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Clogged Pipes

October 4, 2010

Think if I suction this sucker to my head, I can unclog mental blockage?

My life has been messy over the past seven days.

On the way home from the camping trip from hell–a huge thank you, btw, for all the been-there and helpful comments–I got the news that my Uncle Ham, my mom’s younger and my godfather, had died. He was in his late fifties, and he is the third brother my mom has buried at about the same too-young age. So much loss. I can’t believe her heart hasn’t just totally splintered into pieces.

What’s more, it’s her birthday tomorrow, and her family has this annoying habit of dying around the time of her birthday, so I was going to write a tribute to her and her strength–someday, a post I will definitely craft– so she could wake up and read a birthday present over her coffee. Problem is, my emotional gas tank is Empty and my brain does not have the words right now to do her justice.

So I was going to write about Ham, about how he always made me laugh–he was the kind of uncle that preferred to sit at the kid’s table at Thanksgiving–and about how instrumental he was in helping me become the person I am. And about how I’ll look for him when I can run; we collectively read the Hopi Indian Prayer at his burial, and I loved the sentiments in it:

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.

But, like I said, I’m a little cried out and writing that post will get the faucets flowing again. Can’t go there right now. Plus, I was kind of doom-and-gloom last week. I wanted something chirpier to write about this week, lest I become known as the depressed half of RLAM.

Another idea: write about the rules of running injury, which would be chocked full of helpful tips, including about how not to be jealous when you see other women in skirts and Asics at morning drop-off at school. But it felt still a bit too dark. And I don’t really have a solution to that issue. I am jealous.

So then I had an idea about 5 elixirs I need in my life: the intro would be about how I gave up Diet Coke a few months ago, about how I hardly miss it, but don’t think I’m a saint because I still need these five liquids in my life: chocolate milk, nuun-flavored Kona Cola, non-fat lattes, wine and sweat. I actually did a draft of it, but it was too contrived and way too boring, and I couldn’t really see a way to make it better. More importantly, I drank way too much oversweet, low-grade white wine this weekend and I can’t bring myself to type a word about wine. (I am planning on at least a week-long detox that will probably last 3 days, tops.)

Don’t believe me? Read a bit.

3. Non-fat latte: so I don’t buy 12 cans of Diet Coke for $3.99 anymore, but I do spend that amount on one drink. I try to limit my trip to the ‘Bucks to once weekly: usually after either a late night or an early morning workout.
4. Wine. Something about how it’s my beverage of choice when 5 p.m. rolls around

Riveting, huh?

Kind of like this post. Thanks for reading this far. As I type this stream-of-conscious brainstorm, the same thought comes back to me: you’d be able to get it, Dimity, if you were running. If I were running, I’d think of a way to make lattes funny. If I were running, I’d be able to write about Ham without it feeling overwrought. If I were running, I’d be able to wish my Mom happy birthday without it sounding like a Hallmark commercial. If I were running, I wouldn’t have to write about rules of injuries.

Needless to say, running unclogs my mental constipation. It’s been a messy week, but there’s a lot of blockage in the brain right now. Maybe the sixth elixir I should have written about is Liquid Plumber, a liquid that sounds all too appealing but I will clearly see as the poison it is in exactly 14 days.

Two weeks in the boot down, two to go. Bear with me, friends.

63 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 4:35 am

    So sorry about your uncle.

    Only two more weeks with the boot? You can do it! Maybe wait til the boot comes of before trying the detox?

    • October 4, 2010 4:36 am

      maybe I should check spelling. boot comes off, not of. 🙂

      • October 4, 2010 6:11 pm

        Good idea, Heather. I gotta at least stay on the wagon tonight. I think if I go to bed @ 8, which is what I’m planning to do, I’ll make it. 🙂

  2. Jill permalink
    October 4, 2010 5:07 am

    Isn’t it something how much you can figure out, put into perspective or just plain accept once you ‘run with it’…. Hang in there, bench press your way into mental clarity… Crunches on the ball…

    • October 4, 2010 6:11 pm

      Seriously, Jill. It’s 80% of the reason why I run. The mental clarity is unmatched. (And definitely not found on a Swiss ball, but thanks for the suggestion. :)).

  3. Tara permalink
    October 4, 2010 5:17 am

    Loved the post! Doesn’t sound like mental constipation…..maybe mental jambalaya….. savory with thick chunks of a variety of raw emotions. A lot has happened so give yourself time. So sorry about your Uncle Ham. Your mom would probably love reading this post. I ditto Heather on the detox 🙂 Soon you will find Uncle Ham in the early rays of sunrise.

