These past two weeks have been a pure battle of will. I am up and fully awake by 5:00 am every day, mostly because my lower back and leg is screaming in pain from having spent the past eight hours in a vertical position. After a good dose of caffeine I find myself either in front of the computer and beginning my work day, or lacing up my running shoes and heading out for a run.
Last week I had two good days of running, spending about 15-20 minutes slowly jogging through the neighborhood. It’s been wonderful to have absolutely no care in the world in regards to my pace, I’m simply ecstatic to be running again. This week I hit the pavement three times, extending my time to 20 minutes on each run.
The battle of will continues to be whether or not I actually head outside for the run itself. After nine months of inactivity the desire to actually run has subsided. Physically, it’s difficult. I have lost muscle tone, I’m not nearly as strong as I was a year ago, and my breathing is labored. On the other hand, I miss my private time on the trails immensely, I also miss my friends and all of the laughs and conversations we shared. I miss having an outlet other than sitting in front of the TV or drinking beer with my neighbors. Being outside in the woods has always been a huge part of my life and a big part of my self-identity. I feel as if a piece of me is missing.
I had a minor setback last weekend which I am almost recovered from, I think. It has been so difficult not being able to do the simple tasks I once could do. While I certainly didn’t mind my inability to shovel snow this winter or rake leaves last fall, there are some things around the house and yard that must be done and the fact that I can’t do them is more than frustrating. It is almost depressing. Last weekend I grew so tired and disgusted with the brick door step falling apart, I began pulling it apart and set about resetting it. As I grew tired the squats turned into bending over, and more and more strain on my back and spine. My bulging disc grew irritated and has been screaming at me ever since. The weirdest thing is the fact that when I’m running I feel good. I don’t feel the pain. And I am working on forefoot landing in my minimalist shoes, using the rubber band effect of my achilles tendon to propel me forward. My feet will probably get stronger because of this, a definite advantage of attempting minimalist running from the beginning versus diving right in during high mileage training.
As each week drags on I grow nearer and nearer to actually scheduling that neurosurgeon consult. Undoubtedly, once the surgery is over with I’ll beat myself up over why I didn’t do it sooner. I’ll just need to remind myself that I tried every other avenue (therapy, medication, time) prior to taking the knife.
Until then I will continue to log whatever time I can on my feet.
Dear Magic 8 Ball: Will I ever fully recover from this herniated disc?
Outlook is cloudy.
Despite the back pain I am going to forge ahead with my running. Too much muscle loss, too much fat gained. It’s time to get back to business. My friends have an awesome Rim2Rim2Rim trip planned this Fall and I am going to miss it. I have tried not to give it much thought but there is a little tinge of jealousy because this is exactly the kind of trip I have always wanted to do ever since I peaked over the edge of the Grand Canyon on an early morning 20 years ago. I looked over the edge and soaked it all in for about an hour before deciding that in order to really do the place justice, I needed to return at a later date, prepared to spend days here.
It continues to wait for me.
For now I am enjoying starting from square one again. No, really. There is a pleasure to be had there. You have to completely erase where you once were and think of it in terms of returning to the beginning, getting a second (or in my case, third) chance to get things right. There are so many lessons I have learned and this time I am not going to gloss over or ignore anything.
I’m running between 15-20 minutes at a shot a couple of times a week right now. I am hitting new milestones like adding a few more minutes to the run, or running the entire time without a walk break such as I did this morning. I’m even waking up extra early in the morning to run. Last week my husband asked why I kept getting up so early, I told him I was “in training” to wake up early. It paid off. This week I’m up by 5:00 am, grab a cup of coffee and hit the streets. My old routine feels so good all over again.
With this renewed excitement I had another great surprise this afternoon. What runner can resist new shoes? I ask you that. I may not be bouncing up and down but I can’t wait to tear open that box and check out my goodies. Today the FedEx man delivered three pair of shoes from Scott shoes. There is a minimalist road shoe (T2C) in a lovely bright blue/yellow combination, and two trail shoes to check out (eRide Grip2 and eRide Aztec3). I think I’ll check out the trail shoes this weekend up on South Mountain, even if I can only go a mile or two, at least I’m getting out. I am also testing out their Support2 model which, so far, has been great. Reviews forthcoming.
Thanks for the encouragement, guys! I appreciate it.
Bob, I totally get what you’re saying. I’ve pondered the same thing at various times. Most likely, my motivation in 2009 came from just having healed from my stress fracture and really wanting to run my first marathon. I achieved that late in 2009 and went on to have a pretty stellar 2010. Not sure I’ll ever touch that year as far as the success I began to have in my racing and training, and not too sure I even care to.
My main motivation these days is going to boil down to whether or not I want to feel good about myself in a bathing suit or not.
Okay, so … this week I DID work out. In fact, right after I posted “The Status of My Running” I pulled out my new training book (The New Rules of Lifting for ABs by Lou Schuler who happens to live right next door to me) and had an amazing workout. I was sore for the following three days! This morning I met up with my forever awesome running partner, Maureen, and she joined me in her cooldown for a 2 mile run/walk. That felt good and I have a long way to go before I’m back to normal.
The good news is I am in no rush. NROL for Abs is going to be my main focus in the next three months.