Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rides, Runs, and Thunderstorms!

Today was a good day to be on a bicycle, even one that doesn't fit you.  I met up with some friends and we had a nice ride down a beautiful country road west of Houston.  The weather would have struggled to be any better and the pace of the ride was nice and relaxed.  We had two riders with us that were not up to hammering today for different reasons, so I spent a lot of time sitting on the front just keeping a steady, easy pace.  I peeled off at the end so that I could get my full time in while the rest went back to the coffee shop where we met up for smoothies.  I ran into them when I was done and sat for a chat before riding back to the RV park.

I did find out that when I am not pressing the pace, it is much easier to forget hydration and nutrition.  At one point, I did a short sprint and realized I had no gas in the tank.  That was when it dawned on me that I had consumed less than four hundred calories in six hours and had completed a run and most of a long ride.  Also, I had taken in about 1/3 of a bottle of water in 90 mins.  (Wow, I hope DW doesn't know this blog exists!)  I quickly ate a gel and drank some water but ended up only being able to pick the pace up slightly after leaving the group.  There is a strong lesson here.  Had that been a race, I would have blown it.

I was being petulant, cranky, and stubborn with DW on the phone today.  I have been getting easily irritated by my less than stellar run paces.  He keeps trying to get me to forget the pace and relax into the run.  I keep wondering why I am arguing with him on this point.  I don't want to enjoy running.  I want to get better at it.  I enjoy working hard on a problem and seeing the result of that hard work.  Running is such a thorn in my side because I feel hopeless when I do it.  If I am really focusing on my breath, form, pace, etc, then I am doing my job and the feelings of hopelessness don't take over.

The problem with feeling that way is that I really want to see certain results down the road.  The idea that I will always suck at this scares the daylights out of me.  I get angry because I have a fight/flight instinct that is perversely weighted to the fight side.  When I get scared, I respond with logic, determination/stubbornness, and ultimately, anger.  Ultimately, the solution is, well, working on a solution.

On another note, the drive to Texas was a little bit eventful.  I had to stop in Lake Charles while a big, bad, nasty storm sat just west of me and blew itself out.

Clearly, my co-pilots were not worried.

But travel can still be just exhausting!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who Needs Vodka When You Have Insomnia?

When I posted yesterday, I felt totally miserable.  It is amazing to me how much can change in my life just because I got enough sleep.  I recently read an article about Tera Moody, a top marathoner, who suffers from insomnia.  It was such a good read because I so frequently (like yesterday) forget how detrimental sleep deprivation is for performance.  I am here to tell you that it takes it's toll on rational thinking, too.  According to what I have heard, the level of sleep deprivation I function with most of the time is comparable to being legally drunk... all the time.

I wish this weren't the case in my life but it is.  I either need to address it, as Tera Moody has, or accept the less than stellar existence that comes with chronic sleep deprivation.  I have always been a poor sleeper and being on a 3rd shift schedule with no regular hours is making it much, much worse.  A good days sleep is one where I get 5-6 hours and only get out of bed a dozen times during the span.  A bad day is one where I get less than three.  I have one day a week scheduled where I do not sleep at all.  Often, it causes enough disruption that the following day, I sleep very little.  It is common for me to go from Monday morning to Thursday morning with less than 5 accumulated hours of sleep, and have many weeks where the total for the whole week is less than 20.  When I string several weeks of that together, like I did last month, then the tremendous debt is nearly impossible to pay without having a few weeks off from work to "reset".  Since the best I ever do while working is still a deficit, though smaller, I am unable to convince my body to forgive me for a very long time.

I have been willing to overhaul my diet, my attitude towards training, my lifestyle, and nearly everything else, so now it may be time to start addressing this problem.  Part of doing that is understanding and identifying when I am so tired I am irrational, like yesterday, and also realizing that if my body is exhausted, my brain doesn't get a vote.  My performance, no matter how pathetic, is going to be all that I have today.  By trusting myself to try and push in my workouts, I can give myself permission to be run-down and tired without taking the result of that personally.

Yes, I take each workout personally.  When I don't do well, I feel like I have let myself down.  The key here is shifting the focus from the result of that effort to the effort itself.  If I did the workout at the appropriate intensity and my body barely got through it, then I still did my job and it's time to address the greater problem of fatigue and depletion.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Up.. Down.. Up.. Down.. Way, Way, DOWN!

