Monday, June 1, 2009

That was Scary

Strength-speed workout on Saturday.  I didn't nail the session as I'd have liked, but to some degree I think it was because it was a bit too aggressive (target - three 800s and a 600 all under 2:20 half pace in the span of about 25-minutes)  However, I did run hard so at least I got in some quality work.

The big story was later that evening. I was icing my calves (which surprisingly are feeling much better now).  Just sitting down w/ the lower legs in some ice water.  After about 15-minutes it was time to step out and dry off.  As I stood up, my lower back felt odd.  I toweled off, walked into the bedroom and a severe pain shot through me like a lightning bolt.  I went to the bed to lie down for a few minutes - maybe I was in the ice water a few minutes too long?  About 5-minutes later I stood up again and my lower back didn't feel right.  I tried walking - definitely some pain - about 10-seconds later a violent pain shot through me again and I hit the deck - couldn't even stand.  Something was seriously wrong.

I've never had lower back pain before (aside from muscle soreness from lifting or working in the yard, etc)  This was definitely nerve related - not muscular.  I was thinking, "did I slip a disk?", "do I have a pinched nerve?"  In either case, I knew one thing for certain - I couldn't walk w/o fear of falling to the ground at any moment.  This was scary.

At this point I certainly had bigger problems than "how/when was I going to be able to run again?", but from the running perspective, yeah - it looked it was all but over for a while.  How can you run workouts and races when you can't even stand up much less walk??

For the next hour I tried to figure out what had gone wrong w/o much luck.  I kept "testing" it by moving into different positions and occasionally trying to walk (I dropped to the ground at least 5 more times)  Then while standing I did some kind of movement w/ the spine and I heard a "pop".  The area was still sore, but all of a sudden I could walk.  I walked around for a while and I thought the problem was essentially solved - whatever popped out popped back in and I was OK.

Not so much.  A short while later it was back "out".  It soon became apparent that this wasn't a disk popping in and out, but in a certain position it was much better.

I went to bed very early and had a miserable night's sleep.  When I could get the back into the "good position" by laying on one side I was OK, but if I moved to the other side it shifted to the "bad position".  I wound up doing some self-physio on the hip and glute muscles around 2:45 am as the whole hip joint didn't feel right.  (this combo of tennis ball and foam roller that does wonders on this area)  This actually helped some and I was able to then get some sleep.

By the next day I was "experienced" enough w/ this thing to get back into the "good position" more quickly which kept me from hitting the floor, and I was able to keep it in this position longer.  When it got into the bad position I could position myself in a certain way where I'd hear the slight pop (almost like cracking a knuckle) and I'd be OK.  Of course the overall area was still sore.  

By mid-day I went outside and started doing some minor things in the yard.  Later in the day I was able to do more and although the back was still a problem, for the first time I started thinking that it was actually improving. 

Here comes the part where you'll think I'm nuts - of course I couldn't run, but I figured, "hey if I can do some stuff in the yard I should be able to x-train".  So I was off to the gym only 20-hours after being unable to stand.  (maybe I am a little crazy)  

Twenty-five minutes on the elliptical actually made it feel better!  Then 20-minutes on the spinner bike where I did 3 solid intervals.  I finished up w/ 20-minutes on another stationary bike as a cool down.  All in all not bad - nothing got worse and honestly I was feeling a little better.

Last night it still went in and out, but the feeling when it was out was improving and it was now very easy to get it back in.  Today it's still sore and I can get some pains in it, but there is no longer an in and out at all, just general soreness.  

When it comes to nerve/disk issues w/ the back, I can't say I know too much about it, but I know enough to know that there is no such thing as "out of the woods".  So although things are improving quickly, there are no guarantees what will happen even 3-minutes from now.  I don't know what caused it - all I know is that I had both legs in ice water up to the knees for 15-minutes and was sitting when it happened, and my left hip joint (same side the pain was on) had felt tight for a day or two beforehand.  Maybe my CMT can shed some light on the subject.

I don't know when I'll feel healthy enough to try a run, maybe Wednesday, maybe not until the weekend, maybe later than that - I just don't know.

At this point, I'm just thankful to be able to walk and do most day-to-day things.  Every 8-12 hours there is noticeable improvement so I'll just hang my hat on that for now.  Hopefully the worst is over and I'll be back in action soon.


Sat, 5/30:  800m-2:21, 550m-1:35, 800m-2:23, 600m-1:45  (550 was supposed to be 800, just didn't feel like I could get it done.  Re-grouped and got in the 2nd half of the w/o)  the 600 was supposed to be 600 - didn't cut that one short.

Sun, 5/31:  X-train  (elliptical, spinner bike)


Grellan said...

Scary indeed. Did you consider professional help?

Mike said...

The situation occurred Saturday night, so my only choice at that time was the emergency room which I didn't think was necessary.

The next day I looked up some doctors/chiropractors, but of course no one had any office hours on Sunday. I decided to schedule an appt first thing Monday morning.

However, w/ the rapid improvement Sunday afternoon and being able to x-train, followed by further improvement Monday morning, I decided to hold off for now.

Obviously if it regresses or stops getting better, I'll reconsider and head over to a doctor, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.


I use to get back problems myself, trips to a chiropractor brought a very rapid recovery, also good posture is really important, stand tall, tummy pulled in etc and always lift things up like you were dead lifting, even if the object is really lite!

Ewen said...

That's an odd one. I had a fairly sudden lower back issue a couple of months ago - it did come good (with self treatment). Obviously all back problems aren't the same.

Stretching and core strengthening never goes astray. Good luck with it.