Sleep deprivation, Normatec and Bionic Eyes

Another quiet week passes by, really nothing exciting or out of the ordinary to update anyone on. Living in such an isolated way as I am now, without any real interaction with the outside world, tends to be what one may loosely term as “boring as hell”, however it is conducive to great training. The past week has seen further gains in all three disciplines of triathlon, as well as some significant drops in weight and HR/blood pressure. I am constantly waiting for an injury to pop up and throw plans off course, but other than taking twice as long as a few years ago to recover from each workout, somehow I am managing to stay fit, and I am absolutely loving the progress I am making. As each week passes, as each milestone on my training plan is marked off, the prospect of being able to race again becomes more real, and after such a long time since I have been able to train properly I really am very appreciative of every little step forward.

The biggest whinge would probably be an inability to sleep properly that has been plaguing me for a year or more, but seems to be significantly worse recently. It’s a bit Catch 22 though, as due to bad nocturnal sleep patterns I am in the habit of taking an afternoon nap, however I am not sure how that then impacts my night time sleep. I read so much about the importance of proper sleep, but I simply don’t have any answers – hopefully things will naturally improve.

There are two pieces of news – one is my recent purchase of Normatec leg recovery system. Absolutely love it, I use 5-6 times a week and it really does seem to help. It’s not cheap, and while it doesn’t remove stiff /tired legs completely, I certainly recommend it, and I definitely notice when I don’t use it (rather than notice when I do). I do advice caution to ensure the positioning of certain ”family jewels” in such a way that they don’t get caught in the top of the compression sleeves, but once that’s mastered it’s really relaxing and quickly becomes part of the evening routine.

Normatec Patrick Lange
If Normatec is good enough for a double world champion, then they’re good enough for me.

The other news is that I will be getting eye surgery this week, to replace my natural lenses with artificial ones, thereby giving me (almost) perfect vision. After over 40 years of wearing glasses/contacts and still suffering from ever deteriorating vision, I was recently told that I have the start of cataracts developing which will need eventual surgery to remove (could be many year down the track, but it’s there). While the thought of lasers and cutting things out of my eyeballs makes my toes curl, and while there is a tiny chance things may not work out entirely as hoped, the thought of being able to see clearly without aid is so enticing it trumps any worries – yes they have the power to rebuild me. Apparently the World Health Organization have deemed this the safest procedure of any type, and the entire process including prep and recovery taking around 3-4 hours, it seems the right time to do this. I can expect full vision to return within days and although I have to take 1-2 weeks off hard training, that coincides with my planned recovery week, so hopefully not too much of a loss. I may however not be updating the blog for a week or so, but when I do I hope to be doing so glasses free!

Training Week Six – week beginning 26th April 2021

Weight:  Monday 19th April – 81.8kg

Run: Total 5hrs 55mins. 4 sessions plus 1 brick.  Long run 24.03km

Bike: Total 7hrs 59mins. 4 sessions all indoors. Long Bike 5:00hrs/149km

Swim: Total time 2hr 29mins. 2 sessions. Long swim 3.2km

Walk: 0

S&C : 2 x 60mins gym

Monday. Started the week with a long 3200m swim in my local 20m pool, which is becoming more and more crowded even at the “dead time” of mid-afternoon. Due to the pandemic, every session has to be pre-booked, but I noticed that most people get there at start of their prescribed hour and then leave half way through. To try and get enough quality time, I have started slipping in for the last 30 minutes of the previous session, meaning I have the pool almost to myself for half an hour, which is enough to time to get into the rhythm before the pool is re-invaded by the local housewives. An hour gym and then a short run completed the day

Tuesday I felt very tired, so dialled back my bike training from planned 2 hours to just an hour at a slightly easier pace. Followed with an hours run, which was a bit slow, but heart rate stayed within MAF limits.

Wednesday was supposed to be gym, swim and bike, but after only managing a couple of hours of restless sleep the night before, I had very little energy. I cancelled the gym and swim, and changed the bike to an easier work out that I thought I could manage. I was wrong, and as soon as I started I realised it was going to be very tough. I tried to keep pushing, dialling down the watts even further but after 30 minutes I knew I simply didn’t have anything in the tank, so had to give up. I felt wretched and proceeded to stuff myself with a second dinner, before taking myself to bed super early… and falling asleep for a full 5-6 hrs of deep sleep, something which is very rare but obviously much needed.

I woke Thursday feeling much better, starting off with a trip to the gym to replace the swim and strength workout from the day before, then going out on a relatively strong 11km run. Friday again I was feeling pretty good, to the point that I was determined not only to beat the Kickr session that had beaten me on Wednesday, but to ramp it up to a longer and harder version. And I kicked its butt, before sprinting out the door for a jaunty brick run. Yeeha, I love it when that happens, I felt vindicated and yeah, a little vindictive, stupid little bike intervals, I’ll show you who’s boss!

Roll on the weekend, and I had early appointment with eye doctor, which I walked the 5km round trip to, coming back a little shocked to learn how bad my eyes seemed to have become. I didn’t feel like doing anything, and sat around wasting time, until late afternoon I told myself I just had to get out for 6km run. I took the water bottle just in case I decided to run a little further, which I most definitely did, ending up with a very decent 24km, including over 200m of climbing at my first sub 7min km pace for the long run in many many months.

Sunday was again supposed to be a long outdoor bike, but tired legs from the run on Saturday was my excuse not to get out on time (to be honest I hadn’t slept well either, so knew I need to regain more energy before I tried). I took an early lunch, then a decent nap on the sofa, and felt somewhat more energized, enough to choose a 5 hour indoor ride from the TrainerRoad menu. It really wasn’t so bad, think I am getting used to it although it certainly stung in the shower afterwards.

All in all a good week. Yes I had bonked midweek, but I managed to come back and beat it, achieving everything I had hoped to achieve, improving both my physical and mental strength. Now will be just a few days before my eye operation, then some forced rest until my new bionic lenses are recovered enough to cope with the stress of hard training without popping! Hopefully come back much stronger and ready to push through the final weeks until my race at Ironman Vitoria Gasteiz!

5 thoughts on “Sleep deprivation, Normatec and Bionic Eyes

    1. Thanks Padraig. The best thing about my weight loss is that it’s been natural, basically enough calories burnt training to allow me to eat what I want, no dieting and still enjoy my less than “healthy” favorites. I’ve still got another few kg to get back to pre pandemic levels but will keep going as I am, see where I plateau

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