Running Away – 2

Half a year ago, this is how I handled stress. I would mentally slap myself, gulp several cups of oversweetened chai and try to ignore the storm brewing in me until I officially metamorphosised into..

Highly Inflammable Mum. Like so.


Only goshdarnnit, I don’t have pink pumps and that shade of lipstick would make me look like a two-bit tart. So I need to you imagine a more frazzled, less corporate version of this.

Lately, life has begun throwing me a stress indicator in the form of a dream. An annoyingly recurrent dream.

Rewind to primary school in England where I was on the track team. I was a good sprinter back then – thin, taut and wiry with legs upto my armpits – and an undeniable need for speed. Ocassionally, I won. More often than not, I had a medal to add to my not-so-bulging coffers:-)

We line up for the 100 metre flat race and I’m off the mark with wings on my heels, hair flying sheet-like behind me, feeling the swish of air in my space, the pumping of blood in my ears. Fully focussed on remembering the cardinal rules. Never look back. Never turn your head. Eyes on the goal. Screw the rest.

The joy and pride I feel in my powerful legs and pistoning arms – in my velocity – makes my breath catch in my throat. A metre from the finish line, chest thrust outward to meet the tape and – I’m awake, my heart thumping madly.

Each time, I feel my chest heave and the tears come.

I am pretty open about the Fight Against Flab – or lets call it what it really is – The Fight I Lose Before I Begin.

This dream makes me realise that its not about the flab, its not about the cosmetic changes and its not about my vanity.

I miss my strength – the tremendous power in a well-trained body.

I miss my determination to be healthy. Its in the trash can along with a guilty Twix wrapper. I miss the drive that used to wake me up and propel me to  a sodden training ground on miserable winter mornings in Cheshire to do the punishing laps around the ground.

I miss running, the stitch in my side, the grit to keep going and joy of pushing my physical limits.

I miss my sharp freestyle, my aerodynamic, acquatic self and the joy of floating in water.

I am (oddly) overwhelmed with regret for the years I have taken this amazing instrument for granted. I am more than a little worried about the awful ways in which this will come and bite me in the butt.

Two years ago, my sister in law’s heart stopped all of a sudden and she lay on her kitchen floor fighting for her life as her 10 year old daughter called the ambulance.

She was 36 years old at the time and lucky to make it through. Her life is changed forever though and the restrictions on living freely are manifold.

I want to spare my children that experience. I would like to spare myself too. Getting back to my earlier dress size is the least of my worries.

Two weeks ago I hurt my back – again- and found myself limping to a manual therapist.

“Your back and shoulders are a knot,” he says as he tries to unknot me with persistent palms. ” You need to find a way to get this stress out of your body before its too late.”

I cry quietly as he pummels me and conveniently blame it on my aching back.

After years of shoddy treatment at my hands, my body owes me nothing other than contemptous fat deposits and breathless shame when I run up two flights of stairs. I can feel her give up on me and I am terrified. I want to make it up to her, but is it too late? She’s heard all my excuses before.

I need someone to call 911 for me. Please?


Filed under Self

22 responses to “Running Away – 2

  1. Cecilie M

    Though I can’t relate to actually missing exercise (always hated it with a passion) I share your same worry… feeling old already… aches and pains in joints, regular physical therapy appointments, and a not just pathetic, but utterly disastrous stamina level.

    Scared as hell of only getting worse as the years go by… and yet can’t get of my butt and do something about it… so bleeping tired!


    :off to wallow in self-pity and finish that bag of candy:

  2. Medha

    MGM your post couldn’t come at a better time! I never used to be such a hardcore runner in school- maybe a couple of races during sports events, but I know what you mean because I used to run very regularly a couple of years back. And if you leave the habit halfway and hope to pick it up a few years later, oh it is SO hard to stick to it! I somehow managed to resume this habit earlier this year, and I did run regularly every week and lost some weight cos’ of that..but lately exam stress has taken over everything and I am ballooning up again! Though I will say this, all the exercising has kept me fit cos’ I was one of the very few who survived a 20 km cycling adventure a few days back.

