Wednesdays are my long days and usually leave me exhausted, drenched in sweat, and mentally a little out of it by the time I get home. Seeing as it was my first week back after way too many schedule interruptions I was determined to go to class whether my body could keep up or not.

“Wow our students suck!” I joked as I walked into the dojang to find my instructor by himself, stretching on the floor. Apparently everyone in Texas is out of town for spring break, at least all of our orange and yellow belt students. The nice thing about spring break is the lighter traffic, so I had extra time to change and warm up before sparring class. As we warmed up my instructor mentioned that he was fending off a headache, and somehow we got on the topic of the power of the mind over the body such as the Silva technique and the law of attraction. Little did I know that was going to come back into play much later that night.

We ended up having a huge sparring class, mostly junior green and blue belts with a few older upper belts. One of my favorite things about big sparring classes is that the adults get to have more breaks. Wait, did I say that out loud? I mean we have more time to referee the kids. I didn’t think I would enjoy refereeing since I’m not very good at sparring, but I actually enjoy it very much. You don’t have to be a top athlete to coach a top athlete. It certainly helps, but the job of a coach is primarily to observe and provide feedback.  A side bonus is that it helps me learn and file away ideas for what I can use when I am actually sparring.

All the kids disappeared and we were down to five for red and black belt class. We had perfect partner pairs – two black belts, two bo dans, and two black tips, so we spent most of the time working on testing requirements. We all agreed to do a test prep workout on Saturday.

“You’re going to be tired on Sunday,” my instructor said.

“I need it!” I replied. “I gained three pounds during the ice storms!” He just laughed and rolled his eyes.
I finally made it home, gulped down some Gatorade and water and went to sleep.

About two hours later I woke up with a horrible headache, likely due to dehydration and/or being rattled from having the crap beaten out of me. I tried everything to make it go away—popping Tylenol, drinking water, telling myself silently that my headache was fading, being grateful for my pain-free head, doing a few gentle inversions to flush the blood. None of that provided any relief until I remembered a trick my boyfriend taught me. He is quite cosmopolitan and modern, but once in a while he brings up home remedies from his childhood in Bolivia. He swears by the headache trick—douse a bandana in rubbing alcohol, tie it tightly around your head, and let the magic happen. It took a while for it to work this time, but eventually I was fast asleep with the reading light still on, a book smashed into my pillow, and a light blue bandanna tied snugly around my head.

Dull remnants of the headache remained throughout today until I had a piece of dark chocolate after lunch. Coincidence? Hmm.

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