Sunday, February 05, 2012

Getting in Shape

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.


Grace said...

Yay! Good for you! Better get some extra extra high heels to walk across the gym with Spence and Daddy.

judi said...

you're an inspiration. a very happy (early) birthday to you!

edgar said...

Congratulations. I'm glad you are back to running and experiencing the joy of running.

I was once a runner for many, many years. I do walking now.

Linda said...

It's been so cold here that I haven't done any of my sort of shuffling jogging. I'm not sure what will happen when I get out there. I'm glad your back pain went away.

Sheila said...

Very impressive, i'd be happy if I could just make myself walk every day.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

You are a February birthday too! Happy Birthday to you! I know just what you mean when you said that your birthday is a time when you do a little self assessment, I do the same thing!

Good luck with your running & your back. Have you ever tried yoga for your back pain?

Stephanie said...


I don't think it is fair at all that it seems to take forever to get into shape, but miss one workout and we are back to square one.

DCMetroreader said...

Five miles is super! Congrats!

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