Friday, October 9, 2009

Sleep Deprived, Part I

Greetings! No, I'm not actually here. Well, I am somewhere right now, just not in front of my laptop. I'm writing this sometime Thursday and will set this to post at some time Friday... or Saturday maybe. Not sure.

Anyway, without a doubt, I'll be sleep-deprived at some point this weekend. It's almost difficult imagining otherwise.

With the Ragnar Relay, teams of 12 are split among two vans, with six runners per van. That means Van One's runners go through all of their respective runs, then with Runner 7 the other van starts their runs. When Runner 12 hands off to Runner 1, Van Two then takes a break while the other van starts their process over, and so on and so forth.

I'm in Van Two, which means we won't start until the middle of the day on Friday (or... we started earlier today... ugh, future posts). My run is supposed to start at around 7 p.m., right around the time this will hit the blog. I figure I'll be done sometime around 8:15 or so, give or take, and then Runner 12 will probably be done with his 8.8-miler around 9:30 or so, which means we'll have a chance to rest from then until Van One gets done with their respective second legs, which puts us at starting again at around 1:30 a.m. Yikes!

Anyway, I do believe I'll encounter some tired moments, but will they match up with the most sleep-deprived moments I've ever had in my life?

What are those moments I've experienced in which I was suffering from lack of sleep? There have been a few. Here's one I remember vividly.

Spring, 1998: I was in college at the time, the sports editor of my junior college newspaper. We put out an issue every two weeks and usually the night we went to print was a long night. Journalists are notorious for working right up to their deadlines (a habit I haven't yet grown out of), so usually we were stressing to get everything done. And there was a lot to do: stories to finish writing, headlines to write, pages to lay out, etc.

I don't know why but this particular night was long for us all. We weren't stressed or anything, just staying up late on a Wednesday night to do what needed to be done. It was 10 p.m. and we were laying out the section, midnight and doing the same, 2 a.m. and not quite done yet, 3 a.m. and we were close, 4 a.m. and we were about done.

At the time, I worked part time on weekends so I didn't have work the next morning. But I was a volunteer mentor at an elementary school at the time, and I needed to be at the fifth-grade classroom where I volunteered at in the morning. Early. Like at about 8 a.m. Usually I'd take my brother to school first and then head out from there, and that meant leaving the house at around 7:00, 7:10 at the latest. I was awake, felt awake despite it being after 4 in the morning. I headed home and got there at around 4:45 or so. I really didn't like the idea of sleeping for about an hour and then having to wake up, so I just stayed up. I played some video games and felt pretty good. It was about 6 a.m. when my brother woke up and I recounted to him the night's events.

I didn't really feel tired despite not sleeping at all for more than 24 hours. I dropped him off, went to my school and met up with the students who were assigned to me.

It was probably around 10 a.m. that I started to feel tired. But it wasn't the sort of Oh-man-I-could-use-a-nap tired. It was the holy-crap-I-need-to-lay-down-NOW variety. My eyes were heavy, as I had 50-pound dumbells clipped on my eyelids. My mouth was dry and my head started to hurt. I figured I could make it to lunchtime and then I would go lay down in my car.

I was helping out one of my students with his math. I remember him clearly. His name was Benjamin. He was short and had thick black hair. He was a bit of a slow reader, needed extra help with math but was generally an easy-going kid, except he could be very stubborn. We were working on fractions, which were difficult for him. I was helping him out, but suddenly everything started to fade. I kept talking but my mouth was on the other side of the room from my head. I could hear myself talking but I didn't know what I was saying, nor did I really have any control over it either.

I snapped to when I heard myself talking about radians and degrees. Fractions, as you probably know, have numerators and denominators, not radians and degrees. No, you would find those in trigonometry, a class I was taking at the time. I shook my head, rubbed my eyes and asked Benjamin "I'm not making any sense, am I?" He had a half-quizzical, half-worried look on his face and quickly shook his head. I told him that I needed to go lay down.

I went out to my car, got in the driver's seat and crashed. I slept hard, for about an hour, until discomfort in my neck woke me up. I was still in a bit of a fog when I came to, but it was around lunchtime and I had vanished for an hour after all, so I had to get back to my volunteer duties. Not exactly refreshed but recovered nonetheless.

And since you've made it this far into my post, I'll leave you with some parting music. This is a song that I'm listening to while I run.

Death Valley Queen by Flogging Molly

Cheers! See you soon!


Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I love Flogging Molly!! Felix's band hung out with them during the Warped Tour when they (his band) played the CA shows. Awesome music.

5thsister said...

I can so relate having had to work my share of night shifts. It is NOT a good feeling. Regardless, I know you'll do GREAT in the relay!

Jephy's Mom said...

You are probably done your run by now. I can't wait to hear about your adventure. I'm betting that the staying up all night part wasn't as bad as you expected simply because you were prepared for it, unlike your college experience when it just happened.