Monday, September 7, 2009

Putting the Bipedal to the Mettle

I'm in a world of hurt. 


Today, my mind and cardiovascular system were jogging, but my torso wasn't cooperating. The surgery I had almost three years ago was now causing a lot of abdominal and lower back pain as I jogged. And I was wearing Spanx, which typically keeps the hernia in and the pain at bay.

But today, after reading the latest issue of Runner's World and all those people who, like, run 100 miles in the desert and 80-year-olds who have done 60 marathons, I thought about getting back to a routine of running, very gradually at first. I've been jogging for 15 years or so and really enjoy the feeling after a good sweat. My last run was about two months ago, and I was doing fine.

Today, though, my body wasn't having it. And I sweated beads of agony only a few minutes into my run.

And then I started walking while holding the tears back. As I walked slowly to catch the wind that was knocked out of me, I did some reflecting between expletives. I did such intense soul searching, that you could almost hear it as a voiceover. Truth be told, I started doubting my ability to ever run again and lamenting that I would never be that 80-year-old who ran a gazillion marathons and that the only cover of Runner's World I'd be on is the Double Mastectomy with Reconstruction issue. 

I started taking out the mental decorations for my pity party when my mood changed. Instead, I started thinking of the many things I was grateful for, some of which are included here:

1. I have a new, wonderful daughter, whose frequent smiles fill me with joy.
2. I still do many of the hobbies I enjoy, including painting, swimming, walking, reading, and my first love -- writing.
3. I have wonderful friends and others in my life that make living worthwhile.
4. My doctors are fantastic in their fields and as human beings.
5. I am well enough to blog regularly and have awesome readers.
6. I have two adorable cats who worship me....OK, it's the other way around, but they are sweeties.
7. I leave in a peaceful dwelling.
8. I take care of myself and lead the healthiest lifestyle I can.
9. I enjoy my career immensely.
10. I didn't invent the phrase, "No pain, no gain."
Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She writes about a potpourri of topics, including motherhood and her Chinese adoption experience at, and her cat Hemi blogs at Beth teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She has a guest posting on The World's Strongest Librarian at

She can be contacted at and



  1. okay, I haven't had any type of surgery and I can't run for more than 2 minutes without dying :). I can't imagine the pain (physical and emotional) of all you're body has been through and the post-surgical effects. But you have proven your strength and your desire for living. You'll get there. You can DO it :). You are a role model to many!!

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words!! You put things into perspective for me. Next attempt I will have Tylenol, Spanx, and mind-numbing music all at once!!

  3. I was never much of a runner....more of a really fast walker. haha I wouldn't fret too much. You are on the right path. Start slow. Don't push yourself or expect to much because you'll let yourself down and give up. I think you should be proud of how far you've come, just from what I read in this one post I can see that! :)

  4. Thanks, Sandi. This is a great reminder to me that I am proud of all I've accomplished. I need to slow down and take it easy on myself physically and emotionally.

  5. Encouraging folks to take charge of their health is a great topic for a blog! Thanks for the nice words about my site. Thought I'd pop over here and see what you do. Very nice writing; I'll be back; might even try to figure out the subscribe to thing.

    Take Care.

  6. Thanks much!! I think your site is awesome, and I liked seeing what you had to say. I hope you check in with Calling the Shots from time to time; would love to have you as a subscriber.

  7. I hear ya. Having Jorie killed my body. It's hard to believe I used to exercise 6x per week for at least 45 min. per day and now a 20 min. workout 2x per week is painful. I'm working on my priorities, though, to get back into the swing.

  8. Yes, it's amazing how even life's good things (baby) cause our bodies to go haywire. Just be proud of what you do accomplish.