I do not understand why I am so tired lately. I’ve been going to bed at a reasonable hour and then… bam. Sacking out hard. As someone who normally wakes up every two hours or so (and then usually falls right back asleep) it is very odd to wake up once, at most, the entire evening.

Now this may sound like a great thing, but the problem is really that it’s a symptom of something else. I’ve been finding it almost impossible to wake up in the mornings; I ended up having to scratch my Tuesday morning run for that reason, and this morning I actually hit the snooze button for a solid two hours before I was able to get up. Maybe I can squeeze the run between work and tonight’s book club, but we will see. At least I’ve done some non-running-exercise since my last run on Sunday; rowing and elliptical for an hour on Monday, and 50 minutes of my spinning class on Wednesday. But yeah, something is seriously kicking my butt this week.

$5.00 a BasketSo far, the best idea I’ve come up with is that I am somehow channeling all the woodland animals and trying to hibernate until spring. It would be sad to miss Thanksgiving and Christmas, but on the other hand, there is a certain appeal to it all. Hmmm. (Stupid autumn weather.)

Not much else going on, really. Last night’s dinner was fantastic; I’d marinated some chicken and put so much chipotle on it that even I found it really hot. Sooo good. Plus some chopped up eggplant that I fried for a minute or two, and then some pumpkin muffins to go with it all. (Most of the muffins will in theory go with me to book club tonight, but we’ll see if anyone eats them or not. I might be living on these for a while.)

Oh, and now my neck is mysteriously aching. I think it is bored and wants some attention. Hmph.

On the bright side, I am starting to get excited about the idea of adding some swimming and biking into my routine after the marathon. Hopefully that excitement will continue long enough into making it an actual routine, and not merely an, “It’s exciting because it’s not actually happening yet” sort of thing. We shall see! Those laps don’t swim themselves, after all.

One-Two Punch

I really do have to laugh at myself sometimes, you know. For instance, once I’d fully woken up this morning and looked at the two dreams I had… or rather, nightmares.

The first one had everything going wrong at SPX (this weekend!), the second one involved disasters involving running. Hmmm, I wonder what’s been on my mind? I don’t think it’s any small coincidence, mind you, that after work yesterday involved an 8-mile run, and then putting the finishing touches on the PowerPoint file for the Ignatz Awards. (And seriously, those two things were all I did after work yesterday, aside from a little bit of reading before bed.)

I look forward to SPX every year, but as always I will be a little glad when it is gone. I suspect the same will as always be true about the Philly Marathon, too…

Until then, I am going to concentrate on nice, relaxing things. Perhaps imagine that I own a house at Woods Hole on Cape Cod. That would be nice right about now. Just relaxing in my beautiful home. Staring at the boats and the water. Ahhhhh…

Woods Hole

Cavalcade of Boats

Side-Effects May Include…

One of the best things I’ve discovered about taking a Benadryl before bed every night, now, is a side-effect I didn’t expect. Namely, I’m having dreams that I remember on a much more regular basis.

Most nights, once I fall asleep it’s (by my reckoning) an instant transition from falling asleep to waking back up. Dreams more often than not are only in-between the two if I’m extremely tired or have had alcohol first. So maybe it’s the medication, maybe it’s just having a deeper and more restful sleep, but more often than not these days I’m finding myself with dreams that were strong enough that I can actually remember them.

It’s funny because I’m not entirely sure when I stopped having regularly occuring dreams. Maybe in college? It’s that sort of thing that you don’t notice until they’ve been gone for quite some time. Someone asks you what you dreamt about and you realize that you have no idea. It’s fun, though, to have them back. I can more often than not pinpoint where some of the images are coming from as of late, too.

For instance, last night my mother was talking a lot about Dexter and Michael C. Hall and The Tudors, and I’d mentioned Artomatic to her. The end result? I dreamt that I was Michael C. Hall, but was also somehow an amalgamation of myself and his characters from Dexter and Six Feet Under. I was in a large mansion (and Peter Krause was there at one point) and the rooms kept shifting back and forth between the past and present-day, but a large room full of picture frames was in both of them. I ended up meeting a very attractive noble and was flirting with him (I’d gotten as far as an arm around him and there was no objection at his end) when I woke up.

Very strange, and funny, and a wonderful jumble of things I’d just been talking and thinking about earlier. It’s really nice to have them back. Another thing once the springtime pollen dips a little bit to monitor closely when I try and see if shifting to Allegra and/or valerian root at night will make a difference. Now that dreaming is back, I’m not quite ready to give it up again.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

As the pollen explosion began to hit the DC area about two weeks ago, my allergies—like every year—went berserk. Normally I take 60mg of Allegra in the morning and am all right, but during this time of year by early evening it starts wearing off. There’s only so much one little pill can do.

So, as a stop-gap measure, my original plan was to up my dosage to the recommended twice-a-day level. (My feeling has always been that if I can get away with half a dose that I should do so. My physician thankfully not only agrees with me but still gives me the twice-a-day prescription for whenever things do get bad so that I don’t run out mid-month with no refill in sight.) But then I decided to try a little experiment. So in the evening, about an hour before bed, I’m now taking a Benadryl.

Early Morning Self-PortraitThe result has been nothing short of astounding. On the whole I fall asleep a little faster (except for last Friday night), and I do still wake up at least once or twice (drink some water and pass back out) but when I wake up in the morning—I actually wake up. For those who haven’t seen me in the morning, trust me when I say that it is not a pretty sight, to put it mildly. I am tired, I am groggy, I am slightly incoherent. I had to buy an alarm clock with an adjustable snooze alarm because 9 minutes would be too long and I would fall completely back asleep. (It’s currently set at 6 minutes.)

Now? When the alarm goes off I’m out of bed within 15 minutes instead of in the 45-to-75 minute range. This has been especially good for starting to go to the gym in the mornings again. I can get such an earlier start that it means I have time for a longer, more fulfilling workout; hitting half an hour on the rowing machine now means I still have time for a second half hour of something else. Or this morning, knowing I couldn’t hit my evening spinning class, I actually hit my first 6:30am class ever. Hopefully this will let me shed those five pounds of “winter weight” a little faster than normal. Maybe even finally help shrink and tighten my tummy a bit, that would be nice.

Once allergy insanity is over I do plan on some experiments to figure out what the key element is in the Benadryl solution. Do I need the allergy relief in the evenings more than I thought I did, and should go onto two-a-day for Allegra from now on? Or is it that I’m just needing that extra little nudge into sleepland and should perhaps look into something like valerian root or melatonin for my evenings? (I’m really curious to see what the end result will be.)

Either way, the end result has been just, well, great and exciting. I’ve really missed being able to wake up quickly in the mornings.