Well, as promised I am settled at an RV park near Houston and the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is underway.  Pin Oak is an interesting show since there is a wide variety of horses showing under one roof.  I am so used to looking at sport horses that I forget sometimes that there are many other types that people find appealing.  I find them interesting but it is a little difficult not to judge them based on what I consider to be desirable traits, which is anything but fair.  It would be like holding a power lifter to the physical standards considered desirable by marathoners.  It would not only be unfair but counterproductive in determining who might show talent.

It brings me to the question of triathlon and this waddling duck.  I did two things today (note: none of them were sleeping but that is another matter).  I test rode a triathlon bike and I did my run.  I hadn't really considered buying a bike terribly soon, at this point it's supposed to be more about finding out what fits and what I like.  Then I can buy a new bike when it is financially appropriate, but......

.....The bike was an eye opener.  I always knew that my bike was less than adequate but this thing handled like liquid lightning.  I am going to test ride several other types with varying geometry before I make any decisions but one thing was apparent, there is such a thing as riding without pain.  I have been in pain for every ride I have ever done.  The longer the ride, the greater the pain.  I rode this thing briefly, though they told me I could take it for a long ride next Monday, but the fit was like nothing I have ever felt.  The geometry of the bike seemed to channel all of my power and at no point did I feel like I was fighting my position.  In fact, I felt totally comfortable and relaxed up there... and free of tension and pain.  This creates a little bit of a dilemma in that I now know that cycling doesn't have to hurt.  This pushes the new bike WAAAY up the priority list, so far in fact that I was doing the math on a layaway while driving home.


...That then I did my run.  At the request of DW (in an effort to curb my mounting frustration and obsessive personality), I have switched my watch to only display time and not pace or heart rate.  Lately, I have been increasingly more frustrated with run paces that have gotten progressively slower.  I know I have been really fatigued and the sleep deprivation is probably the biggest culprit here, along with the slight weight gain that it has caused, but tonight's run was slower than my (totally pathetic, run/walked, after a night of braiding in the middle of the season on ZERO sleep) half-marathon average.  I'm talking a pace approaching three minutes per mile slower than a few weeks ago.  I don't even know what to say.  I felt fine on the run, though I was tired beforehand and it took some serious motivating to start.  I never felt like I was slacking off, more like being in a time warp.  It is frustrating and demoralizing.  I saw that pace, the kind of pace I would run for a similar amount of time when I first began running, and honestly the first though was "this is hopeless"  and my next thought was "there is NO POINT in buying a nice bike if you are just going to disgrace yourself on the run".  Then (and now) I just wanted to cry.

This gives way to thought processes like "maybe I should just take up cycling" or perhaps I should do a period of focused weight loss where I sacrifice my performance and training for the sake of weight (except that I know my body and I know how well that would work).  My diet is under control and the weight is slowly coming off when I get adequate sleep.

Then I get back to the subject of all the different horses at Pin Oak.  Maybe I need to face the fact that I am not built to be an endurance athlete.  When the job required a lot of fast twitch muscle fiber, the way martial arts did, I was predisposed to being very good at it.  Now that the job requires a lot of slow twitch muscle fiber, I feel like a duck out of water.  I have read that with time and careful training the ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch fibers can shift in either direction.  However, I am not sure anyone told that to my my fast twitch gaggle.

I can handle being the underdog, being bad at something for a period and struggling to overcome.  Those are all concepts with which Hollywood made sure we were all well acquainted.  I am willing to be patient but wow... I feel like I am making NO PROGRESS!!  I don't hate running but I hate being bad at running.  I hate going out there week after week, month after month (and at this point year after year) and feeling like none of the hard work is making a difference.  At the end of the day, I need some results no matter how small.  Instead, without fail, the more I run, the worse I get.  The only way to get a boost in speed is to take 6 months off to recuperate from an injury.

I have faith that I will hear from DW tomorrow and that he will say something that makes sense but right now, sitting here tonight, I am trying to reason through this frustration.  I am tired and I'm running aground of  My Rules of Life Changing Decisions #1: No life changing decisions when you are tired.  I won't let this turn into quitting.  Not tonight anyhow.  But right now, honestly, that rule and the medal hanging on a hook by the window are the only things that are stopping me.

I have heard of 'fake it till you make it' and truly believe in the principle, as well as the ideas of visualization.  But right now, they don't seem like enough.  I am worried that what I call visualization, mental health professional call delusion.  It suddenly seems silly to be in the market for a tri bike when it might be more prudent to wait and see if I don't actually need a road bike for crits or century rides or perhaps a stationary bike for my living room.

By the way, I know this is a pity party.  I threw the d*mn thing!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Go West, Young Duck, GO WEST!!