    Signed former RLAM stalker 🙂

  4. October 4, 2010 5:28 am

    Oh no. So sorry about your uncle for you, sorry for your mom. As the youngest girl with two older brothers, so much of who I am is wrapped up in them. I’m sure her heart has splintered into a million pieces but she sounds like a strong one, much like you.

    I wish you could run…but it won’t be long now. Hang in there.

  5. October 4, 2010 5:50 am

    Oh dear, too much being heaped on you my dear. I was behind on the boot, too. I’ll stop asking about your race plans and spend the rest of the day removing my foot from my mouth (or when it’s in an email is it a foot on your fingers?)

    • October 4, 2010 6:12 pm

      No worries, Kara…I’m thinking you have better things to do than know of my every injury. 🙂

  6. October 4, 2010 6:13 am

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    Hang in there! I know its easier said than done. I have been out of running for a bit- not because of injury but because I’m pregnant and running got to be a little too difficult as my baby boy took over all my space. I can relate to how running enables you to clear you head and put things in perspective and I cannot wait to have that feeling again- plus a really good sweat!!

    • October 4, 2010 6:13 pm

      Hey Erin: Congrats on the baby boy on the way…and just think of all the new things you can process when you get out there again.

  7. October 4, 2010 6:20 am

    Thank you for your efforts to speak to us in spite of the obstacles you are up against. I can relate to most of what you said and for the record, I laughed AND cried reading this. That’s a win.

  8. Emily permalink
    October 4, 2010 6:37 am

    You are awesome, and funny, and honest (maybe especially awesome b/c you are funny and honest?). Thanks for the post and I’m so sorry for the loss of your uncle.

    • October 4, 2010 6:14 pm

      Thanks for the nice compliment, Emily. Made my day.

  9. Laurie permalink
    October 4, 2010 6:46 am

    I’m sorry for your all your losses. And please don’t be too hard on yourself , I think you are holding yourself to a higher standard that any of the rest of us, or your mother, expect of you. Do you what need to do for you right now.

  10. Deborah permalink
    October 4, 2010 6:46 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sure it is very hard for your family. You need time to heal, both physically (das boot) and emotionally (loss of your uncle). We are here for you!

    I did think of you this morning when I woke up with an inflamed peroneal tendon with just 2 weeks to go until my first half. Hoping we both get through these injuries!

    • October 4, 2010 6:15 pm

      Ugh, Deborah, not good, friend. Hope your inflammation takes a hike soon and you rock your first half. Thanks for reading.

  11. October 4, 2010 6:47 am

    I’m so sorry about your uncle, Dimity.

    You are a phenomenal writer, with or without running, in Asics or a boot. Give yourself permission to feel crappy and uninspired. You’ll get back to the good place.

    Thinking of you, my friend.

  12. Laurie permalink
    October 4, 2010 6:53 am

    As wierd as it sounds, I loved this post. I like stream of conciousness, feeling every feeling writing. You are AWESOME at it. And you know what? A huge part of being part of a tribe of women/mothers who run is knowing that not every post has to be organized, full of advice or event topical. Sometime you just need to put it all out there and get your multitude of cyber hugs. {{{{HUGS }}}}

    • Katie Pace permalink
      October 4, 2010 12:41 pm

      Laurie, I couldn’t have said it better. Dimity, you are human and you, too, are in mourning ~ remember to be kind to yourself.

      • October 4, 2010 6:16 pm

        Thanks, Katie and Laurie. Gave myself as mellow of a day as I could, and will turn in early. Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. (Which didn’t happen last night: sleeping in full size bed with my 6’2″ husband. I can’t believe we ever happily slept in a bed that size…must have been the honeymoon phase. :).

  13. October 4, 2010 7:02 am

    Sorry about Uncle Ham. Beautiful prayer. Take care.

  14. Muti permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:17 am

    nobody thought Ham was a funny name..?? 🙂 Thanks Skeezie – the sisters are my antodote to splinters and I have ingested a lot of liquid plumber in my life….love you to pieces xo

  15. Megan permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:21 am

    It’s astounding that you are even writing at all. There was a string of reasons why you could easily write-off writing (I know, I know horrible, but my restraint doesn’t turn on until 7am) for the week, two weeks, month, etc. I can’t imagine what it’s taking for you to cope without your run right now, but I have absolute faith that you will cope and heal, both emotionally and physically. Thank you for sharing your oh so human moments with us. It makes me, and I suspect more than a few other moms, feel like maybe we are actually adequate; that maybe even those super moms out there (aka: super professional writer Mama) are human too.

