My first three competitions had begun, starting in the Czech Republic. The first stop was Ostrava, a small town. Arriving at the airport early in the morning, I was greeted by a local driver. Thankfully he had been holding a card bearing my name, since I soon realized that he did not speak much English. The driver took my bags and loaded them into the car before we headed to the hotel. Continue reading “Olympic Competition Season Has Begun”
Well, it’s 2012…I survived my trip to Las Vegas and Indoor Track and Field is about to kick off! I will have my first three competitions in Czech Republic. I will compete in Ostrava, Hustopece, and Trinec. I had a minor set back in training due to a hamstring sprain, but it is starting to get better just in time. I try to rehab at my desk by icing and stretching. The temperature has dropped drastically so I have to start packing more layers so I can stay warm. My weight room is still consistent. I am very strong and plan on getting even stronger. I am slowly getting back into my top speed in sprinting, though my hamstring does prevent me from going 100 percent. It’s still very early so I do have time to get everything back to normal. Continue reading “2012…the year of the Olympics is here!”
I finally adjusted to training and working. I switched up some things in my workout to get home at a decent time. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday I used to lift weights after practice. Weights take so long that I wasn’t getting home till around 8:30pm – and that’s a LONG day. There’s an LA Fitness across the street from work at Soliant Health, so I bought a membership, and now I do weights on my lunch break or right after work. That way I can head straight home after my track workout. It saves me a lot of time.
My workouts are shorter now but are high intensity. I do everything at a faster pace. The only thing I hate is all the driving back and forth. If home, work, and training were all 5-10 minutes apart, I’d probably jog to practice straight from work and warm up at the same time. When you’re short on time, efficiency counts.
Work is still great. I love working at Soliant Health. Everyone smiles and sings. It’s a great environment. I could not participate in the Soliant charity run a couple weeks ago with my work team because I had practice, but they had a great time and I’m sorry I missed it.
I am still doing random assignments each day, and I really like it because I get to do take on a new challenge every day. Also it gives me a chance to get up from my desk and stretch out a little; my lower back sometimes tightens up after sitting too long.
After I’d been here a few weeks, I referred my brother Mitchell for a position in our nursing division. After several interviews, he was hired. Interestingly, over 90% of Soliant’s employees in Atlanta were referred into the organization. I’m excited that my brother and I are working together! He just finished his week of training and is anxious to get out and get the job rolling. I think he’ll do great. He’s very tall and looks just like me. When he walked into Soliant, I heard people say, “There is another Keith walking around here somewhere!”
I went to Las Vegas on October 28 for a High Jump Summit. Basically, it was a meeting with other high jumpers and coaches, where we talk about bettering ourselves as athletes and in our events. For an athlete, attending things like this is much like attending trade conferences or continuing education classes for healthcare professionals. You learn things, hone your understanding of the sport, meet important people…and you get to size up your opponents. Even an athlete needs to network!
Last year when I went to Las Vegas for this meeting, I got addicted to the slot machines. I don’t know what it is about slots, but I could not stop. This year the plan is to ignore the slots – I’ll tell you how that went next time. Wish me luck!
I’m all settled in here at Soliant and the work environment is great. As soon as I adjusted to the long hours, training started, and I had to readjust all of the adjusting I’d done. The recent changes in my life must be a lot like starting a new travel assignment. I’ve met new people, found my way around a new office environment, learned new tasks, and adjusted to a new schedule. Wow, and our candidates do all that every couple of months! It’s challenging, but at the same time, it’s really, really exciting.
1st week of training
My new work hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, and training starts at 3:00 pm. I always hate the first day of training because it’s always the hardest. It’s just like David Alexander described about being a new employee at Soliant. He said, “Getting started is like pushing a broken down car; it may be hard in the beginning, but once you get the wheels moving, it’s easier.” My first day of training is the worst feeling in the world – like pushing a humvee uphill with flat tires!
You have to prepare more mentally than physically. If you are not mentally prepared, you want to quit. On the first day of training, my coach made us do a two-mile test, running drills, 300 sit-ups, 100m strides, and weights. I was not ready. I managed to run the mile in 14:33. That’s bad, but for the first day, it’s okay. This is a conditioning phase that I do for about six weeks. I struggled at first because I was not eating enough while at work. You need a lot of calories when you’re working out so hard. Now I bring a bag full of stuff to snack on all day. My body was really sore after the first week of workouts…I could hardly walk. I felt like quitting every day, but I know that the pain is temporary and I have to keep pushing myself.
Work at Soliant
Work is coming along great. I have not started to make phone calls yet because I have a lot of other assignments to get done first. Tim has me on a schedule where I go to a different department each day and work on a different assignment. Some assignments are long, and some are short. I’m always willing to help out any way I can, no matter what the job is.
