Well hello there wall…

I’m trying not to whine….really.  But it’s been a bit bumpy this whole “going back to school” business. And yet – that’s what it’s like every year. While there is excitement about new shoes and new books and new teachers, there is the readjustment to the new schedule that gets me every time. My brain hasn’t quite shifted to the new hours for waking and sleeping. And therefore I haven’t settled into a good running schedule. Yet. Which has been a challenge cause I’m supposed to be in the 2nd week of my “official” Disney training.

I’ve also had some side effects from my new blood pressure medicine.  (Yes one of the effects is lower bp.) A bit of dizziness and such which has made the last two runs of mine just atrocious. I was hoping to run today and then call the doc if the effects were still around. However, our son had different plans when he spiked a high fever at last night. So instead – a visit to the pediatrician and some snuggling with the sick kid. (Who has been fine since the moment I called the doc office, of course!)

So all in all – I’m working on maintaining a positive attitude much more than a race pace. New challenges call for new plans. Thursdays are busy – so a run on Friday and then a group run on Saturday. But I’m taking them one at a time.

OH and I almost forgot that I signed up for a local 5K – so local it’s run on the loop in my neighborhood where we do our group runs!  I’m hoping that all the kinks in our schedule get worked out by then and I get some good runs in between now and next Saturday. (And I hope that I’m not so busy that I forget about the race!) I’m hoping the meds issues are gone by then…cause I’d really like to be strong for it.

Hoping you all are having better adjustments to the new school year!

You wake up when?

This week my husband and I went “back to work” as our semester started at the university where we work. I teach General Psychology and I like to use the second day to lecture about sleep. Sleep is important, duh. But it’s also a great discussion point about lots of aspects of behavior and mental processes (hence the heart of psychology). And my hope is that if I teach it early in the semester – they might actually apply the research to their own behaviors.

Of course the great irony is that college students know they are tired and listen with great attentiveness to my points about sleep. But they balk at any and all suggestions I provide about improving sleep habits. One of the key ideas is to have a consistent bedtime and wake time – EVEN on the weekends. (What?  You shouldn’t sleep till 2pm on Saturday?? What?….and the answer is no, you shouldn’t.)

But it’s true…I tend to wake up between 5:30 and 6am during the week. And I aim for 5:30 am on Saturdays to get in my long run early. And I’m a lot less tired then when I have an irregular wake schedule. That and physical activity obviously help with my ability to get to sleep faster and thus get more rest.

So silly me admitted my wake schedule – twice today – to two different sections of the course. They all gave me those looks only undergrads can muster….along the lines of the looks you give your parents when they annoy you but with a twist to them. I’m pretty sure they weren’t even surprised that I run….but  just that anyone would get up willingly on a weekend and do anything at all. I did invite them all to go running at dark o’clock with me….but I’m pretty sure I’ll have no takers.  (Good!)

That said – go get your rest tonight. Morning and a good run come early!  And it really is good for you to be waking up that early on the weekends. Your body will thank you.

Some sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation

Neither fast nor exciting

One of the reasons I turned to running was health concerns. My family’s genetic background includes Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and anxiety issues.  (We are a bunch of fun – and it takes hours to fill out the family history portions on medical intake forms.) Yet, both my parents are still around and are in generally good health. Given that I want to be around for a good long while, I do make sure to go to the doctor for regular checkups.  Which gets less fun as you get older, I’ve found.

My doctor visit last week was a follow up to some springtime appointments when I was put on blood pressure meds. Before I started running, my doctor had a heart to heart (pun intended) with me and told me that I needed to keep those numbers down. I tried with diet and exercise (not running) but there wasn’t much improvement in that window of time. Hence – started the meds and started running.

Now – six months out, my bp is creeping up again. It might be that I just can’t outrun genetics. It also means I now have two pills to take. But the doctor was enthusiastic about my running. So much so that she suggested taking a treadmill stress test.  Fun!  Nothing seriously wrong – but given my background, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Today’s treadmill test turned out to be rather dull and boring. First of all – the treadmill the doctor’s office uses is rather bland – no pretty display with programs and cup holders.  Just a plain old bar. But before I got on it – I had to be tethered to 10 leads and a belt to merge them all.  The nurse asked if I had any qualms about walking on the treadmill.

I asked, “Walking?  You mean I don’t get to run?”

She looked a little surprised. “Do you want to run?”

And to my great astonishment, I replied, “Well, I’m a runner.”

Now – I often tell people that I run…but I rarely label myself as a “runner”. So while I was musing about that word slipping out, the nurse said, “Oh no….that means it will take you awhile to get up to heart rate.”  Which I guess is good for health but not for taking a medical test during the nurse’s lunch hour…

Actually it didn’t take all that long…every few minutes the incline would increase and the speed would go up. My heart rate was pretty steady but I hit the 90% target for my age well before the incline resembled Leadville. When I started, the nurse turned to the doctor and said, “She’s a runner.”  His response of a bland, “oh” was not very encouraging – nor did he elaborate.  Perhaps he was worried it was going to take too long….or that my stride was too short – apparently longer strides are better for these tests.  So I did my best at stretching my stride (which is very short naturally).

I guess I did okay – cause they never had to break out the paddles or call a code. I’ll find out the official results soon. But as for it being a treadmill workout today – it was neither fast nor terribly sweat inducing. Seems I still need to get a run in today or tomorrow.  I hope that one is faster and much more fun.