I’ve Missed the Sweat

You can ski, you can swim, you can get on your bike and cycle for miles, you can lift weights.  You can do all that, but does anyone really sweat with those activities the way we sweat with running?

English: Drops of sweat
English: Drops of sweat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve missed the sweat.

I didn’t realize I missed it until, coming back from this injury, I felt I was ready to throw in a couple of intervals .  About half-way through the planned set, it hit me.  I have really missed the sweat, the kind of sweat that requires your running clothes bypass the hamper and go directly to the washer.  On that first day back, dipping my toe into speed work, I didn’t reach that point where the skin gets a whitish sheen and you feel like you can brush the salt away.  I didn’t need to. Even a moderate amount of sweat was psychologically uplifting for this returning-to-the-flock runner.

Sweat, the particular type of sweat  – and there is a particular type – that results from a good run feels like my body telling me “we did good.”  I haven’t found a source that says sweat generated when running is any different that sweat generated from a tough tennis match or digging postholes. It’s all from the eccrine glands as they respond to messages from the brain signaling a need to reset the thermostat. Still, runner sweat feels different. It sends a message that that we’ve purged some of the junk, mental and physical, that comes our way.  The sweat speaks to me saying “you are in better shape spiritually and physically than when you went out the door – now go take a shower, get on with your life and do it well.”  I’ve missed the sweat.

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7 comments

  1. Great post Mary Lou thank you! It sounds as if the running really clears the heart mind and soul of junk! We’ve just had the Comrades Marathon this past Sunday here in South Africa – a BIG one – 89 kms. It was so wonderful to watch those crossing the finishing line many hours later …

    • Yes, Susan, it does. When running solo it sometimes becomes my “running meditation.” I have heard such incredible things about the Comrades – one of the most difficult marathons I’m told. I visited South Africa several years ago and felt I really didn’t have enough time there.

  2. Mary Lou, I celebrate with you! So glad you’re back to the point of actually sweating. After my brain surgery 20 years ago I had to go on high blood pressure medication–and that ended my ability to sweat. I still miss it. Your post made me smile . . . Every joy to you in experiencing ALL of your sport.

    • I had no idea. It must have been an incredible adjustment and one I’m sure you made with thoughtfulness and resolve. Our bodies – and minds – have such amazing and unexpected responses.

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