Can You Overdose on Nyquil?

Yes, obviously. You can overdose on anything.

But, the question for me is what kind of effect it has after taking a normal amount many days in a row. Turns out: I have no idea.

There’s all kinds of dire consequences online, like nausea, vomiting, seizures, renal failure, death and this gem:

If doxylamine is consistently abused, it can cause the user to form lesions on their brain which affects memory, cognitive ability and emotions.

So, that sounds, you know, NOT GOOD. However, it seems that most of the abuse people are worried about — particularly if the questions internet users choose to post on the superhighway are any indication — is more along the lines of how it would affect you if you swallowed a whole bottle of Nyquil in one night or multiple bottles with alcohol over multiple nights. There’s really not a lot of information about what happens if you’re not actually trying to Nyquil all your problems away and instead just take slightly more than the prescribed amount in order to fall asleep without coughing for way too many nights in a row. The only indication that this is not totally advised is the note on the bottle that pretty much says if you still have to take this shit for more than two weeks, then you should see a doctor.

So. There’s that.

I’m mostly better. Maybe. Probably. Who knows. But, I’m still coughing myself awake at night. If I didn’t need to sleep, I’d be fine. And, if I didn’t have to go to jury duty today I would have gone to the doctor. Then, I think jury duty made me sicker — sick about the system, man.

I also got through a 1:20 easy bike ride yesterday without wanting to run my bike over with someone else’s car, by laying down in front of it. And, I didn’t even take Dayquil to do it (largely because I don’t believe in Dayquil — you should not be going about during the day passing around symptoms that are so bad you need to cover them up that much — and also one time I took some to get through a race and, well, lesson learned).

Things I Have Done to Prepare for Ironman/Triathlon Training

  • Re-start my pool/gym membership that lapsed a year ago
  • Get my road bike tuned up and cables replaced
  • Join a new team
  • Plan my base training
  • Sign up for races
  • Make arrangements (some of them) to go to training camp weekend with Hillary in Feb/March
  • Consider just staying in Arizona for a week to go to new team camp the following weekend and really put in a week of crazy work in between
  • Yoga
  • And, stay at yoga for the entire class without leaving
  • Talk to coaches, pick people’s brains
  • NOT apply up for a number of new jobs, fellowships and gigs that have come up, so that I can actually have enough time to train and recover without being crazy overbooked — this has to be some kind of first for me
  • Rest
  • ART appointment and massage to deal with my messed up leg/foot
Things I Still Have To Do:
  • Get my Garmin to download
  • Figure out why my PowerTap isn’t working
  • Find my heartrate monitor
  • Devise functional strength/preemptive recovery plan to help prevent injury
  • Train

Watch out people, this shit is getting real. I might actually be taking IM training seriously for the next seven months.

A Day in the Life: How to Do An Off-Season

I am in off-season right now. That’s sort of weird, since I was basically not really “in-season” for a large part of the middle of the year. But, I still think it’s important to take at least a week or two to really chill out after getting through something hard — even if it was just hard, not fast.

The thing that’s really weird about this week, though, is that the lack of training has coincided with a lack of other stuff to do as well. Steve is really busy and gone most of this week and next. I always work from home, but usually I have meetings and interviews to do; I typically work out of different offices and places most days. But, this week, I got nothing. High school cross-country practices are over too. So, I’m really chilling out. This has really made for an incredibly low-key/boring week. My biggest problem is that if you leave the TV on court shows all day, DISH keeps asking if you’re really still watching??

I think it’s good, though. I think I’m going hit rock-bottom soon and be ready to bounce back. I’m already making plans and getting fidgety. Not that I’m actually doing anything about those plans yet, but it’s a start.

If you want to do off-season right, here is basically what I did yesterday:

6:45: Steve’s alarm goes off, because he has to head to Sacramento. Tupac the Cat is very excited about being up earlier than 8 a.m. and jumps on my head. I yell at him, kick him out of the room and go back to sleep.

9:15: Tupac’s banging on the bedroom door finally becomes impossible to ignore. We sit in bed and check the internet. Or, one of us checks the internet and the other bites a lot. Not telling you who did which.

9:45: Eat breakfast, browse internet for story ideas, send emails, etc.