Driving directions:  Follow the ocean for about a day, hang a left at the Gulf of Mexico, drive into the sunset for what feels like eternity, when you see the man that actually looks GOOD in wranglers, boots, and a stetson, stop.  You found Texas.

Yup, I did it. I arrived at the finish line.  I am heading west tomorrow.  Of course, that just means I get two hours from home and start a three week horse show, so it's more like T2 than the finish line, but...... LALALALALA.... not listening!!  Only thinking about being done here.

My final week in FL is less of a triumphant victory and more of a whimpering survival.  I don't think I have yet recovered from three weeks of insomnia.  I am sleeping again but overall feel fairly weak.  Each day gets a little better but I am still relying on massive doses of caffeine to get through a work night and my athletic performance has been tragic, to say the least.

The last couple of weeks have been debilitating mentally.  What I held together when everything was going crazy in my life, I have lost control of now that the crisis has passed.  I had night after night where I was feeling alarming symptoms, almost heart attack-like.  It finally dawned on me that I was having anxiety attacks over and over.   I haven't had one of those in years.  Unlike the last time I dealt with it, there was no obvious precipitating event, just a 15 months of extreme stress, a few weeks of crisis, and three weeks of insomnia.

Fatigue.  Fatigue is the real culprit here.  It undermines your ability to cope and the effect just snowballs.  It will turn you into a person you do not recognize.  I don't cry.  I have broken down in tears several times lately.  I don't scream at service people no matter how much they may deserve it.  I had a full exorcist moment at the Ford service department a few days ago.  It's not pretty.  I told DW that I hated running.  I don't hate running.  (I hate sucking at it.)  I realized I sounded like a petulant little child and that night I had a dream that he fired me as a client.  I have eaten potato chips instead of my balanced meals several nights at work because I needed to rebel against the discipline that was making me put one foot in front of the other every day.  Now I feel fat AND tired.  This is not helping, but they were pretty tasty.

Still, I guess if the goal was to integrate my work and athletics, I did that.  I also got a sobering dose of reality.  This is really hard and it is not going to get easier.  I am going to have to plan breaks into my year to recover and train.  There are already breaks in the calendar because that is the nature of the job but I need to focus on making those count.  I am also going to have to take a night off once in a while.  The one thing I know for sure is that I don't want to give up.  For all of the whining, having this training program has added a dimension of stability and purpose (remember I am not married or in any relationship, don't have kids or other family members to care for and support, don't at the moment even have ties to my community.  I have this.) to my working life.  My job is like a choking vine that cuts you off from the real world, takes over your sense of identity, and leaves you with a miserable, broken existence.  I see it everywhere I look, especially amongst braiders.  Right now, triathlon is what is standing between me and complete surrender to the horse show world.  (A top trainer once asked me "are you sure you are a braider?  You are just... so NORMAL.")

I tried to organize tonight night off so that I would be rested for tomorrows drive but that didn't work out.  I am disappointed, but that is mostly because I had my heart set on catching the LBS ride right before I had to leave.  Between my crazy schedule and DW focused training plan, I have not gotten to join that ride (the one where I learned most of what I know about riding hard and paceline work) since I came back down here.  That is a huge bummer, but one that I will survive.  It would have been a great way to end this trip on a good note.  (Note... there were about four more paragraphs here that were not saved when the internet went down and the resulted in the computer locking up.  They are critical to this post having a theme and a message and not just being a big WHINE FESTIVAL.  Unfortunately, I was really "in the zone" when I wrote them and now I can't recall exactly how I put this together.  So in lieu of intelligent thought, I am just going to offer up some cheese and crackers.)

I have a run on the books for this afternoon and I'll be honest I am kind of dreading it.  My last run was, ahem, tortoise-like.  My average pace was nearly two full minutes off what I had been doing and it felt terrible.  I ached all over and my legs felt like cold sides of beef.  My psychology requests a solid effort from my body but last I checked my body wasn't taking requests.  My plan is to just go through the motions, if that is what it takes, for the next three weeks and once I am home in Austin, hit the trails and leave the Garmin Overlord at home.  Remember what a good run feels like when it is done just for fun.  I also know that my attitude will improve tremendously once I am able to do the types of workouts that help you to track progress.  I don't like stagnation and right now, it is taking all my effort to just hold my ground.  It is amazing that I can be giving my all to something and still be impatient with the pace of the progress.