    Oh MGM, you are a mother and a wife. You have a husband, two kids, other family members, work and a household to worry about! Us students are simply lazy beings, hence we refuse to move our butts. You on the other hand, well YOU have a legitimate reason for being a little laidback on this issue. Baby steps, and you will eventually get there again! 🙂

    Having said that, its 5am here and I’m going for a run in about an hour. And since your post came at the perfect time, it has made me more energised and pumped up and so I am going to extend my run today by half an hour. 😉

  3. Meluhhan

    Dance! To 80’s music! It’s a huge stress buster. Find the nearest dance class and enroll. It beats running alone, something I could NEVER do. Or bike! Sure, it’s easy for a non-mom like me to say that, but if you’ve popped two boys out of that body, then it’s a tough one, and what’s a little exercise, really?

    Medha, 5 am!? I never quite believed in the existence of 5 am. But you’re going to run at 5 am? Damn! The only way I can be that disciplined is if someone’s holding a gun to my head. And ONLY if I’m convinced it’s loaded. Respeck!

  4. Medha


    I know, I surprise myself too! But I rather go for a run at 5am than 5pm cos’ the morning air just feels so fresh! Plus its winter- so a nice run in the cold weather feels very refreshing and rejuvenating! 🙂

    I just got back from the run (1.5 hrs) and I can barely type this message. In fact I think I’m going to faint any minute now……….

    *falls off the chair*

  5. Just start- walks, runs, swims- whatever you can squeeze into your day. Don’t stop altogether if you miss a day or so.
    I’m fat, have hypertension and diabetes (both inherited) but I do try and do my bit- I manage to walk an hour a day mostly five days a week, early in the mornings. (Which, these days, are sweltering. I have to drag myself out of the cool bedroom). I know it’s tough with young kids around, but just start with whatever you can. Your body will be thrilled to bits:) I do feel more energized the days I walk.

  6. This is great…just re-starting at the gym…with a grumpy knee and not looking forward to the grumbles from my laid-back muscles:)

    Take care, dear, and you can get your body ‘back’ in powerful shape…just need to work out a leeeetle bit harder and longer:)

  7. Its not the flab, its the stress. More twix, less run and less work. Dont thank me, I know, I give very useful advice.

  8. Your sil’s story is scary. And so young too

    You know my story, how hard I am working towards being fit. It has now become 2nd nature to me. Its hard but it can be done.
    10 mins here and 10 mins there adds up.
    Switching an apple for toast and chai will help. Although the chai stays.

    I want to maintain my healthy lifestyle for my girls. I do not want them to remember me always whining abt my weight and then eating 3 pizza slices and throwing back 3 beers(btdt). That to me is my single biggest motivator.

    I do not want to preach but seriously if I can do. I who used to be obese..(245 lbs and size 20) can run, then anyone can.

  9. i so agree with June!
    Its the stress more than anything else.
    Know what you mean.. I miss having a fit and toned body. I liked the way I felt after a work out – supple, like a well oiled machine.
    Now I’m a creaky, grumpy bag of lard. hehe…

    more than anything else, I think its the stress. Juggling kids, work, house, tends to do that to you. After being on your feet for 16 hours out of 24, who has the energy and patience to go run/work out!

    Just chill. Try out other fun things. I like Meluhhan dance proposal. Or maybe try a regular massage. Or a hot soak. Or sauna.. other ways to destress.

  10. I’m chasing after my own fitness plan these days and agree with every word – it’s about how alive you feel when you’re out there, running, swimming, just pushing against yourself.
    I think if you’ve known that feeling once, you’re halfway there. SO go for it, start small but stick with it. Flab busting = stress busting.
    And look, we are not alone.. Dipali, starry eyed.. there’s a great big sisterhood of the sweatpants here already!

  11. @wordjunkie- you bet!

  12. its a very relevant post i think. worry about the aches and pains which are starting and then wonder whether its hypochondria and then worry again whether i am ignoring something which needs to be seen to. and the excercise while fairly regular, i wonder whether it is enough.

    also, try and add stair climbing into the day. that takes 10 minutes and you do 10 floors everyday you feel a bit more toned.