10: Pull together a short “This Day in History” post for Yahoo! Travel for Thursday. End up opting for the first motel opening on Dec. 12, 1925 in San Luis Obispo. Read up, write.

10:55: Waste some time on the internet.

11:10: Realize if I want to shower before my 11:30 call I should do that. Shower, put on actual clothes for the first time in days — jeans + t-shirt.

11:20: Get a text message from a friend telling me there was a bank robbery at the bank down the street. I am such a terrible news reporter that I had no idea. The TV says the robber was shot by police and all the streets are closed. Guess I’m not going to the mall afterall.

11:30: Call with founder and editorial manager to talk about RootsRated, for which I’m supplying San Francisco Bay Area coverage. It’s live now, but there’s still little kinks to work out and plans to make for January.

12 to 1: Not totally sure what I do for an hour. In theory, I work on a story about food technology. Really, I do stuff. Lots of reading online and sending emails and Googling. Write a blog post. I become convinced that I don’t have a firm enough grasp on the of-the-moment internet and must create a more complete daily news round-up of things to read. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IF I CAN’T DO THE INTERNET!

Realize the 4 p.m. yoga class down the block that I wanted to take is cancelled. Decide this means I should definitely go get sushi in the evening instead.

Decide I don’t care about the internet.

1: Aw, shit, I really do have to write that post for Bay Area Bites about food delivery technologies. Write. Get massively sidetracked looking up apps that will deliver food from restaurants for you, so that I could just have sushi delivered to me and never have to leave the house. But, stupid apps don’t cover Marin County very well.

3:15: Send piece to editor. Get email about motel story going on homepage, but they need more photos. Look for public domain photos, which is very, very challenging.

3:50: Bundle up and deck out my bike with the two working bike lights we have. Bike over the hill.

4:20: Talk to the owner of Marin Running Co for a bit.

4:30: Hang out at the San Anselmo Library. Pick up Beautiful Creatures. Read.

5:15: Sushi!! (I don’t care if everyone thinks Sushi Ran is so much more prestigious and fancy, Sushi 69 is the best. THE BEST.)

6: Bike home. It is so cold. So cold. My fingers hurt.

6:30: Oh shit, how did I get this cold. It’s not even that cold out and I’m wearing so many clothes. How am I ever going to train on my bike over the winter? This is ridiculous. No person could ever bike in 40 degrees. It is not possible. Bundle up and drape myself in a Snuggie to sit on the couch and read.

7 to 10: Read, read some more. Watch some TV, eat the last of my cookies and play with Tupac.

10: Talk to Steve for a bit, who is still in Sac. Do a bit more work, send emails, make a list of numbers I need to call in the morning, put away some laundry. Browse the Competitor issue I picked up at the running store. They profiled Marin County as a running destination! Sweet. How did I miss this. Of course they told people to go to Sol Food, of course. EVERYONE goes to Sol Food. I am over Sol Food. Think about this for a bit.

11:15: Decide to get ready for bed.

11:30: Tupac shits all over the bathroom. Clean it up. Decide it can not be cleaned up to my satisfaction; throw the mat away.

11:50: Get in bed. Read some more.

12:30: Turn out the light.

As you can see, it was a super busy day.*

*Caveat: This is not typically how life is. And, yes, I do have bigger projects I could work on, but I’m ON A BREAK.

Why I Disappeared for a Few Days

Because I headed to LA to check out USC for grad school. Let’s all cross our fingers that I get into the program I want and get funding and that it magically makes everything amazing and I am suddenly a super awesome writer with book deals and magazine contracts and fabulousness.

Because, while I was in LA for 50 hours, I had dinner with a friend and lunch with another friend and stayed with a different friend. This makes me sound like I have a lot of friends. I don’t. I have like three.

Because all that made me very tired. I am actually still tired, despite sleeping until 10 a.m. both yesterday and today.

Because the fatigue is building so much that I can’t shake it out of my legs and am just dragging myself through runs. I bombed a hard workout on Thursday before I left, just bombed, couldn’t hold marathon pace off the bike and stopped, walked, turned around and jogged home. It’s been two weeks of dragging/jogging rut + bombing a race + sucking up one of my last half-dozen hard workouts before CIM. I am discouraged and not 100% sure what to do to turn it around besides rest and recover. (I am like 90% sure about what to do.)

