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.