Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sleeping and Running

Having a three month old and a running schedule isn't always easy.  We had gotten to a good place: Alfie slept through the night, occasionally waking for one feeding around 3:00.  I fed her at 6:00 and then set off for a run or into the living room for some strength training.  I slept 7.5-8 hours a night. Plenty.

And then this week happened.  It started Monday or Tuesday with baby's first cold.  It was very mild: sniffles, icky nose, a few sneezes, and a girl who wanted to snuggle.  She woke up several times in the night because of her nose (I think).  Then Thursday was my first full day back at work.  Baby girl has had bottles before, but we have not used them regularly.  So Thursday, she decides she does not like bottles.  At all.  Jenn let me know around 2:30 that Alfie still hadn't eaten since I left at 8:30, so I headed on home and fed her.  Same thing that night when I went to Parent-Teacher night.  This meant that she thought she should wake up a whole lot at night to make up for the food she had refused to consume during normal waking hours.  Friday, she managed to take a bottle around 12:45, but she wasn't happy about it.  Friday night?  Yup, same thing.  Yesterday (Saturday), I was with her all day, feeding whenever she wanted, to let her know that (a) she is going to have plenty of milk and (b) we'd all appreciate a longer night's rest. She made it 4 hours before starting the feeding game again.  At 2:00, I tried to walk her back to sleep: no dice.  At 4:00, I was initially successful but then she went ape and I fed her around 5:00.  Have I mentioned that I am a morning exerciser and not good at sleeping in, even when I need it or have a rest day?

All of this sleeping drama should have affected me more than it did.  I should have been a zombie Friday on my first day with students (Yes, we start super early). I don't drink caffeine. I have gotten perhaps six hours of sleep, very interrupted, over the past several days.  But Friday I was fine- perky, even.  Saturday I woke up and ran five miles, beating last week's attempt at the same route by more than two minutes.  And this morning I woke up and ran even though it wasn't on the schedule.

After the past few days, I have become a strong believer in the power of running (or any exercise) to give energy to those of us who simply shouldn't have it.  Overtraining is another story, as is those athletes training really hard with high mileage weeks who need more sleep.  But for me, an average runner logging 15-25 miles per week, I can function on less sleep if I wake up and hit the pavement (or the trail).  Running is a good little alarm clock for my brain.

 I know there are parents of little ones out there who have it a lot worse.  There are three monthers who still wake every two hours every night, and I am so grateful that Alfie doesn't do that. Of course, I still hope that it ends really soon.  Yes, it's possible to get by on six hours of sleep and still be a good mom, teach high school, make dinner, do chores, and run, but eight hours makes it a little easier.

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