December 29, 2012

Down and out: the back version

Not much has been happening on the running front this week.

Here's what my schedule looked like.

Monday: 16 miles on the farm
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: stretch, stretch and more stretch. Planks. Stretch more. Run 100 yards in pain. Discover stair running.

Somehow after my run on Monday, I tweaked my lower back so bad that I could barely bend forward all week. Every day, I told myself that if I would just rest for that day, things would be fine for the next day. But here I sit on a Saturday morning, missing my 20 miler. The only consolation is that we are traveling anyway today, and I wasn't sure I would be able to fit it in before we left. But really, my back is a bigger factor.

Here's what scares me: I have a trail 50K coming up, and that isn't going to run itself. Also, I want to stay in marathon shape to eventually try again for my Boston qualifying. Eventually.

My coach gave me a four week plan two weeks ago. The first week I gave a shoddy effort at best because I had a family reunion in the middle of it and didn't really complete my end-of-the-week runs like I should have, and the second week was what you saw above, pretty much non-existent. That 16 miler was the one I was supposed to do the week prior, so I'm not even sure that it counts for this week.

I tried to run 100 yards at the gym yesterday, and the pain was excruciating. Here's what I have done about it. Called my physical therapist twenty times to confirm again and again that they have no openings. Sit around and do nothing but eat pie. Pull my knees to my chest to stretch. Do child's pose, which is surprisingly tough and not relaxing when your low back is tweaked, a thousand times.


Sit in a chair and bend forward to stretch.

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Ice it. Heat it. Sauna it. Have tiny children walk on it (just my upper back because kids are unpredictable with their back walking). Make my husband give me 100 back rubs. Ask for chiropractor recommendations but not call yet, still hoping that the PT miraculously opens up.

Then yesterday I made a discovery. As I was hopping up the stairs at the gym to make a depressing attempt at running, I realized that stair climbing didn't hurt my back, mainly because I could stay completely upright while doing it. Anything with a slight lean (like running!) killed. So I decided to run stairs for 30 minutes. It was actually kind of fun, and my calves are definitely feeling it today.

In addition to that running, I did some bridges (modified of course), followed by stretching.

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And planks, followed by stretching.

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What I definitely didn't do was this.

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This.


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Or this.

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Because who wants to wear a speedo when their low back is out?

Have you ever had back issues that interfere with running? This is a first for me, but my husband is quite experienced in the back-pain department. I think it had to do with growing up on a farm and picking up cows with one hand, or something factual like that. But really, he's had back troubles since around age 14.

Do you know any good lower back stretches? Please share! I need your ideas.

What's the hardest yoga pose you've ever pulled off? Or what yoga pose is just the hardest to you? In general, even without back pain, I can barely do anything that requires bending forward while doing a v-sit on the ground. Or while doing any sitting on the ground.

23 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your back. I like to do the cat stretch and this one- http://0.tqn.com/d/physicaltherapy/1/0/j/DSCN0497.JPG
    I also love a hot tub....if you have access to one. What about swimming or running in a pool?
    Good luck!

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  2. LOL at some of those pics..

    I'm sorry about your back - glad you were able to find stairclimbing didn't hurt it though.
    50k trail race, just the thought scares me. you're incredible!

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  3. Hope your back feels better:) I have had back issues since I was in my 20's. The one thing that really helped me was to strengthen my core. Ever since I started working my core regularly my back has been fine. I do get twinges once in a while. I find that doing the cat and cow stretches help.

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  4. I'm pretty sure you are accumulating some serious running karma points. The universe has to repay you for all these injuries and freak vomiting incidents. But, you know, if you aren't content with knowing good stuff is around the corner, you should know that you are inspiring a lot of us RIGHT NOW! Keep your chin up, buttercup. Also... stair running?! ouch!

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    1. I like that philosophy. I need to start getting excited when junky stuff happens. It just means that greatness is around the corner.

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  5. Oh no...haven't had any back problems yet, although sometimes my lower back is sore after pulling around giant patients at work. Good thing I won't be doing that forever.

    You do so many races, it's incredible. I feel like I haven't raced in like 500 years!

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  6. Ouch - I think pool running would help. The resistance of water will help loosen up the tight muscles.

    I know what you mean about the 50K - I have one in April and I have not officially started training. I have been dealing with a hamstring/butt issue for months. But this is what I think- in a trail race there are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest - you can walk all the uphills (everyone else is doing it!!) and there are plenty of pitstops where you can fuel up and stretch. This is you first one, right? So you get a PR right away!!

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    1. Yes! It's my first. Inspired by you. My main goal is to have fun, and I think I can definitely accomplish that.

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  7. Sorry your back is out:(. I hope you can get in to the Dr. soon to have it tweaked back into place if that is what it needs. I hate when I hurt myself in some weird way and don't know how. I feel any yoga stretch I pull off is a good one, because that means I am doing yoga and that is a miracle. Pigeon pose always feel good after running.

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  8. What is going on in that headband/Speedo picture? Yikes! As for poses, I cannot even Downward Dog without bending my knees. Yep. My goal this year is to increase flexibility. Seeing as I'm so inflexible now, this one should be easy to improve upon. Good luck to you-- hope you're back (no pun intended) in top form soon. Take care.

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  9. Oh no! Sorry about your back. I hope it gets better stat. I've never had lower back problems except the current SI joint dealings. I do love some of those photos!

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  10. Ouch - lower back pain is horrible and affects everything. I regularly get the odd twinge and my husband has to give 100 massages too!! At the moment I have a bit of a twinge after playing softball w the kids:( I suggest a cat stretch and downward dog. Good luck.

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  11. Back pain is grim, I hope it didn't spoil Christmas for you!! I'm also fascinated by the guy in speedos at the end - why does he have to wear speedos to do this??? Maybe Yo Daddy should do this to make things better??

    Get better soon...aaagh.

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    1. Ha! That is exactly his outfit for my back rubs. :)

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  12. Ah crap, that sucks!! Have you taken Robaxacet? Not sure if you can get it in the US. My hubby takes it when his back bothers him and it usually helps. I agree with Becky, pool running might help. You'll have to wear a flotation belt so you don't lean forward too much. You'll probably be bored out of your gourd but at least you'll be getting some "miles" in.

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    1. Never heard of that one, but that doesn't mean we don't have it.

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  13. This is an exercise I've done and it is good for stretching/strengthening:

    "Lie on your back with both knees bent. Place your feet on the floor and your arms at your sides. Bring both knees close to your chest and clasp your hands around your legs, just below your knees. Pull your knees to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times."

    There's more ideas on this page: http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/back-action?page=single

    I think I saw that one featured in one of the fall issues of either Runner's World or Running Times.

    I hope you feel better soon! I HATE when my back is out...makes most of life so miserable!

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  14. I am finally almost recovered from a lower back (actually pelvis) injury from picking up a child (not mine). I was told to ice it, not heat it, walk, do bridges of increasing length, and not to run until there was no pain. I go to a chiropractor..You should try it.

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    1. Yes, I need to go. I don't have one in our new town, and I have a hard time deciding on where to go. I loved our old chiropractor!

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  15. Plough pose works for me!go into shoulder stand and drop your legs down over your head (trying to get toes on floor). I can really feel it opening up my lower back! Sorry you are injured, maybe your body is asking for more rest? Me, I blame all of my back injuries on my kids- picking up, bending over, sleeping awkwardly because one of them is in the bed, etc...hope you get relief soon!

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  16. I swear by my chiro so I hope you can get in and see one for your back!!! And...that picture of the guy in the speedo is too grody for words but hilarious, all at the same time!

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