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.


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.


And planks, followed by stretching.


What I definitely didn't do was this.




Or this.


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.