  13. @Medha: Running at 5 am?? Seriously? Excuse me while I go off myself with a Twix bar!:-)
    But on a serious note, it is all about NOT allowing myself the usual excuses. I don’t think I have a more hectic schedule than Michelle Obama, wot? I think I have to start seeing this time for myself as doing “me” a favour. But thanks for your encouragement! Baby steps it will be:-)

    @Meluhhan: The ’80 music dancing happens quite often:-) Its jsut not structured enough, maybe? V. glad to see another night person, though:-)

    @Dipali: Yup, the clue is just to start!I also feel waaay more on top of things when I have worked out in some way, and less prone to depressive fits.YUp, am really gonna have to bribe that body back;-) Thanks for your encouragement!

    @Starry-eyed: Mucho gracias!And hey – all the best with your workout as well!

    @June: ROFL!! See? Just reading your comments is a stress buster:-)

    @sraikh: yeah, what happened to SIL was uber scary. She was seemingly in great shape as well, which made it even worse.

    And you – are the inspiration. I’ve been reading your blog and am amazed at how much you’ve accomplished!Its pretty phenomenal. I’m just gonna keep reading you for motivation!

    @Richa: I think this is my biggest problem, Richa.. having fallen into the rut of “who has the time”. There is something fatalistic about not having time to stay healthy. why should that be a lesser priority for us than our children’s health? But the massage and the dancing are great tips!

    @WJ: LMAO at Sisterhood of Sweatpants! I like! yes, reading you post the other day definitely contributed to this. Sounds delish to just get out there and do it! Helps a lot to not feel alone..

    @Cynic: Stair climbing is a great and simple tip.. used to do it lots earlier – have become slovenly there too! Nice to see that I’m not the only one with mild hypochondriac tendencies:-)

  14. Chuchu

    You have such “funny-amusing”commenters and responses that reading your blog IS a great stress buster…I like…a lot…
    I used to run and play basketball when I was younger so I know that “alive”feeling-all these gym circuits are sooo boring…walking on that lovely beach not a good idea?

  15. so true, so true. My husband had a heart attack at 33. He made it, but yes, our bodies remind us to prioritize in godawful ways.. maybe joing a running group in your neighborhood?

  16. Mom Gone Mad

    @Chuchu, I do love my commenters, yes – totally agree that they bust stress! Walking on the beach is one of v. many lovely ideas. promise to get around to it soon!

    @Dotmom: Hey, am so sorry to hear that about husband. I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been. As for running group, don’t know if my knees will hold up. How do you knock it without trying though eh?

  17. nat

    Isnt it the ultimate dream? Us in the clothes we would love to be in, doing what we want. My fav daydream. Except you – a couple of months and you’d be there. Its just that you need to channel that competitiveness of yours. I know – easier said than done.
    We should have a reunion – class of 1996. then maybe we’d feel the fire.

  18. Medha

    #Meluhhan and MGM,

    Oh I am a complete night person too! I stay up all night (and evening) to study and go for a run at 5ish or 6ish. Then I come back, have breakfast and go to bed at 10.. I sleep for only 3-4 hours and start with the studying routine all over again.

    Did I mention that I was a total freak?
    (As you can see! :P)

  19. maidinmalaysia

    how bout getting amma on your case?

  20. Mom Gone Mad

    @Nat: I’m glad you’re so confident – I’m not:-( Its gonna take more than a couple of months. Its not really about losing those pounds and getting back to my earlier dress size – more about re-vamping an entire lifestyle.

    But lifestyle – or no lifestyle – we’ve got to have that reunion!!!!!!AND OMG!!! 96? How old are we really?;-)

    @Medha: Sweetie, you no freak:-) Simply an owl!!I used to do the same thing when I lived in Aus and was working on my Masters. Worked from 22:00 to 07:00 and then slept for about 5 hours! This way, no barbies were missed!

    @MiM: You mean more than the four phone calls I already received today? She’s been on the my case since I could walk!

  21. Era

    I was never much for running, but I loved to rollerblade. Now, even that beloved activity has fallen by the wayside. The whole getting older thing can be quite depressing. But cheer up, you’re still a hot mama!

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