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Sleep, perchance to dream... of more sleep

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I don't usually post two blog posts in one day, but one of this week's action steps is really worrying me. It says "get regular sleep this week, 8 hours per night and get up without snooze." I know all the benefits of a good night's sleep. I know all the drawbacks of a lack of sleep. I also know that it's not really possible for me to get eight hours of sleep. And I mean, at all. Impossible. Or, I suppose it might be possible if I stopped going to the gym and maybe started eating fast food again.

I wake up at about 5:30 AM on weekdays. I have to be out the door by 7:00 AM because my office is 38 miles away from my house. I work from 8-5 (but often later), then at least three days per week, I drive straight to the gym. It usually takes about an hour and a half to get back home because the Michigan Department of Transportation has my already-long commute surrounded by construction. If I'm lucky, I can get out of the gym by about 9:00 PM. Then I often have to go to Target or Kroger for groceries or other necessary items. Then I go home and have dinner. I know I'm supposed to eat at the table, but since it's often already 10:00 by that time, I eat while I watch TV because it's the only way I'll get to watch TV. I do make sure I eat healthy, portion-controlled food, so that's something. If I'm really lucky, I can start getting ready for bed by 11:30, but it's often after midnight before I actually go to sleep. Oh, and since my golf league has started, I have to come in early on Wednesdays and Thursdays and leave an hour later on Wednesdays, because I leave early to get to the golf course before 5:30.

Where is this extra time for sleep supposed to come from? The way I see it, the most I could squeeze out of my day is an extra hour by ensuring I leave the office by 5:00 every day except Wednesday. And I could maybe get an hour by ensuring I did every bit of my errands on weekends only. Oh, and did I mention that I still have to manage to cook dinner, pack lunch, setup coffee and feed my cat (to say nothing of laundry and housework)? So the way I figure it, if everything runs like clockwork, the most I could get Monday-Friday is seven hours per night. And how often does this world run like clockwork?

Don't get me wrong. I would love to get eight hours a night. In fact, when people ask "what would you do if you won the lottery?" I say "never wake up before 8:00 again." I'm sitting here with tired, baggy eyes, dreading the drive home and the trip to the gym because all I want to do is go home and sleep. I got five hours last night and six hours the night before. I am the portrait of "burning the candle at both ends." I know it's a problem. But I don't know how working adults are supposed to solve that particular problem. And I don't think I've woken up with my alarm without hitting the snooze button in ten years.

So I guess I have to compromise. Eight hours is a pipe dream. Seven hours seems almost unreachable. Six hours seems like a worthy goal to shoot for. So I will try to sleep for six hours on weekdays and eight on weekends (such a luxury!). And anyone who tries to tell me to shoot for more can kiss my sleep-deprived butt.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 5/11/2010 11:42PM

    Hats off to you. I'm a bear unless I get my full 8. I always admire people who have figured out how to subsist on less.

I think Becka is right. You can only do what you can do and it isn't reasonable to try and meet a goal that you can never attain.

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BECKA525 5/11/2010 7:24PM

    You can only do what you can do. If 6 hours is what you can get on weekdays then do that and don't stress about it. THe more you stress the worse it gets and you won't enjoy what little down time you do get. Great job fitting everything in your very busy day,don't know how you do it. Good Luck and don't worry about the sleep. emoticon

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm having a harder time recovering from my weekend at Mom and Dad's house than I thought I would. Between the horribly uncomfortable bed and the orgy of bake sale goodies, I'm achy, tired and draggy. The rainy, cold weather isn't really helping. I think the chief problem is the bed, though. When I stay at my parents' house, the bed I sleep in is one of those old, saggy leftover mattresses. I feel fine while I'm still in it, but as soon as I stand up, I feel like a pretzel of pain. I keep having these twinges in my lower back. And something was happening yesterday that made my muscles and joints hurt. I don't think I'm sick. I just hurt all over. It could very well be the weather. It could also be a case of lagging motivation and excuse-making.

