Tuesday, April 24, 2007


My sister has occassionally called into question my sanity. It began when the prospect of running a marathon first entered my mind. When I asked her to consider running the Chicago Marathon with me, she voiced her feelings on the matter.

In her mind, running is the most expedient way to stay in shape. She runs a 5K race every now and then. Anything above and beyond that is a sign of possible mental instability.

My registration for Ironman Louisville was, in her mind, the final piece of evidence in the verification process. Tacking 114.4 miles onto the day BEFORE completing a marathon and the training required to achieve that task make this an open and shut case. Obsessive. In a big way.

Well, I have bad news. There are even more symptoms. For example, consider the energy levels of people during training.

Night before last, I got a fairly good night's sleep. I got to bed in time to get about seven and a half hours sleep (though it was broken up by Monster Girl). I didn't have to train in the morning. Everything was on track for a great day. Yet I could barely keep my eyes open driving to work, and I felt sluggish, all day. When I got home, what I really wanted was a nap instead of the "dad time" and training I got.

Last night, after watching kids until after 9 p.m. (yes, at least one was awake until then), I hopped on the bike for a 75 minute spin on the trainer. Life then got in the way, and I didn't get into bed until after 11:30 p.m. That may as well be 3 a.m. for me, which, by the way, is when Monster Girl woke up screaming. After roughly four and a half hours sleep, I got up for my swim session and headed to work. Oddly, I am alert and feel better than when I go more sleep.

The difference? The training. Somewhere along the path to the insanity we call endurance sports, my body has become used to the training. Is it the endorphins so many talk about? I don't think so, as those are supposed to kick in DURING training. And I can definitely refute the presence of any such kick DURING long training or racing. Whatever it is, I do better after training, regardless of the quality of sleep.

If attempting an Ironman puts one into the "questionable sanity" category, where does "needs training to function" land them?


Nytro said...

you and Benny? TWINS.

Andra Sue said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've been getting worried about what will happen when my training for the 1/2 IM ramps up and I start getting less sleep. Right now, if I have *any* sleep deficit built up, I'm toast. At least now I can be hopeful that my body will get used to it and I won't be miserable. :)

Iron Benny said...

It's like I wrote this post myself. You may recall the first title of my blog; I train because because I'm driven, not because I'm crazy. I was tired of being called crazy.

And, a morning shower and a workout is my equivelant of other peoples cup of coffee. I gotta have it to get going.

Good luck managing the addiction. The side effects are health, energy, happiness, and motivation. Tough stuff

You and me Pol? We think alike. Later

Comm's said...

If attempting an Ironman puts one into the "questionable sanity" category, where does "needs training to function" land them?

...In the finisher chute of an Ironman.

Wrenching Winz said...

Needs training to function lands you in the None of The Above

LP said...

So true...
right now when I have a rest day I feel really antsy all day and need a nap. Get up and train...I can keep going.

See you in Louisville!