I am five weeks into my new job and finally feel like I have a rhythm and routine that is sustainable and feasible – at least for the time being. I’m sure there will be obstacles or bumps along the way, but no sense worrying about how I’m going to get around them before they are even in my way.
A lot of readers have asked what a typical day is like for me lately. I wanted to wait at least a month until the dust settled and I had a better handle on the day-to-day routine. So here goes:
3:45-4:10am: Wakeup. This varies based on the day, type of workout and number of miles I am planning to run. I make it as late as possible to squeeze out even an extra 10-15 minutes of sleep! Monday and Wednesday are usually my speed days and/or longer mileage days, so I tend to get up closer to 3:45 on those mornings.
Coffee. My husband or I set it up the night before, so it’s all ready by the time I make it downstairs. I straighten up, empty the dishwasher and do little things around kitchen until coffee is ready. Some mornings my husband joins me. We sit, drink our coffee and enjoy the quiet morning – and then when I run, he goes up to his office and starts working.
4:30-5:30/5:45am: Running, strength, core work. Some days outside, others on treadmill. I’m trying to vary my running as much as possible so I’m not as predictable. I used to do strength work immediately after my speed/longer mid-week runs (so that the easy days are just running and recovery), but there’s simply not enough time for it all on those mornings, so right now, strength and core are on my easy days. Not ideal, but it will have to work.
5:45-6:05am: Return from run, drink a glass of water and head upstairs to shower. Right now, my schedule is: Monday/Friday: wash and blow dry straight; Tuesday/Thursday: blow dry any sweat (thankful for the cooler mornings = no sweating – yay!) and re-straighten hair. And Friday I curl my hair. It’s not ideal because I wash and blow dry my hair on my longest training days, but the speed/long run days are the days I sweat the most.
Throw on robe and head downstairs to our powder room to blow dry hair, put on a little makeup and get dressed. The boys sometimes end up in our room and in the rare chance they are still sleeping, I don’t want the blow dryer to wake them up!
However, most mornings, they are up early (esp since daylight savings) and shower and keep me company while I get ready in the bathroom.
6:10-6:30: Blow-dry – takes about 20 minutes when I wash it (and 10 when I don’t). I’m leaning towards cutting another 1-2 inches off my hair at my next hair appointment – simply as a way to cut off (ha!) some prep time in the mornings.
6:30-6:35am: Dressed and makeup.
6:45am: Quick breakfast of eggs and fruit (thanks to my husband!)
NLT 7am: Out of house and on way to bus stop. I drive about 7-10 minutes to a spot on Staten Island where 3 express bus lines merge (it’s the last stop for 2 of them and 2nd to last stop for the other). I usually don’t wait more than 5 minutes for a bus in the AM (no need to check the schedule either). The only downside to this setup is that there’s no parking lot – just parking along road – so I often have about a 6-8 minute walk after I park car.
~7:10-7:15: Sitting on bus. On a good day, I am in the city around 8 or just after. Some days it can take about 90 minutes. I’m learning which mornings have fast commutes and which I need to leave a bit earlier for the heavier traffic.
I live on the southern end of Staten Island (about a mile from the end). There’s no direct way to get from Staten Island to Manhattan, so the best option for me is an express bus that takes me up through Staten Island, over the Goethals bridge, up the NJ Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel and then across the city along 34th and up Madison (where I work). If there’s no traffic, it’s about 50-55 minutes. The good part is that once I get on the bus, I don’t have to move – the express bus takes me virtually to my office door (at most I walk one block).
8am-5:30/6pm: Work. Busy, but amazing days. I’m learning a ton and really, really enjoying my job. I eat lunch at my desk most of the time so that I could spend it working (so I could head home even 10-15 min earlier).
5:30-6pm: Walk to bus stop. I walk one avenue to the bus stop and usually wait about 10 min for a bus. Once I’m on it, the commute is anywhere from 75-105 minutes to my car where I have the walk + drive home.
7-7:30pm: Home. If I walk in door before 7pm, it’s a celebration! Most nights, the boys are awake and have already been fed…and there is dinner waiting for me. I usually eat on the floor in the playroom so we could play or on the couch so I could talk to or read to the boys. The next hour is all about them – whatever they want to do – until it’s their bedtime. We head upstairs – sometimes for a bath or shower – and then they brush their teeth and use the bathroom. While that is happening, I rush in to my closet to pick out my outfits for the next day (running and work).
8-8:30pm: Then it’s the rest of the bedtime routine. We’ve pushed the boys’ bedtime back a bit so that I can spend more time with them at night (during the summer, they were asleep most nights by 7:30). The little guy is napping more during the day, but other than that, they seem to be okay with the later bedtime.
A story or two and some nights I lay with the boys (so that’s basically where the night ends for me!). If not, I head downstairs, get things set up for the next morning (coffee, clothes, backpacks, lunches), chat with my husband, head upstairs to fold laundry or straighten up and then hop into bed by 9pm. We don’t have a cleaning service so we try to stay on top of the day-to-day cleaning so the weekends are full of cleaning (usually spend about 4-5 hours Sunday morning cleaning).
