It is Monday morning and I should be at the gym finishing off my first training session of the week. Instead I am lounging in my living room in my pajamas, where the heaviest thing I’ve lifted was my coffee mug. My intention was to go to the gym this morning. Last night, I prepped my training log, filled my water bottle, and made sure my gym bag was ready to go. What I didn’t count on was laying in bed for hours with a mind that would tiptoe right up to the edge of sleep only to dash down a rabbit hole of thought instead of welcoming the darkness. That process repeated itself for hours…almost asleep and then thoughts racing off in a completely different and random direction.
Even my trusty go-to method of quieting my mind for sleep failed me last night. I shall explain this method if you promise not to laugh. Scratch that. I’m certain that you will laugh, and that’s okay. I am not ashamed of being a huge Star Wars geek.
When I have trouble sleeping, I begin to create Star Wars stories in my mind as I lay in bed. Sometimes my ideas come from previous dreams (yes, I do occasionally dream Star Wars), while some ideas come years of reading about and imaging the Star Wars universe post-original movies. I begin by setting the scene and characters and usually fall asleep well before I can get around to enlarging the scene with action. Night after night, I repeat the process, setting the scene from the beginning and fall asleep shortly after. My stories seldom progress very far and almost never reach a conclusion. The goal isn’t the story but sleep, and this activity somehow takes all my mental threads of thought and twists them into a solitary rope that I can follow into dreamland.
But not last night. At the first sign of difficulty in falling asleep, I began setting my scene. In the usual fashion, my mind would shortly begin to drift towards darkness, but then darkness would shatter as my thoughts would veer in a different direction. Instead of my Star Wars lullaby, I’d be thinking about work or training or Nationals or my son’s dead fish or the mild throb in my shoulder or dinner for the next week or the bills I have to pay or the hip pain from 3 years ago or how odd it is to be in a pitch black room with eyes closed yet ‘seeing’ bright light inside my head. No matter how many times I would set the scene all over again, the result was the same. Tiptoe up to the edge of sleep. Retreat at full speed.
When my bladder woke me a couple of minutes before my alarm was set to blare, I debated with myself. Get up and go to the gym as planned or delay the gym until tomorrow and get a bit more sleep today. In the past I didn’t have the ability to even make such a last minute change to my training, because my training time was coordinated with my coach’s availability. Now that I train by myself, I do have more flexibility, but I still need to make sure that I get my training done, especially with a competition on the horizon. In the span of a minute or two, while still half-asleep, I mentally looked at my schedule and shuffled things around. Yes. It would work. So, I opted to stumble to the bathroom quickly and then crawl back into bed for another 40 minutes or so. Although I still would have had time to get to the gym this morning, I think the best decision is to wait until tomorrow. My shoulder is mildly achy. I did not get much sleep at all and what I got was not of great quality. I can tackle Week 10, Day 1 tomorrow.