An extra 30 minutes in bed makes no difference

Yesterday was a very physical day at work. I am working on a theatre show and this week is fit-up week – the week where we bring all of the equipment and set into the theatre and build it and set it up. A truck arrived at the start of the day. We had to help unload the set because the equipment we were waiting for was on the back of the truck. This meant I spent around 30 minutes carrying large and heavy rolls of vinyl flooring on my shoulders before getting to our equipment. The upside of this part of the job is that it is a little like a weight training workout, but without the expensive gym membership. The downside of this is that I woke up this morning with sore, stiff muscles. I can count the knots in my shoulders, just by turning my head.

The alarm went off at 5:45am, and I hit snooze for the normal 15 minutes before deciding that I wasn’t going to go for a run this morning. Yesterday brought me to a 5-day streak of running every morning. Today could be my ‘rest’ day. I reset the alarm for half an hour later and closed my eyes again. Less than a minute later my alarm went off again. Aargh! I just want to sleep! I checked the time. Not a minute later, 30 minutes later. Time to get up. Less than impressed, I dragged myself out of bed and got on with breakfast and getting ready for work.

Here’s the interesting observation from this morning’s experiment in 30 minutes more in bed: it has had no appreciable benefit. I feel less awake and more grumpy as I now make my way into town. I feel sleepy and slow. I still want to be back in bed, and I feel less rested than I did the previous two mornings after running. I guess I’ve missed that kickstart of circulation, and with it a nice stream of oxygen being energetically pumped through my muscles and my brain.  It’s like that extra 30 minutes sleep never happened.

I’m now longing for Sunday, my day off. I will have my degree assignment to work on, but at least I can catch up on some sleep, and I won’t need to choose between resting and running.

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Angry running

The alarm went off at 9am. I had planned to get up earlier but ended up reading until 2am, mesmerised by the end of the book I was reading for a review. Books, good ones, have that power over me – just one more page, just until the end of the chapter, well it seems silly to leave just a few pages left… you get the picture. I hit snooze for 15 minutes – I have never been able to leap out of bed as soon as the alarm sounds. It hurt this morning, and I was very tempted to turn the alarm off and keep sleeping until I woke up naturally, but I was determined to not let today turn into the waste of time that yesterday turned into. Just get on with it, I thought to myself. I grabbed my running gear as I walked down stairs, jumped on the scales (22.9% body fat – yes!), got dressed, made up a bottle of protein shake, heavily watered down, drank half of it, and walked out the door.

I had originally planned to redo session one of my training plan as doing session four would mean starting the week two programme ahead of schedule, but having had a day off yesterday it seemed lazy to give myself an easy run. I selected session four and got running: run for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute. The 3-minute intervals were tough from the outset. A muscle in my right glute was twinging, and I wanted to turn around, go home, and go back to bed. No. Keep going. Grit your teeth, get through it, get home, get on. Don’t be a baby.

It was an angry run. The more I ran, the angrier I felt. I even started thinking about a conversation I’d had earlier in the week that had really pissed me off, and mentally had an argument with the other person, which just made me feel even crosser. But then, just as I was wondering how many more of these bloody intervals I had left, the Runtastic app announced “end of workout” in my ears. I was surprised. That seemed quick. I checked my phone: the session was 20 minutes long, and it was 20 minutes since I’d left the house. Ok then. I was half way through my 5km, so I walked the rest.

By the time I got home, my mood had lifted a little but had been replaced with a thumping headache. Thankfully, breakfast and a large cup of tea fixed that. I have never been a fan of breakfast, but have settled on porridge (with milk) with fruit as something I can stomach, which tastes sweet enough to satisfy my tooth, but without a heavy calorie toll. Tea is non-negotiable. I will not function or be capable of anything better than a growl without it.

The great news, given the disaster of yesterday, is that I didn’t let myself sit down on the sofa. I ploughed on through the todo list. So, lesson learned. When feeling crappy and unproductive, get out the door and get moving – it will save the day.

Ok, now I get the early morning run thing

I did it! The alarm went off at 6am, I hit snooze until 6:15am, and then dragged myself out of bed and into my running gear. I downed up a cup of tea, plugged in my earphones and set off. It was FREEZING. There was crunchy frosted dew on the grass, and the car was crispy and glittery. Thankfully, I was wearing a hat and scarf otherwise I think it would have been unbearable. Thanks to the clocks moving forward, it was light in that soft, early morning kind of way. The best part was that it was quiet – hardly anyone about, light traffic – it was so peaceful. Today I was using session three of the Runtastic training plan: 2 minutes running, two minutes walking, for 30 minutes. Those two-minute run intervals started to burn quite quickly, my legs feeling really stiff from the last two days. The burn eased after about 20 minutes, but it wasn’t easy – I had to really push myself to keep going. I was glad when the session came to an end. I was about 1km from home, and by then the light was getting a little warmer, and the day seemed like it was starting to warm up. I got home, had breakfast and got ready for work, managing to get everything done much faster than normal.

Having only had 6 hours sleep, in order to make time for the run, I was expecting the early morning run to cause an energy crash part way through the afternoon, but actually found I had more energy throughout the day than normal. But, boy, was I hungry!

So, early morning run – not easy to get out of bed, but worth the trouble for the peaceful surroundings to run through. I wonder if I can do the same tomorrow.