So, I don't know what happened... yesterday morning I noticed my back was a little stiff... Was it the vacuuming and mopping I did on Saturday? Was it the entertainment unit I helped my DH carry out to the curb for a fellow Freecylcer to pick up later in the day? Well, I can't tell you exactly what I did over the weekend to tweak my back, but by the time I woke up this morning, my back was in full-blown pretzel mode. I suspect that had it been x-rayed there might've been a big "L" shape in my lower spine! Getting out of bed was torturous, feeding the cats was near comical, and now, any movement that requires some kind of transitional movement of my core (standing to sitting, bending over, squatting, etc.) elicits an riot of muscle spasms in my lower back. Needless to say, my long run did not happen today... okay, let's be frank, a short run didn't happen today... even a stroll to the mailbox might be optimistic - that remains to be seen.
One thing I did learn through a little online research this morning is that back muscle spasms are fairly common among runners. Of course, it is much more glamorous (?!?) if you can throw out your back while actually running instead via some vague arbitrary household activity as in my case, but nonetheless, this is an occurrence frequently experienced by those of us who run. Unfortunately. While the ever dreaded back spasm can happen for a myriad of reasons, there is one suspicious cause that seems to be a contributing factor if not the sole reason for our (my) woes. And that is the lack of focus that runners give to core strengthening exercises. We (I) get so caught up in improving our times, improving our strides, gaining that little bit of extra distance that we (I) often forget that doing core work is also an important aspect of our conditioning - leaving us more susceptible to the ever dreaded back-out-of-whack. Oops.
On a personal note, something else I discovered this morning is that I'm feeling a little bereft without my Monday morning (long) run. Strangely, it has become something I look forward to and while I can't say that I love the stupid thing while I'm in the middle of it (I'm convinced that a 12-13 mile run is not something to love), it has sort of become the benchmark by which I start my week. Instead, today I'm relegated to the time honored traditions of rest, ice, heat, ibuprofen, & stretching and I find myself actually missing my run.
It's strange how the transition happens so slowly and subtly that you don't even notice it. When you first start an exercise program, you (okay, I) start out dreading every step that you take but then somewhere along the line it becomes habit and while you may not precisely look forward to it, or even enjoy it, you know that you're doing what's best for your physical and mental well-being. Then one day, wham-o, you are restricted from doing that which you have, over time, incorporated into your life until it becomes a part of who you are (i.e., my running). It's only at that point that you realize exactly how much it's come to mean to you, how much you take it for granted, and how much you miss it when you can't do it. Sniff.
Seriously though, with a little focused attention to the care of my back, I hope to be up and running again (literally) by later in the week. Viva la Ibuprofen!!!