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My Relationship with Sleep

The Struggle & Some Solutions

sunny 40 °F

As far back as I can remember, sleeping never came easy.

I remember tip-toeing the hallway of Nonnie and Pepes sleeping house, the only noise being the clink-clink-clink of the dining room clock. I remember setting up pillows and blankets next to Mom and Dads bed, or outside their door....not to sleep, but to silently put on shows for them (as they slept) with my stuffed animals. I remember being the instigator at every single sleepover, just to keep my playmate having fun. If we were being silly, they wouldn't go to sleep and leave me as the only one awake in the house. And let's not even get into the sleep-walking adventures, mid-sleep laughing fits and lengthily conversations I'll have while in dreamland.

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Nighttime routines helped a lot. When I was little my dad and I always had the same exchange of words after I was tucked in. He would rub my back in familiar patterns, all giving me a sense of security and helping me relax. As I grew up I slowly started to figure it out bit by bit. I would come up with my own routines. In relationships, I fear the other person has always had their share of gentle elbows waking them up for one last reassuring 'goodnight' or 'i love you'.

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More recently, as training has increased I have found that I am unable to maintain my day to day if my sleep gets foxed with. Not willing to compromise training, recovery, or you know.....all the critical functions that sleep enables like hormone regulation, immune function, repairing cells and tissues, integrating new information and organizing long-term memories. I decided it was time to really address this chronic issue.

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I can't tell you how many great friends and amazing people have helped me the past few weeks try and tackle this thing. Your suggestions, similar experiences and home remedies have made quite the difference. So, it is here that I will compile them and pay it forward to someone else.

Rest Easy My Dear

1. Plan Your Sleep.
Determine how much sleep you need and what time you need to wake up. Figure out a 'bedtime'.

2. Create a Bedtime Ritual:
The trick here, is make it one that you can do independently, and anywhere. This will help make transitioning to travel no big deal.

3. Un-Plug.
Start a “slowdown” process in the evening by turning off computers, and TVs. Yes, even try to push the cell phone away. (Work in progress on this one)
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4. Set the Mood
Turn off any harsh or bright lighting. Dim lights will start to slow down your busy brain.

5. Your Belly.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Even when you are to the point that you would wrestle a grandma to the road for her cup o' joe....It will not be worth it later (both the coffee and the taking down of grandma) This one is a work in progress for me too.
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6. Body Clock
Waking at a similar time each day, including weekends will help train your body to stay on a sleep schedule. It seems to be working...hence, why I just happened to wake up at 6:30am today, a Saturday. Now I will drink my fair share of 'Morning Only' coffee and blog about sleeping. Hmm....

7. Wine or Tea.
There is nothing wrong with a glass of red wine a couple hours before bed. Have it with dinner, and really enjoy that time. I've been having wine a few nights a week and the others I'll have sleepy-time tea. Mostly as an experiment to see which works better. Or, let's be real, sometimes both ; )

8. Melatonin
I'm putting this one on the list, but I personally don't think it is a great idea for everyday use. I'll only use it to aid in sleeping after I've jumped timezones for travel.

9. Monkey Mind
If your mind is running in circles as you are laying in bed. It's not going to stop. Give yourself 5 minutes to write down anything and everything that is proving to be important to your mind. Make your to-do list, write down your concerns, list out things in your life that need resolution and how to get there, make your grocery list...whatever. Get it out of your head.
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10. P.O.M
"Peace Of Mind" Remind yourself the value of today being today and tomorrow being tomorrow. Everything will happen in the pace it is supposed to. So no stressing, just get the F to sleep.

Well. Not the typical entry, but you know.
It's something I've been wanting to get out there.
Next up will be a whirlwind of life announcements, embarrassing stories and who knows.

Countdown:
Today is important. Let's keep our minds here today.

Quote of the Moment:
"Action expresses priorities" Mahatma Gandhi

Here's to peace, resting well and mobility,
Aubs

Posted by AubreyJ 07:49 Archived in USA Tagged travel training resting fitness action health healthy recovery triathlon caffeine priorities sleep_problems emotional_wellbeing Comments (0)

Mantra? Life Motto?

Call it what you will....but this one saved me.

sunny 50 °F

Cards. Guns. Paradise. Destiny.

It all started when I packed my life into two big bags (one of which was entirely my SCUBA & underwater photography equipment) about to head Honduras for one week and then straight to Ecuador for another 6 months. One of my final pieces of preparation for this next chapter was to go on a search for my "Quote Card". Maybe it's the high-school girl that will forever live in me a little bit, but I wanted to find something to hang on my mirror that would bring me strength, inspiration, serenity, comfort, excitement....whatever I needed.

Really just a series of words strung together, but there would be something about these words, in such an order that would just strike me - something that would become my 'go-to', my 'comfort blanket'. I remember spending over two hours roaming the card aisle of FACES in Northampton, MA....until I had the perfect one. In the card store that December day I had no idea how much this now tattered, coffee-stained, very-loved, eco-friendly greeting card cover would go through / see me through.

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It's first big test was just three weeks in, after our hotel room was robbed at gun point by a group of men.

Supportive parents, a compassionate college community, a new best friend, the love of my life (well, then..), and lots of other factors contributed to being able to pick-up the pieces after that night and move forward. But, seriously. This little greeting card did empower me. It reminded me that I was in Ecuador to DO AMAZING THINGS, for myself, on my own. And nothing/nobody was going to take that away. It has taken a very, very long time but I am learning to embrace that experience as a pivotal moment that made me choose how I handle fear/trauma. I DIDN'T RUN AWAY, back home to Massachusetts.