    • October 4, 2010 6:20 pm

      Megan: at the risk of sounding rude, please don’t ever call me super professional writer Mama again. I’m so far from it, but you can hide alot through the keyboard. I often think a blog post with just pics about the state of my house–dog hair everywhere, dishes I don’t want to do piled up for 48 hours, uncashed checks I’ve lost (I guess I couldn’t shoot that b/c it’s lost), hair in the drain, etc.–would pop any bubbles. And don’t ever think that you’re not adequate. We all are here, doing the best job we can, and that’s all we–and anybody else–can expect. Thanks for the nice note.

  16. October 4, 2010 7:22 am

    Without having it in you to write about what you wanted, you wrote an excellent post about the eb and flow of life. I know that I can completely relate to everything you are feeling, the sadness, the frustration, the non-justice worthy tribute to your mother.

    It’s amazing what being a runner brings out in us and how it can rattle us a bit when that is taken from us.

    My sincere condolences to your family and here’s to wishing you a healthy road to recovery and peace and comfort for your mother.

  17. Angela permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:26 am

    Sorry to hear about your loss, Dimity. I too lost my godfather and my father’s younger brother just yesterday. It would have been his birthday…he would have been 53. He hadn’t been sick and it was all very sudden. My thoughts go out to you and your family as well.

    • October 4, 2010 6:20 pm

      Ugh, Angela: not the same combo. No good, no good at all. I’m really sorry to hear that, and hope you’ve got some great memories of him.

  18. October 4, 2010 7:36 am

    Thanks so much for writing despite feeling like junk. Your words when things aren’t quite right are just as appreciated (or even more so, perhaps, by some of us) as when they are going along swimmingly (runningly?). I, for one, having not been able to run for the last week (with an ortho appt on the horizon), can relate. I am so sorry for your loss. Wishing you peace…

  19. Jessica permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:48 am


    I am very sorry for the pile of yuck you are slowly sinking under; been there, done that. If you can just get through the next two weeks you will feel so much better. Get the countdown going….make a stupid paper chain and rip off a loop each day so you can visibly see it getting shorter. Maybe write a memory about Uncle Ham on each loop so you can remember good times each day? I don’t know, I just know that sometimes it feels like all the bad has to crush us at one time. I am sorry.

  20. October 4, 2010 8:17 am

    Oh, so sorry for the loss of your uncle and this string of hard times. Even when you are feeling stymied, Dimity, your writing is witty, touching and relatable. I was only running for about 5 months when my mom died of colon cancer at the end of, for me, the worst.year.ever. When troubles rain they pour on us and, oh the frustration when you can’t process that with a run. Been there before, too. But those two weeks will be here soon (I know it doesn’t feel like it) and those first runs will be a sweet release for you, I just know it. I’m sure you will find sweet memories of Uncle Ham on those runs, maybe even a great (and appropriate!) come back for Mr. Ben Davis and some of your mom’s strength, that I bet she passed on to you. Treat yourself to something this week to ease your grief and your burden–some high brow white wine?
    I like the metaphor of “running as a plunger”. And if it’s OK, I’m seeing a possible costume for my Monster Dash half. That would certainly inspire me, as you always do, to keep running. Take care, my dear!

    • October 4, 2010 6:22 pm

      Thanks, sweet Jo, for your kind words. Sorry to know that you’ve been through a similar spell. Dang it that it always seems to happen that way. What’s the costume? A Plunger? Seriously? You gotta post a pic of it on our FB page. 🙂

  21. canuck_grad permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:46 am

    I’m very sorry for loss Dimity. Your uncle sounds like he was wonderful.

    On the other hand, reading your thoughts about running being your plunger totally made me think of the Seinfeld episode where George and Elaine both stop having sex with their respective partners. George gets super-smart because he’s no longer pre-occupied with sex, but Elaine gets slower and slower because she doesn’t have sex to take out the trash – Jerry tells her “the bags are piling up in your head” LOL

    I hope you find a way to take out your trash soon 🙂

    • October 4, 2010 6:24 pm

      *that* is awesome. I love youtube, and for you linking to it. thank you.

  22. October 4, 2010 8:52 am

    So sorry to hear about your loss, to not be able to run during this time must be awful. That would be your therapy but you have a lot of people behind you and running the pavement for you. Maybe it will seep in.

