Thursday, January 22, 2009

RX for Stress: 170 bpm

The worry wort wakes in the dark and squints to see 2:13 AM. Third night in a row, wide awake. He takes slow deliberate breaths but finds forced relaxation is not helpful. Wife slumbers deep; he's envious. Her shallow breaths metronome like a clock. Thinking of clocks is not helpful. Muffle the sounds by wrapping his head in the pillows. Now the only noise is his own slow steady heartbeat. An internal, inescapable metronome. Another clock.

His mind wanders. And worries. Stupid stuff. ...termites eating away at his house... ...Brian's late science project... ...Alicia driving on Friday nights... ...401K tumbling... ...he should work more... ...which contractor to choose.... ...garage needs cleaning... ...Gina's Achilles tendon... ...kids' college expense... ...should he get up to pee... ...weeds and bugs... ...computer problems... ...oil needs changing... ...Alicia's boyfriend... ...cat barf... ...Brian plays too much XBox...

Repeat.

He lifts the pillow and squints again. 4:48 AM.

Repeat.

Then, finally, sleep. Thirty minutes later he wakes when wife gets up to shower. She makes coffee. He needs coffee. Paper screams bad news in large font. Will BofA be taken over by the government? He paid 50 for BAC; now it trades in the single digits. Sell? Hold? Buy more?

Late morning. Slouching in front of two computers. Despite headache, he's written copious amount of new code. He finally tries to run the program. Crash. Access violation. Who owns this pointer? He looks back at his code from previous day. It doesn't make sense. It might as well be written in ancient Inca script.

Lunchtime. Time to ride uphill.

Small turn-out, pavement is wet. He follows the hairy-legged former pros. They start fast. His legs protest painfully at the rude shock. He considers quitting. The pain subsides, then retreats, mind over menace. He focuses on pedal strokes and breathing. Metronomes. He holds that wheel as if survival itself depends on it. He feels better and better ...alive, rejuvenated. He decides he will beat the hairy-legged tormentor in front, the same one who cracked him last week. Gather the energy, focus inward, hold it, hold it, hold it... Now, Go. He pounds the pedals with fury. No response, no contest.

Back home just as the rain starts falling. Body and mind abuzz and warm. Relaxed for the first time today. He thinks about how fortunate he is. Family is healthy and safe, kids are smart and resourceful. He's glad to have a house that termites can eat, a garden for weeds and bugs to grow, and a job. He feels for those who don't.

Then he thinks how things would be if all the world's people spent some time every day with their heart rate at 170 bpm. An entire population high on endorphins and dopamine. What a world that would be.

Tonight. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

9 comments:

TnA said...

Oh...go take a nap.

:-)

Anonymous said...

At times I go through the same stuff at night, except no worries about kids. A good ride puts everything back in perspective, eh!?

Kk said...

Brilliant piece.

Bikes: robbing cardiologists, psychotherapists and drug dealers on a daily basis. Robbin' 'em blind!

Anonymous said...

that type of sleep usually happens for me because of those rogue pointers. one solution is to get an intern, blame them, pepper in some verbal abuse...err expert instruction, insist they fix. during slow times teach to wrench. another solution is to get an earlier start up OSM. i've seen pointers on the way. they were teasing me and laughing. i am not fast enough to catch them; but you... one last fix is to get a quad video card. often times pointers and other programming items are hiding off on monitors 3 or 4. hope that helps. -v

Anonymous said...

Sex is a better stress releaser-try it w/ your HR monitor on!:)

Marco Fanelli said...

Hmmm... chasing C++ pointers up OSM, or having sex. Tough choice. Hold on, I'll have to check with my coach...

...

...He says go for the sex, but that I should use a power meter to record the correct TSS...

Chester Gillmore said...

Marco,

This was a good read. I've found the same thing. When I am in any kind of negative funk- a little spin pulls me right out of it. Gosh, now that I think about Cycling is a cure all for just about everything except the flu and a prostate infection!

Absolute Goose said...

I think I have had too many days and nights such as the one you described

Marco Fanelli said...

Chester doooood-
You are NEVER in a negative funk! Don't burst my impression of you!!

Absolute G-
I have OSM for a sleep aide; you have OLH ...both pretty dang effective, eh?