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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.

Trip ‘n Dip

On my birthday I was challenged to take part in the annual “Trip ‘n Dip” Resolution Run, and so this morning Ruby, Kate and I headed down to Magnuson Park for a little run. It’s a flat 5k course with an optional detour into Lake Washington at the end.

I registered in the “Clydesdale” category since I currently weigh more than 200 pounds. Looking over last year’s results, it seemed possible for me to actually win my age group in the Clydesdale category. I just needed a simple strategy: if I saw anyone who appeared heavier than me, I needed to beat ’em.

The weather was great and my friend Michael and I ran the whole course together. (Kate and Ruby also took part, with Ruby in the stroller and our friend Sally running with them). My strategy kind of fell apart, though, for two reasons:

First of all, I ran pretty much as fast as I could. It’s not like I could have sprinted ahead whenever a fat guy lumbered into view. I ran about an 8:20 pace, which is close to the pace I kept for the half-marathon a few years ago (but for only a quarter of the distance), and I’m quite happy with my 26:50 time for the 5k course.

More importantly, though, I have no idea what “people who are heavier than me” look like. It’s really hard to get an objective view of oneself. Do I look fatter than that guy? It was hard to tell what general category of physical appearance I should slot myself into.

Fortunately, I don’t obsess about these things very much. I want to get in shape firstly to get rid of some nagging aches and pains; secondly to perform at a higher level in my physical pursuits; and thirdly (and least) because it’s nice to look good and feel good about my appearance.

Weekly Fitness Update

One week into my workout routine and I’ve gained 2 pounds. Oops. In my defense, we had back-to-back-to-back Christmas parties this past weekend.

My workout consists of 15 minutes of cardio, a round of weightlifting on the “express” fitness machines, and then 20 more minutes of cardio. I’m not crazy about the weightlifting, since using the machines tends to focus on individual muscles groups instead of giving me a more holistic workout, but they are handy for providing a controlled environment while I work through some of my injuries. I’ll be starting with a personal trainer soon, and that should shake things up a bit.
I wake up at 6am, catch the 6:20 bus, and I’m working out by 7am. The workout takes about an hour, and then I’m at work before 8:30. My plan is to spend 3 or 4 days at the gym, plus a run on the weekend, plus soccer when that picks up again in January.

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.

Packing It Off

I’m officially about 20 pounds overweight.  There’s a couple of reasons behind it — a bit of a lazy summer leading to a back injury which really cut down on my exercise.  Then a new job which both cut down on my exercise time and put me in the midst of overly tempting food choices for lunch.  Then a groin injury which limited my exercise options again.

I’m now paying attention to losing my weight, but I having a hard time feeling comfortable in my body.  My pants are too tight and hunger doesn’t suit my personality.  The lack of exercise is leading to other assorted aches and pains, and generally just making me feel out of sorts.

I feel like things are slowly improving, but the start of any weight loss program is always a frustrating time.