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My Mother’s Day Gift: Sweat

May 11, 2010
by

A book that would not work for me.

I’ve been a really good injured runner with a bulging disc and arthritic back. Since I got the news, I’ve been doing more Pilates than a ballet dancer; I’ve been swimming (although I ignored the doc’s advice to get a snorkel to avoid side breathing; I need a break from the black line); I’ve been walking the dogs; I’ve been plowing through the chocolate-covered, peanut-butter filled pretzels which, convenient for me, come in the bulk bin so I pretend I have no idea if I’ve eaten .5 pounds or 5 pounds.

In a sentence, I have not sweated for nearly three weeks.

And Lord, have I felt it. I’m pretty sure there are more clothes, a clean and dirty mix, on top of my dresser than there are in my closet. (My laundry basket, full of clean, unfolded clothes, also helps me avoid the hassle of opening the closet door.) Dog hair, copious on every step, under every couch and on every rug in this house, coats my yoga pants, which I put on for Pilates at 8 a.m. and don’t remove until 10 p.m., only to repeat the drill—with the exact same clothes—the next morning. The dinners I “cooked” for my kids for the past four nights? Cheese pizza, cheese pizza. nuggets, pasta with butter. Better than what my husband and I have eaten: Pizza with mushroom and olives, cheese pizza, guacamole and chips, Raisin Bran.

I’m not complaining, rather just stating a fact: when I sweat, I function. Lose the endorphins? Lose the drive to pick up, pick an outfit, pick up a pan and cook.

So I gave myself an early Ma’s Day Gift: an hour of sweat, disc be damned. Saturday morning, I went to the Y, but didn’t change into my swimsuit. I pedaled on the stationary bike for 25 minutes, which got my juices flowing. Then I jumped on the gauntlet—the more masochistic Stairmaster that has real steps instead of pedals—for 35 and let my pores pour.

As I watched little drips pile up on the black plastic of the machine, I mentally morphed into a can-do version of Rainbow Brite. I was going to clean up the house when I got home. I was going to get a nagging assignment done tonight—on a Saturday night!—so I could spend Mother’s Day with my kids. I was going to swim on Sunday, no hesitation, and plan a week’s worth of menus and restring a drawstring on a pair of yoga pants before the string disappeared forever. I was going to call back my uncle who had left two messages and maybe plant tomatoes this year and back-up my computer and definitely sign up for an Ironman in two years.

Then I reached the last row of beeping red dots, and my present expired. Soaked and satisfied, I stretched so long, my Pilates instructor would’ve beamed.

My injured parts hurt a bit more than usual for the rest of the day, but no more than they do when I’m crammed on an airplane for hours. And this virtual trip, to a place where my head is clear, my house is (eventually) clean and my intentions are all good, was definitely worth the price of the ticket, even if I knew it was round-trip.

To wit: the pretzels are gone (but I’m not going to buy any more, right? riiiight.); the house is still a pit; and I pulled a cookbook off the shelf in case dinner inspiration hits tomorrow. You never know.

Plus, things are looking up: although the yoga pants I’m currently wearing have yellow-lab fur all over their bell bottoms, their drawstring has been officially restored.

p.s. Go to our Facebook page to see some v. cute pics of kids and their renditions of their running moms, created at the RLAM booth at the Title Nine 9k in Boulder on Sunday.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2010 5:25 am

    I hope everything heals up soon! and you are able to get out and pound the pavement! and who cares what the house “looks” like as long as everyone is cared for! At least that is what I tell myself when I have no will power to clean!!

    Have a great week!

  2. May 11, 2010 5:40 am

    Happy M-Day. I’m glad you got to sweat. I know how you feel. Working hard physically keeps us sane. I’ve noticed that peanut butter pretzels (we don’t have the chocolate covered kind in our bulk bins) are good only *while being eaten* (I find as soon as I stop–BOOM: remorse) so I recommend going for the 5 lb. load! I had 8 weeks off from running to give a foot time to heal. I got really used to those extra two hours in each day (not spent running/showering) and did things like: read New Yorkers, stay up late watching Hulu with my husband, shop at three grocery stores to scoop up the weekly bargains…I thought it wasn’t *all* bad. But now that I can run again I see how grayed out everything had become. I admire you for going to pilates and swimming, but I guess it’s not surprising–you’re a real athlete. Wishing you a fast recovery. Thanks for what you wrote.

  3. May 11, 2010 6:09 am

    Exactly! Sweat equals production in all areas, including my self esteem. Funny thing isn’t it?

  4. May 11, 2010 6:26 am

    I always read your posts nodding my head, giggling and saying, Yes! Yes! I wish I could snap my fingers and fix your back for you. Swimming when you want to is great. Swimming when you have to sucks.

  5. rachel permalink
    May 11, 2010 7:24 am

    You nailed it Dimity! I am at my absolute best when I am sweating (although swimming does work for me).

  6. May 11, 2010 7:43 am

    I had a fully herniated disc 10 years ago…PT “healed” it, and with only a couple of exceptions, it hasn’t bothered me since. I wish I could get that through my head now that I’ve been battling a problem with my left calf for over a month. I just won’t give up running–and it just won’t get better. I really admire you for looking at the long term goal of being able to run “pain free”, rather than just focusing on what you want RIGHT NOW. I, on the other hand, am not a good injured runner. I just started in January, I don’t want to stop when I’m just getting started. I realize now that I started off too fast, and I have slowed way down…but stop?? ….maybe after a 10K I’m registered for on Memorial Day. 😀

    Great post, as usual!

