Posts Tagged ‘back pain’

Why I Want To Run (Insomnia Induced Post)

September 28, 2008 1 comment

Given that it’s now 3:00 AM and I can’t sleep, I guess we’ll call this a rambling Insomnia induced post.  Expect there to be plenty of typos.  🙂

So if I don’t run today (Sunday), it’ll have been exactly two weeks since the last time I ran anywhere.  This is already the longest I’ve gone without running since I started again back in April 2006.  I feel pretty crappy about that.

I had stayed right on track for about a month, running three times a week, and then suddenly, I just didn’t feel like getting out there.  No biggie, it happens, usually lasts a couple of days.  Now, suddenly, it’s been two weeks.  NO idea where the time went.  Lots going on at work and a friend had a huge personal development, but no reason not to make time to run.  I just didn’t.

Today it rained and I really wanted to go out and finally run, but I couldn’t because of an injury — which figures because I NEVER get injured.  I broke my right thumb playing baseball when I was 12 (sliding into third base, I didn’t lift my hands high enough), I sprained my ankle coming down the front steps of this house in 2005 (about as stupid of an injury as they come), and now this.

On Thursday I strained something in my lower back when my wife and I re-worked a section of our side yard.  See, we have a fenced-in section to the right of our house that isn’t really big enough to do anything with, but it’s proven to be useful.  When we moved in, there was a big old green shed there.  We added eight red pavers and started storing our trash cans there, just inside the fence.  Our town has a problem with skunks, so anything to deter them from hanging out, you know?  (Here’s a generic photo of pavers in case you don’t know what I mean.)

Well, this summer we tore the green shed down.  It was old, wooden, rotting, and right next to our house — last thing we wanted was termites getting a taste for wood right next to where we live — and we already had a newer shed out at the back of property that is more than sufficient for our lawn mower, wheel barrel, and other gardening tools.

Under the old green shed was a great concrete slab, perfect for our trash cans, so we didn’t need the red pavers anymore — and removing them would give us just enough room for a garden on that side of the house.  Of course, we try to do all of our home projects the right way (unlike the former owners who half-assed everything), so the pavers hadn’t just been tossed on the ground — there was five inches of sand and stone under there, and under that was anti-weed fabric, etc.  Moving the pavers was easy enough, but digging up all of the fill and dumping it into contractor trash bags ended up being heavy work.  (We’re saving the fill for some terracing work we want to do in the spring.)

Some of the bags were too heavy, and I tweaked something in my back moving them.  (That said, the new garden looks beautiful.  We’re very pleased with how it turned out!)

So now it’s raining out and I want to run again, but my back is killing me.  I can’t sleep, either, but that’s another problem all together.

Here’s the goal: I’m going to try to run Sunday night (tonight), if possible, and get back on track this week.  I have a new album to run to called Scars on Broadway and I think it might be a good fit.  I actually got one of the tracks free from iTunes months ago.  It was called “They Say” and for some reason I just now listened to it this week and liked it a lot.  I ended up buying the album — the first I’ve bought in a long time.

Sometimes having new music to listen to makes the running go easier.  It gives me something different to think about and pay attention to, you know?  I can distinctly remember when I caught onto certain bands (All-American Rejects and Jimmy Eat World would be “recent” examples, but I can go all the way back to Gin Blossoms in the mid-90s) simply because I can remember when and where I was running at the time.

Anyway, one of the reasons I really want to get back in the groove is to lose some weight.  In 2006, I ran just about every day between April and September (often twice a day), and I lost 100 pounds.  I was also VERY careful about what I ate, etc, of course — and I had never been more dedicated and determined to do something in my life.  I needed to lose MORE weight than that, but it was one hell of a start and I was in the best shape of my life that September.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite to my goal at the end of September when some people around me really messed with my head about my weight loss and I ended up losing my momentum and motivation to keep pushing myself as hard as I needed to.  I can share more about this if anyone wants, but basically, a couple of women in my life (NOT my wife, but family and friends) started telling me how worried they were about me over and over until I felt terrible about losing weight and getting in shape.  It was only the women around me and I still have NO idea what brought it on, other than I had lost a lot of weight that year, but that was all done in a healthy manner and my doctor was VERY pleased!  Yet hearing from these people that they were “so worried” about me just deflated my motivation.  I never recovered after that.

A side note: that October I bumped into someone who hadn’t seen me in six months and the first words out of his mouth were: “Holy cow, you’ve lost half a person!”  THAT is an appropriate thing to say to someone who is kicking butt and getting in shape.  “I’m so worried about you” is a crap thing to say.

Since September 2006, I’ve gained back some of the weight and although I’m still in much better shape than I used to be before April 2006, I’d like to lose what I’ve gained AND finally get down to my goal weight, which would put me right where I need to be physically.

My game plan to do this has been simple: start running FOR REAL again, eat right, and tell NO ONE except my doctor (who approved the weight goal as being perfect for my body type, health, and age) and my wife.

Unfortunately, this has been my plan ALL YEAR and I haven’t been able to do it.  Not being tempted to eat out has been tough, and as I’ve already said, getting back into the running has been problematic.  Running, to me, is as much a mental task as a physical one, and the mental side is just failing me right now.  If I can get back out there and lose some weight, it’ll certainly make the running easier — and hopefully fun again.

The funny thing is, last month my wife decided to start running, too — in part simply to help me keep my schedule — and SHE has gotten out there as planned these last two weeks.  She has a 1.5 mile loop and she’s starting with walking/jogging intervals.  I’m really proud of her because I know running doesn’t “come easy” to her like it does to me (when I’m in the right place mentally, at least), but she’s doing REALLY well.  Hopefully I’ll be out there with her again this week, I’ll lose some weight, and start training for that marathon in May.

So there you go.  That’s why I want to try to get running again.

But as a friend pointed out via email, my writing and running goals may get in the way of each other.  She actually said this without knowing something I know: I didn’t write a word of fiction during the six months I lost all of that weight.  My free time was entirely focused on making sure I got my run in that day because once I was running 6+ miles, I needed at least 90 minutes to get dressed, warm up, stretch, run the run, cool down, stretch, shower, and get dressed for the rest of the day.

That’s a lot of time in my schedule considering I get up for work at 7 AM, get home at 7 PM, spend another 30 minutes wrapping up work email, then make and have dinner with my wife, then run our errands and try to work around the house if we have any energy left at all — all while getting in bed by 11 PM so I can get enough sleep to be human the next day.  (Less than 8 hours of sleep and I’m a zombie.  It sucks.)

The other side of the coin is this: after September 2006, I scaled my running way back, but I wrote a novel I’m VERY happy with and then landed myself an agent.  Essentially, that was what I used that 90 minutes a day for during the last two years.

But it was NOT just the time I actually used for the writing or the running… it was the amount of time outside of that time I spent getting mentally ready to run, etc.  I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I was VERY focused on my running during those six months and then, afterwards, I was VERY focused on completing the novel I had set aside, and then I was VERY focused on conducting my agent search in the right way.  One “major life project” at a time, basically, was all I had time for.

The question becomes: can I be as dedicated to and focused on these two different tasks — running & losing weight while writing this novel — as I need to be to succeed at both?

I have no answers, but I’m headed back to bed, maybe to sleep this time.  Thanks for reading.

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