So that’s basically my day. Here are a few things I do / learned:
- Planning ahead: Everything gets laid out the night before and brought into the dining room. My work outfit – undergarments, clothes, jewelry, shoes, bag. My running outfit – sports bra, bottoms, top, gloves, shoes, reflective gear, iPod. The boys school clothes, their backpacks, jackets, etc.
- Lunches and snacks for the boys either get packed at night or first thing in AM while I am drinking my coffee
- My work clothes get washed and steamed each Sunday, so that everything is ready for the week. I try to have 5 outfits ready to go by Sunday evening so that I’m not wasting time during the week ironing or steaming.
- Mindless tv: The biggest thing that I’ve had to cut back on is mindless tv. I don’t really watch any tv during the week these days. For a long time, my husband and I would watch a show or two each night before bed. It was nothing of value or significance. I am so tired by 9pm, that even if we were to put on the tv, I probably wouldn’t last more than 5 minutes.
- Minimizing the time suck. The first week I worked, I wasted so much time looking for things, making trips up and down the stairs in the AM and not having a set plan. These days everything has a place and time. All of my hair and makeup products are in the cabinet in the bathroom. I don’t need to run upstairs to grab the brush or clips or makeup.
- Use downtime on bus to rest. I don’t do much on the bus. I could text or get on my phone or even read, but I’m pretty tired, especially on the way home, after a full day of using my brain =) Most days, I close my eyes and drift in and out of sleep.
- Sleep. I average about 6-7 hours of sleep a night (7 is a really good night!). I function okay on this amount of sleep. By the weekend, I am pretty tired and try to take a nap one of the days (even just an hour or so makes a huge difference!).
- Feeling of empowerment. No matter how tired I am in the morning, there’s this amazing sense of empowerment I feel each morning when I’m running. It’s a “I’m doing this” kind of feeling that makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I had so many fears about returning to work and a lot of them stemmed from worrying about how I was going to find the time to make it all fit in. And so, when I’m on the roads at 4:30am, I feel like I have already had a successful morning – and it sets the tone for a wonderful day!
Right now, I am running most mornings, but I’m likely going to take a rest day on Thursdays. It’s not that I’m physically not able to run – it’s more that I feel I need/want a day to sleep in and not have the crazy morning rush. It would also allow my husband and I more time together on Wednesday evening – maybe to watch a show or just sit on the couch together before we both pass out.
I’m extremely surprised at how much I am enjoying getting dressed up and ready for work (hair/makeup). After years of hanging around in workout clothes, it is SO much fun to have a reason to fix myself each morning. And I love not feeling guilty about spending money on clothes or accessories. I spent a lot of money on my wardrobe the last two months, but I basically was starting from scratch!! I’m finding that I prefer dresses or skirts (with tights and flats – I keep heels at work) over pants (I need to get all of my pants tailored (too big on waist/too long)).
My working and running is all possible because of my husband. He’s truly amazing. He works from home often, so he isn’t punching a clock – which allows him to have a more relaxed morning and evening with the boys. He cooks me breakfast and dinner most days. I come home to a delicious and healthy meal wrapped in foil in the oven with a glass of wine and water on the kitchen island. He cooks the boys breakfast, gets them dressed and takes them to school. And all with a huge smile. I kind of hit the jackpot =)
Childcare has also been a huge blessing. The boys are in school three days (little guy until 11, older guy until 2pm) so we don’t need childcare three mornings/week. Right now, we have a babysitter two days and then my mom and dad each come for one day (and my husband works from home the other day). There’s a lot of moving pieces, but everything has been working well with no issues – and it’s not costing us a fortune (although their catholic school tuition is not cheap! LOL).
Long term, I’m hoping to work from home one day/week. There are several people in my group who work from home at least once/week and I think it would allow me a morning to kind of unwind and relax. So I’m planning to work my butt off for the next few months so that I’m in a position to ask sooner rather than later.
The biggest struggle is/will be when my husband travels for work. His company is located in Buffalo (about 5 hours away), so he will be spending almost a week up there once every 3-4 weeks. This past week was the first time he has traveled since I started work and we got through the week. It simply meant earlier mornings (and more treadmill running) for me and a touch less sleep, but it’s Friday and we are all still smiling (I’m also working from home today so it feels a bit like Christmas for me!).
So that’s about it. The days are long but we are making it work right now. The biggest change is that I don’t have the flexibility of running whenever I want these days – it’s a small window each morning – and so I’m much more motivated to just get up and get it done when the alarm goes off. I’m sure there will be plenty of mornings I opt to sleep in and skip a run – and I’m already okay with that. There’s only so much I will be able to do – and even if I follow my training plan 75% of the time, I will consider it a huge success.
Hope you have a great Friday and weekend! <3