I talked to DW before he headed to Puerto Rico (Good luck DW, blazing fast wife KW,  and any other athletes you may have there!) and I was in a particularly black mood.  I was having trouble seeing past the inside of my own skull and hopefully I did not let him in on my dark little secret... I am actually BAT-SH*T CRAZY!  He is excellent a putting everything into perspective.  At some point, this storm will pass and I will be grateful for all of the bad runs, frustrating trainer sessions, achy swims that I did when I just wanted to say "screw it".  All of the effort I am channeling into putting one foot in front of the other right now will be recognized when I don't have to make up for a big backslide in my progress.  For the moment, going forward is like riding into a strong headwind.  I may not be getting very far but at least I am not losing ground.  When the time comes, I will be ready to push off this foundation and see some results.

I feel like I am standing at the top of a mountain looking across the miles to another mountain top with the valley below shrouded in clouds.  I know that is where I need to go, but I have no idea what I will face along the road through the valley along the way.

I have used this analogy before but it is so appropriate to my life right now that I am saying it again.  I know where I want to go, I know how I want my life to look in a few years.  I have a clear picture of the goal, even if I have shared the full scope of it with NO ONE!  If I look at the top of that mountain, I stay focused on the goal.  If I look at the dirt under my feet, I stay in the moment (and don't trip over as many rocks).  If I look at the actual distance between me and my intended destination, it seems so overwhelming.  Right now, I am trusting that I will have what it takes to arrive there, though I am aware that like so many things in life, I probably don't know what I have gotten myself into.

Hopefully by the time I post again, the Airstream and I will have arrived safely in Texas.  Happy trails!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Century Post!

It nearing the end of the season in Florida.  This horse show has, as it always is, been totally grueling.  We are all worn down and exhausted.  The horses are tired and cranky.  People are starting to fall apart and details are getting overlooked.  Two weeks ago a competitor was killed in the warm-up arena.  Last week I passed another braider who was crying in her car not sure how she could get through the night.  This week I found out that another had a serious breakdown and is headed home while yet another ended up having an ambulance called for her after collapsing due to dehydration and a possible blood clot.  Last night I encountered a competitor who was drunk and locked out of her rental car in the pouring rain.  Rather than let me call her a cab, she broke the window in frustration and drove off.

I am a little numb but doing okay.

I am grateful tonight for the changes in my life.

I am grateful that I made the decision to respect myself and my limitations.

I suddenly view the damage to my left hand as a blessing as it has made it impossible to work the grueling hours on the ladder that I have in past years.

I may not have made the money I would have liked but I am alive, well, sane, and I have successfully maintained my training through the Winter Equestrian Festival, the longest and arguably hardest equestrian event in the world.

It's not over yet but I see the finish line and I know I am going to make it.   Next week is my last week in Florida.  Then I head to Houston for a grueling three day week horse show that runs back to back six day stretches so there is no day off.  It is the biggest show on the Texas calendar.  But if I maintain the level of self care that I have thus far, I will survive it too.  Then I go home.

I am ready to go home.

This is the Duck's 100th post.  I am a very different person than I was when I started this blog.  I just reread my original post and got a good chuckle.   I aspired to update it daily (HA!) and didn't see an ounce of athletic virtue in myself.  A lot has happened in that time and the differences in me are both small and profound.  I am not sure if I am substantially faster, fitter, or thinner (I am at least some of each), though I have a level of consistency in my life I have never enjoyed before.  I believe in myself and my own possibility.  I just trained through WEF.  Last year I had no posts and virtually no training during this period.  I also took a massive virtual and physical hiatus during my summer busy season due to injury and being overwhelmed.  This year I am learning how to balance my life.  I am happier than I have ever been, though I still whine a lot in these pages (my blog, my prerogative!)  Most importantly, I feel empowered to risk everything to live my life on my terms.  I have started to change and it no longer scares me.  I also know that I need to center my life around my passion, my health, my terms.

"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." -Christopher Columbus (and he would know!)

In my life, I am preparing to make room for some substantial change.  I am preparing to let the shore slip beyond the horizon.

It's the Duck's CENTURY post!!  Stick around.  It only gets better.

Whoo hoo!

Here's to being BATMAN!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Change Is Beautiful!