Whatever is causing it, it's making the whole week pretty blah. And since I used that feeling as an excuse to skip going to the gym yesterday, it's thrown a monkey wrench into my schedule. I usually run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I have golf on Thursdays and I use my weekends to catch up on housework, errands and having fun. This week was already kind of weird because I'm doing Relay for Life late Saturday night. I signed up for the 11:30 PM shift. Anyway, I've determined that I can run and do my core-upper body ST tonight, finally do another lower body ST on Wednesday, golf Thursday (yay!), run on Friday and do the nearly-midnight walk on Saturday. Then I'll get back on track next week.

I'm very pleased that my lackadaisical attitude doesn't seem to be influencing what I eat. Aside from my "one piece of dark chocolate every night" mandate (Lindt with chili this week- yum!), I've had my veggies, whole grains and fruit. My protein and fat choices are not necessarily the best, but I have to be honest: I'm loving the convenience of a two egg omelet for dinner. I'm thinking about hitting the grocery store for some chevre and spinach instead of sticking with my Mexican blend shredded cheese, though. It would be all fancy and a little fewer calories. Plus- gooey!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBNICU 5/11/2010 2:10PM

    The omelet sounds yummy. We are having Satay Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I may look for a recipe for soup too since it is soooo cold and rainy here in midMichigan.
Enjoy the omelelt.
Hope your back feels better.

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KARVY09 5/11/2010 2:08PM

    I love that Lindt with chili... mmmm.... and a two-egg omelet is my go-to quick dinner meal.

Sounds like you're not THAT far off track and you've got a good exercise plan for the rest of the week.

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Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I don't suppose it's a coincidence that the line immediately preceding that one ends "fat pig." Hmmm.

I spent the weekend up at my parents' house for Mother's Day and as is so often the case, I didn't stick to a single good habit while I was away from home. Probably about 90% of that bad behavior was solely my responsibility and if I was being honest with myself, I would note that the remaining 10% could have been avoided by making it clear to my dad that the pancake and egg Sunday breakfast he served me was enough for two people. Although I don't know what the man was thinking serving so much food when both my mother and I are supposed to be on diets. I mean, he's the one who initiated my mom's diet and he tracks all of her calories so you'd think he'd cut the amount in half. The worst thing I did, though, was entirely on my own. It involved a bake sale I ran into on Saturday. I'm not going to say what I bought or ate, but it was not good. And the terrible part of it was that I did it secretly. Not like "hiding in my closet guiltily eating a cupcake" secretly, but alone in my car, which is really just a matter of semantics.

So what am I going to do about this? Well, this blog post is the first thing. I needed to write it down and admit it to other people. I had to admit what I did and that I knew it wasn't good. If you put it out there, even to strangers, it's not quite as secret. If I was really brave, I'd tell my mother. I'm not that brave. Plus, she's so happy for me for losing weight and I just can't bring myself to let her down that way. What else to do? Second, I'm not going to beat myself up for it or work extra hard this week to try to make up for the transgression. It happened. I can't change that. It's far more important that I stay motivated and consistent going forward than try to correct a past mistake. I can't allow myself to stay negative about this because that's how a momentary error can become a long-term problem. I'm allowed to make mistakes. I'm not allowed to make mistakes my default position. So what I'm going to do is what I've been doing for the past four months: eat good food that meets my nutritional needs and exercise consistently. And the next time I see a fundraising bake sale, I'll just put my doggoned money directly into the doggoned donation jar! Let someone else fall on that cupcake grenade- I'm going to be a super-sexy runner chick instead!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARVY09 5/10/2010 10:55AM

    You're back, and it's back to good habits. Forgive yourself, move on, and stay active.

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LITERARY_CHICK 5/10/2010 10:51AM

    You went through quite a gauntlet of food temptation this weekend. It is good that you came here and confessed and even better that you have a plan going forward.

