I decided to take a little breather from money-talk to discuss a very important element of Mark's job: the nap.
Mark and I have had to live apart on various occasions due to training changes, coaching changes and moves. Don't worry, it never usually lasts longer than a few months and we seem to deal with it just fine. Anyway, a dear friend of mine with whom Mark lived for a couple of months, said, "Oh-tell them about his naps." Personally, I do not find this all that interesting, but to her it is, so here's the scoop.
Mark takes naps. Not everyday (especially not now that he has a nagging wife asking him to run errands, go to the grocery store and change over the laundry), but a lot of days Mark takes a nap. Annoying? No (not usually). This is part of Mark's job.
No, his sponsors do not check in to make sure he is taking a nap and napping is not required by the United States Olympic Committee, but Mark is paid to be in the best physical and mental shape possible (this translates into fast swimming and medals). So, indirectly, Mark gets paid to take a nap.
When Mark was living with these friends of ours, they were blown away by all of the little things that make up Mark's work day. What truly separates Mark's job from other "typical" jobs? Mark's job is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year job. We tend to call our lifestyle a championship lifestyle because with everything we do we question, "is this going to help or hurt Mark in the water?" Sure, we have fun, hang out with friends and do normal activities, but we can never truly take a vacation from Mark's career. We (me by default) have to constantly be aware of what Mark eats, how much sleep he is getting, how much walking he is doing, how much sun he is getting, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Mark's naps are not random, either. He is very methodical in the way in which he plans out what time he should go into the bedroom, for how long he should sleep and at what time he should wake up in order to time his pre-practice meals, stretching, etc.. Mark has been a professional swimmer for six years and in those six years he has learned what his body needs and how to best prepare for practice and races-this includes becoming a napping wiz.
Oh how I wish I could just crawl under my desk, curl up and take a little snooze right now. But, like you, I get paid to work and no one seems to care how rested I am.