Saturday, June 15, 2013

The New Hardcore- Post Partum Edition

(Title is tongue in cheek- I consider myself far from hardcore!)

Today is the day. Today is the day when I declare that this is officially harder than medical training. We are almost at 9 weeks. It has been 9 weeks since I slept more than 4 hours in a row, more typically 2 or on a good night 3. The total nightly sleep is not enough. I'm dying. Well, I guess technically we are all dying, but I'm sure this degree of sleep deprivation speeds up the aging process. But this post isn't to complain. It's to celebrate that I have overcome this sleep deprivation again and again to continue my training for the Chicago Triathlon in August. It is a reminder that exercise is good in all situations, and when the choice is sleep or exercise, in many cases one might be suprised to hear that exercise is the right choice.

Today, for example. Now that I am trying to do every feeding for baby Z, I get at best one 2 hour block of sleep and the rest are between 40 minutes and an hour and a half. Last night was no exception. With me going back to work on Thursday I am a bit concerned about my job performance but we will take it one day at a time.

Given my fatigue, my relatively modest exercise agenda for the weekend- 1200 yard swim on Saturday and 7 mile swim on Sunday- seemed daunting. Getting out of bed seemed daunting. Raising my arm to my mouth to eat seemed daunting. Let alone Zooey care. But as Adam explained to Zooey this morning when she woke up crying and hungry, no one cares when adults cry- we are expected to suck it up. So what did I do instead of cry? I picked a (short lived) fight with Adam. I suppose the more mature thing to do would be to have said 'look, honey, I know you are tired too but 8 weeks of near full time Zooey care has ready worn me down, I need some free time stat", but that's not what I did. Luckily Adam got the point anyway and demanded that I swim or sleep or do something sans Zooey for a bit.

Every aching bone and muscle in my body (not to mention my overly fatigued brain that literally aches every time I'm woken from sleep these days) told me to take a nap. Sleep. Get vertical. 'Nothing is more important than sleep' every cell of my person screamed. But a small part of my brain knew. Knew that if I slept now it would be a good 3-6 hours before I had another chance to swim, if at all, given the huge to-do list in my head (plus Adam's to-dos). I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to swim with how tired I was, but I went through the motions, put on my suit with running clothes over them and headed down to the gym and pool. An hour later I had a 8:12 minute mile and 1200 yards of swimming under my belt. Now, two hours later, I'm tired again. My joints, muscles, and brain all hurt again. I still am not sure how I'll function at work on this little sleep. All I think about is when Zooey will big enough that we can sleep train her (she still needs to eat frequently now). I wish, wish, wish I was less tied so I could enjoy these early months of her life. But I know if I hadn't run and swum I would feel all that but worse because I'd feel the additional unhealthy lethargy of A Sedentary Day.

So for me the new post partum hardcore is pulling it together and getting into the pool today. Everyday in June except two I've exercised beyond the requisite one mile run. With no sleep and a newborn, that's hard. Really hard. And getting out for my 7 mile run tomorrow will be hard. Really hard. But I never let my job, or my pregnancy, or any other hardship be an excuse for fitness complacency in the past and absolute, total, I'm-not-sure-how-I'm-going-to-get-off-the-park-bench-where-I'm-writing-this-to-walk-Zooey-upstairs fatigue is no exception.

And to me, that's hardcore.

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