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Managing Gracefully: A Dimity Update in Five Pictures

I got bitten by a dog while on a run in Phoenix on spring break. I was engrossed in the craziness that is the STown podcast and came up on the dog and its owner on a sidewalk. I didn't say "on your left" or give them any indication I was behind them. Not super smart on my part but it was also the most aggressive dog I've ever encountered.

It mostly bit my palm, and when I looked down immedately after the bite, I didn't see any broken skin. I was quickly in tears and my cheeks were red. I was so taken aback that I wasn't able to think clearly. All I wanted to do was get away from the snarling dog. The owner asked me if I was okay a few times. I mumbled, "I'm fine," and just got away from there. Probably not the bravest thing ever.

When I got further away I pulled back my long sleeve and realized the bite broke my skin. I debated about a rabies shot but just didn't. (And no, I didn't ask the owner if it was vaccinated.)

I wish that were the worst thing I could say about my running right now but that hamstring/glute pull/strain in mid-October while I was trying to dial up my speed a bit for the Philly Half Marathon has not healed yet.

My DIY accountability chart for PT. (Here's a secret: it works! I love checking boxes!)

 

I had been super diligent (read: 30 minutes a day, 6-7 days a week) about my PT for six weeks straight (truly!) and my pain was minimal. I was on vacation and I felt good, so I tried to run. Just 20 easy, easy minutes.

The run itself—at least as far as my leg goes—wasn't that bad but the aftermath? Let's just say the dog bite was less concerning.

Upon returning home to Denver, I knew I had to dig into the work I'd needed for months. The kind of work that is harder for me than one-legged glute bridges.

The work I need is sitting still and reflecting. To make it accessible, I do 3 x 10 minutes -- and yes, it's a workout! I start with 10 minutes of Headspace, a totally accessible and amazing meditation app; then I move onto 10 minutes of It's Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein, a Buddhist and meditation teacher, who taught at a retreat I attended last November; then I take 10 minutes to write down notes about what I read and a few things for which I am grateful.

I've only done this for eight days (nine, if you're counting today, Tuesday), but I can feel a difference, mostly at the end of my day. When my leg is aching as I navigate rush-hour band carpool and wonder if we have frozen tortellini I can boil in <10 minutes for my kids who are sooooo hungry but refuse the apple I offer them, I feel a touch quieter. Not as snappy, not as woe-is-me. It's noticeable, and it's enough to keep me coming back for more 3 x 10 minute sesions.

One of Sylvia's phrases that continually sticks in my head through my day (and through the cluster that is my meditation practice) is managing gracefully. I love its sophistication, its implication that life isn't always awesome, but it can be handled with ease. To manage gracefully: my worthy, daily goal. (Along with planks, TVA marches, and nerve glides.)

Just because I'm not running doesn't mean I'm not actively participating in other aspects of our beloved sport. 

I was recently a guest on Jay Johnson's Run Faster Podcast, and we chatted about everything from the importance of clamshells (and how dispiriting it can be to do them while you see the dust bunnies under your couch) to single parenting—Jay is a divorced father of two kids— and fitting it in. Worth a listen on an upcoming run.

And I am a featured guest at the Runner's World Women's Getaway in Beaver Creek, CO on May 18-21. The line-up is spectacular: it includes world-class marathoner Shalane Flanagan, and whole-foods chef Elyse Kopecky (Run Fast! Eat Slow! Can't wait to hear all they have to say!), as well as RW editors Tish Hamilton, Meghan Grace, and Erin Strout. I promise you, the trails in Beaver Creek are ah-mah-zing, and the whole getaway will follow suit. I may not be ready to run by then but I can hike like a mother. I can laugh and chat. I can talk running for hours. I can demonstrate PT moves like a pro. And I can manage gracefully.

I'd love a strong #BAMR crowd there so check it out.

What's going on with you these days? Any dog bites? Any other situations you are, naturally, managing gracefully?

22 responses to “Managing Gracefully: A Dimity Update in Five Pictures

  1. I ❤ reading your posts, Dimity… u r always expressing some similar feeling that I am having. I just got back adrenal cortisol testing– guess what, my levels are through the roof! Could it be that I have been injured for the better portion of the last two years and did not have my go-to stress relief if running? And of course, the 10 lbs I have put on is not making getting back into the running realm any easier! Aaah!- a vicious circle. Glad to see u r working through it, Dimity; I will take some of your cues. Thank u so much for your honesty ❤❤

  2. Thank you, Dimity! I shared your post with two friends. We’re struggling with the recent political changes and choices, and I think the three of us need to take some time to be mindful. I appreciate you!

  3. I love this post. Sylvia Boorstein is on my bedside table and my go-to when the midnight – 2am willies strike. What a wise woman. Headspace is good too – although do you like his voice? I really struggle with it. And journaling. I feel – once again – that you’re telling me something I need to be paying more attention to. However – the dog bite! Damn! Are you okay? I got bitten by a dog years ago while out on a run (while I was hodling the owner’s other dog on a lead for him to put a lead on the one that ended up biting me – ironically) and I was in similar shock! Sadly can’t come out to CO but looking forward to meeting up at Twin Cities later this year!

  4. Oh, meditation…I know what I need most is quiet and “headspace”, but it never seems to stick. I was faithful with the headspace app through a few weeks once, but have fallen out of the habit. I’ve also been lax with my own physical therapy since I’ve been able to run a little again. Thank you for reminders!

