Monthly Archives: January 2011

Back in the game

After taking about two weeks off to nurse an injury– caused by (in succession): a birthday (mine), a beach, dancing, and (lots of) alcohol — I decided tonight after I got home from work that it was ‘now or never,’ so to speak with regard to a run I’ve been wanting to go on for over a week. My knee has not hurt for the last week or so, but it does feel ‘funny’ sometimes and there’s been a twinge of something ‘not quite right’ if I flex it back too far or too hard.

That said, the trial trots up and down my office’s hallway and around my apartment were telling me that my knee was much better, but I still didn’t want to push it. (Okay, I was being lazy, too.)

But tonight I ran. I did an 11:20 mile pace, which is better than I’d been running before I tweaked my knee. I felt light, I felt strong, my pace was good and my form was awesome. Having stood at the edge of that “Oh, crap! I need to do that! Big Sur is coming up in May! I don’t want to duck out because of injury!” cliff, I’m completely one-hundred percent relieved that tonight’s easy run went so well… And really, it wasn’t so scary after all… šŸ™‚

Here’s to a good 3-miler (hopefully! will have to see if body is willing…) tomorrow!

Why It Matters Wednesday: Consistency

Consistency, like all great and virtuous things in life, is something that does not happen overnight — the definition spells that out pretty easily, I think.

Week 2 into the Why It Matters Wednesday series and I’m already finding myself struggling to keep up with my own goals. (Does this happen to you too? Please tell me if it does… Sometimes I feel like I’m staring down the Fail Whale of life.)

I digress…

Consistency is something I’m striving for in many areas: consistently eating well, consistently working out, consistently writing, posting, tweeting, etc.

But where consistency matters is in the smaller details — it’s how we see both our triumphs and how we gauge when the dam is going to break.

– Sleep: Our mood, our mental health, and even our weight are all correlated to how many Z’s we’re catching. Don’t skimp if you can avoid it — make sleep a priority — your body deserves it.

– Teeth: At 24 years old, I have still never had a cavity, never worn braces, never had anything more than a cleaning from a dentist. (Except for that awesome rite of passage — getting one’s wisdom teeth removed. I still haven’t warmed back up to Jell-O…) I definitely feel like I’m not missing out there, though… The mouth is a pretty critical area when it comes to indicators of overall health — since gum disease is often an open portal for serious bacteria to get into your blood stream, taking care of your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups could help save you time with a dentist’s drill — it could even save your heart.

The part of my brain that tells me I should write more is being sienced by the overwhelming urge to go pass out in my bed… Sorry but it’s a short post this week. I’m going to go practice what I preach about sleep, though… G’night all!

Why It Matters Wednesday: Hello! (and Falling Asleep)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Gosh, but it feels like Tuesday… Three-day weekends will do that to you, I guess…

I’m currently recuperating from a could-be-so-much-worse knee injury (of the wow-was-I-being-dumb variety) so my running’s been a little light lately (read: nonexistent) but I wanted to make sure to get online tonight to introduce a new series… Why It Matters Wednesday. (Bear with me… it’s a working title for now.)

The idea behind this is to bring up topics that pertain to health and wellness and why we should take the extra time/energy to care about how they affect us. In the name of grace, I know my first several posts will be fairly broad, but I’m hoping to get down to the nitty-gritty eventually and address things that interest me in a bigger sense… things that are more cause-based and incite a bit more fire in my writing (blood donation and autism to name a couple of near-and-dear causes), but first things first…

Hello! Welcome to Why it Matters Wednesday!

Baby yawning

This kid's got the right idea... Goodnight everyone!

As it is rapidly drawing close to bedtime for me, the subject of sleep is certainly on the front of my mind… or rather, falling asleep. We’ve heard every syndicated medical expert on radios/TVs/the interwebs talking about why sleep is so good, how much you should get, that sleep can contribute to your weight loss… We get it. Enough already. But for many people, the act of falling asleep is the challenge and staying asleep can be a battle.

There is a wiiiiiiiiiiide spectrum of advice on how to get yourself to sleep — much of it is solid, research-supported advice — but a lot of it is just one big stew pot of old wives’ tales sprinkled with some friend-0f-a-friend-based urban legend. The problem with faulty advice? Faulty results! Here are a few of my favorite myths about how to fall asleep…

1. “Just flip on the TV… You’ll zone out.”
Well, not really… Your bed is a zone that should exclusively be “for sleep and hanky panky” (no joke — the American Sleep Association has that on their website!). No reading, no TV-watching, and you should definitely do as I say and not as I do (right now) and NOT tappety-tap on your laptop from the comfort of your bed. Associating your bed with anything other than sleep or hanky panky (I just wanted to say hanky panky again) prompts wakefulness. Unplug, unwind, and forĀ Heaven’s sake… don’t play with your computer/iPhone/other techy stuff in bed.

2. “Man, I hate insomnia! I keep a bottle of NyQuil on the nightstand just in case…”
Taking NyQuil to make you go to sleep is not wise… at all. The wonder drug we all know and love for when we’re itchy, sneezy, sniffly, feverish, et al is known to cause drowsiness — hence the warning about not operating heavy machinery. The problem with relying on this effect is thatĀ antihistaminesĀ aren’t intended to be used as sleep aids and can actually cause ‘fragmented sleep,’ meaning the sleep you’re encouraging will not be restful, sustained sleep.

3. “Hmm… Can’t sleep… Guess it’s time for a Ā beer…”
Alcohol is something of a false friend when it comes to sleep. Though it makes you feel drowsy initially, it inhibits deeper levels of sleep and drinking lots can mean you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night.

Sleep is important for a lot of reasons, but if we won’t listen to docs and get enough sleep or see a physician to help diagnose a possible sleep disorder, we’re putting more at risk than our waistlines and vanity — we’re putting each other at risk.

Fatal crashes are most likely to occur between 2:00 and 3:00 AM and are more than ten times more likely to occur then than they are between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that about 1,500 drowsy driving related deaths occur each year, that 71,000 injuries are reported from drowsy driving-related crashes, and that $12.5 billion dollars are lost annually to these crashes.

You’ve probably heard every reason imaginable imploring you to sleep more, sleep regularly, sleep well but after a while, it probably just sounds like noise. Does hectoring the public make them more likely to follow sound advice? Probably not. But imagine how much more you could get done, how much more time you could save, and most importantly how much more energy you’d have forĀ everything if sleep was your priority and not just an option.

Do yourselves a favor — get sleep regularly. And if you can’t fall asleep, get help from a professional — you’ll be thankful that you did. (And I won’t avoid driving when you’re driving.)

With that said, I’m off… G’night everyone!

Resources:
American Sleep Association
Sleep Foundation
Mayo Clinic: Expert Answers (Insomnia)
– Choose Safety for Life: Drowsy Driving
– AAA Foundation — Drowsy Driving FAQ

20,160 minutes

Two weeks…

– Half marathon (finished in 3:28:55 — I thought this was pretty awesome because the course was all hills and MUD! Tricky, tricky, tricky…)

– Back to work (I got waaaaaaay to used to staying up until 3, sleeping until 12)

– Back to not eating so much crap (watched some amazing documentaries that really challenged how I view my diet… but more about this later)

– Back to pretending to have time to read (ooohh, boy, we gotta work on this… I used to be an avid reader… now I’m lucky if I read 3 pages of the magazines that keep arriving in my mailbox)

– Back to realizing that for all of my efforts, significant change happens one day at a time (and much to my chagrin, my positive, can-do attitude is good for the long haul, but won’t lose me 20 lbs. overnight)

– Back to work…