I’ll be taking a few days off. My body has finally given up: I pushed myself a little too far while doing some of the renovation work over the weekend and despite running a full and a half marathon, travelling to both ends of the continent, fighting off numerous proto-infections that threatened to derail everything, and doing dozens of hours of manual labour over the last two weeks while never taking a single minute more off of work, that part where I reached above the stove to adjust some venting was the metaphorical straw that broke… well, actually MY back. I’ve been sidelined and I think it’s my cue to take some down time for a couple weeks. When I can actually walk again without slouching in subtle pain, maybe I’ll do some short, slow runs, but until then…
It’s Sunday morning at 8:30 am and I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my pajamas writing a blog post. This is odd if only because this is the time usually reserved in my hectic schedule for plodding through the streets in neon fabrics and getting sweaty in the trails with my friends. I’ve taken a week off so far hoping that the rest and light cross-training I’ve been doing will improve the situation with my legs… which are still bugging me. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve narrowed the problem down to a sciatic nerve issue. It’s not pinched. It’s not compressed. It’s just irritated because I’ve let my core strength fall below the threshold whereby the abuse I put my body through is mitigated by strong muscles that prevent too much injury. The balance has been tipped, and I need to rest, strengthen, and rebuild before I start pushing myself back into the winter of training. So, I’m missing my Sunday run. And this probably means I’ve written off the whole “half-per-month” plan as I would probably die on the side of the route if I tried a half right now. Frustration fills my legs as they itch to get out on a trail, but that is quickly countered by a familiar tingling in my tissues. Soon… but not too soon. *sigh*
That I need to work on my strength if I want to keep pursuing my running.
While it probably wasn’t a way I’d recommend to deal with a minor injury, going camping this weekend meant (for sheer survival and pain tolerance reasons) I medicated more uniformly and consistently than I would have were I sitting around the house. I’m not a pill-popper kinda guy, normally, but I hit the painkillers with the dedication of a junkie this weekend and managed to pull through and pretty much shelf the injury to the archives for the duration. Monday morning rolled around and the old leg is pretty stiff and achy from (probably) overdoing it, but the bulk of the sciatic nerve jumble that was killing me late last week seems toned down to the level of minor annoyance. I’m almost tempted to go out for a short run tonight to test the waters… but I’ll gauge that on how I feel by the time the end of the day rolls ’round.
I don’t even know what I did this time. I woke up Wednesday morning with a dull ache going all the way up and my calf and up the back of my leg. By late in the day it hurt to walk (so I skipped running, obs) and rested instead. Thursday it was a kind of electric jolt pain, and last night I was up most of the night barely able to lay down without feeling that oh-so-familiar back twinge that had sidelined me for a couple weeks last year. The catch: it’s on the other side of my back. It’s not even the same injury, but a mirror of it. I might be limping for a few days. *sigh* And… yeah: I can’t even tell you why it hurts. I just seems to have come out of nowhere.
It took a few minutes this morning to loosen up, but a lot of the pain is gone. Finally. I skipped the regular Sunday morning run club run, but somehow that didn’t stop me from (a) getting in a solid two klicks just around the park a couple times, and (b) chancing an random encounter with Greg, Suzanne, Lynda and Sharon who were plugging away at their 24km this morning and just happened to be running past the park when I was about a third of the way into my run, too. That was a nice boost. I’m not taking the pain meds anymore: it’s not worth the side effects for the minor difference in relief. And I’ll just keep slowly working it back to normal. And unless something goes really badly south tomorrow, I’m going to call it “the end” on these little updates.
I’m pushing myself. But then today was a good day. I wish I’d started recording these daily updates sooner. I feel like I just started and –bam– I’m getting better. The dull ache is still lingering, and it was a little creaky getting out of bed and standing up whenever I sit somewhere for more than ten minutes in a row… but I was active all day: did some more yard work, had a backyard cookout, went for a looooong walk with Claire, and –drum roll!– ventured out on a one klick run around the park. Verdict: not perfect, and I’m not going to push it too far too fast, but things are looking bright and shiny tonight.
I’m cautiously optimistic. If I’m still using the number scale, then I’ve spent the better part of the day around a 2… which is good… damn good. It’s especially good since I haven’t taken so much as a milligram of pain meds all day. It could be that I had the day off and wasn’t sitting at a desk all day, either. Moving around a lot seems to help. I mowed the lawn, killed some weeds, and planted some shrubs. A few twinges here and there, but there were spans of time when I wasn’t even thinking about it. So? Cautiously optimistic, though still no running until at least Tuesday. *sigh*
Call it whinging, I don’t care. But a little more than two weeks in I still hurt. I’m not looking for pity: I just need to keep track of it somewhere and somewhere may as well be here. So, as I progress through this recovery (and on a ten-point-scale where 10 is laying in bed in agony like on that first day and a 1 is well enough to run) I’m sitting at about a 4 today. Why? Because I was at about a 3 yesterday and pushed it a little bit too far: swimming, stretching, and a oh-so-very-light jog from my car to the front doors of the pool in the gushing, pouring rain.
I finally had a chance to go to the pool last night. Almost exactly two weeks to the hour after I was face-down on my bed, only able to move my fingers and my lips (without causing tremendous pain in my lower back) I was slowly dog-paddling laps in the leisure pool with a flutter-board dangling out in front of me and bracketing each of those with some stretches against the end-walls. I capped the whole thing off with a quarter of an hour in the whirlpool, a therapeutic jet forcing hot water against the various sore spots on near my waistline. It’s feeling better, but in grudgingly slow increments of improvement. Each day has been just a minor bit better than the previous… which is good, so I can’t complain. But I’m starting to feel grumpy about not running. I’m starting to get edgy about what I’m missing. The training groups are plodding ahead, as they should of course, and I’m plodding backwards and realizing how hard I’m going to need to work just to be able to do the races I’ve planned, let alone catch up to a speeding marathon team. To make it all worse, I’ve got a page-a-day running-themed calendar on my desk… and it’s egging me on.