Tuesday, January 4, 2011

to sleep or not to sleep

I have been having trouble sleeping. Again. This pisses me off. I got home from work Monday morning, crawled into bed, and couldn't sleep worth a damn. After laying there all day, I eventually gave up and got up at 3. I had plans to go to yoga at 7:15. By 5, I knew that wasn't going to happen because if I didn't get at least a few hours of sleep, I would never make it through work on Monday night. So I went back to bed until 9:15. I spent like 12 hours in bed and probably only got 3 hours of sleep total.

When this issue with sleeping starts interfering with my LIFE, and things that I want to do - and ENJOY doing, I get mad. I don't want to not go to yoga. I don't want to cancel dinner plans with friends. I don't want to be constantly tired. And all of this stressing out about how I am going to sleep, or how I am going to do my workouts when I haven't slept, is just making it worse.

And this is why I love Mary. Because I sent her a ridiculously high-maintenance email in the middle of the night asking her to rework my weekly schedule because it's stressing me out. Part of me expected to get a "suck it up" response. Because part of Ironman training is sacrifice. Sacrificing a crazy social life to train, trading sleeping in for early morning workouts, getting on the trainer instead of lying on the couch in the evenings. And while I am prepared to do this, I also need a weekly schedule that I am TOTALLY on board with - that I can repeat week after week after week without skipping workouts. And so far this year, I haven't hit that. I haven't gotten into the groove like I did last year. And I need to find that place again because 2 Ironmans is not a joke.

And yes, I am super resistant to change. I am stubborn. I am set in my ways. I like consistency and knowing what is going to happen ahead of time. I want to rarely have to move workouts around. I want my schedule to be like last year's. I'm not sure if this is possible. My abilities as an athlete are evolving and perhaps my training schedule has to evolve with them. A swim is added. Weekly bike rides are getting longer. Can all of this happen while maintaining the same weekly structure that I am so familiar with? I don't know. That is why Mary is the coach and I am the one being coached.

But the fact that Mary is willing to listen to my demands says a lot. I might get similar workouts week to week, but it's definitely NOT a cookie cutter training plan. She helps fit my training schedule to my life to reduce my stress and make training easier on me. That's a lot of work. I'm sure just reading my whiny emails is work enough!

I have always been a sort of "troubled sleeper." I have trouble falling asleep, and I am a very light sleeper so things such as: my cat crawling on me at night, a car alarm going off outside, drunk people running up and down the stairs, or a squirrel living in my walls tend to wake me up multiple times per night. Sometimes I take Tylenol PM to help me sleep - but I try not to do this very often because it makes me really groggy for several hours after I wake up. Plus, I don't think you really get quality sleep when you take that kind of sleep aid, but I do use it occasionally.

Sleeping is SO IMPORTANT to training, recovery, happiness, and health. It is so frustrating that I have to deal with this. My body is tired. Why can't I sleep?


  1. Alexa- I'm sure with working overnights you have your "sleep cave" all set up- I know I used to have it as dark as possible. Also, those noise machines are excellent once you get used to them(the white noise does help). I agree that the use of "sleep aids" doesn't help to sleep. You may also want to look into foods that may help you sleep/wind down(and no I'm not talking about a bottle of wine :) )

  2. I am a light sleep and use ear plugs. It's a god send. It might take a few days to get use to them but once you things won't wake you. I've also banned my cat from my room. It took her a while to get over whining and crying outside my door but she eventually did (and with ear plugs I wouldn't hear anyways). You'll still hear your phone and your alarm. They are a high enough decibel to get through the ear plugs.

    I've heard others say the eye mask makes a world of difference as well. Worth a try


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