Some time last fall I discovered a new blog about running. I added it to my already too long list of running blogs in Google Reader. I unsubscribed a few weeks later when I realized I wasn’t very interested in what she had to say.
One thing that stuck out about this blog was how she frequently showed photos of her (or friends) in a t-shirt proclaiming “I ♥ sweat.” The shirt was sold to help her fundraise for an organization that does research to find a cure for a chronic illness.
There was something about the t-shirt that got to me, aside from seeing it a dozen times after following the blog for a couple weeks. I didn’t figure it out until I started thinking about the running community and issues of race and class thanks to a Runner’s World article.
I don’t love sweat. I sweat most days when I go out for a run, lift weights or go to the gym for some cross training. I chose to sweat most of the time because (a) I’ve never had a job that requires regular manual labor, (b) I live in LA where summers are comparatively mild and not humid and (c) I have the luxury of having my own car with air conditioning.
I haven’t always recognized my privilege, but family and friends keep me in check when they feel my soft hands that have never done “real work.” (Except when I help out with the biennial mulberry tree trimming project at my parent’s house as above.)
My grandparents’ and parents’ hands aren’t so soft and smooth. My grandparents came to this country to do hard work in the fields, landscaping, and in heavy industry. They didn’t sweat because it was their hobby and they loved it, but because they needed to feed, clothe and house their families. Through their work, they gave their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren opportunities they never imagined.
I get to leave work at the end of the day feeling energized enough to run 5 miles and work up a sweat. Thanks for giving me that privilege, abuelitos.