I haven't blogged much about running this year, mostly because I haven't blogged much about anything and because I was in a nice routine and routines don't really make more interesting blog posts.
Except that stuff got pretty interesting and I don't mean the half marathon (which was great!)
By interesting, I mean messed up, but it took me a while to get myself to the point where I would accept that I'm not going to make my running goals this year.
Back in late June I started getting weird pain and numbness in my right leg. I had a really sore spot in my butt that I figured was a result of tight hamstrings or IT bands or something sport related. Ball hockey season was coming to an end and we had some pretty intense games, I got injured or something, no biggie. I would just take it easy and it would go away.
Except it didn't. I couldn't sit for more than 5 minutes without pain shooting down my leg. I got another sore spot in the bottom of my foot. Google was saying sciatica AND plantar fasciitis and it was all sounding horrible. And ya, I shouldn't have googled...but I wanted to fix what was wrong with me and didn't think it warranted medical intervention beyond physiotherapy (which was helpful, but didn't make the symptoms go away).
I was having a hard time at work (I sit 99% of my day) and I couldn't stand being in the car (of course this summer we drove almost every weekend, sometimes up to 8 hours on a trip). It was horrid.
Did I stop running?
In a lot of ways it felt better to move than not to move. It didn't hurt at all to run and the leg numbness would go away. So I kept at it.
By September I realized stuff wasn't getting better. I finally went to the doctor. Turns out I have an L5, S1 herniated disc.
That's old, sedentary person stuff. Not 40-something, in the best shape of my life, happy healthy stuff.
Turns out that sitting all day is one of the main culprits and that my active lifestyle and healthy weight kept things from being worse. No one is sure what caused the injury (usually there's something) though I suspect it's either ball hockey since there's lots of twisting and some body contact or it might have been my new bike.
The much loved coaster brake took some getting used to and I'm pretty sure in the beginning I was coasting to an almost stop, stepping down and then using my body to come to a full stop. That's not a good thing to do, especially with a 22kg bike. I've really started thinking about how I stop and have tried to not do that anymore.
Regardless of the how it happened, I now have to live with it. The treatment: core work. Pilates in particular. Also, lay off the running, get up every 20 minutes at work, be careful on the bike. I added, no more high heels (sniff, I have some poor Fluevogs that need to hibernate for a bit).
I didn't lay off the running right away since the half marathon was a few weeks away from the diagnosis. In fact I kept running but at very low mileage until about 2 weeks ago. Now I've stopped completely. Getting the flu made that easier, but now I'm almost recovered and I look longingly at my shoes and get jealous when I see other people running along.
I have never been a very high distance runner, I average about 20kms a week but I miss getting out there a LOT. I need that exercise for stress reduction. I feel better when I get out and move. I don't want to gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose. I'm not even thinking about ball hockey even though Spring sign ups are only a few weeks away.
Sad thing is, that week in bed really helped. The shooting pains are gone and my butt and foot are almost better. The herniated disc presses on my sciatic nerve and I need to get the disc goo back in place to stop that pain. Rest is the key.
I've also started Pilates back classes. My physiotherapist is also a Pilates instructor and has started a series of classes aimed at rehabilitation for those with back problems. It seems to be helping. I need to get a bit more disciplined about doing the exercises at home, but I like the active approach to managing this.
I was really hoping to run 1000km again this year.
And I got so close.
I'm still debating whether I start a slow run again next week or try to just walk instead (less jarring) or just give up on the goal and find an alternative exercise.
It's all wait and see. I'm considering a gym membership so I can use an elliptical trainer (no room for one in my house) but I hate gyms and the idea I have to actually GO somewhere and not just run out the door when I feel like it.
I've also been assessed for a sit-stand desk for my office. I have 25 years of work ahead of me and I don't want sitting to make things worse.
So that's my running story for 2012. I'm not setting a distance goal in 2013. I need to see what my body wants to do. Right now, I'm just hoping that running is a part of my exercise routine next year.