Because I needed to step back then and not hear about how super-perfect-amazing everyone else’s workouts were going. My problems are at least 63% in my head. So, everyone else needs to get out of there.

Friday Fun Facts

A random assortment of things that didn’t merit a whole post:

1. This week is a rest/recovery week. I do not do things in rest/recovery weeks. So, this morning, I fully intended to NOT bike commute to my ART appointment. But, after rolling down to the freeway bus stop, I missed the bus by 10″ and then had to bike the 7 miles in jeans, flip-flops and a fleece jacket. I’m pretty sure this was less restful than if I had just biked in bike clothes from the beginning.

2. Part of the reason this is a rest/recovery week is because I’m racing the Tiburon Half Marathon on Sunday. Lots of my high school kids are volunteering and they keep asking me if I’m going to win. No. No, I’m not. I would like to do the race in 1:26 (I mean hell, I’d like to do it in 1:20), but I’m not even 100% sure I’m in sub-1:30 shape. We’ll see.

3. Part of the reason I had an ART appointment is because I am MESSED UP. My body sort of gave out on me over the whole shitty two weeks and it’s just starting to come back around. I also had a deep tissue massage last week for this reason. I’m generally pretty stoic about pain that I know is coming/controlled — ie. evidently, if I know it’s only temporary, like ART, and isn’t a signal that I’m causing permanent damage, then I’m pretty ok with things hurting; the problem is that in races I’m doing it to myself and I start worrying about the pain being a sign I’m going to lose part of my small intestine or whatever. That being said, these two appointments have been far, far more painful than usual. Because I am so messed up.

4. Ideally, part of the reason I’m so messed up and needed the rest/recovery is because I’ve been training. Since October ended yesterday I looked at all my training for the month — I’ve been doing a shit job looking at it on a regular basis — and it turns out that I actually have been training just about right.

I did 42:55 in October (counting the actual training, NOT all the other time — a 4 hour ride is a 4 hour ride, not a 4:45 ride because you had to stop and refill water bottles three times and chat with friends), which is pretty much a standard base amount of training for me when I am training. And, more impressively, since this happened without me really paying a ton of attention, I upped my run volume by about 50% to 144 miles — pretty much the most I ever run and the most I’ve run since February — while at the same time dropping my swim volume to 25% of what it was last month. I basically couldn’t have planned to do that more right if I actually stuck to my training plan.

5. I also got word this morning that I got into Escape from Alcatraz for June. This is all part of my master plan: race Escape on June 1, the Dipsea on June 8, and then IM CDA on June 29. Things are starting to come together. And, even though I already said this on the Twitter, this was our conversation this morning:

Me: Hey, I got into Escape from Alcatraz!
Steve: See, and you think you get rejected from everything.
Me: It’s a lottery. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Race?

Usually, it takes a few days for me to feel recovered. Like three. And, then I’m fine. I have always been fine racing back to back weekends, though that usually takes being smart — cooling down, not eating an entire pouch of bite-sized Kit-Kats every day in “celebration.” Once, I did like five Olympic-distance triathlons in seven weeks. The last one was the best one.

This week, I’m not recovering well. I swam a grand total of 3500y from Sunday until Wednesday afternoon. Nothing else. Wednesday I planned to run easy — test out my foot — and then go to Nate’s Crossfit class in the evening.

Side note: For this reason (plus, I’d get to sleep in like 30′) I decided to drive to KQED Wednesday morning. I then hit shitty traffic that made me 25′ late to work, got a parking ticket for $70 and was rear-ended when I stopped to avoid hitting one of the people who wanders into the middle of the street in San Francisco. This is why you shouldn’t drive.

During the easy 22′ run I checked my watch more times than I did the entire race last weekend. I felt Terrible. And, my maybe-sort-of-broken toe hurt when I ran. A lot. Last time this broken toe thing happened, I definitely raced the weekend after and it was fine. This weekend, I don’t think that’d be possible. Crossfit was rough on my legs, then. It was all rough and ugly and rough.

Of course there's an eCard about it.
Of course there’s an eCard about it.


