Recap post from the past week (or so… how is it not Thursday yet???)
My work days have been filled with travel and my personal time with errands and outside activities! It’s been a full, tiring, and inspiring few days and while I am currently contemplating going to bed (it’s 7am…) due to all the meetings, driving, and conversations, I am also reflecting on how cool it is that I am able to travel the state with my job. Not many people have that opportunity and I am focusing on that rather than my exhaustion.
Last Friday I presented at the Preserve Iowa Summit on the partnerships forged and/or strengthened through the Iowa Great Places program. I manage the Iowa Great Places program through the Department of Cultural Affairs and through that program I have been exposed to all kinds of regional, city, and district partnerships. It is pretty amazing to see how people can leverage their strengths to better the whole.
The presentation was 90 minutes long and I had invited two designated Iowa Great Places representatives to join me and discuss their community experiences. Unfortunately one of the presenters was unable to attend last minute so my one panelist and I were tasked with filling the 90 minutes with meaningful information. Luckily he was up to the task and the audience had very insightful questions and comments to add to the discussion. It ended up being a strong presentation but I was so happy to have it done! After presenting I stayed to listen to a few of the other sessions related to community engagement. I also went to a local coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot in town to relax and read my kindle before a final session at the conference. Fort Dodge, the location of the summit, is an Iowa Great Place so I took the opportunity to drive around the downtown and view some of the projects partially funded by Iowa Great Places grants. Great to see the progress firsthand!
Friday night Adam and I went on a 13 mile bike ride to Slater, stopped for a beer at the local bar, then struggled our way the 13 miles back in the headwind. Training for Ragbrai is officially underway! It was a good ride and I finally kept up with Adam with little struggle! Woohoo for progress! We biked straight to The District in Prairie Trail to a local restaurant, Whiskey River, and met up with Adam’s coworker and her boyfriend. We all watched the NBA game (kinda… Adam’s coworker and I were slightly less than engaged…) but it went until 11pm which is WAY past my bedtime so it was all I could do to stay awake at the table! Great to be social and meet her boyfriend, but I was happy to bike home and crawl into bed.
Saturday morning started early with OrangeTheory. I felt pretty tired and drained so decided to not push myself as hard as normal, still a great workout though. It’s impossible to take it TOO easy at OTF! Afterwards I quickly made myself breakfast and showered before heading off to cox for the rowing club. We were out on the water in small boats on Saturday morning, 4+ boats. It was a beautiful hot day and I ended up with a slight sunburn on my arms, I’m going to have to remember to wear sunscreen during future practices!
Adam and I made a big brunch when I returned from crew, finished up Bloodline on netflix, and headed to the pool for a few hours. It was HOT but beautiful. I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose, Adam went down a couple slides, and we went on the lazy river (every hour during the 10 minutes for adults only!). We didn’t stay long because we had my coworker’s husband’s birthday party to go to downtown and we wanted to stop by a local bar right near the party beforehand since we were in the area in south Des Moines.
We stopped at Mullets, I failed to take a single picture… oops, and then we went to Tomea’s for the birthday party. It was fun to hang out with coworkers outside of work! We enjoyed a few drinks, had some delicious food (I had pasta with a spicy tomato cream sauce), and played bocce ball. Unfortunately Adam and I were terrible at bocce… so we only lasted one round. We didn’t stay too long before heading home, sharing some ice cream, and going to bed.
Sunday I volunteered at the church to prepare and serve the free coffee table during the early service. The timing of the volunteer shift made OTF impossible but I needed a rest day so I was happy to sleep in a little and get to church by 8am. I actually ran past OTF to pick up a t-shirt that I have been eyeing for a few weeks… Amusing to walk into OTF without workout clothes on!
Adam joined me for the late church service and afterwards we went home to enjoy brunch at home. I collected a huge crop of kale, spinach, and lettuce from the garden!! It is crazy how much things are growing! After brunch I dragged Adam to West Des Moines to run some errands. Most importantly, I purchased an Apple Watch (!!!), I have been saving for weeks so it was an exciting purchase! While in the area we went to Scheels and REI for “fun”. We both made many purchases but I am telling myself they were necessary… padded bike shorts, sports bras, and a manually inflatable bed for camping during Ragbrai. I’m excited that it is coming up at the end of July and actually happening!
Sunday night is usually meal prep for Adam and I but we both have crazy schedules this week so instead we just made dinner and I blogged about meal prepping (see previous post!). Dinner was kale chips, sweet potatoes, and salmon for me, steak for Adam. I was craving sweet potatoes so they really hit the spot!
Monday morning came bright and early! I started my day off with OTF and a chicken breast + Shakeology shake. I am new to the Shakeology train (as previously mentioned) but I am quickly becoming addicted! It really does keep me full all morning until lunch and the consistency and flavor is really good. I am trying a new flavor next month and planning to try a greater variety of recipes.
With my shake prepped and snacks in my bag, I headed to the office to pick up the state vehicle and my boss for the first day of our 4 straight days of travel. We went to Council Bluffs on Monday, southwest Iowa on the Missouri River. It was a great visit and my first time there! So inspiring to hear about some of their plans and see part of their historic downtown.
Monday night Adam and I met up with another couple from church for dinner. We had been linked up with them by the small groups manager at the church as another couple with no kids (a rarity in Ankeny!). They were so nice and we ended up hanging out for over 2 hours at the local cafe. Looking forward to seeing them again! As soon as we made it home after dinner I crashed!
Tuesday morning started similarly to Monday, I am definitely a creature of habit. We had a double site visit Tuesday, first visiting Ames and then Tama County (primarily in Toledo). Again we were lucky to have perfect weather and motivated organizers guiding our visit. It was my first time to both locations and I was impressed by their partnerships, organizations, and history!
We made it back a little late from the site visit so I met Adam in Des Moines for beach volleyball. We won again! This time we won all three games easily, despite the other team feeling pretty comparable to us skill-wise. It was hot on the courts but so much fun! Adam and I went out to dinner afterwards and made it back home pretty late, slightly after 10pm (yep, I am an old person, 10pm feel so late!).
This morning was pretty rough. I was woken up multiple times in the night during a pretty massive storm so was totally unprepared for the 5am alarm clock even though it was later than my normal alarm! My boss and I had our furthest distance to travel today, all the way up to the northeast corner of Iowa to Elkader, Clermont, and Elgin to visit the Turkey River Recreational Corridor projects. I don’t pick favorites, but I really do love this area of the state and I am so impressed by this group. I have worked with rural communities in Florida and Iowa and this joint organization is very special. They aren’t without their struggles, but the core group strongly believes in their mission and they have produced very impressive results for 2 rural counties and 3 rural communities! So despite the massive rainstorm we got stuck outside in, it was a fun visit!
Despite feeling invigorated by the visit, I am dragging tonight and will be going to sleep shortly after completing this post! Adam has been so patient with me as I have struggled with recovering from my recent travel. My inner-introvert is really struggling… I feel like I haven’t had downtime in a few weeks… so I will need to set aside some hours for myself this weekend, but I am lucky to come home to Adam cooking me dinner and dogs who are ALWAYS excited to see me. Life is good, even when drained from extensive human interactions! (I sound so anti-social!! But spending hours in the car alone with my boss and talking nearly the whole time is difficult!)
Now your turn!
- How do you recover from exhausting work days?
- Are you a good public speaker and have any tips on how to stay calm?