I know you've said you aren't going to spend this week flogging yourself for your weekend mistakes, I just want to encourage you to redirect any "if only" or "failure" thoughts this week. It is so easy to say you won't feel guilty but guilt truly is the gift that keeps on giving and it is hard to avoid letting it creep into your thoughts.

One last thought.....I want a cupcake. emoticon

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C25K - better!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I tried week four's program again last night. This time I walked five minutes before ever starting the podcast. Kind of pre-warm-up warm-up! Then I stretched a lot more thoroughly than I usually do. I printed some stretching exercises from the Cool Running site yesterday for guidance because I know this is an area I struggle with.

So how did I do? Much better than Monday! On Monday, once I got that surprising 4:40 run finished, I was barely able to get my legs to run for a minute, much less another eight total. Last night I completed the first three minute run pretty easily, then succumbed to tiredness halfway through the five minute run... but only for 20 seconds! As soon as I got my wind back and mentally regrouped, I made myself run again and finished the remainder of the five minute interval. After the walking recovery, I was able to run another three minute interval, then decided I would cut the last five minute interval to three minutes. I was really winded and my legs were getting exhausted and I felt like that was the best I could do. But ask me if I ran for well over a mile last night! Because the answer is "D@mn right I did!" (I don't know what SP will let me write.)

Another thing I kept in mind while I was running was my running form. I suspect that part of the issue with my calves might be that I was allowing a heel-strike form. Not good! For some reason, I subconsciously lean back when I run. I don't get it. It reminds me of walking downhill and how your body wants to lean back to avoid falling or getting out of control. But it's a braking position and the last thing I want is to be constantly braking! Time to break out my inner Swiss ski instructor and think "Bend ze knees!" The athletic stance transcends sport, in my opinion. Comfortable, hip width with flexed, neutral knees. It's good for skiing, good for golf, good for standing your ground in a crowd situation! It's got to be good for running, too!

And speaking of golf, it's time to head to league! This time I'm popping an Aleve early on! I forgot how much my back hurts by the end of a round.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 5/7/2010 10:47AM

    @KARVY09, I'm pretty happy with the shoes I got from Running Fit in January. I think just being more aware of what's good form and what's bad form helped on Wednesday. I'm not sure I ever really knew that "heel strike" is bad until I did some research on Wednesday.
@BLUEBAMBOO, I'm glad to hear you're getting back into running. Isn't C25K great? What kinds of things do you suggest on the Swiss ball? I've got a stability ball at home and both Swiss and BOSU available at the gym.
@PERFECTVELVET, get down with your bad C25K self! The jump from week three to week 4 was kind of nerve-wracking. This is what I wrote on another site about moving on from week to week: What's worked for me is sticking to my own pace, but still pushing myself beyond what's easy. Trying and failing isn't really failure unless you don't try again. The decision to switch from week two to week three was based on "I know I can do this. It's not especially easy, but I can do it. And I'm curious to see what else I can do." The idea of longer runs is just so intimidating and sometimes I think that there's no way I'll be able to do it. But then I kick my own ass and remember what I wasn't able to do in January. I think that's the true beauty of this program. Any time the week's intervals seem too hard, you can go back and say, "Yeah, but this was hard, too, and I kicked butt at that eventually."

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KARVY09 5/6/2010 4:24PM

    Glad it went better. Did you get fitted for running shoes yet? It might help to improve your form.

Enjoy the golf!!!

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BLUEBAMBOO 5/6/2010 3:59PM

  Congrats on your running progress! I'm doing the C25K, as well, but I'm repeating each week twice. In a former life I did half marathons and can tell you that the Swiss ball works wonders in helping to correct form and avoid injury.

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    Congratulations on your running! I'm starting week 4 next week, and I'm a little nervous, but you gave me hope that I can finish it too!

Keep up the great work!

