As someone who runs, I usually think that I am in fairly decent shape. At the beginning of December though, right around the time that I needed to figure out a way to get my daughter home from France, I started having lower back pain. Yes, it might have been stress.
I couldn't easily pinpoint what was causing the back pain because it didn't bother me when I ran or when I did P90X, but the pain would wake me up in the early morning as I lay in bed unable to turn over. I ended up sometimes grasping the side of the mattress and hoisting myself over with my hands. I hated that. Then most mornings, my back would be so stiff I couldn't bend over to pick up my shoes or slide open a drawer to pull out clothes.
I decided to cut back on my running to see if it made a difference. I tried lifting weights, not lifting weights. Running, not running. Walking. Changing shoes. Avoiding the couch in the evenings. The pain continued.
Finally around the beginning of the year, I got serious about documenting the pain. I went to the Y and ran 3 miles on the treadmill and was surprised how quickly I'd gotten out of shape. I couldn't run 3 miles in a row. I'd run one mile then need to walk.
I got into the habit of running at my regular speed then sprinting before walking some. I kept mixing it up, still disappointed at my lack of stamina.
Then February loomed and I knew I needed to get serious about getting back in shape for two reasons other than the back pain. One reason is that my birthday arrives in February. My birthday is a time when I do a little self assessment. Being in shape is definitely a criteria I want to meet. The other reason is that senior night is coming up for the basketball players. My son Spencer is a senior, so my husband and I will accompany him across the gym. I know that if I'm in good shape, I'll walk with confidence rather than slumping across the gym a foot shorter than my husband and son. (Note to self, Wear Heels!)
As my rambling runs on the treadmill continued, I was able to correlate a connection between the days that I ran and the next morning when Ihad no back pain. Eureka. So I needed to keep running. I figured five days a week should keep me out of pain.
Then the nice weather arrived. I couldn't figure out why I should go run on a treadmill when the mornings were balmy in the 40s. So I started to run outside. I'll admit to some back pain the first morning that I ran four miles along the street. My mind raced. Was it the extra mile? Was it the asphalt? I decided to keep going to see what happened.
And this morning, for the first time in nearly three months, I ran five miles from start to finish without stopping to walk in between.
I officially declare myself back in shape, even though no one who looked at me might see much of a difference from two months ago, my lungs and my leg muscles know what I'm talking about.
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