Day 4; Hacky Joyner-Kersee - October 24, 2007

(Reconditioning Batteries)

KungFu Mike = 0

Insomnia = 1

I can't put two hours of sleep together to save my life. I'll fall asleep watching Adult Swim around 1-ish and subsequently wake up every hour after that until my alarm goes off at 7:45. I've discovered that gum really does help me chew through cravings and that long, steamy showers help break up the slimy clusterfuck in my chest. I've even started lighting an imaginary cigarette with an imaginary lighter to help with the mental cravings when nobody is around, but I just can't figure out how to sleep through the withdrawals. I can't take sleep aids because they have an adverse effect on me (read: I get heart palpitations and I shake like Katherine Hepburn) and I can't drink booze just yet, so the only other real option for me was to brave the smoky, ashen wildfire air in Carlsbad and go running for the first time since I quit smoking. I suited up, loaded the new Radiohead album into my MP3 player/phone and strutted out the door, fully expecting my throat to close up midway.

The neighborhood was empty, save for a few stray people wearing paper SARS masks on the sidewalks. The air was an eery brown/orange/yellow and, thanks to the gnawing desperation burned into my psyche, the sun looked like the glowing tip of a Parliament Light through the rapidly condensing evening sky and smoke. I kept glancing up at the sun and thinking about how awesome it would be to smoke that cigarette. Catching myself mid-thought, I turned my headphones up more and picked up my pace. Ash was falling from the sky like a mild snow dusting and occasionally stinging my eyes, but my lungs were holding up pretty well. I wasn't running through Carlsbad, I was running through a low budget Pompeii.

I passed an entire family of SARS masks hanging out in front of their house next to a Servpro truck in their driveway. They were having their house covered in one of those fumigation tents, obviously a very expensive, very extreme attempt to shield their home from smelling funny. They watched as I huffed it past the house, a few of them pointing and yelling something at me that didn't make it through my music as I passed, probably something about how running with the air quality like that being bad for me, to which I would have snapped back "You know what else is bad for you? Telling people you've never met before what to do." It's probably a good thing that I had those headphones in. In fact, I should keep them in until I stop cutting into everyone I see.

This is what the inside of my soul looks like right now.

The smoke and ash finally dropkicked my asthma in the neck when I finished my two mile loop and began a cool down walk back to the condo. I began regulating my breathing in a way that would reduce my wheezing until I had access to my inhaler, and what I found was that not only was I having an easier time controlling my asthma attack without my inhaler, I was actually breathing deeper than I had in years and years. It was awesome. I ran inside and jumped right into core training and push ups until I was exhausted.

Did I end up having a full night's sleep? Of course not. I tossed and turned and went through two sets of sheets/pillow cases because I sweat through them. My only course of action is to up my level of exercise and hope that the accumulative effects of insomnia and excessive bodily fatigue buy me a one way ticket to the Land of Nod.

Posted by KungFu Mike at 10:16 AM

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Ugh. I wish you the best of luck, Mike. I'm on day number one (maybe my third or fourth attempt). Considering the conditions outside, you might do well to go out and get one of those SARS masks. Then, while wearing it, run out and punch somebody. About halfway back to your place take it off.

Posted by: Brodie at October 24, 2007 10:52 AM

If you want help with your insomnia do this for 15 mins just before going to bed.

Yeah, it looks weird, but it works.....can't hurt to give it a try.

Plus it will help drain the lymph out of your legs after your run.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 24, 2007 12:55 PM

Your Kung Fu is growing stronger. I'm proud of you man. You're doing it. Everything will be getting better from here on out. Soon you'll be sleeping like that little baby in the picture. In fact, you'll be sleeping better than that baby.

Posted by: Wayland at October 24, 2007 09:55 PM

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