I am happy to report that while I am not sleeping as well as I'd like this week, I got two days of excellent recovery on my days off.  I am trying to get back onto my regular training schedule, even if it is just a maintenance week.  My usual long ride on Tuesday was cut short by a combination of factors.  First, I got a late start because I overslept... YAY!  Then I hit terrible traffic heading down to the beach so by the time I got on the bike, I was going to have to trim a few minutes off the prescribed three hours anyhow.  I headed South on A1A and got a just a couple of miles down the road and there was a road closure.  (Understand that this is a long skinny barrier island with basically on road running north-south.  Detours are not a possibility unless you can get to a bridge and cross over to the mainland roads.)   I did the only thing a girl can do (when faced with a wooden barrier guarded by a grumpy cop), I turned around and headed north.  I was only able to go north for a while when the wind became a squall from the ocean.  Once I was getting wet, I looped back again.  At this point, I had logged roughly an hour, though there had been long breaks while I waited for a gap in the traffic large enough for me to make my U-turns without the assistance of a light.  Aside from really working my bike handling skills in high winds, there was little physical benefit to this ride so I finally packed it in, still happy I was able to get out and spin my pedals.

I have also been thinking about the paradigm shift that has slowly developed in my life thanks to triathlon.  For starters, a good day is a day that is anchored in a good training effort.  It has become the cornerstone of my daily life.  I read somewhere recently that being a pro (the author of the article... NOT ME!) is not just a job, it is a 24 hour commitment.  I think that is true for serious amateurs as well.  I find that anymore making the decisions that will support my training efforts come easily.  I want to eat right, I want to sleep enough, I want to sweat every day, I want to take care of my body and mind so that I can perform at my peak.  I no longer have a time when I workout and then the rest of my day.  I am simply an athlete 24-7 and frankly, it feels great!  I am also acutely aware of the fact that my friends think I'm nuts (in a good way... the others aren't friends anymore.)

Here are a few things that one can expect as triathlon takes over your consciousness like an alien mold:

Your drink order in a restaurant might change:

Your interior decorating might look a little different:

Your patio furniture might change:

You might find yourself being proud of permanent sweat stain on the concrete:

You may begin to find tan lines stylish:

You may show off pics your clean bike like it's a child's graduation photo:

You may find you owe your bike mechanic more than just money after a tune up:

 These are just a few of the clues that you got bodysnatched at the finish line of your first race!!

Isn't change beautiful?

July 2009

July 2011

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sleepless In The Duck Pond

This week has been an EPIC FAIL training-wise as the insomnia streak continues.  I was at work on Thursday night and was in such bad shape from lack of sleep, I was struggling to maintain my balance on the ladder.  I was grumpy with the horses and every moment felt like the worst moment of my life.  This is what sleep deprivation does to you.  It magnifies every little ant into giant, irradiated comic book monsters.  At 1:24 in the morning, I sent DW an email: "I've gone down the rabbit hole. I'm cooked.  Hopefully this won't last much longer but I am not sure that I'm going to get any more out of this body until I start sleeping again. "

Essentially, I threw in the towel.  I realized that I didn't really intend to get back to it until after the weekend.  Even if I got some sleep, I was so far behind and work was so busy that I was going to need to focus for a few days.  It is the right decision but I hate feeling like I gave up.  

I was reading through some of the blogs that I follow, trying to live vicariously, and I came across one that is written by an older competitor whose accomplishments include a multiple winning seasons and Kona finishes.  He religiously lists his mileage in detail as do several other bloggers of varying levels of experience.  I found myself wondering why I rarely mention hard data in this blog.  More specifically, why I avoid hard data in this blog.  

For me, the triumph is in the abstract.  I hear people say that a 10 min mile pace is not even running (you know who you are) and I immediately wonder if I will ever be good enough.  For me, it is hauling ASS!! I have never been a good runner.  Now if people who are every bit the athlete that I am or more but lack a strong swimming background were to look at my swim times, they might feel the same way.  If the most you have ever done on a bicycle is 30 miles, 25 feels like 1000.  For one person, losing 40 lbs is two dress sizes, for another two dress sizes is 10 lbs.  It's all totally relative but that can be hard to see when you are looking at someone else's data and inevitably comparing it to your own.  

What is universal is the struggle, the love, the obsession, the humor, everything intangible that makes an athlete an athlete, no matter how far down that road they may be.  When I did that half-marathon, there were people stretched out for miles along that course, each struggling in their own way, at their own pace and one persons struggle was not more or less just because it happened faster.  

The front runners know they belong, they are enjoying accolades and focused on their goals and PR's.  Their work is cut out for them but it is clear what they are there to do.  They have to dig deep, find the strength to put forth their best effort even when their body is telling them exactly where they can shove those goals.  There is pressure on them to perform from sponsors, coaches, family and friends, crowd expectations, and most of all themselves.  Those type A personalities will not accept anything less than their best without a huge dose of self-abuse.