Thursday, I was going to bike and then do a hard run. Halfway through my ride, I realized I had locked myself out of my house, so I had to go break into Steve’s parents and get the spare key. When I got started again, I still planned on running. But, suddenly, I changed my mind. No run. And, the relief was so overwhelming that I figured I made the right choice.

Then, this morning, I planned to get up early and swim before coming into work. I packed up all my stuff last night. I went to bed early(ish). But, my alarm went off at 5:37 a.m. and I didn’t even think about it. I just reset it for an hour later and went back to sleep. I never do that. I mean I DO sleep in all the time, but only if I know I can rearrange my schedule and get my workout in later. If I have to get up and get something done, then I get up. (That’s also my secret to not pressing the snooze: just set your alarm for the latest you could possibly get up, then there’ll be no negotiation, because you’ll have to get up. If there’s negotiation, you won’t.) Today, though, I can’t swim later. I’m going to the Oddball Comedy show this evening, so if I didn’t swim this morning, then I didn’t swim today. I didn’t swim.

And, I’m still wandering around like I forgot how to be a human being. I don’t know why. My only guess is for some reason some times recovery takes longer. I think I really trashed myself at Pacific Grove; I don’t think my body was physically ready for that. (Steve said, in response to this: Congratulations. So, you know, go me for being able to bury myself!)

I kind of want to just do this with Tupac:

You can't see that his butt is hanging off the couch. But, that didn't seem to bother him.
You can’t see that his butt is hanging off the couch. But, that didn’t seem to bother him.

When is it time for a planned break?

Sorry, sorry. This is the for real post. I was writing this while sitting and waiting for my food earlier, because I had tried to order a Salmon Roe roll, which apparently is really hard to understand over the phone (say it fast), so when I walked in the door, instead they just handed me this cup of fish eggs and asked for $20. So, we had a discussion and I waited. Then when I finally got my rolls, I quickly ‘saved’ what I had written on my phone, but it ‘published’ instead. And, that is why you got a cut-off post earlier…

My blog readership plummeted last week. I suppose it has something to do with the whole people don’t want to hear you complain thing – though they do want to hear about you falling down, just preferably while laughing in an ironic way.

I didn’t post really this weekend either – a first in a long time – simply because it was time for a break. But, the internet isn’t really the main thing I’m taking a break from currently (especially since my job description right now basically just reads: ‘Do the internet’). The main thing I’m taking a break from is structured training and racing.

It looks just like this:

Except with pants, obviously.
Except with pants, obviously.

I know, you’re thinking: And that’s different how? Or, probably more accurately: wasn’t she already taking a break?

After getting hurt going into Boston, I was put on forced hiatus. Forced injury hiatus is NOT a break. It is anything but break-like. It’s full of angsting and water running. After Boston, I sort of just broke down/meandered my way through training, with a few days here and there of nothing, because I was supposed to run the Dipsea. Half-heartedly semi-training and spur-of-the-moment racing to prepare for a bigger race is NOT a break. (Even if it is more fun than water run angsting.)

So, now. Now, I am on a scheduled break.

The plan had originally been to kill it at Boston obvs, rest and recovery for a week or so, keep it tight for the Dipsea, and then take a planned break for three weeks, extending through our trips to Tahoe and Hawaii. I’d come back better than ever. For a possible return to seriousness.

That didn’t go exactly according to plan, but we now find ourselves at the scheduled break phase of the programming. It also happens to coincide with the crazy levels of work currently. That makes The Break sort of obvious and also sort of less break-like. But, still.

I did nothing last week except 23′ of swimming and then 38′ of easy running, which included the weird heart rate sitting in the middle of the trail stuff. This week, I’m planning on some casual evening workouts, same next week. Hopefully, some trail running in Hawaii (yay Hawaii!) if my foot is feeling better than it was this week (boo dress shoes). And, then?

I’m not sure yet.

That’s part of how a break works. You don’t worry about what comes next too much. But, I’m thinking about a return to serious training – like over ten hours/week training, like riding my bike more than just to and from work training, like possibly TRIATHLON TRAINING. *gasp*

Here are possibilities for the second half of the year/fall, add suggestions:

  • 50K Trail Ultra
  • Pacific Grove Triathlon
  • Donner Lake Swim
  • Fall Marathon (or possibly winter marathon)
  • The San Rafael Mile
  • Lagoon swimming maybe
  • Tiburon Triathlon-ing
  • Preparing for possible Ironman next year
  • Something else?

