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?
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.