    The boots stink…I have a 3 year old in two boots right now. I am thinking about you and when I get down or unmotivated…I will think of you, who would give anything to grab a quick run right now. You will be MY motivation.

    All the best!!!

    • October 4, 2010 6:25 pm

      Oh my: two boots on a 3-year-old? What happened, Melissa? At least she’s not addicted to running. (Yet, anyway.) Thanks for letting me motivate you. 🙂

  23. Katie permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:57 am

    Dimity, You’re better than you think you are. (Ken Chlouber, remember?) Your post today was one of my favorite yet. Thanks for being so honest. You’ll get through the boot and you’ll look back and laugh. BTW, those women in skirts and Asics are jealous of YOU — your beauty, your talent, your attitude. Keep on keepin’ on!

  24. October 4, 2010 9:12 am

    I’m sorry for your loss Dimity. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there; you are on the home stretch! Be gentle with yourself………

  25. October 4, 2010 9:45 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss Dimity! It seems that while you say you’re plug up, you’ve released a dam of emotions in me and the tears they are a flowin’! Hang in there! Hugs to you.

  26. Andrea permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:14 am

    I am so sorry for your losses Dimity, but Happy Birthday to your Mom!
    The boot will come off, and life will get back to normal chaos soon enough.

  27. October 4, 2010 10:45 am

    Sorry for the loss of your uncle – and I’m praying for your Mom and wishing her a Happy Birthday. I think an Ode to Ham would brighten up your Mom’s day. Life and memories are what give us the strength to move forward – Run with it sister!

  28. October 4, 2010 12:49 pm

    First of all, sorry for the loss of your uncle. He sounds wonderful and what a cool remembrance at his memorial.

    As someone who writes for a living (under pressure, too), I get ya. But even if you were running, that’s an awful lot to go through to have to flex those emotional muscles again to write something creative. If I absolutely have to write something (and often, I do!) and am drained, I start with “where am I?” and go from there. Sometimes it works…. 🙂 Peace to you and we are with you, clogged or not!

    • October 4, 2010 6:27 pm

      Beth: thanks for the empathy. Love that I click on your blog and the entry is Justin Beiber and Jesus. Now that’s a topic I probably wouldn’t be able to touch. 🙂 Thanks for being with me.

  29. October 4, 2010 1:56 pm

    I’d love to read how you conquered the Diet Coke. I am addicted to that stuff. I once went a week without one. My big celebration after my race of the season was a Diet Coke. Wine, at least, has some proven heart healthy benefits. I’ve never read any for Diet Coke. But I can’t kick the habit. At least running, I plan my drink for after I run. Though on days when I’m up before 5, that doesn’t help matters.

    And sorry for the loss of your uncle. That is too young to go.

    • October 4, 2010 6:31 pm

      Hey J. Giving up the big DC really wasn’t that hard for me. It was more of a ritual than anything. I drank a can around 11-11:30 every day. I was actually on the RLAM reading tour when I gave it up, and I think that helped: I wasn’t around the same situation (alone, in my basement) that I usually am when I crave/need it. I find that Kona Cola by nuun, which has a hit of caffeine (but not as much as DC) usually satisfies me. (I drink it during workouts and sometimes after one too.) Not to be too preachy, but the other thing that got me motivated was looking at the ingredients one day. I literally could not pronounce more than 2 ingredients, one of which was water. I definitely eat and drink crap, but one a day for how many years? What is that doing to me?

  30. Becca permalink
    October 4, 2010 4:31 pm

    I am so sorry, Dimity for your loss. Grief sucks. I lost my mom a few years ago and I ran that grief into the ground. My father died last year during my running hiatus and the grieving process was definitely different for me. When you toss the boot and lace up the running shoes for the first time, it will feel good, I’m sure, to just be with yourself and whatever comes up. Until then, be extra kind to yourself. You deserve that.

    • October 4, 2010 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Becca. I love the imagery of running the grief into the ground. Powerful stuff.

  31. Jennifer permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:05 pm

    Chin up, as Charlotte would say!! I do feel for you, though – I’d be a serious monster right now with all that going on and no running! Prayers.

  32. Atha permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:28 pm


    So sorry that you are having a rough spot and that life is raining down on you this week. Just try to remember that you are such an inspiration to so many women! I hope that it brings you comfort to know that you are in so many prayers tonight! Big hugs!

