Dirt in your skirt blog

This is your Brain…

Posted on December 27, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

My time with the family for the holidays is over. This year can be described as “Where’s Your Head At?” or “Sleeping the Holiday’s Away” or “Barefoot Christmas”. It’s been a week since I raced and honestly today is the first day I fell like a put together human being.

I spent my three and a half days at my parents going from family engagement to family engagement, in between them all, I slept. In full disclosure I also played with my niece but really, I slept.

Each night I clocked over 10 hours of sleep. I normally function around six maybe seven hours of sleep, so for me ten continuous hours is something to take note of. Between family functions, yes I had a lot in the 3 days I was home I had 6 or 7 different family functions to attend. In between those times, I napped. I napped for at least 2 hours each day. So when you add it all up I slept about 12 hours a day while at my parents.

Why, is really the next question. It’s not because I wanted to escape my family, no they are great. It really all had to do with a 24 hour race called World’s Toughest Mudder. I learned a very valuable lesson from that race about endurance racing. It is critical to take time off before attempting to return to your regular routine!

I had returned to Vermont on Monday worked part of a day, then a 16 hour day Tuesday and two 9-10 hour days on Wednesday and Thursday. These are my normal work days in the winter. I did not account for how much of a toll a race of this magnitude would induce on my body. Looking back at last week, I spent the whole time in a fog. It took me three days to get full body temperature regulation back and all in all about five days before I could hold a conversation with a person for any real amount of time. Work for a couple days was conducted fully by email. I had experienced sleep depervation in Virginia crewing for the Double and Triple, but nothing prepared me for how I felt last week.

It took me a couple days to fully process what had happened in the race. I really thank a couple people who were their with supportive words when my brain was mush. Thankfully, the people I work and live with watched out for me and checked in to make sure I was alright. The physical side of the race I was fine within a day or two, other than my body temp. But the mental side, that’s the killer.

It was not until my blogs recapping the race, I was able to put it behind me and move on. The experience was way more emotional than I could have imagined. The fatigue was greater than I knew. So when I went home to the comfort of my parents houses, I slept.

Now for the barefoot part. It was not until today that my feet cooperated in getting into normal shoes. In one of our family pictures I am barefoot. I wore flip flops to church, flip flops and a cocktail dress to more than one event, and basically my feet were the last thing to return to normal. The blisters I incurred at the race were sizable.

Today, I am happy to say has been the best day so far. I had to coach skiing all day to a group of 6-10 year olds and it was full “on” time. It was the first day I felt like I could truly hold a conversation with another human without feeling like I was in a fog. Finally, I am feeling like I am getting back to myself, and back to a functioning human being. It took a while, and I learned in the future to add the time needed to recover into the race calendar. More about that tomorrow.