Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sleep & Recovery

            Some parents get up really early to get in a workout before the kids (or the rest of the world for that matter) wake up for the day.  That is something I did not foresee myself doing.  Baya had been pretty good about trying to sleep through the night since she was about 2 months old, through about 4 months of age anyway.  There were still nights where she wouldn’t make it and got up once, though that was becoming less frequent.  We had many days that started at 5 or 6am though, and I was not having a workout completed by that time of day!  Plus, when she sleeps at night, that is my only chance for sleep.  I have yet to take a nap since she was born, not for lack of trying, but just for lack of being able to fall asleep.
Well, for a while there, I joined those crazy, early-morning, workout mothers!  I was so used to getting up, that I would wake up by 5:30 or 6 anyway, and she was starting to sleep in until after 6am.  I would get up, pump, and leave a ready bottle for my husband to get up with her while I headed down to the trainer, or out for a run.  She got so she was sleeping through the night regularly, so that it was rare when she would get up during the night.  You must find or create opportunities wherever you can, right?
That was working for a short stretch anyway, until she was about 4 months old.  She got a cold, though the only evidence was a runny nose (I can handle that for a first cold!)  For over a week straight she got up during the night, and suddenly I could no longer handle getting up early anymore then.  I needed any sleep she would give me (and she often still got up early as well).  On top of it, this was happening during my build period, when my training load was at its biggest.  My body was exhausted for sure and craved the recovery that is found during sleep.
Sometimes we underestimate the importance of sleep.  I keep reading about how it is an essential part of recovery, in order for our bodies to absorb the work load and fully reap the benefits.  Drats.  Sleep has always been important to me (just ask my husband), but the more stress we put on our bodies with an increased training load makes it even more important.  For those that can easily take naps, you have a great tool to take advantage of.  Meanwhile, I sleep when I can at night and keep hammering on during the day.  Take what you get and make the most of it I guess.
Things have continued to become more challenging.  Our family has been in the midst of some big changes.  My husband got a new job; we sold our house and was looking for a new one.  Unable to find a home we were certain about, we ended up renting for the time being.  After my husband moved to start his new job, Baya and I stayed behind for two weeks while I finished with my job.  We camped in our house for the first week (empty of all furniture and things), and stayed with friends for the second week.  During this time (the final weeks of my build period), Baya then starting getting up TWICE a night.  Are you kidding me?!  How are we going backwards with this?!?  Since our reunion with my husband, she still continues to wake up twice during the night.  Thankfully, he has been taking one of the shifts, now that we are all back together.  Press onward, fellow mothers.
A good thing about having gotten into the routine of waking up early though is that I feel it better prepares me for waking up early on race day.  A 5am wake-up time just isn’t nearly as depressing as it used to be, and I can fall asleep easier at an earlier time at night as well.  I’ve learned to function quite well at early times of the day.  Four days until the biggest race of my life thus far.  I was once warned before having Baya, “Overall you may need to brace yourself for some frustration with logistics and just claw and scratch your way to your first HIM, remembering along the way that it is a worthy accomplishment, and that it will set the stage for a new life of parenthood balanced with endurance multi-sport training.  Both long term projects.”  I have greatly exceeded my expectations of how much training (and even the level of training) that I’ve been able to do in preparation for this new distance, but sometimes I also think that “claw and scratch” may be right on.  Well, here we go!

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