Earlier this month I had three back to back felony jury trials. Never in my more than ten years of trial practice have I experienced such a stressful crunch. The first trial ended in a hung jury the very same day I was picking the jury for the second trial. The second trial ended in a hung jury the day I argued a motion to suppress and picked a jury for the third trial. And when the third trial, an armed robbery, ended the following week with a not guilty verdict I was too tired to celebrate. As happy as I was for my client and as professionally satisfied as I felt, it was hard not to just be glad that the whole experience was over.
Trial involves long days and long nights of preparation; visits to the jail to consult with clients. And the part they don't tell you about in law school: running around trying to find court appropriate clothing for clients held in jail in an orange jumpsuit with families too poor or uninvolved to provide clothes for trial. Multiple times during that three and a half week stretch I was spending my lunch break running down the street for a bigger shirt or better fitting dress shoes. It makes it hard to concentrate on the actual legal issues.
With all of that going on how did my training fare? Actually, I managed to hold it together pretty well. Turns out that as tired and stressed as I was each day, the one thing that kept me from being a complete wicked witch to everyone around me was to get my daily endorphin rush. A couple of times I sent a text to my coach to tweak or shuffle workouts, but I don't think I skipped a workout the entire time. Knowing I had yet something else on my to do list each day was a stress in and of itself. But once the workout was done I felt SO MUCH BETTER! The trick is remembering that workout high the next time I find myself in a rough trial pattern.
On Tuesday this week I had a misdemeanor trial get continued. The weather was absolutely perfect and I had the foresight to bring my running clothes with me to the office. So I headed out at lunchtime and completed an easy run on the National Mall. I started at the Capitol, ran to the Lincoln Memorial, and back. The DC scenery never gets old and I feel privileged to be able to run by the Washington Monument with quick views of the WWII Memorial as well as Jefferson. The bonus of being my own boss also allows me to be sweaty and stinky for the rest of the afternoon as I get ready for the next trial on the calendar.
My day job sure isn't perfect and it provides me with a ton of stress. But I have to constantly remind myself that it also provides for my family and this crazy hobby of mine. And the training gives my mind and body the outlet it needs to de-stress. Winner winner chicken dinner.