Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doodles in the Margin

I remember when I was a kid in school.  As I would be taking notes in class, my mind would wander and my pen would follow.  I would continue to write what the teacher/professor was saying ("important" or not), but I would also doodle in the margins of my paper. 

By definition  doodling is drawing something without thinking.  The doodle isn't a sketch, it's random and unplanned.  I believe doodles are the expression of what's inside a person, free-flowing on paper.  Some people can sit down at a piano and play beautiful melodies without sheet music, others (like my husband) write elaborate stories.  Artists doodle.  Now, let me be clear...I have never been an artist.  My doodles were the result of a restless hand.  If a teacher/professor spoke fast regarding a topic I had interest in, I would feverishly write every word.  If there were pauses, or extraneous discussion, as usually happened in class, my pen would find clear space that was not meant for substance, and fill it up.

I never really understood why notebook paper had that red line down the side.  It seemed like wasted space to me.  It served no purpose at all.  If I was running low on paper, and had a lot of notes to take, I would ignore that red boundary altogether.  It was difficult only when the paper was in a binder.  Even then, with some creativity the available space around the holes could be utilized efficiently.  I'll bet I saved a forest of tress with my paper frugality!  :D

Many years ago a doctor told me my life didn't have margin.  My time was completely full, there was no room to breathe.  I was working full time, going to school full time, I was in the Army National Guard in Officer Candidate School, I had just gotten married, we had a dog and an apartment and I was trying to get straight As to raise my GPA enough to graduate Cum Laude.

I also had terrible stomach issues the doctor told me were caused by this lack of margin.  (I believe now they were caused by dairy, but that's another story!)

Now, if you know me, you are thinking not much has changed.  The list of activities is different, but my life is filled to the max-no empty margin for me. 

I have been wondering lately if I'm doodling in the margin, or if my whole page is just full.  When I stop to think about all that I have going on in my life, there is nothing really random about what I do.  My life is as thought out as I can make it.  I just use every available space.  Sometimes, unfortunately (like right now) there is NO available space.  My margin really is overrunning.  When I look at my proverbial paper, trying to put one more note in somewhere, there just is no room.  And I don't have the option to get more paper!!

As I have been writing I have been trying to decide if margin is necessary.  I still can't say I understand what that red line is for.  That space BEGS to be filled.  With something.  But maybe that space should be filled with doodle.  Maybe it would be good to allow some room for free-flowing, non-thought-provoking, randomness.

Then again, if doodles are an expression of who we are, is it really random?

Until next time...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh What a Difference Calories Make!

Yesterday I had a plan.  My training for the day consisted of a fairly short swim* and a 90 minute bike ride.  I was going to spend some time with my daughter until she went to work and then I had a meeting at 2. 

My plan was to get up early, like 4am, take my thyroid medicine (on an empty stomach and wait an hour to eat) like I'm supposed to, eat some breakfast and then I would go to the pool about 6:30 to get the swim done.  I would then ride from 8-9:30ish, getting me home in time to take a quick shower to spend time with my daughter before my meeting.

That was all well and good, except that I didn't get to sleep until about 11 or so Tuesday night, so I couldn't make myself wake up yesterday morning.  When I woke up about 5, I was dragging so I didn't take my meds until about 5:30ish.  I decided I didn't really have to eat before the swim so I packed my breakfast and got to the pool on time.

YAY for going with the flow!!

Now, let me back up a second and say I had a "harder" run on Tuesday.  It wasn't "hard" but it was my first track work out in a LONG LONG time!  When I started swimming, I could tell I was ZAPPED but I finished the swim and was pleased with how it felt.  I hopped in the car to head to the place I wanted to ride my bike.  When I looked at the breakfast I had packed (an oatmeal/protein concoction I have made up that I like and tolerate pretty well), I just did NOT want to eat it. 

Now, let me say this...I KNOW what I'm supposed to do.  I know I have to eat if I plan to workout more than an hour.  I knew I had already been swimming a good 40 minutes.  I knew I had 90 minutes on the bike.  I KNEW I needed to eat...and I just couldn't even think about putting it in my mouth.  Thankfully I had a Picky Bar in the car that I was able to choke down.  200 calories in.

I got on the bike and started to pedal.  My legs felt DEAD.  I expected to be fatigued from the run the day before.  I reasoned with myself that I was just going to have to push until I warmed up a bit.  It might be slow, but I will dig in and get it done.

Fifteen minutes in and I was getting slower and slower and slower.  I expected the Picky Bar to be hitting my system at some point so I had a chat with myself, and then I texted my coach.  I KNEW I was completely underfueled for the workout, but I really didn't want to quit.  I didn't have time to eat and go back out.  As I was wrestling with myself about what to do, I found a gel in my bike bag!!!  One that had caffeine in it as well!!  I choked down the gel with some water and after ignoring the text back from my coach (sorry...just being honest...for my athletes who are reading this--do as I say, not as I do!!)...I continued on my ride.

I took a road that could either lead me back to my car or could be ridden as a "side route" and add on a little "climb".  By the time I got to the point I had to make a decision I was feeling MUCH better!!  That 120 calorie gel with the caffeine kick did the trick for me and gave me just enough zip I felt like I could keep going.

I KNEW I was riding on fumes at that point so I headed back to the car to see if I could find another gel hiding somewhere ((one of the advantages of living a "pack-rat lifestyle").  I did find one and choked it down before heading out for the final bit of my ride.  I rode so much harder that last bit that I made a loop faster than I had before so I still had some time left on the clock when I got back to my car the second time.  But by then my stomach was growling loudly so I headed home.

Again...I KNOW I have to eat.  That's not news to me.  I KNOW a body won't work without proper fueling.  I don't know what I was thinking.  However, I did learn something.  There is NO DOUBT the calories made the difference.  I'm sure the little splash of caffeine helped some, but the calories are what kept me going.

It's all mental, until it's physical!!

Until next time...

*Okay, to be completely honest, the swim was "leftover" from Wednesday.  I know missed workouts are missed and not made up, but I decided since I was actually supposed to do physical therapy before my bike ride, I would swim instead and that would take care of both!