The stragglers at the back who's triumph is to reach the finish line often have a great deal of moral support, which is good since they probably stopped feeling their legs an hour ago.  There is a mental challenge that comes with being on course for hours and hours.  Any Ironman can tell you about that.  The suffering of a slow runner is not determined by their pace relative to the field.  It is by their pace relative to their fitness.  Often times, the person slogging along at a 12 min pace is giving a greater percentage of their total capacity than a faster runner who understands pacing.  That 12 min miler is going to be out there, running their engine in the red for twice the amount of time.  That takes a degree of determination and mental fortitude that should neither be dismissed or patronized.  It should be respected.

And everyone in between is out their fighting their own battles, slaying their own demons, overcoming their own odds.  To compare numbers is to discredit the one thing they all have in common, they put themselves out there, literally and figuratively.  I know what it feels like to carry the weight of a ten year old child around on my back.  Every step can be torturous.  It's not so much the physical suffering that is bad, it's the lack of result from that magnitude of suffering.  If no one ever told me that a 10 min mile was slow, then I would be very happy that I have taken a couple of mins off my pace.  But as it is, I stare at that watch aghast at my total lack of ability in this arena.  

No one follows your race results or writes an article about you for finishing mid to rear pack.  No one, save maybe a supportive family member or spouse is going to notice when you cross that 5K finish line in 35 mins.  If you've ever gone to a track practice and run along with all of your team/club mates blowing by you over and over, mumbling encouragement that (is probably genuine) but feels hollow and patronizing (like I need encouragement to SUCK THIS MUCH.  Thanks.) and found a way to push that out of your head step after step.  There is a mental fortitude in this as well.  There is a victory here that can't be measured by data.  

Success comes with time, consistency, and daily baby steps.  It is not magically imbued at birth or at any other point.  Some people admittedly start running the day they can walk and therefore have bodies that are capable of greater speed the first time they measure it, but make no mistake, they had to take all the steps to get there that anyone else does and if you have given yourself a burden to carry (extra weight, smoking, etc) or life has imposed one on you (injury, handicap, illness, etc) then each of those steps will be exponentially more difficult and to keep from falling, they will have to be tiny, tiny steps.  One day, however, you will look back and realize that you have become strong enough and skilled enough at balancing your burdens that the steps you are taking are becoming first full sized, then leaps, then wings.

My former roommate who competes as an elite once said, "I don't think I am a better athlete than you.  I just think I have been doing it longer." That was the best thing that anyone has ever told me.  There was no condescension, no empty cheerleading, just a simple observation of fact that gave me infinite hope.  

I have made a few friends through blogging, some are much more talented than I am, some are comparable, some are fairly early in their training.  If I compare numbers there would be all kind of differences, a gulf of difference between us.  But instead, by focusing on the abstract, mental, emotional, and occasionally funny aspects of being a triathlete (or runner, swimmer, cyclist, whatever), I am able to see what we have in common.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

No ZZzzzZZZzzz's For You!!

Well, it's Thursday and I am still struggling with my sleep.  I am now in week three of sleeping poorly and my humor has worn very thin.  It is so frustrating since I had another bad workout, my nights at work are getting torturous, and I KNOW exactly what all that cortisol is doing to my body.  Even though I am sleeping better than I did the first week, the accumulated fatigue means that I am just as tired.  I'm cranky with the customers and the horses, really body sore, bitter, and frustrated... all from lack of sleep.  I was really dismayed when it took both days off for me to rally this past Tuesday and that by Wednesday, I was trashed again.  THAT is not a good sign going into the weekend (the busiest part of the week).

I have a hard 90 minute interval workout down for today, which at this point I am dreading.  There is nothing worse than pushing to the limit and falling short of the target just because of fatigue.  Tomorrow night is just a swim and I may try to take that night off.  There is a balance with insomnia between maintaining as much of your normal rhythm as possible and recognizing that there is very little recovery happening.  This is a hazard for anyone that works night shift but that fact doesn't help when you are so tired you hallucinate (oh, yeah!  Been there a few times..) and are experiencing first hand why sleep deprivation is acknowledged as a form of torture.

Unfortunately, whining about it doesn't help.  At some point, my body will give in and I will sleep through the night (well, day... but whatever.)  I would prefer when that moment comes to have maintained my program so I don't have to "get back into the groove" but I am also wary of overtraining.  When I get the proper sleep, it is pretty amazing how quickly my body heals but it takes very little to overflow the kettle when it is not emptied every night.