I'm less than 2 weeks from the big 30, and I was going along, feeling all good about it. Like 30 doesn't mean I'm old or anything. And then I randomly (and I do mean randomly since I have absolutely no idea what happened) hurt my back while running on Tuesday. I was running along in my own little special iPod world, back fine, not a care in the world (well, maybe a few cares), when WHAM! Sudden lower back pain. Way to make me feel old! It's not like I suffer from chronic back pain. The only back pain I actually remember ever having was when I was over 300 lbs. That one wasn't really such a mystery; it would actually be more of a mystery if my back didn't hurt after carrying around all that extra weight. Anyway, that pain was promptly alleviated about 50 lbs into my journey.
Anyway, the pain this time wasn't so severe that I wasn't going to finish my run. I mean, duh...I'm pretty hard-core about getting that morning run in. But by the time I was getting ready to go to work, it hurt so much that I was even walking kind of weird. The only thing that helped was squatting and that would have earned me a few weird stares at work. It felt like the longest shift ever. I got home and promptly parked myself on the couch with my heating pad. I alternated between the heating pad and the tub that night and yesterday (which luckily I already had off work). It was really hard for me to make the decision not to work out yesterday. I know that seems silly because it's just one day, but I feel like I have a lot of momentum lately. I hated interrupting that. My body seems to crave movement early in the morning now. It wants to run. But I don't think running would really been physically possible yesterday because just walking was pretty painful since it jarred my back constantly.
So I was a lazy bum yesterday. I did nothing and it felt unnatural. I hoped my back would feel good enough for me to run this morning. And it did! Here's where I really made myself proud. I used to would have just rationalized that I could either do my usual 8 mile run with strength training circuits or I could do nothing at all. There would have been no in between. But today I knew I wasn't up to doing 8 miles. My back didn't feel that good. And I knew I should lay off the strength training because of all the twisting movements. So I did just 4 miles of straight running at a pretty easy pace. I felt a few twinges in my back, but nothing terrible. And I won't lie; part of me did feel like a slacker. But the bigger part of me knew that I was taking care of myself and doing what was right for my body.
As I approach 30, my body seems to be trying to tell me that I'm not 18 anymore. Is 30 old? No, honestly I don't believe it is. But it is old enough that I need to take some precautions to keep my body working in peak form. I think my main crime in this area is that I don't stretch before or after running. Ever. I know it's bad and all that, but it just comes down to pure laziness. I don't want to take the time to do it. But I need to start. I can't expect my body to cooperate with me on doing over 100 miles of cardio a week if I don't give it proper care before and after. You only get one body. I need to stop taking mine for granted!