What should I do this fall (besides hope I don’t have to get bone spur surgery)?

Things I Do After a Hot Run

Courtenay’s been in town, so this morning (which starts at 9 a.m., not 6:30, Courtenay!) we did my favorite trail run loop. She kept saying that if we were going so late, it was going to be hot. I said, “It’s Marin,” ie. it doesn’t get that hot here. Then, she said the same thing to Steve later and he said, “It’s Marin.”

But, it was hot.

I haven’t run that far in over two months. It was fun, since we gossiped and took staged “running” photos. By the end, though, my legs were dead and I was making us stop at every water fountain because I couldn’t swallow — which was still not enough water fountains. Then, we went to Swirl and got frozen yogurt.

These are the things I usually do after a super hot/long run:

  • Stop at the Quick N’ Easy and get an ice cream sandwich
  • Stop at the Quick N’ Easy and just stand in the air conditioning
  • Guzzle a water bottle and then feel slightly sick
  • Lay on the road in the shade
  • Lay on the floor of our condo
  • Eat frozen fruit
  • Stand in the water play structure at the playground and scare all the small children
  • Become incomprehensible for the rest of the day and incapable of work, because my brain has become fried in the sun

The last one is the only guarantee.

What do you do after a hot run?

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

My article about sleep making you faster is up today on Competitor. Summary: Seriously, go to bed!

Working on the article made me very self-conscious. I sleep a lot compared to plenty of people these days. But, I don’t ever feel rested. It’s not like I don’t know what chronic sleep deprivation feels like. I spent a few years never sleeping more than five hours a night. There was another year in college where construction was being done on a new building right outside our window (like cranes hitting the building and workmen standing on the other side of the glass waving) starting at 7 a.m. every morning. I learned to sleep through it, but it chronically made me dream of jackhammers. And, there was one time when I decided I would just take 45-minute naps every three hours. That didn’t last long after I started hallucinating that there were mice inside my pillow.

So, I know what that all feels like. These days, I sleep a decent amount, but still just feel tired. I have always assumed that 1. on the scale of people needing 7-9 hours, I was on the 9 hour end of things (I do NOT feel good with 7 hours of sleep) and 2. I am a night person, which doesn’t mesh well with modern work schedules and 3. I possibly have permanently screwed up my auto-immune system from mono and need more rest.

About right.
About right.

Here’s how much I’ve slept in the last few days:

Last night: seven hours of very poor sleep, waking up every 45 minutes
Tuesday night: seven hours of ok sleep + 45 minutes of Floyd sleeping on my face
Monday night: six hours straight + one hour before I took Floyd out of my bed + one-and-a-half hours on and off after I woke up but didn’t feel like getting up yet
Sunday night: ten hours fucking OUT
Saturday night: five hours on a couch + another hour on and off wondering if I should get up yet
Friday night: six-and-a-half hours + another 45 minutes or so laying in bed after Steve got up + like an hour beforehand when I couldn’t fall asleep

Basically, I’m in bed a decent amount. But, unless I’m EXHAUSTED, I’m not necessarily sleeping a decent amount or well.

The thing is, though, there may not be anything wrong with me. There’s a good amount of research out suggesting that what we’ve learned to accept as modern sleep schedules, 7-9 hours from 10-11 p.m. to 6-7 a.m., may not actually mesh with natural Circadian rhythms at all. Our patterns have changed through the centuries and what is considered a standard amount of sleep has changed over the years. This is largely because we no longer have the time to follow those patterns — what with electric light, why should we?

And, athletes need more sleep than anyone. They should most be foregoing societal standards about when you have to wake up. Ten hours a night actually has increased effects on performance (read my article). Yet, we love to go on about how little sleep we need, how we can make do, how that guy is a go-getter who is up at 4 a.m. It’s silly. I’m tired of people making me feel bad for sleeping so much or so late. Left to my own devices, I sleep 12:30 to 9:30 a.m., give or take. Obviously, I’m not left to my own devices most of the time. But, that doesn’t make someone who sleeps 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. better than me. It makes them sleepier.