Highs and Lows

I’m a little behind on my blogging, probably because I’m no longer working and have no need to sit in front of a computer. Which is a good thing! I’m still trying to figure out my place in life without a job- the bird shelter is keeping me quite busy which is also a good thing. It’s definitely keeping me on my toes- I’m helping to coordinate their upcoming move and also working alongside folks with developmental disabilities and folks doing court-mandated community service. The latter group isn’t really awesome…half show up high on something and the other half don’t show up at all.

Racing-wise, things have gone from awesome to sucky in a matter of weeks. Coming off great races at LaBagh and Trek, I was pumped for Jingle Cross. Jingle was an incredible experience- we had such a fun weekend with friends and the racing was just as great. I pulled off a 6th place finish in the 1/2 race on Friday on a soupy, sloppy course. And then Sunday I placed 2nd in the master’s race on a peanut-buttery World Cup course. I thought I was going to pass out on my 4th time up Mt. Krumpit! But it was awesome. We are so lucky to have a World Cup race within driving distance of Chicago. I am already looking forward to next year!

Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with insomnia again for the last month or so, and it was reaching its peak the week before Jingle Cross. After JC I had a super rough week sleep-wise and was so exhausted and stressed out that I couldn’t even muster a workout. I just gave up and declared it a rest week.

Last weekend was Hopkins Park in DeKalb. In theory I should love and do well on this course, but I never do. It’s awfully bumpy and my lower back always gets really sore. I wasn’t very excited about this race due to my exhaustion but not racing wasn’t an option. Right from the start my legs felt like they were full of lead and lactic acid (despite a longer-than-usual warm up). Sometimes that feeling goes away but within a 1/4 mile I knew I wasn’t going to shake it.  I hung on for dear life but kept dropping further and further behind.  By lap two I was ready to implode and wanted to DNF. I felt it was best to at least finish and rolled across the line in 15th.

My legs have felt absolutely terrible ever since Hopkins. Yesterday I rode 15mi round trip to the bird shelter and was totally struggling on the way home. Like really struggling.  Sadly I know what the problem is, and it’s a combo of stress and insomnia. I’ve been dealing with insomnia for roughly 5 years now and it can range from a day or two without any sleep at all to maybe a night with 4 hours or so (if I’m lucky). Every once in a while I get in a decent night but that’s few and far between. I can’t fall asleep and can’t stay asleep either so it’s a double whammy. Most OTC and low-level prescription sleep aids don’t faze me at all so when I reach crisis mode I feel pretty helpless. I refuse to take stuff like Ambien because it’s habit-forming, has crummy side effects and typically makes you feel like garbage the next day.

I am struggling to stay sane until this episode passes. I hate all of the things that insomnia brings to the table- negativity, frustration, exhaustion, irritability, the tendency to indulge in junky food, loss of fitness, etc.

So at this rate I’m probably not going to race Dan Ryan.  Sigh.  I was really looking forward to the post-race Rainbow Cone! We’re out of town for Carpenter Park so we’ll see how I feel in a couple weeks.

To be continued…




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