Bill Lacy set his alarm for 7 a.m. Monday, the first time in seven weeks it had even been used at all.
It was his first day back on the job at Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics, and it wouldn't be good to be late.
Of course, for the previous six months the alarm clock had been used early and often to get Lacy to former Sen. Fred Thompson's presidential campaign office. All told, in the six months Lacy ran the campaign he had 10 days off, including weekends. The campaign still ended before Lacy would have liked.
"Everything being perfect, I would rather be planning a general election campaign, but I'm glad I'm here," Lacy said. "We just ran out of time. I arrived in August, and there was a lot that hadn't been done."
After working himself to the point where friends, colleagues and even Lacy himself said he looked like a zombie, it wasn't enough to bring Thompson a victory. On Monday, Lacy likened the situation to asking the Jayhawks to go play in the Final Four on Saturday without having played a single game all season.
Nonetheless, in terms of the big components, Lacy said he was happy with the campaign he ran. There's nothing big he'd do differently.
And he said Thompson, by entering the race, positively altered the topics that people were discussing.
"I'm very proud of the acclaim (Thompson) received for his substantive policy proposals. He wanted to address problems that candidates weren't talking about," Lacy said.
Lacy cited Social Security reform, tax reform and foreign policy changes among areas where Thompson showed his skills.
Jonathan Earle, who served as interim director of the Dole Institute in Lacy's absence, said it was clear the Thompson staff worked really hard in the election.
"Bill passed through right after Thompson dropped out. He looked like he needed a vacation," Earle said.
That's exactly what Lacy did. After spending about three days in Lawrence, he and his wife headed for California to recuperate.
"It took me about three and a half weeks just to feel normal again," said Lacy, who spent a lot of time on his bicycle. "I'm still trying to lose the 10 pounds I gained."
Lacy said because of his time on the campaign the programming at the Dole Institute will only get better.
"I get updated on new people and new campaigns, but I also get a whole new set of connections," Lacy said. "The way we're successful here is relying on friends and professionals. We bring them here, treat them like rock stars and then they tell their friends this is a great place to come to."