Tag Archives: teaching

The Body Says: “Thou Shalt Sleep”

After fighting on September 1st, I took a six-day break from boxing that felt long. I enjoyed a short work week due to Labor Day, and I had the luxury of getting a full week off for Fall break right after that. This was my ideal picture of how I wanted to spend my break: 1) boxing every day, 2) catching up on paperwork a little at a time, 3) laying around the apartment reading and 4) sleeping.

On the first day of my much-anticipated break, exactly a week after my fight, I woke up with a sore throat. My policy for any sign of illness is to ignore it, so I went to the gym just as I’d planned to do. It was good to be back at boxing, though I felt uncoordinated and unfocused when it came time to work pads. I headed home feeling completely out of it and much more spent than usual.

I started aching all over after I got home. I was expecting to be sore, since I hadn’t trained for almost a week. This, however, was not a normal “I worked out” feeling. I didn’t know it then, but this was a “you’re in for it” feeling. After a few hours, I ached even more: my skin started hurting and my throat was worse. I got hot, so my roommate took my temperature. (I don’t do things like go to doctors, take medicine, etc. I suffer through like cavemen used to do.) I had a fever of about 100.6 degrees. My bed called me, so I collapsed and slept for over thirteen hours. I was four pounds lighter when I woke up, which I figure is due to all the sweat that was dripping off of me all night.

And so I realized that I was sick.

Which made me mad. During the whole week of my Fall break, I literally spent more time asleep than awake, because I slept for 12-16 hours every single night. I spent most of my waking hours half-asleep in front of a laptop screen. I re-watched boxing matches from the Olympics. I watched random fights on YouTube. I discovered allthebestfights.com. I scoured the blogosphere for posts about boxing and read all of them. (Well, almost.)

MinesweeperI also played many, many games of Minesweeper and even won the expert level once. (Regarding the 798 seconds it took me—I read blog posts every time I got stuck and then returned to the game for a fresh look.)

Most of all, I was frustrated that I couldn’t go to the gym. I was mad that I felt so miserable on my Fall break. I wished that I had the strength to at least get some paperwork done, but everything productive seemed beyond me. In short, I felt robbed.

When I was finally able to go back to boxing (and work), I was still snotty and had a sore throat, but all the other problems were gone: no fever, ears didn’t hurt, no aching joints, no sensitive skin… I was good to go. I actually felt pretty darn rested, too. I was faster on the pads and more focused. I happily resumed my regular routine of boxing five days/week.

Until I got sick again. This past Thursday, I came home from work and couldn’t stay awake. Skipped boxing; went to bed. I woke up with a pretty bad head cold on Friday, so I stumbled through the work day and then went to the store to buy medicine. (Yes, I’ve gone over to the Dark Side. For now.) The head cold was preferable to the full-body aching during my break, but it still made me mad by stealing my weekend. I was supposed to go to a college football game with friends on Saturday, but I ended up sleeping on the couch all day. I felt somewhat better on Sunday—perhaps due to the medicine—but I still felt like the world had conspired against me.

Of course, there’s no use in complaining. I’m sure a number of factors happened to come together at this time to make me sick:

  • I just had a fight.
  • At least half the girls at the gym were sick during this period, too.
  • I teach Pre-K, where I am regularly sneezed and coughed on.
  • Other teachers were getting sick.
  • It’d been a while since the last time I was sick.

The biggest problem is that I’ve been trying to burn the candle at both ends for a while now. Staying up late and waking up early to fit in all the things I want to do. It’s easy to think that staying awake another half-hour won’t make a difference. Then that half-hour turns into an hour, which turns into two hours…

If I’m going to bike to school, teach 22 four year-olds all day, bike home, box for a couple of hours and then work on lesson plans in the evening, then I need all the rest I can get. Yes, need. This is a basic physical requirement, doofus.

You know what’s ironic? It’s 2 am right now and I’ll be waking up for work too soon. It’s October 1st, and September seems to have disappeared—just like the last few hours. If the last month taught me anything, it’s that I need to get more sleep. The question is, did I learn the lesson? When I’m thirsty, I drink. When I’m hungry, I eat. It only makes sense to sleep when I’m tired.

That’ll be my October resolution: to sleep when I’m tired. Instead of looking at sleep as empty time, I need to think of it as time that allows me to do all the things I want to when I’m awake.

I’m not off to a good start for October, but I’m going to do better. And, by Jove, if I get sick one more time in the near future… I’ll sleep more. (And complain.)

Pills photo credit, cat photo credit

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Boxing, huh?

Myquestion mark new infatuation with boxing has taken some of my relatives and friends by surprise. “So… boxing, huh?” they ask. “Why boxing?” Because, you know, there are a million other things that I could do that aren’t crazy or potentially painful.

My stock answer is: “Because it’s really, really fun.” And this is true. It is really fun! I enjoy myself more at the gym than any other place. Maybe that’s a sad statement about the rest of my life as a floundering first-year teacher, or maybe it’s a sign that I’ve found something I really love. Whether this will be a hobby for a lifetime or a season, I’m enjoying the moment.

I enjoy the intensity of boxing workouts. It makes me feel alive when I have to push to keep a fast pace and summon extra energy that I didn’t think I had. I also enjoy the variety that each class brings. Sure, we do many of the same types of exercises from day to day, but two classes are never exactly alike.

I’m enjoying meeting people and making new friends in the area. Most of the conversations I have are only snatches in between rounds or before/after classes, but I still feel like I’m getting to know some nice people. There’s something about exercising together that creates a feeling of friendship. (Or I’m just crazy. It’s been said.)

A side-effect of boxing that I’m enjoying is a renewed sense of confidence. My confidence in my own abilities hasn’t been great this past year. At work, I feel like I can never live up to my school’s expectations and that I almost only receive criticism. In the gym, on the other hand, I’m getting a lot of encouragement from my trainer and fellow boxers. I’ll never forget the first time someone asked me: “When’s your next fight?” As if I were a professional boxer! (As if I were ready to have an actual fight. Ha! No way.) I know that I have a whole lot left to learn and practice, but I actually feel like I’m good at boxing, which makes me feel good about myself.

Inevitably, we come to the violent/risky/scary part of boxing that makes some people think I’m out of my mind. I’ll say it: I enjoy punching people. Since that sounds terrible, I’ll qualify that statement. I enjoy punching consenting people who have the proper training to defend themselves (and hit me back). Does that sound better? Of everything that I’ve done at DBC so far, I’ve enjoyed sparring the most. There’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on, yet. It has to do with a desire to fight.

Sure, there are a million other hobbies that I could’ve picked up, and there are milder ways to make friends and increase self-confidence. I’ve picked boxing, though, because it feels like a perfect fit for me. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

“Why boxing?” Because it’s really, really fun. I think that’s a pretty good reason.

photo credit