One assignment was something I never expected. David ordered a bunch of Soliant coffee mugs a long time ago and they were just sitting in the office. He wanted them shipped out to the new travel nurses, travel therapists, locum tenens physicians and other candidates who were starting their first assignments. There were 200 mugs or more. Me and my buddy Chelsea MacDonald dressed up the mugs with candy and a ribbon, and included a personal note to each candidate from his or her recruiter. Then we added a clear plastic wrap, packaged up all of the mugs, and sent them off. 200 coffee mugs! It was a long and tedious process, but I’m sure the candidates really appreciated it. I think it shows how much Soliant cares for them.
Right now, I don’t have any free time. Usually I have all the time in the world. My friends used to depend on me to do favors for them since my schedule consisted of nothing but practice every day. I got calls all the time saying: Hey, can you help me move… sure! Hey, can you go to my house and wait for the cable man to get there…sure! Hey can you watch my dog for the week…sure! They never had to call anyone else. Now, between working and working out, I don’t have time to do favors for anyone. Friends ask, “Hey can you help me?”….ummmm…I’m sleeping. “Hey Keith, can you…?” …ummm…I’m tired. I know that sounds bad, but it’s the truth. On the weekends, I try to get as much sleep and rest as I can. I’m sure I will adjust to all this in about two weeks…but I’m still going to need my sleep.
So I’ve recently started working here at Soliant, and apparently they think I’m interesting enough to have my own blog. I guess it has something to do with being an Olympic athlete. That’s right. My name is Keith, and when I’m not doing my thing working for Soliant, I’m training for the 2012 London Olympics.
Team Soliant by Day
When I started my job at Soliant, the first person I met was David Alexander, the president of the company. We had a long talk about running and the working environment. David is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, like Mister Rogers. He showed me around the office and introduced me to everyone.
Next, I met with Tim Starling, my supervisor, who’s also a very nice person. I’ve never had my own desk; it was pretty cool. Tim told me that I would work in every department, helping anyone who needs a hand. After another tour of the office, we went to a lot of meetings to see what was going on, and so I could get a feel for the working environment.
Meeting my coworkers was great. Everyone is really nice and universally amazed at how tall I am. I’m sure anyone who talks to me gets a neck injury from looking up so high. My office is in the North Pod, which is great. Everyone loves to sing over here. As I’m writing this, Dwayne and Liz and Sean are singing. Sean knows the words to every song that comes on the radio. I may join the singing one day. Maybe. When I need help with something, no one hesitates to lend me a hand. It’s nice to work in such a supportive environment.
The downside of working full time is the hours. It’s been 7 years since I last worked, so the hours – 8am-5pm – are brutal! I fight sleep every day. I even started drinking coffee…and I never had coffee in my life. Every morning I wake up at 6:15am and leave the house by at 7:10am because morning traffic is crazy. I haven’t missed any days and I haven’t been late. This is what I wanted to do so no excuses. My motivation for everything is London Olympics 2012.
Tim put me in the official training group. Training covers a lot of information such as different types of candidates, terminology, how to market a candidate, how to use the internal database, tips on how to be successful, job postings…EVERYTHING! It was a lot of information in a short period of time.
On Thursday, I signed up to play 9 holes of golf with the company (they have various summer games / outings – golf, kickball, bowling, etc.) We left at 3:00 and went to Stone Mountain. My golf team included Amy, Kelly, and Dawn. I’ve played golf before, but only on a simulator. Golf is really fun. It does not take a lot of energy; you don’t have to warm up for it or stretch. You just go out and play. I wish we had done 18 holes – at the end of 9 holes, I wanted to keep going. It was a really fun experience and I would definitely go again.
Team USA by Night
When I get off work every day, I load up the playlist in my car because I can’t survive without my iPod on my long (45min) drive home. I work out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thursdays and weekends, I’m off. My workout takes about two hours. After that, it’s a rush to shower, eat, and try to be in the bed by 9:30 or 10 at the latest. On the weekends, I try to get as much sleep as I can. I do go out a lot with my friends to dinner, movies, a club, or whatever I’m in the mood for. I take my chocolate lab, Rocko, to the dog park or the Silver Comet/Chattahoochie trail. Sometimes, I go for a light 30min run.
My work hours will be cut in half when I start training because it’s pretty intense. Training will take a lot of energy out of me. During my fall/winter training, I do a lot of running, weights, and plyometrics. I take an ice bath twice a week, and I drink a lot of protein shakes to help build muscle. The intense training routine will prepare me for the Olympic Trials in Oregon in June.
I’ve been talking with my coach about the plan for next year. I wrote down all my weaknesses and strengths in track and field so I could plan my workouts. It is similar to what I’m doing here at Soliant. Focusing in on what I do well, and where I can improve so I can do a “gold medal” job serving Soliant’s candidates and clients.