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Yoda was wrong- sometimes "try" is a perfectly valid choice

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Despite my inability to finish full week 3 intervals on my first outdoor run, I decided to move on to week 4, anyway. The idea of running for five minutes straight is kind of daunting, but here's the thing: that old cliche of "you'll never know unless you try" is very true. There's no point in letting yourself get intimidated by something like that. If you try to run for a longer stretch than you're used to, you're either going to discover that you can do it, or you're going to find out that you can't. If the former is true, yay! Go Team You! If the latter is true, good on you for trying. Do what you can for now and then try again later. It's really that simple.

I set out on the week 4 intervals and did the first three minute run pretty easily. My, how good it feels to run a quarter mile! WOO! I rock! After the walking recovery period, I got the cue to run again, this time for five minutes. I didn't think I could do it, but I gave it my best shot, anyway. And you know what? I ran for four minutes and forty seconds. How do you like them apples? That's at least forty seconds more than I expected. Kind of funny- the first time I ran three minutes, I fell twenty seconds short of a full interval. The next time I increase my distance, I'm going to try running until I feel like I can't anymore, and then I'm going to run for twenty more seconds and see what that gets me.

Anyway, victory was kind of short-lived. My second set of intervals did not go well. The second three minutes became 90 seconds, and the second five minutes became a kind of stuttering, stalling hodgepodge. I ran for 80 seconds, then rested for a while, then ran for 60 seconds, then rested for a while, then I heard Robert Ullrey say that I had one minute left, so I ran that. The culprit is my calf muscles, particularly the right leg. I think something is off with my stride. My calf muscles become like rocks. They don't actually cramp, but they tighten up so much that it hurts to run on them.

I really need to look into possible causes of this and see what I can do to correct it. The crazy thing is, they don't really hurt today. They didn't really hurt while I was strength training after running last night (I usually do upper body and core after running). I suspect there's something funky about the way I'm running, but more investigation is needed. I also think I need to make an appointment with the trainer I've worked with periodically over the years. Besides helping me with my run, I'd like his input on a couple of other areas. Most notably, I need to do something to strengthen and increase flexibility in my back. I'm doing pretty good work with my abs on my own, but I definitely noticed weakness and tightness in my back while golfing last week. And when I tried to do a push-up last week, my lower back seemed to be the weak link.

So tomorrow I'm trying again, hopefully armed with some tools to correct whatever is causing the problem. It could just be ordinary muscle strain. I mean, I didn't run any of the earlier weeks' intervals on the first try, either, and five is significantly bigger than three when it comes to running. I'm still pretty proud of my attempt, even if- figuratively speaking- I let my X-wing slide back into the swamp on Dagobah. Unlike certain whiny Jedi I could name, I didn't follow it up with "You want the impossible." And that is why, ultimately, I will not fail.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRPOOH63 5/4/2010 10:54PM

    WOOHOO!! emoticon That is soooooo emoticon.

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JENELOPE 5/4/2010 2:12PM

    Thanks for the tip, DEBNICU! There are so many contradictory opinions about when to stretch. I know I'm not particularly good at it, and seeing "don't stretch before exercise" all over the place makes it confusing. I have been stretching my calves, quads and hamstrings after a three or four minute walking warm-up (I pause my podcast with about two minutes of warm-up to go), but I don't think I'm stretching enough for the increased running time and I don't think I'm warmed up enough for more. I actually suspected inadequate stretching might be the root of my problem. It's something I've always had a problem with, and the running has made it more pressing. I found a couple of articles on that I think will help. Thanks, again!

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DEBNICU 5/4/2010 11:52AM

    Congrats on your accomplishment.
Reading about your calf cramping, I am wondering if you are stretching before you run. I know living with a runner that he always stressed how important it was to do this.
Keep on trying and it will get done.

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LITERARY_CHICK 5/4/2010 11:02AM

    WOOT! Way to go! I can't even run one minute so you totally rock!

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