day for me–my body told me it was tired, and I have an 8 mile run planned tomorrow morning, so why not. (My normal “rest days” include an hour-long yoga DVD in the am and weights in the pm.) We’re going to have dinner and play cards with friends tonight, and that’s exactly what I think my body, and psyche, needs after this hard week.

Sleeplessness = Exhaustion at Work

Last night, for a plethora of reasons, I barely slept. I’m talking went to bed at 11, by 1 am I was still wide awake…after that I stopped staring at the clock. (I even got out a notebook and wrote down two pages worth of thoughts that had been streaming through my head the last few nights, hoping it would help me relax and sleep and feel better about things, but it didn’t.)

I was wide awake at 4:30. I had to be awake at 5, so I had hoped to get 20 minutes more in, but when my alarm went off, I just got up and dressed and headed into the freezing cold to meet some friends at the gym for a run. Part of me wanted to just curl back into bed under the warm covers for a couple more hours until I had to be ready for work, but I realized I was wide awake, so I might as well be productive and get my sweat on. (Plus I knew if I didn’t go to the gym, I’d feel guilty for being lazy and sloth-like all day, because that’s how I am.)

Anyway, so less than four hours of sleep made for an exhausting day (luckily we didn’t run on the treadmill, just did the elliptical for 45 minutes). This meant I had to try to do what I could to not fall asleep while sitting in front of my computer at work. So after the gym, I walked the dogs in the cold, crisp air to refresh myself, then a relaxing shower. At work I made a cup of black vanilla and cinnamon tea from Trader Joe’s (I’m not much of a coffee drinker).

I love walking my dogs, but chilly, sunny days are the best time to walk to wake me up for the rest of the afternoon.

I love walking my dogs, but chilly, sunny days are the best time to walk to wake me up for the rest of the afternoon.

Some mornings, when I’m the only one in our work area, I’ve been known to sneak in a back bend to wake up (a trick I learned from my Bob Harper Yoga for the Warrior DVD)–it really does work. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do that today.

At lunch I went home and walked the pups around the neighborhood to soak up some sun and get some fresh, chilly air. That really helped! On my way back, I stopped by a gas station for some iced tea for the next couple of meetings. But I was still battling heavy eyelids mid-afternoon.

And even though I was tired, I went to the gym to get in another sweat session (a short 2 mile run on the treadmill with an incline). And now, as I’m writing this, I’m not the least bit tired…what gives?

What do you do to battle sleeplessness and then exhaustion during the work day? I try to not drink much pop or energy drinks (hence the tea).