  33. joan permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:30 pm

    so sorry, dimity! thanks for sharing with this post. it’s very humbling… so many ‘important’ things in life seem not so important when you’re dealing with what truly matters! i feel for your mother… your words in tribute to her will come, no doubt. just continue to take time to figure out yourself (and be kind to yourself!) during these times (things happen in 3’s, right? camping trip, boot, Uncle Ham…). all in due time, you’ll feel more like you represent the sentiments in the Hopi Indian Prayer! thanks for sharing! ~joan

  34. Amanda permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:49 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear the sad news about your uncle. It sounds like such a loss for you and your family. I have been trying to think of a boot friendly exercise that’s as cathartic as running, but, as we all know, there’re not many options that free your mind and your subconscious like running. I imagine a Liz Lemon marathon and a huge bowl of popcorn might distract me a bit, but even Lemon and massive amounts of salt grow tiresome after a while. I think it’s worth it in situations like these to give yourself permission to wallow, stagnate, rage, weep, and then tire of it all and just decide to organize your sock drawer. For what it’s worth, I join the legions of women who are sympathizing with you and sending vibes of wellness and love.

  35. Gloria permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:53 pm

    So sorry for all the yuck that’s invaded your life. Runs are amazing…I still talk to my mom (gone 6 years at least once a week .) Imagine what drivers must think! I’ve tried to give it up but unlike your success with diet coke, I can’t seem to make sense of life’s problems without running them by mom…literally!

    And I too have a sweet, lovable, 4 year old bug who has turned into a temper tantrum throwing expert overnight. We are going on two months of behavior that Linda Blair would find impressive! I feel your pain!

    Hang in there!

  36. LaJean permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:30 pm

    Dimity, something both simple and profound from Mark Epstein’s book, Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart, which has been my friend through miles and miles of hard times: “…Love and grieving, like separation and connection, are co-constitutive. Opening to one emotion deepens the experience of the other. The heart can open in sadness as much as it does in joy.” You are indeed beautiful, living proof of this, my friend.

  37. Erica Richards permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:44 pm

    Oh Dimity, I think I shed some tears for you today without even knowing they were yours. When my grandmother passed away, she wanted this poem read at her grave. While my mother was reading it, a gentle breeze blew a leaf over the grave and I knew she was there. I think of her often at this time of year. Sounds like you have fond memories of your uncle and hopefully he will come for a run with you soon.

    Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
    I am not there. I did not die.

    Peace and hugs.

  38. Karri Thompson permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:59 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope things begin to look up for you soon. 🙂 My husband is trying to get me to go camping this weekend. No thanks!

  39. October 5, 2010 12:40 am

    So I could have possibly missed it but are you able to pool run? I know I know, not nearly the same but it is something I may have done while I was injured had I had access to a pool. I loved the post. truthfully this post is how most of us think most of the time. It touched our hearts and made us see that even the most eloquent and humorous of us (that would be you and SBS) has hard days but finds ways to either work through it or around it. I’m sorry for all your going through and although not the same obstacles I’m attempting to overcome, they do give me hope that if you can trudge through to the other side, I need to try harder to do that too.

  40. christine lowery permalink
    October 5, 2010 5:05 am

    Dimity, that was a beautifully written, honest, and open update. I, like many others am very sorry about your uncle Ham, and am really routing for you. I completely understand how you feel, and I hope sincerely that writting about it helped salve your wounds for a little while. Remember, in all things, you are NOT alone. You’ve got a gagillion moms out here wishing you well both physically and emotionally. Hang in there.

  41. Melissa McNeese permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:48 am

    Sorry for you and your family’s loss and sorry to hear you’re in a funk. I’ve hit a rough patch too; reading your post helped me feel less ‘funky’. This also works for me – go to: and play track 3.
    To better days ahead…

  42. October 5, 2010 12:41 pm

    i think we can all relate to mental constipation- thank you for being real & vulnerable with us. sometimes honesty is just as inspiring as a cleverly crafted piece.

  43. Rhonda permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:20 pm

    ((((((Cyber hugs for Dimity.)))))))

  44. October 6, 2010 11:48 pm

    Dimity, I’m so sorry about your uncle….and all that you have going on. I was put in a boot today only to see if the immobilization could help my leg pain that they haven’t been able to diagnose and be able to run Portland on Sunday. No stress fracture on x ray. One day in that thing, and I’m jealous of people running, feel like a cripple when I’m really not, can physically feel the calories attaching to my hips, and am having a heck of a time chasing after my kids. I can’t imagine what you are going through!! I’d wouldn’t be any fun to be around. Hope the next 2 weeks flies by!!

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