Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unfathomable Energy

One summer evening in 1991, we were out walking as a family, on the London Road/Chelsea Road loop where we lived in Bella Vista. Down the hill, cross the ravine that drains a major area into Lake Windsor, then up a steep hill. From that point on it's fairly level, minor up and down hills until you get back on that part of London that led to our rental house. When we got to the flat-ish part, Sara and I decided to run, and did so up to Chelsea. Or maybe we did a little way on Chelsea also. I believe it was almost dark or may have already been dark by then. Two things she said at the end of the run that I still remember. "Wow, you have very quiet footsteps when you run," and "I can't believe how much energy I have."

Remembering that very clearly, even almost twenty-three years later, that got me thinking energy. Last week I came through a period where I had very little energy, and I didn't understand it. My routines were normal. To bed about as normal and up about as normal. All body functions functioning as they should. I little more pain in my right knee than usual, but not by any means excessive. My weight was down a couple of pounds in a week. Yet, at work and at home, I felt that I couldn't do another thing. This actually started around March 23, Sunday. I had gone for my 3.1 mile walk on Saturday, pushing it hard. That was after the usual morning chores. Sunday, however, I felt the lack of energy and didn't do the walk. I worked on writing tasks, but didn't get a whole lot done, if I remember correctly.

This continued in the next week, and even last weekend. I forced myself to be productive at work, and went for noon hour walks (typically 1 mile) most days.  I skipped my walk on Saturday, though on Sunday I again forced myself to do the 3.1 miles, not as hard as the previous Saturday. During the week I mainly worked on publishing activities rather than writing. I was formatting my latest book for e-book and then print book. On Saturday I did the final few tasks and actually uploaded it. I first didn't realize I failed to click the "Publish" box, and four hours later checked to see why it hadn't moved to the next phase. I did that, and almost immediately the Amazon review came back with an error needing correcting. I fixed that, and waited. By the time I arose Sunday morning, the book had published. And Sunday afternoon I found enough energy to go for that walk.

This got me thinking about energy: how we get it in our system and sense that we have it. What takes energy from us, what feeds it to us? We all know a huge meal saps energy as the digestive system parts talk back and forth. The over-full stomach alerts the small intestine that a slug of stuff to digest is coming, etc. But lack of food will also sap energy. Why should a 12 year old girl and a 39 year old man gain energy by expending energy (for I, too, remember that I had a lot of energy that evening, same as Sara) but a 62 year old man loses energy by doing very little? It's a mystery.

Maybe those publishing tasks were looming before me, and dislike of having to do them was what was driving the energy out of them. Then, once completed, I began to get my energy back. And it's not that I don't like the publishing tasks. I actually like formatting books, looking into the minutia of what makes a book look good, learning new tricks of the trade, getting it done. But it's not as much fun as the writing and editing. Now, I have the print book ready to go with the exception of the cover. I did the e-book cover, and will incorporate that into the print book cover. So far I've begged my print covers done, and did some hiring of it done. But I'm determined to learn how to do it. I'll never be artistic, and my covers may never be the best, but I will learn the mechanics of putting them together. Facing this, however, is continuing to pull energy from me. The last two nights I could have been working on it, and yet, I did other things, not even necessary things.

On Saturday I will participate in my first 5k event. I plan to walk it, although I reserve to job some at the end if I feel good. How much energy will I have? On Monday I went by the track and walked a mile at what I felt was a competition pace. I completed it in 15:22, and did another quarter mile at the same pace. That's faster than the 50 minute goal I have for this first 5k. Will I have enough energy to complete it? Maybe, if I find a way to do things that increase my energy over the next couple of days. If I work on that print book cover, I'm not sure what that will do to me.

And no, I'm not going to drink one of those hyper-energy drinks. I see no reason for monkeying with the artificial stimulant cocktail that they are, not give that I take a handful of medications. I need to figure this out by natural means. I'll have to see how I feel after the 5k. If I break 50 minutes, or even as low as 48 minutes, and still have plenty of energy for the tasks that I face over the next days, maybe I'll know something more about personal energy.

1 comment:

vero said...

I believe you are artistic. The difficulty you encounter is that you tell yourself that you are not, and also, you don't devote the time to developing creativity in the artistic realm. Once you retire, maybe you will devote more time to this area.