Saturday, January 29, 2022

Once a Runner

 Some thoughts, with an attempt to be concise in covering what I want to get out of my head and on paper on the metaverse machines

A recap: Running. I can do it, but it's not comfortable. After a few miles, my hamstrings and glutes start to feel really tight, even though they aren't. According to the docs, this is the result of a nagging protruding disk issue that is hitting a nerve in my spine and causing my sciatic nerve to become confused and misfire. It has also caused some pretty severe lower back issues. As a result, running simply isn't all that fun anymore. 

Over the past year and change, physical therapy has helped, but it treats the symptoms not the cause. My PT has been amazing though, and we determined a solid course of action is to continue the extensive stretching routines but workout more to get the core strong. However, it only does so much. Running is just not the same. 

Medically, the focus now is on the treating the cause, but I am not optimistic with my options. I have had to fight with doctors and physician's assistants who have been resistant to take treatment further. The overall sentiment can very accurately paraphrased as "you're just a middle aged guy with back problems, ho hum, do some stretches and deal with it." 

I managed to push the enough for an MRI and have an appointment with a back pain specialist. I was pretty excited about that, until they called the other day and switched my appointment on Monday to a simple phone call with the doctor. Umm, could I see my MRI please and could you show me what's going on? Just more frustration. I'll see how my little phone call goes but I'm not optimsitc and I'm just about done. 

There is a positive though. I have discovered that I absolutely love working out. When I was younger, "working out" meant lift things up and put them down and try to look like Arnold (impregnating your housekeeper and secretly raising a bastard child optional). I did it off and on back in the day, but each time I quit it was pretty damn boring. 

No. Not now. These days, many gyms are about high intensity interval training (HIIT). It's different. It's harder. It's actually legitimately fun. You're lifting shit, but you're also getting your heart rate jacked to 90% of your maximum heart rate with running, biking, or rowing and THEN lifting shit... or blasting your abs, or whatever. The variety is awesome, and it's an extremely well rounded workout that covers aerobics and anaerobics. Most days target a certain area or two (abs, arms, legs, chest, etc.) but each day practically every group is doing a good amount of work. 

My gym is not a Crossfit affiliate, but the workouts are similar. I used to make fun of this kind of stuff, but now I am humbled. I get it. Given the sustained popularity over the past decade plus, it's clear these workouts are not a fad. They simply work and they are fun. 

At least at my gym, there aren't any douchebags. I see the same crew at 5am each morning, and though we might not say much more than a friendly hello or a good job to one another, it's simply enough (and an introvert's dream social scenario). I've recently upped my game with working out and let my coach/trainer know, and she has put me on a different program that is quite challenging. Working out with a coach is awesome. She knows her shit, is constantly correcting my form, pushing me harder, and holds me accountable in all aspects. I love it. 

So that's where I'm at. I miss running and the long excursions where the mind and body just wander a lot, but have come to accept that my best days are likely behind me. It's time to adapt and grow, as humans are meant to do. I'm just grateful I have found something else to keep my insanity and push myself. Without some sort of very demanding physical activity, I go crazy. I am glad to report I am sane.... and also happy. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Post

Running? I'm trying. Ongoing tightness with the lower back is an issue. The hamstrings have loosened up some, but are far from better. But... I'm still trying. 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Wait... What?

 Physical therapy is working. Since November, the ever so gradual climb back to the graces of running comfortably has progressed to the point where the hamstring tightness is minimal. As a result, I've been running. 

More later. Maybe. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020


 I'm in physical therapy for my hamstrings and lower back. Running is very limited. Pretty boring and not worth spinning things into anything more.

Back on blogging hiatus until things are deemed somewhat more exciting. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Physical Therapy

 Last Friday opened new doors of hope and optimism in getting a better handle on my chronically and debilitatingly tight hamstrings and that troublesome left heel. I met with my new orthopedic doc and it went very well. She's great and an athlete herself. She referred me to a sports physical therapy clinic and also wants an MRI done on my left heel to rule out a stress fracture, just to be sure. 

Very happy with the path I'm going down. The physical therapy clinic is very close to the school I teach at which could be very convenient if I can schedule my appointments in the afternoons. 

After that doc appointment, I went to my in-laws house where Kate was visiting with the dogs, grabbed Moxie, and hit the Bangor City Forest for a run. Went well, all things considered. 

Monsoon expected the next two days and I will play running by ear. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Touch & Go With Sprinkles of Hope

 Well, after my last post, I had a very successful and fun run with Moxie up Eagle Mountain. My hamstrings were in a state of stark contrast to previous days where they were pretty tight and I was able to fully enjoy the run as a result. 

About this mountain: I live in a very rural area full of a crazy amount of off-the-beaten-path places to explore and Eagle Mountain is one such hidden gem. We parked just off the Stud Mill Road, a major artery logging road that runs to Canada. From there, we ran up an offshoot logging road for nearly three miles before taking the path the last three tenths of a mile to the top where there is a great overlook that faces east. 

Since that run however, my legs have felt pretty tight. Along with a busy schedule, the motivation took a bit of a dip. I did take both dogs for a very easy two mile run though earlier in the week. 

Then, with snow falling on Wednesday, I took the new Nanospikes out for a three mile spin. They work great! The front of the right foot kept sliding to the outside for the first few miles, but lessened as the run went on, so I think they just needed to be broken in a bit. They're great though. Perfect for slippery roads and other conditions where Microspikes might be too much but something is still needed... a very common scenario. 

And shifting gears... today I see the orthopedic sports doc, which I'm pretty excited about. It'll be nice to (hopefully) have better direction with loosening up the hamstrings. More on that after my appointment. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020


 Pretty minimal running this week. I hate to admit it, but after a few months of gradual progress, my hamstrings have taken a few steps backwards and have felt pretty tight. If they were at their worst with a rating of 10 last summer, they are probably now at a six or seven, as opposed to the three they were at just a few weeks ago. 

A busier week with work was either a blessing or a curse, leaving little time to run but more time to let them chill out as a result. The only bad thing is over the past year resting them does absolutely nothing to get them to loosen up. 

This all being said, I have gotten out a few times so far this week. I ran the dogs for a few miles earlier this week, and then dropped them off and did a little over three miles at a sub eight minute mile pace on my own. That 7:46/mile felt like a legit tempo run. So out of shape. Yesterday, I took the dogs for a hike up Chick Hill, which is just under three miles. 

I'll take Moxie out for another run at some point over the weekend. We'll see how it goes. However, I do have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Friday. It sounds like she has a solid reputation. At least there is hope. A silver bullet would be great of course, but regardless, I'm optimistic that a game plan can be developed with identifying the issue and coming up with a remedy.