And good thing too. Because over the next few months on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, I would get up each morning at 5am to run before the blazing, hot, sun-of-death would be beating down....that I truly feel in love with mulit-sport. It was where I gathered everything I needed to make the decision to pursue racing when I got home instead of grad school. My mom always says that 'things happen for a reason'.

And it's taken me twenty-something years to admit it, but "Damn...that lady is pretty much always right"

And so began the tradition of "Life Quote Card". This one that started it all has since traveled on various adventures to The Philippines, London, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Hungary before moving across the country to reside in Colorado with me. It hangs on my fridge, because ummmm......let's be real, as an athlete now, I see my fridge more often than I see the mirror.

I've had quite a few little mantras over the years...each seeming to serve their own purpose for that period of time and each coming to me in an unusually perfect way. With the exception of that first one, I have never gone out searching for one.

Not that there are "Rules" for the "Life Quote Card" but.....there are
1. I'm pretty sure you just need to make the jump and find your first one, the rest will find you in a 'pay it forward' kind of way.
2. Since you can't buy/search out cards for yourself beyond that first one, your job becomes to every so often find something for someone you care about....maybe you'll send the exact something someone you love needs at just the right time.

A Glimpse In The Archives

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Random package from my little sister after living in CO for a while. She reminded me that family is close, roots are deep and home will always be there...no matter where I journey or for how long.

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I have finally learned that when I get to this point, these feelings....it is time to go. Time to move forward. Move on. Start clean.

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Helps me remember that goals are more than just desire.
They take action, and that action is in the form of 'a lot of freakin' work'

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Reminds me that we're getting older every day,,,and everyday is a good day to do what makes you happy. And if what makes you happy is launching off a homemade jump with goggles on in a cardboard box plane....well. Shit, GET TO IT!

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Sent from Montana from my brain twin, Amanda. We saved each others lives in Ecuador.....literally. This card and her amazing spirit are my reminder of what true friendship is and what kind of friend we should all strive to be.

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There are countless choices we make each day, each minute....Choose Brightly.

Well. There it is.
If it makes me weird, that's fine.
It's just something that works for me.

Next time your out and about...why not spend some time browsing around the card shop?
A little inspiration never hurt anyone.

Here's to peace, opening up and honey almond butter,
Aubs

Posted by AubreyJ 21:00 Archived in USA Tagged travel independence quotes living_abroad inspiration triathlon being_scared being_strong Comments (1)

Visit to the Flatlands

From the 303 to the 413

snow 12 °F

Massachusetts was a whirlwind visit. Techincally it continues to be....since we are getting dumped on with snow and it's looking like attempted flight back #2 might be bagged tomorrow morning. TBA I suppose. Anyways. Certainly packed everything I could into being back east. Feel pretty lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

On to the Highlights:

(To be read in that really fast auctioneer voice)

Drive to the Berkshires. Eat kale for breakfast. Seminar on desire. Ponder intention. Run hill repeats. Yoga Dance with mom. No inhibitions. Reach Z5 heart rate dancing hard to Adele. Vinyasa Class. Organic chicken and homemade bread. Snuggle with my dog. Swim 4500. Get hair done. Nonnie and Pepe over for Lunch. Base run in the slush. Raid closets with Mom. Laugh so hard it hurt. Ask where the ladder was to Nicks Truck. Listen to songs about trucks, in Nicks truck. OWLs Youth Group 60's Prom. See all my little kiddos, who aren't so little anymore. Be really proud of them. Win the limbo. Teach 20 high schoolers the electric slide. Do the cha-cha slide. Hugs. Be cold. Drive in the truck again. See Jordan. See Neal. See Steve. See the Southwick Inn. Leap off of chair, over Steve's lap to get the last spoon, while playing 'spoons'. Stay up til 2. Sleep in til 10. Start phase one of making a homemade South African wine with Dad. Run 8 miles with Dad. Make recycled bike part jewelry. Coffee date with Jess Wenig. Early morning swim. Get a facial. Curse the cold. Drink Mrs. Murphys. Visit Uncle Ray in Soldiers Home. Spend time with Nonnie and Pepe. More hugs. Write articles on cycle touring in Europe. Dinner with my girls. Flight gets cancelled. Movie with my Nick. Snuggles with my dog. Dentist appt. Really good swim wkout. Submit articles for publication. Search for the sun. Miss Colorado weather. Coffee date. Become distracted. Solid Tempo run. Work remotely. Wait for tomorrows flight to be cancelled.

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So weird to add oak chips to the first fermentation step.

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So. Freakin'. Cold. #overNEweather
17 Degree High Today in Westfield, MA. 61 Degree High in Boulder.

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Getting busy. #recycledjewlery #bikeparts #newcalling?

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Getting my limbo on. I swear its more quad strength then bendy-ness. #bikes

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Look at these munchkins. Who are not my 10 year old munchkins anymore.
College freshman? Highschool team captains? Driving? #feelingold
So proud of who you all are growing up to be. Keep following your dreams. Keep working hard. And for goodness sake, keep laughing!

Also, gotta send a little love to Colorado MultiSport. Getting set-up with the fit-master, Ryan next week.
LIKE THEM - CLICK HERE
Can't thank them enough in advance for the support. #gettingdialed

Here's to peace, run miles & new adventures
Aubs

Posted by AubreyJ 18:26 Archived in USA Tagged travel family yoga running triathlon growing_up kripalu yoga_dance mother_daugther recycled_art visting_home Comments (0)

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