  5. Hi Dimity! Good to read an update from you. I wish I could go on the retreat–it sounds wonderful, running or no running–enjoy–you’ve earned it. I too am dealing with a high hamstring/glute issue that will probably end my hopes of doing my hometown marathon on Labor Day. I like your PT chart and will create something similar for my dispiriting PT exercises. And like you I’m doing a mindfulness program (mine is through work). I’ve even gotten my kids to meditate with me–my son likes it; my daughter just giggles the whole time, so she’s been kicked out. 🙂 Managing gracefully…ain’t it the truth? Or in my case, managing gracefully…sometimes.

  6. Phew, you had some spring break. Dog bites, broken dishwashers, cut-off electricity. You deserve the rest and relaxation at a spa for certain!

    I wish I could go; my son’s bar mitzvah is that same weekend.

    Love and light..

  7. I love this post! I too am on the injured mother runner list. I severely fractured my ankle in March and have a long way to go until running will be a regular routine again. I’ve started doing some similar things to try and keep it all in perspective. I love The Headspace app!

  8. Same frustrating injury here – and about to hit Boston for the first time! Your PT is very similar to mine, just add in some dry needling and they could be identical. (Jury’s still out on this but hoping for good results.) Your post reminded me to breathe and be grateful that I’m still running – and about to run the biggest marathon of my running life. Stay strong, keep calm, remain grateful and heal well!

  9. Wow, so scary about the dog! I probably would have reacted the same way. Yoga has done wonders for my glute strength, and I love your chart for your exercises!

  10. I got bitten by a dog when I was running. It broke skin and drew blood. I had to get a tetanus booster, and the dog had to be followed by the Health Dept. for possible rabies. However, the good news is that the owner was apologetic and made a $100 donation to my Team in Training website for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Here is the link: http://pages.teamintraining.org/gat/anchor17/MHvatum The other piece of good news is that the dog was negative for rabies.

  11. The dog bite would have thrown me into a non-running tailspin for weeks. It is a major fear of mine. I salute you for that. I have been focusing on thanksgiving in my runs. Life is so messy- sleeves rolled up, digging in can make one feel ragged around the soul. My prayer life is richer and fuller when life is messier, but also my gratefulness for the peace and healing increases too. It has been super tough this school year but working on habits of healing and wholeness.

  12. Thank you for this, Dimity. Just as I finished reading it, my Headspace app popped up a “mindfulness reminder!” I’m a compulsive checkbox person, so I appreciate the fact that the app gives me badges for maintaining my streak!

    Running, motherhood, and just plain personhood bring a tremendous number of challenges/opportunities to practice managing gracefully. I’m trying to do that myself, too. Some days I am more graceful than others.

  13. Thank you so much. You are such a cheerleader for all of us here and one way you do that is by showing us how you get through these painful obstacles. Your perseverance (combined with managing gracefully) is truly inspiring. Life is long. You have a lot of running years left!

  14. Always so great to read your posts and I can truly feel and understand your pain! I just had surgery a week ago so no running for me for 6 weeks…. and was not able to run for 3 months prior. The “good” news is that my back pain I had been going to PT for the past 18 months may be gone and may have been related! Yes a blessing in disguise! This first week post op running has not been on my mind except for “When can I REALLY get started?” But there have definitely been lots of woes me moments as well as focusing on getting back to what makes me happy and my doctor telling me I’ll run faster! Ha! Wonder if I can hold him to that guarantee!! I have saved some RW magazines, will concentrate on healing while making laps around my house, try to stay busy, listen to pod casts, keep up with my gratitude journal and MAKE A CHART! Woo Hoo!
    Thanks D for my focus for today and I, too, live in CO… would love to see you in Beaver Creek! Hugs !

  15. I am so sorry about the dog bite. I to was bit by a dog so badly it required an ER visit and some therapy, but I kept running. With new fear that I had never experienced while running before. I love this post thank you for sharing.

  16. I truly appreciated the perspective you provided on being out when nursing an injury. I’ve been out with a major tendon tear since November, but have had the injury since the end of August. I am now on a wait list for surgery which will have me meet the surgeon for the first time in 8 months from now! Thank you Canadian Health care system! LOL! With 8 months more waiting, additional waiting for surgery, and then 6 months rehab after……..well, that’s about 2 years of my life. I needed to hear your statement about being “actively engaged in other aspects of running”. This really helped me this morning! Thanks for your positivity and perspective. I needed to hear these words! And now……..to create my own PT chart! Great idea!

  17. At least the owner was concerned about your bite….which leads me to believe the dog was probably up to date on his shots! I am currently back “home” taking care of my 90+ old parents while my sister is taking a well-deserved break from cooking, cleaning and yard work. My husband came along and we are taking turns- so at least I get in a 3 or four miler which is keeping me from yelling at someone or “taking over” because my mom hovers over my stroke-recovering dad, and it’s hard to watch without become an active participant in the whole thing. Ad to it a dreary, overcast regular Ohio day filled with mud and well, yeah, run/walks needed all around! Hope you heal soon!

  18. Love, love, love this post. I love that this blog is about so much more than the actual *running* part of running. Dimity, you provide so much inspiration both when you’re running and when you’re not – I hope you know that. Also, the type-A, box checking lover in me would love to see the rest of that chart. 🙂

  19. I’m sorry to hear about the dog bite and it’s just as you describe. Fearful, hurt, you just want to get away. To go through the whole tetanus, rabies shots process was exhausting and even more so, the dog police and health officials calling me. Heal quickly. On a brighter note, you’ve got so much good going on right now, I’m excited for you. I’m anxious to listen to this podcast and check out Dan Harris’ 10% Happier podcast. I’m making myself a chart today. I love your accountability!

  20. This post came to me at a perfect time; sidelined since November (and, really, off and on for the past two years) and trying to sort out the rest at the same time. Thank you for good writing!

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