  7. Leah permalink
    May 11, 2010 7:54 am

    Oh my goodness…Do you have a camera in my house because as I was reading this post, it was like a page out of my life? I am not injured, so I feel for you on that one. I am just pregnant. I am in my first trimester, so I am just dog tired all the time which translates into not much running and I can tell. I am sure that my husband can tell too because I left my house a pit yesterday and came home to a sparkling clean house. I guess he got tired of the dirty dishes. Then I turned into the living room and saw piles of folded clothes and towels. I looked at him with amazement and said, “Who lives here?” I am lucky that I have a husband who works from home and can pick up my slack. I definitely know that, but I am sure that the lack of running has translated into my lack of desire to do anything but veg out on the couch. I know that if I just get up and do something, I would feel better, but it takes so much energy to just do something. You have inspired me to get off my lazy butt and do something after work today.

  8. May 11, 2010 9:04 am

    I hope you feel better soon. I feel like (if I was a better writer) I could have easily written this post during my injured days. Feel better soon:)

  9. Paige permalink
    May 11, 2010 9:43 am

    I’m right there with you, girl! I’m a very bad injured runner…just can’t get it through my head that rest and/or cross training would work for me so I keep pushing it. In the midst of my madness, life around me is falling apart. I’m opening my front door to NO ONE these days. I’ll gladly visit on the front porch until I can run again…and get back to my real life…the one that isn’t on hold while my body decides to get with the program.

    I did manage to get out and walk with a good injured runner friend this morning. Even that three mile walk got my butt in gear. I managed to plant all of the flowers that I purchased weeks ago to go in my front garden, replace a floodlight that burned out who-knows-when, call an old friend I’ve been meaning to reconnect with, and call a fence company to get that project off of my wish list forever. Sweat is a wonderful thing! Hang in there!

  10. Sarah C permalink
    May 11, 2010 10:11 am

    Yep…I find the same thing. The less I do…the less I do. Last week I was recovering from a half and ran very little..also did very little else. It seems being active helps keep me motivated.

  11. May 11, 2010 10:30 am

    Oh Dimity! I feel your pain! I’m 14 weeks pregnant and have plantar fasciitis – my physiotherapist says the PF won’t heal until I give birth…. 6 more months of not walking or running? Is she insane! I’ll take the dreadmill any day over the pool but alas – that’s what I’m stuck with. My house is a mess, my kids had cheerios for dinner last night because I had no motivation to cook & the nausea is still lingering…). Not running sucks! Hugs girl!

  12. Linda permalink
    May 11, 2010 11:06 am

    Good for you, Dimity!! I, on the other hand, have been a very bad injured runner. I basically stopped dead in my tracks about 6 months ago when shins splints took me out of training for a half. I also was dealing with an elderly, dying mother (she passed away in February), and 2 elementary-aged girls who had activity schedules that were just short of ridiculous. I still managed to keep up with the laundry, and did cook most nights. However, all the room I was going to paint, and the other projects I was going to get to are just words on the to-do list. There was not much time for me in that 6 months, and I didn’t even try to find the time. I have miraculously only gained about 5 lbs. in all that time, but I am as soft and jiggly as the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and I get winded going up my stairs. I applaud you for keeping your groove for the most part during your injury rehab. If I ever get mine back, I need to make sure I never lose it again!

  13. May 11, 2010 12:10 pm

    You know, chocolate is high in magnesium which is a muscle relaxant, so those chocolate covered pretzels are probably actually GOOD for your back! You should go buy some more… 🙂 Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

  14. May 11, 2010 1:22 pm

    Yay for you, Dimity! I know, sometimes there’s nothing like a good sweat. My mom’s cure for everything was lipstick & fresh air, but I think I’ll direct my girls to go get physical when they call me with their own woes in however many years…I can’t function without a good period of exertion every day…gotta have it. I hope you are feeling fine…hey, you could start a trend – angora yoga pants? nice…my personal food weakness these days is just a fresh loaf (not baked by me) of ciabatta bread…I break it into little pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper…are you kidding me? this stuff is heavenly!!! great post…

  15. jen@theevolvinghomemaker.com permalink
    May 11, 2010 1:48 pm

    SO true! When I am not exercising the world slowly collapses…at least in my little bubble of existence. When I am exercising regularly I feel like I can conquer the world! Ode to SWEAT!

    🙂

  16. Abby permalink
    May 11, 2010 2:41 pm

    I just have to say THANK YOU!! for your book, this blog and the facebook page. For the first time in a long time, the phrase “I need to go for a run” is back in my daily diction. Dimity and Sarah, you somehow simultaneously encourage and sympathize. The combination of your personalities, life situations and writing styles really hits home. I’m setting big goals (with mommy-centric time lines) and cutting myself some slack on the days my world implodes. Thank you for taking this leap!

  17. May 11, 2010 2:57 pm

    give me cardio any day over anything else, I love wearing myself out, and the sweat is the evidence of all that hard work!

    thank you for your comment on my review of your book! I really did enjoy it…..

    : )

  18. May 11, 2010 6:48 pm

    I know just how you feel! I NEED to sweat to feel good. I used to think that taking time to exercise was a luxury, now I know it is a necessity. I am a nicer person, a better mother and a more loving wife when I am able to work out hard. Yoga and Pilates are good, but they only take you so far. I’m glad you had a nice Mother’s Day . Take care and heal soon! : )

  19. May 12, 2010 4:40 pm

    I kicked off mother’s day with a 17 mile run and it was great! Plans for this summer – training. I want to do a half marathon at the end of the summer. Other than that a trip to see family back on the east coast and hoping summer will hit the rocky mountains soon!

  20. Heather permalink
    May 12, 2010 8:14 pm

    Tall Mom sent you to wish them a HAPPY MOTHERS day. I can not believe that title of that book.

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