Monday, July 18, 2011

Exercising for Energy

The other day when I was kvetching to my friend Ruth about how tired I was, she said, "Isn't exercise supposed to give you energy?"
That stopped me. If exercise gives me energy, then I should be a whirling dervish. Instead, I wake up tired, catch a 20-minute nap when the day allows and move like I share joints with the Tin Man on the Wizard of Oz.
Most exercise gives people extra energy, it's true. But not my kind of exercise. This summer, I decided to follow the marathon training schedule. That means I ran 10 miles on Saturday.
Creak, creak, creak -- those are my joints as I pull myself out of a chair.
Now, let me be clear, as I have to everyone who asks, including the 20-year-old guy at the running shoe store and the young lady at Starbucks, I do not plan to run the marathon this fall. Running the marathon was the most miserable I have ever been. But, I decided I wanted to get in good shape this summer, and training for the marathon seemed like the way to do it.
Maybe if I got up at 5:30 and ran 5 miles before going to work, like today, then I wouldn't be so exhausted.
Twing, twang, that's the achilles tendon in my left foot when I hobble down the stairs.
But after I ran, I did about a 45-minute core exercise from P90X. Grace and I have been doing this together all summer, but she wouldn't get out of bed this morning.
Jab, jab. That's the shooting pain from shin splints shooting up the front of my legs.
And somedays, when the heat index isn't 100, I might hop on my bike and ride the half hour to work in the morning and back again in the afternoon.
My goal is to get in really good shape. I don't weigh myself and stress about numbers. I determine if I look good and if my clothes fit well. I'm pumped about the number of miles I can run without collapsing or begging my friends to walk.
But maybe the exhaustion is not the fault of the exercising. Maybe I need to go to bed at 10 like I did during the school year. In bed at 10, up at 5:30 -- 7 and a half hours of sleep seems like a good amount.
Instead, most nights, I drag myself to bed around 11 after Tucker gets home and then when Grace or Spencer gets home they come in to kiss me goodnight and tell me about their evenings. Then I may wake up when Earl gets home from work at 12 or 12:30 or 1 a.m. and again when he comes to bed at 2 or 3 a.m.
Last night around 3:15, Spencer wandered into the bedroom and asked whether he could have a pillow because he fell asleep on the couch and didn't want to go to his bed. I woke up Earl and took his extra pillow. Then I felt guilty and got up to get Earl an extra pillow.
At 5:30 the alarm went off and I started over again.
So maybe, it's not exercise making me tired. Maybe it's lack of sleep.
How about you? Does exercising give you energy?


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Paulita .. I am exhusted just reading this post. I don't think i would be energised by this amount of exercise.. but as you say broken sleep is not good for you either.

Should you be running if you have a problem with your foot , doesn't sound right to me, but I am sure you will know :-)

Paulita said...

Anne, You ask very sensible questions, but these are things that runners never stop to consider.

BFF said...

So you have inspired me. I started the couch to 5k plan this summer (will continue with week 4 when the temp falls below 90 so don't scare me that I could possibly be more tired. Will call tomorrow. Love you

Linda said...

Exercising makes me tired in that I need a nap but I also have more energy and just feel better. I have lots of soreness too, especially as I'm getting older. I would say you are tired because you aren't getting enough sleep.

Lucia said...

Your an inspiration. 10 miles...omg...could never run a block nevermind 10 miles. I miss exercising. I do it sporadically and yes it does energize me but I still lack a good nights uninterrupted sleep.

Stephanie said...

Uh, I think you most definitely need more sleep.

I will admit to feeling exhausted on our long run days, something that did not happen to me in previous years.

BFF - way to go on the "couch to 5k plan! Keep us posted.

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