Thursday, December 22, 2011

The past 94 days of my life

It all started on September 19th, 94 days ago. The past 94 days of my life have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride.  94 days ago I started my dream job at the YMCA in Portland, Maine. It was 101 days ago that I began working 3rd shift as a seasonal Frontline Supervisor at L.L.Bean. It was early August that I started working with a couple of new clients at Fitness Success in Yarmouth.  And in late August I started coaching varsity cross-country at Gray-New Gloucester High School in August.
The scenario was simple (ha!): L.L.Bean was relying on me to be responsible for the trainers who were responsible for training 700 seasonal workers. The YMCA was relying on me to jump headfirst in to the state of Maine run ME.First program (more on this to come in a future blog) and help state of Maine workers lose weight and get healthy. Theresa of Fitness Success in Yarmouth, the small personal training studio I operate out of once a week, was relying on me to cover classes for her and to continue to train several clients, one of which was a Miss Maine USA pageant contestant I had been working with since the beginning of August.  And the Gray-New Gloucester cross-country team was relying on me to help build a program that hasn’t seen much glory since its inception many years ago. Four jobs? No problem, consider it done! 
Wait as second…when was I going to sleep?
Up until recently, L.L.Bean had been my “day job” and fitness training, while being my true passion, was nothing more than supplemental income. However, I immediately jumped at the offer t join the YMCA in Portland, but I had already made several other commitments. Being the stubborn yet loyal person I am, I decided that I would sacrifice myself and my sleep in order to remain committed to everyone I had committed to.
The end of September was pretty easy, really. Working four jobs was somewhat exhilarating as I had found a new way to challenge myself—reduce the amount of sleep, increase the amount of working hours, and increase the amount of income.
But then October came. I would work at L.L.Bean from 8:30 PM to 4 or 5 AM, go to the YCMA 8 AM to 1 PM, drive to Gray to coach from 2 to 4 PM, drive back to the YMCA and train from 5 PM to 8 PM. Saying I was tired would be a gross understatement. The YMCA schedule was somewhat variable to meet client’s demands. 3rd shift at L.L. Bean was ramping up and I was required to put in long overnight hours. The cross-country season was in full swing and my Miss Maine USA hopeful was gearing up for her pageant in November. There were many days that I literally slept for half an hour. There was only one day in October that I actually slept for 8 hours. Just one.
Once November rolled around, I was beyond tired. Fortunately the cross-country season had come to an end at the end of October, but it was now time for hunting season. The sleepless days and nights continued; I probably averaged 3 hours per night/early morning in November. My sanity may have been saved when the YMCA schedule still accounted for the 2-4 PM coaching I was doing. Since I wasn’t coaching I would go straight home, walk Lucy and eat lunch at the same time, then take an hour-long nap. An hour isn’t much, but it probably saved me.
As November came to a close, I could see the light that was the end of December in the distance. “Peak” (L.L.Bean’s busiest time of the year) was in full swing. I was still busy overseeing a different area of the operation (training the seasonal workforce had ended). It was on December 1st that I gave my notice to L.L.Bean so I could pursue my dream job as a fulltime fitness instructor. I was completely worn out and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.
Now here I am, still wanting to sleep, reflecting on the last 94 days of my life. While “whirlwind,” “roller coaster,” and “absolute craziness” are all understatements to the past three months, I don’t know if I would have changed a thing about it. I learned an incredible amount of how much stress the human body can endure. I’ve learned that sleep is often an under-appreciated time in our day. And I’ve learned that it’s important to stick to your commitments and values. It would have been extremely easy for me to bail on L.L.Bean, but I had committed to them and they relied upon me. I could have bailed on coaching or even my Miss Maine USA client in order to save a few precious hours in my day. But I didn’t because I had committed, and I believe I’m now a better person because of it.
Next time I hear someone say, “I’m too tired to work out,” or complain that they don’t want to do an exercise because they “didn’t get enough sleep last night,” (both excuses I’ve heard plenty of times) I am going to dial up the intensity on them because I know their bodies can handle it. I tend to joke that I’m a “physical specimen” to people who are close to me, but in the end we are all physical specimens. When we ask our bodies to perform or function a certain way, more times than not we can get a positive response from them and they'll do what we ask of them. It's just not always very pretty.

Alright, enough typing.  It’s time to start catching up on 94 days worth of sleep.

1 comment:

  1. You are truly an inspiration! I am honored to call you my friend!