Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cleaning is more dangerous than running

When this winter first started — seems so long ago — I had a co-worker look at me in disbelief when I mentioned having run despite the recent snow.

"You ran in the snow? I would be terrified to. I'd be waiting to wipe out."

In his defense, he dislikes running no matter what conditions, and he also works closely with a Texas transplant who's experiencing his very first Midwest winter ... and has several bruises to remember it by.

At the time, I admitted to a scary slip, during which my flailing arms made contact with the side of a garage, but insisted that my worst running spills had taken place in perfectly mild weather conditions.

I maintain that stance, after cleaning my apartment Sunday night and going on a run Monday morning before the rec paths were completely cleared of snow.

The minor injuries I sustained during the cleaning frenzy:

* A bruised instep on my left foot. This came from stepping on the vacuum cleaner's plug in bare feet, and resulted in the most pain I've experienced since introducing my IT band to the foam roller.

Wait, that's not totally true; the IT band stops feeling tender once I'm done rolling, while the instep was tender to the point of not putting all my weight on it for several hours after that.

* A stiff lower back. I'd thought that the cat's litterbox was growing empty enough where it would be easy to just toss all the old stuff and replace it with fresh, clean sand. And maybe I would've been right, if I hadn't poured the entire contents into a half-full garbage bag.

I could barely lift the whole thing out of the garbage can, and I'm not sure what miracle allowed me to raise it high enough to put into the Dumpster. (Yes, I know, "lift with your legs, not your back.") Fortunately, the bag didn't tear at any point, and I woke up with more foot tenderness than back soreness.

In contrast, during the 10 miles I ran, mostly on snowy paved surfaces, I only suffered a few startled lurches when one foot landed off the path and one foot remained on it. (The snow helped the path blend into the grass.)

Maybe once or twice my shoes didn't quite get traction on an icy uphill slog, and I definitely splashed through a shallow puddle once — so shallow, though, that the absorbent part of my shoes were in the clear.

Still, the worst that happened the entire time? My skin is probably windburned. But I put lotion on it after my shower, which I always do, and it felt normal a few hours later.

Which leads me to the conclusion in the title of this post. I won't give up cleaning, because I'm a neat freak, but for those of you who hate vacuuming and taking out the trash, feel free to use my stories as justification for avoiding those chores.

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