6:00 am — Rach shakes me awake (I never hear the alarm clock).  I roll out of bed and drag myself downstairs to put on my shoes and head out for my first run. I usually try to sleep in my running clothes in order to cut down on time spent getting ready in the morning – I can be a bit of slowpoke in the morning.

6:15 am – Rach and I are out on our front lawn trying to get our GPS watches synced up. After the frustrating, time-consuming process is over, we head out into the dark, chilly morning. We usually meander/explore the neighborhoods of Elmhurst (our hood!) and Mount Pleasant on the west side of Providence up into North Providence. We’re still learning our way around so if anyone has recommendations on good runs in PVD we are all ears!

7:15 am – Rach and I usually are usually back by now and we begin the crazy charade of transitioning from sweaty, tired, runners into clean, dapper-looking professionals/students. But first for me: rolling! As someone who has been injured on and off for the past 4 years, I know that I need to roll every day for at least 10-15 minutes post-run, especially in the mornings. This allows me to work out the kinks in my legs before I jump in the shower and dash off into my day.

7:40 am – We pull out of the driveway and pray that traffic will treat us nicely (it typically does not). I usually scarf down a bagel with cream cheese, banana and a gigantic mug (think Big Gulp size) of coffee on the way.

8:00 am – I drop Rach off at her job in downtown Providence. We usually try to spend the time in the commute catching up on the day’s news by listening to the NPR podcast “Up First”. If we are feeling like we need a bit of a pick-me-up, we may throw on one of our favorite rap songs and rap loudly as we roll down the road. After dropping Rach off at work, I jump onto I-95 south towards CCRI’s Knight campus in Warwick for my first class of the day.

8:30 am – After fighting a horrendous amount of traffic I settle down into my seat for my Chemistry class. I am retaking some courses that I did not do particularly well in during undergrad in order to get into Physical Therapy school. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to pursue a career that I am passionate about. Physical Therapists have helped put me back together through so many injuries, pre-habbing and re-habbing, so pursing my dream of becoming a physical therapist has extra meaning for me

9:55 am – Class is over. Once a week I help host a study session for about 5-6 other students in my chemistry class. We work together for about 45 minutes studying for upcoming quizzes and exams in an open discussion type format.

10:40 am – Unfortunately, I have to leave my study section early in order to jump back on the highway and head up to CCRI’s Lincoln campus for my next class. The long-ish commute between classes is not ideal, but I made the decision to go back to school kind of at the last minute and the only way I could make the classes work was to fit them in at several campuses across the state. I am thankful each day that the small size of Rhode Island allows me to pull off this hectic schedule.

12:45 am – My 2nd class is over and I jump back in the car to zoom back down towards Providence to help out at our middle school meet. I scarf down my lunch on the way, usually a turkey sandwich or wrap with spinach and cucumber (and guacamole when I can get it!).

1:15 pm – I pull into Roger Williams Park and begin helping set up the course for our middle school meet.

2:30 pm – The gun goes off for the first race of the meet. This week I’m on finish line duty handing out scoring card to the kids and reminding them that they did a great job as they stagger exhaustedly through the chute. I’ve only been able to help out once a week with our middle school program, but I love seeing the kids work and get better week by week. It really makes me remember how much fun cross country and running can be. I love cheering on the kids and channeling my inner Coach McGimpsey (my vociferous and ever-excitable high school coach) by encouraging everyone to “pump your arms all the way through the line”! Seeing the kids react and be excited by their ability to finish strong is a great feeling.

4:00pm – All the coaches help out with the arduous task of getting the kids on the appropriate bus (think herding cats). Once we get all of the kids on their way home, we work to break down the course and get everything cleaned up. Once the park is all cleaned up, those of us who with a double that day do our second run around the park. I have found that the first mile of this second run, after standing outside in the sun for the past 2.5 hours, is something of crawl as we wake our tired legs back up. Thankfully we usually finish the run feeling much better than we when we started. We then roll out and stretch for a short bit in order to recover and be ready for our workout the next morning.

5:20 pm – I pull into the driveway at home. Rach has run home from work and has already started on the equally important tasks of chopping up the veggies for our weekly pizza on Friday nights and drawing up an ice bath in the tub. I take to the task of cooking sausage and shredding cheese for the pizza as Rachel prepares the dough and sauce. The pizza is usually ready to go into the oven just as the ice bath is drawn. With a cooking time of about 25 minutes, this provides the perfect window for each of us to soak our legs in the 50 degree water for about 12 minutes.

6:15 pm – I emerge from the ice bath shivering and am immediately met with a piping hot pizza to slice up and devour. I celebrate getting through another week of school and work with a nice beer; I’m on a Shipyard Brewing Pumpkinhead kick right now (FALL!). Rach and I then proceed to debate about what show we should watch as we eat (we are lost now without Game of Thrones).

7:30 pm – After eating, watching a little TV, and cleaning up the dishes, I head to our home office for some more study time. I’m determined to stay on top of my classes, even on a Friday night, so I try to get in a bit of work.

9:00 pm – I wrap up my study session and head upstairs to take care of my night things (brushing my teeth, taking out my contacts, etc.). Once I’m done, I get ready to wind down with a book. I’m currently re-working my way through the Lord of the Rings series right now. Can’t beat it.

9:30 pm – By this time, the exhausting nature of the day has caught up to me and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. When this happens, I’m off to snoozeville, confident that tomorrow morning will bring a great workout and another great day.

A Day in the Life: John Schilkowsky