Logging in my workouts here as a way of keeping track of progress. Every gym notebook I have ever started winds up crumpled, illegible, and eventually lost. So I figured this was an easier way to store all my information in one place and recall it. Hoping this year to make some serious upgrades to the body. Gain some new skills (handstand push ups don't be such a stranger) and in general get stronger and faster so I can out run zombies.
For the last three years I have been dealing with chronic mechanical back pain that has given me good months and bad months, months where I am doing a pretty good job of healing and getting stronger, followed by a month or two of terrible almost incapacitating pain. It's really frustrating -- but I am still moving as much as I can. This is shaping up to be a good month -- lots of extra walking and I have added a longer bike ride. Averaging about 3 miles a day walking every day and about 4 miles a few times a week on biking. So far -- so good. Starting a Whole 30 paleo food transition -- it's time for me and my sugar monster to part ways, and I am hoping it will also help to lower inflammation in my back. Change is good.
Almost every day now, working through these two katas -- Jitte -- with it's elegant slow moves and then powerful ending, and Tekki Nidan -- the most archaic and solid of our katas, done in powerful horse stance (kibadachi). It's enjoyable doing these with my husband -- two old horses still in the same harness. We will spend the month on this kata and then add two new study katas next month.
Sparring coming back too -- hit the Mister a bit hard with a reverse punch in the ribs. He took it all in good stride. Finally, doing some Bunkai -- practical application of the kata moves. Always interesting to translate the formal movements of the kata into a situational context. When gestures in the form become throws, blocks with counters.
It's also helped that for the last two months I have treated myself to a massage every two weeks. The best healing ever.
And what a long haul it has been. Struggling with mechanical back pain -- don't say it's age -- it's just a nuisance really. One can't do a little workout here...and then stop for a week because you are sore and then finally get yourself back in the gym and expect the results are going to be different. So working on keeping the back, hips, knees, mobile -- walking every day, specific exercises to challenge the torso and the core but not stress the back (yet that is) and even better -- we are sweating our skins off doing old school karate workouts. Back to training on both sides, interesting challenges for the side body with the twists, and the legs with kicks, the arms for punches -- and then just coordinating all of them together.
And oh...it is hot Tucson summer, no AC in the dojo and what the hell happened to my endurance. Doing kata is like doing sprints, each leaving me breathless. But it's fun. It's a challenge, I do it with my husband, and it is almost -- almost-- the same as in our early twenties when we trained in the summer heat in Wisconsin. So -- a least three times a week -- maybe four, strength work, mobility work, daily walking (which I hope to switch to running when it cools down). And slowly, everything improves.
The last month has been good to me -- re-organized priorities: Weekly massage has uncovered a lot of mangled and confused muscle groups, the sort of thing that happens when one gets injured and the body starts compensating (and decompensating) for pain. Right side feels pretty much healed -- left side illiac pain still there, but much less so, allowing me to do a 2 mile walk early in the morning. (Running will have to wait another month...sigh). And allowing me to finally sit and actually get work done without the haze of back pain.
I have been working on other things and am happy that I can now do sets of 15 strict push ups (new skill for me to do that many) and I try to get two to three sets a day done. Also working on strict pullups -- I have them at last! Though I am still only able to do them one. at. a. time. Still -they add up and I try to get about six or seven a day done. Working handstands for shoulder girdle strength (holding for a minute) and doing all the weird little exercises for gluteus medius and minimus. Still stretching too...
One more month of this slow rehab -- but I am already looking forward to getting back to strength workouts -- slow and careful. Starting with front squats which I think will address a lot of the issues that plagued me to begin with and brought me to my injury. So here's a video -- because really, this guy is fun to look at...
Also good -- dropped twenty pounds, lowered my cholestoral by 30 points. Getting there.
Well, so it goes. It turns out after months of dealing with this back pain that there is nothing structurally wrong with my back. That is the good news. No herniated disc, no crumbling spine, and no spurs, or other wicked-pain inducing issues. But -- and while this is better it also worse -- the pain is mechanical back pain -- pain brough on by misue of the body such as sitting too long in an unnatural posture (me in a weird half lotus on a chair when I write) or uneven gait when running (such as one hip higher than the other), or certain muscles underdeveloped -- such being really good at back squats (gluteus maximus) and losing strength in the gluteus medius which was suddenly important for running.
So -- have to figure out how to resolve the mechanical issues -- but the idea is to keep working, keep going to the gym and over time it will resolve. Hurts, but it's not scary.
And on the good side, I do about thirty strict pushups every day and plank. So some parts of me are getting strong! I am adding in new things every day -- including walking to replace the running until I solve the pain in my hip, still doing handstands, toes to bar, and going to add back squats again. Damnit.
I have already mentioned at In the Labyrinth the events that have taken me away from posting here...but I can only say that despite the craziness of my life lately, I have been diligent in running! So here is a collective I have been running 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and sometimes 40 minutes, five times a week, over the last five weeks. I have also embarked on a monthly challenge -- 33 strict push ups a day for 31 days. And yeah, about half way through it's getting easier. I have also sporadically done work on handstands (getting stronger here too) and strict pull ups. But I have also driven 4,000 miles in four day and eaten more crap food than human should to stay awake on the road. And a week since I have been home, I am now finally detoxing from chips, candy bars, road hamburgers, greasy eggs and hash browns, carrot cake, lemon cake, good and plenty, munchies, doritos, soda, coffee, coffee, coffee, and packages of nuts. Surprisingly for all that heinousity, I didn't gain any appreciable weight and returned to normal after two days. Thanking God for small favors -- and base endurance running, which kept my metabolism burning even when I wasn't doing anything.
Photo: My Great aunt Anna (sitting) and Great grandmother Jennie Wedin.
Midori Snyder is the author of nine novels for children and adults. She won the Mythopoeic Award for The Innamorati, a novel inspired by early Roman myth and the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte" tradition. more>>