Monday I had a plane scheduled but didn't go up. Winds were on the borderline, and the instructor who was supposed to approve me was maybe not going to be around, so I gave up.
I had a cold. Not a huge nasty cold, just a mild one, which also contributed to my not really wanted to try hard to fly. I didn't feel like THE SICKNESS I was just sort of annoyed. They say you're not supposed to fly with a cold. Well here's what they really say: You are definitely not allowed to fly if you've had cold medicine, there are very few cold medicines (if any) that don't slow you down and pilots should not be slowing down. Part II of that advice is that if you feel like your cold is bad enough that you want to take medicine, then you probably shouldn't fly anyway, you're too sick.
The acronym they teach us is I'M SAFE: Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, Eating. Those are the big things to consider before jumping into an airplane. Some of the things like Medication and Alcohol are obvious, but others like Stress are kinda iffy, I think.
Anyway instead of flying on Monday I went to work out, with my mild cold, and it freaking kicked my ass. I did the elliptical and was just winded to DEATH after 20 minutes, usually I do 30 I feel great. I felt like I was gasping for oxygen right there on the ground. Which made me think, maybe it's okay that I didn't fly.
Maybe it's good that I've had a zillion hours of training because I'm starting to learn more about these limits. I thought the E in Eating left a lot of room, I could eat lunch, jump into a plane at 5pm, and adrenaline would keep me from noticing it was dinnertime until 8. Of course I'd land and feel like eating the furniture but I figured that was no big deal. Well later on we did stuff like steep turns where there's actually some G-forces there and I'd REALLY notice the difference between doing them after breakfast and doing them with no blood sugar whatsoever.
It's like anything you do that's mental and physical, except with safety being a major issue we have these systems to think about how to get your brain in just the right zone. It makes me think of track again, when we were trying to be these tuned machines. There, we learned that it's not always about how much sleep you get the night before, but the night before that really comes into play. And you have to eat what you crave. I was really good at this, for a while.