Breakdown. Breakthrough. Life just happens and you have to deal with it the best you can. My life has hit a ceiling of sorts and I am pausing for a second to fix my broken down system. I have been struggling with some severe insomnia issues for well, about 2 years now. Its no secret my daughter has not been an easy sleeper, but even in the last 6 months when she is getting more routine sleep, I am unable to. I stay up for hours or even all night just to fret over anything and everything. My laundry, my work, races, songs in and out of my head, I think of a million things I need to do, and it just cycles over and over. December was the worst ever and I sought help from a doctor who prescribed me Lunesta. The problem is, this stuff is bad for you. A New England Journal of Medicine article published in 2011, sighted a study that showed that people who used more than a dozen pills in a year had an increased mortality rate of three times greater than those not on sleeping pills. Now, there were many subgroups, outliers, etc, but the bottom line is, sleeping pills are not good. Since January, there has only been about a half dozen times I have fallen asleep without one. Yeah, this is not good. I functioned okay in January, worse in February , where at Ray Miller 50k I witnessed a true performance decrease due to lack of sleep and since a near shooting incident about two weeks ago, I have experienced more stress than my body knows what to do with. I got the flu last week and my body couldn’t and wouldn’t move for about three days. Yes, body, I am listening and I’m sorry I have been pushing you so hard.
I have since seen a few doctors who have boiled down for me the following possibilities: Adrenal fatigue due to excessive cortisol stimulation- read too much dang stress, female hormonal deficiencies that are classic for extreme athletes- FAT, female athlete triad, and/or now post-traumatic stress from the shooting incident. Training has been very little in the past two weeks and my mental and physical health concerns have come to the forefront as they should.
In the next two weeks, I am going to be undergoing labs, testing, etc to figure out how to help my body and mind back to a healthy spot. I am confident that in part I must let go of some stressers in my life. I must prioritize to my family, sleep, nutrition, running and work and fun.
With all of this means I must re-arrange my racing schedule to allow me some time to recover and get back into the swing of things. Sadly, I must let go of Antelope Island 100 mile run in a few weeks. I am optimistic that I will be able to take an extra month to get my life back in shape and hopefully toe the line at Zion 100 on April 19th. I will wait a bit longer to make that decision to make sure my health starts to turn around.
Sleep really is the secret to good health, fast racing and a happy mental outlook. I am learning about optimum sleep habits, routines, relaxation techniques and meditation. To train and race and work and be a mom on only a few hours of sleep a night is straight up silly. I think this is just a bump in the road and I know I will recover. Life’s lesson- stay flexible and always prioritize your health.
I am open to any and all suggestions for curing this bout of insomnia. What has worked for you?