Hello, Square One. Have we met?

My back is injured again.

After a week of on-and-off back pain, I played soccer Thursday night. Turns out that was a dumb idea. Despite taking lots of breaks, and being pretty careful overall, I did some major damage and I’ve spent the last two days flat on my back — and probably have a few more horizontal days ahead of me.

I’ve decided I’m going to sit out the rest of this soccer season (3 or 4 games) and all of next season. That’ll give me four months away from the activity that is most aggravating to my back. My goal is to not return until I can run onto the field completely pain free.

I went to the doctor on Thursday (before the latest serious injury) to have my back evaluated. He basically said, “you need to stretch your hamstrings”. I’ve been hearing this advice for the past 10 years, and I’ve followed it at times, but it doesn’t seem to help. But, I’m going to try it again. I think my problem is that I’ve haven’t had all aspects of my fitness (weight, flexibility, core strength, conditioning) firing at the same time since, oh, 1996.

The past six months (since I hurt my back in August) have been pretty lame. (Pun! Sorry.) I hope things turn around soon.

Heave Ho

I’m starting off another work week with a sore back. It’s now been six months that I’ve had constant lower back pain. I’ve tried both resting and exercising, and neither has seemed to work — although I’m still working hard on the latter and have only recently started making decent progress towards some of my fitness goals.

It’s no coincidence that my back is worse on Monday — I spend all weekend carrying Ruby around. I do it because I love to hold her, whisper in her ear, nuzzle against her cheek, and see the world with her. But I think the sad truth is that as she’s gotten heavier, the strain on my back has gotten to be too much. I generally carry her just on one side, which doesn’t help things.

I’m going to try spending a week consciously avoiding carrying Ruby. It will be difficult, and I don’t know how many exceptions I’ll need to make to get through the week. And in the end, I’m not even sure if it’ll be worth it.

Big Old Me

I joined a gym last week and had my first workout on Friday.  My plan is to have several early-morning workouts every week, often joined by my friend Michael, and to supplement those with weekly soccer games and the occasional weekend run (weather permitting).

I weighed 205.5 pounds after my workout yesterday, which I figure it pretty much the most I’ve ever weighed.  I’m just 10 pounds short of being offically “obese”.

My ideal weight is about 175 pounds.  A realistic goal is probably in the low 180’s.  In the past, my emergency “time to lose weight now!” number has been 190 pounds, but somehow I managed to glide right by it.

My weight hasn’t gone down at all the past two months, despite my earnest efforts to eat sensibly.  The biggest problem is that my exercise has been cut way back due to various aches and strains (documented here) and getting past my many nagging injuries has been difficult.  My lower back hurts every day, my left groin muscle is only running at about one-quarter strength, and my right ankle has settled into a slightly smaller range of motion after my last sprain.  I’m hoping the controlled environment of the gym will let me work around (and then through) these injuries on my way back to health.

Running to Stand Still

I’ve been working hard to get back in shape.  It’s difficult, and it’s not made easier by the fact that I’m just beginning and progress is still hard to see.  I’m not just trying to lose weight — I’m also trying to work my way back from debilitating spasms in my lower back in August, and then a sprained adductor muscle that put me off the soccer team for the rest of the year.  And then before that it was tendonitis in my ankles and then plantar fasciitis.  And before that it was more back problems.
Still, I’m not giving up.  I’ve got my diet under control, but if I don’t also exercise then my back will get worse.  Sitting all day isn’t exactly horrible, but it’s unpleasantly achey.  The simple fact is, I need to exercise just to keep the aches and pains at bay.  And, specifically, I need to run to keep my back in shape.

With that in mind, I went for a run this morning.  I got up extra-early, donned my runners and stepped out.  It felt great, and I was looking forward to catching the sunrise as I came around the far side of Green Lake.

Then, I stepped on a pine cone and sprained my ankle.  Immediately, as I hit the ground, I knew what it meant: no exercise for weeks.

I’m not a capable enough writer to express how frustrating this is.  I was sobbing as I limped back up the path.

I know what it takes to get myself fit again, and I’m eager to put in the time and sweat to make it happen, but I’m stuck in a cycle of injuries that keep knocking me off my stride.

Frustration.  Frustration.  Frustration.

Shout out to the G-units

Kate and I have been suffering the past few days. I injured my back playing soccer on Thursday and have been barely able to stand. Kate picked up a bug on the way back from Mexico, and so she’s been feeling drained — and hasn’t been able to relax because I can’t step it up (quite literally) to spend more time with Ruby.

Fortunately, Ruby’s grandparents have come to the rescue! We spent last night at Kate’s parents’ house so they could watch Ruby while we draped ourselves over their couches. And tonight, my parents are taking Ruby up north so we can spend all day Sunday doing the same to our own couches.

We’re really fortunate to have parents who live so close (although it is a two hour drive from here to my parents’ house) and are so willing to step in at the last minute give us a hand when we need it. It made a huge difference when she was a newborn, and it made a huge difference all last year when I was juggling Feedwhip and stay-at-home-dad-ness. And I’m sure it’ll continue to make a huge difference in the years to come.

Thanks, Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad!