My Triumphant Return to Running

The x-ray, while boggling, was clear: there was no longer any evidence of spondylolisthesis. The condition that prompted my chiropractor to exhort me three years ago to “unlove” my new running hobby had corrected itself — due, presumably, to me strengthening my core and losing some 20 pounds.

So, shortly thereafter, when I found myself with no fitness class scheduled for the first Monday of the year, I decided that would be the day.

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Welp, I knew I’d forgotten something. At least it was just my #running socks. ift.tt/1WBz2e4 https://t.co/XB9KatjWCl

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This was me after my run today (and before my shower). So unbelievably stoked to have comp… ift.tt/1RnFqok https://t.co/YUcgzNV661

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Ran 1.9 miles in 24 mins and felt great. My 1st run in 3 years. That made me very happy. 1:1 run-walk ratio to ke… bit.ly/1OHl3DJ

Going on my first run/walk in three years tomorrow. Of course, it’s going to be the coldest day so far this winter. https://t.co/F8mNw5mQMk

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Planning to attempt a run/walk next week for the first time in 3 years. Winter running will require me to locate my old winter running gear.

Race Report: 2012 Jingle Bell Run 5K

Wait, you’re saying to yourself. Didn’t she say that her chiropractor made her swear off running?

Technically, yes.

But the 2010 Jingle Bell Run was my first-ever 5K, and the 2011 Jingle Bell Run was my triumphant return to running after having a baby, so the 2012 Jingle Bell Run felt like a necessity. It’s my runniversary.

Because I’d been so carefully following my chiropractor’s advice, and hadn’t actually been out running since July, I’d gone out running with Sheryl once a week for the past month, just to make sure I still had it. The race would be the proof of my functional fitness — do I really have a 5K in my pocket when I want it?

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Throwing A Wrench In The Works

Last month, at my regular visit, my chiropractor wrote me an order to go get a back x-ray. Since I’d started my regular adjustments when I was pregnant, she hadn’t been able to get an x-ray of my back — and since it was still bothering me so long after the pregnancy, she wanted to see what was going on with my spine.

X-ray imageSo, I got x-rayed at a local medical center, and brought copies of the films to her a week later. Turns out, I’m a nearly-unique snowflake.

“When God made you,” Dr. Smith began (and I had to consciously keep from rolling my eyes), “He decided, ‘Let’s give her an extra lumbar vertebra!'” Yep, turns out I am one of the few percent of the population that has an L6 vertebra. Not only that, but this extra vertebra is slightly offset, which is what’s been causing my constant low-level lower back pain.

Her plan for me, she said, was to continue my monthly adjustments and to monitor my discomfort. If the pain were to become worse, she said, we could look at CT scans and steroid injections — but she’d rather avoid that sort of thing unless it’s necessary.

I thought this might be a good time to bring up my recent running regimen. Good thing I did: her immediate response was, “That’s the worst thing you can do.” I tried to feel her out — is this a permanent thing? — by telling her how much I’d grown to love running.

“Well, you’re going to un-love it,” was her reply.

Shit.

I’d been running regularly with my bestie Sheryl for months! Through the winter and the spring, and into the sweltering summer. And now I had to quit cold-turkey?

Yep.

Sheryl and I were both sad, but we adjusted. We started attending the yoga class at work on Tuesdays (before which I weigh in at Weight Watchers, but I skip the meeting), and doing weight training on Thursdays. I walk alone on Mondays and Fridays, and she runs alone on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Surprisingly enough, it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve discovered that yoga is not only good for my super-tight hamstrings, but can also be a great body-weight strength-training workout, if done correctly. My core and triceps love me for a couple days after a good yoga session. Plus, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy lifting weights! It’s a super-short-term goal — I can do three more reps! — and it makes me feel good physically and mentally.

Since I don’t have as many Activity Points to eat through on a weekly basis, this shift in exercise level has made me refocus on eating according to Plan. I’ve been trying to forgo eating my Weekly Allowance Points, with positive results on the scale. I’ve also been noticing that my clothes fit better, and more so than just a five-pound weight loss could account for.

So, I guess that this horrible turn of events turned out to be a “blessing in disguise,” as usual. I’ve refocused on my diet, begun effectively cross-training, and have seen results. Maybe running wasn’t what I needed to reach my overall fitness and weight goals, after all. At least, maybe it wasn’t all I needed.

I visited my chiropractor again this past Friday, and straight-up asked her if I could start running again after I lose 20 or 25 pounds. Her answer was no. Running — and any other high-impact exercise — is permanently out of the question.

I suppose that I could see a specialist in sports medicine if I decided to get a second opinion… but I’m learning to live with a lack of running in my life. (Although I do miss having alone time with Sheryl.) I can set other goals for myself. I don’t have to be one of the 5% of the population who has finished a marathon.

I’m content with being the best version of myself that I can be.

Race Report: 2012 Get Luckey 5K

My blogging lately has been confined to monthly notes to/about Connor (and imported tweets from my Twitter feed). That means that I’ve completely missed out on writing about one of my few non-Connor activities: running.

To summarize: since I came back from maternity leave in late November, I’ve been running with my good friend Sheryl twice a week during our lunch breaks. We made it through all nine weeks of the Couch-to-5K program, run/walking the 2011 Jingle Bell Run (with Sheryl’s friend Don, who wrote the race report I failed to write) in 40:21 after only a few weeks on the program. The Get Luckey 5K on February 11 was our official post-C25K Let’s-Run-The-Whole-Thing race.

And we did.

ready to start!

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