On Saturday afternoon I made my long awaited return to the gym.
Since my back pain was still iffy (I had recovered most of my range of motion but was still achy in some spots), I chose a Vinyasa Yoga class with an instructor that I have worked with before. Her classes are more gentle than vigorous, and while that isn’t my preference under ordinary circumstances, I knew it was just what I needed.
At the start of class, my instructor asked if anyone had any injuries that she should be aware of. I told her that I had thrown out my back the previous weekend by making the wrong move and that although I was on the mend, I still didn’t want to push myself too hard in class. She told me to keep my knees slightly bent during all forward folds and to go easy on any twists.
I felt amazing throughout class. It was so nice to move my body once again. I had a rush of energy after class, so I decided to go for an easy cardio session. I did 25 minutes of a cross training program on an elliptical at low resistance. I was smiling the whole time! It helped that El Profesor was on the elliptical next to mine : )
Afterwards, I stretched and took advantage of the facilities of my gym’s locker room. Lately, I’ve been running in and out of the gym, just taking a class or cross training and then heading on my way. So it was nice to go on a weekend afternoon when the gym wasn’t packed to capacity and I wasn’t in a rush. I took a long, steamy shower and indulged with the complimentary Kiehl’s products in the shower and lotions in the dressing area.
I was still feeling strong on Sunday, so I kept my date with my running buddy. She’s keeping her runs quick and easy these days, which worked out well for me. We ran one lap around the Central Park Reservoir, for about 1.5 miles. We kept a conversational pace throughout our run. It had been a while since we had last seen each other, so it was a real treat to catch up and do something healthy at the same time.
The short, easy run was a good opportunity for me to guage my level of discomfort. I felt great throughout my run and was generally comfortable afterwards, so I did a series of crunches and push-ups before stretching at home.
On Monday morning I found that I was still feeling achy in some spots in my lower back, so I went to the doctor. I felt that the muscular tightness that I had subsided a few days earlier, but I was concerned that I may have bruised a bone in my lower back by perhaps too aggressively trying to foam roll out of my muscle discomfort. My thoughts were pretty consistent with what my doctor said. She sent me for x-rays that came back negative and said the lingering discomfort was probably caused by some bruising that wasn’t showing on the x-rays.
She prescribed a muscle relaxer and anti-inflamatory medication and suggested that I work with a physical therapist. However, she did say that in the meantime, I am cleared to resume all of my regular physical activities, so long as they do not cause any pain.
This is great news for me since my official first training run for the 2013 NYC Half is next Tuesday. I’m spending this week building back my base mileage. Before I hurt my back, I was running about 25 miles per week. My training plan has me running 25-30 miles per week, so I am hoping to rebuild my base during this “easy” week of running.
Today I ran 5.1 miles at the Central Park Bridle Path. I wanted to run 5-6 miles this morning, and I felt that a softer surface would be easier on my back. I was absolutely correct, and had no trouble getting through this brisk morning run.
I did about 15 minutes of strength training when I got home before taking a cool shower and making a refreshing green smoothie.
Right now, I am taking the medication that was prescribed for me, gradually building up my mileage, cross training and getting ready for the long training cycle ahead of me.
It feels good to ease back in to my training routine.