Thursday, September 29, 2011

"He's a big, dumb animal, folks."

"What's next?"  It is the same question that I ask myself after each big accomplishment.  Since I just finish my first half marathon, I was again faced with this familiar question.  But this time more than others, I feel as though I have a pretty good answer.

I have a handful of races that I would like to compete in over the next 2 months.  There are a couple of 5K's and one 5.5 mile trail run, nothing too serious.  My biggest effort is going towards losing some weight and improving my overall fitness.  I understand that running has been very helpful moving towards these goals, but over the last few months my weight loss has again stalled.  Additionally considering my epic bonk at the half marathon, I feel as though I could improve my fitness level a bit more. To that end and in my infinite wisdom, I have decided to throw my body a little curve ball and try some cross training.

I have heard some scuttlebutt about the crossfit craze from friends and on a couple of blogs recently.  I looked into some info on the web.  While I cannot afford to join a gym that has a crossfit program, I have seen a few general lifts and movements that I can do at home or out on a run, that should keep my body guessing and hopefully improve my fitness.

By Wednesday, I felt as though my body had recovered enough from my half marathon that I could lift some weights while Katie was out on her run.  I settled on 4 sets of 10 burpees, 20 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, 20 lunges (10 each leg), 10 squats, and 10 cleans.  The experience went pretty well overall.  I had not done a burpee in probably 20 years.  While I am confident in its ability to help my fitness, I did not find the burpee to be terribly difficult.  I was impressed with my push-ups; I don't know when I have ever done 80 push-ups in one session.  The sit-ups were a bit disappointing and I may have to consider a separate ab/core workout.  The clean went fine.  I severely decreased my weight in order to make sure I was comfortable with the form. The toughest parts were the lunges and squats.  I used a small amount of weight for both maneuvers, and was shocked at how difficult they were for me.  When I was in high school (yes, I do understand that was over 15 years ago!), I could squat over 350lbs probably a dozen times, maybe more.  I had 45 pounds on my shoulders and my legs were burning when I was done with the workout.  But I was happy!  I was sweaty, my heart rate was up, and I could feel my body reacting to the shock.

Today, was my run day.  I was sore (really sore) from the workout the day before, but I am truly trying to take an aggressive attitude towards these workouts. So, I went out and damn near sprinted a 6:15 mile to the elementary school, went around back to the playground and did 4 or 5 pull-ups, 6 chin ups,and 40 elevated tricep extensions.  Then, I finished with a relatively slow 2 mile run home. I need to clarify these statements with the fact that I have never completed more than a couple of pull-ups.  I have always carried extra body weight and never had a tremendous amount of upper body strength.  So, I am feeling great about the work!

There is only one problem...I am so sore that I can barely walk today.  If my pencil falls to the ground, I am writing it off as a loss because I may make it down to to the pencil, but there is no way I am getting back up!  I am so sore it hurts to cross my arms.  My glutes (ass cheeks) hurt so bad I can't sit for too long before I have hobble around the storeroom to stretch them back out.  The only good thing about this whole situation is that I think the workouts might do the trick, if only I survive to talk about it!  And what does a dumbass like me decide to do with a night to himself? Oh, I signed up to go swimming this evening at the University pool.  It should be okay, I hear that swimming is very low impact.

"He's a big, dumb animal, folks."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Half Marathon Sufferfest!

I am having a terrible time writing this post.  I find that I want to be witty.  I want to reference earlier posts.  but sadly I just don't think I have it in me yet.  So, all I can do is write what I remember, as I remember it.  Hopefully, it turns out to be a decent post.

I slept rather poorly the night before the race.  I had been trying to make sure that I was well hydrated, so I had been drinking several liters of water for 2 days.  I had to get up to pee 2 or 3 times in the night.  Finally I was up for good about 4:15am, when I had to poop.  Sadly, I was happy to be getting a good morning poop out of the way.  There had been some thunder throughout the night, that had me nervous.  When we got into the car at 5:30am, It was cold outside and was starting to rain.  I debated a lot about what clothing I was going to wear,but as the rain cleared I settles on just shirt and shorts, no long sleeves.  That decision turned out just fine.  When we got to the starting area I went to the bathroom one more time, lubed up my nipples, and stretched out.  I was thankful to have Katie with me.  We had good conversation; it kept me feeling light hearted.  I went for a 2 minute warm-up jog, and I was feeling good.  I removed my sweatshirt, put on my iPod, kissed Katie goodbye, and headed for the starting area.

When I got in the corral, I was unsure where I should be lining up.  The pacer for the 1:45 half marathon was easy to pick out, she had a giant floral arrangement on her head.  But I knew I would want to stay ahead of her.  The next pacer I saw was the 3:25 full marathon pacer.  A little bit closer to my goal so I settled on staying with him.  I started a couple of conversations with nearby runners.  I met Brett who had the coolest little tool that I had seen in awhile.  He had a temporary tatoo that had all of the split times for his goal pace.  You can check out the product here.  Suddenly, a pacer showed up with a 1:40 half marathon time written on his sign.  That was the guy, Dominic, that I wanted to race with.  If I could keep him insight, I knew I would be able to achieve my goal.

I turned on my iPod and watched as all of the dignitaries made their speeches.  Bart Yasso was there and spoke, which was pretty cool, but I didn't care about the 4 mayors of the Quad Cities.  Finally it was time to go and the gun went off.  I moved out quickly, but not as quickly as some of the pacers.  I caught and passed the 3:25 full marathon pacer, then I came upon Dominic and his 1:40 sign.  I stuck next to him for a while, and probably should have stayed there or even further behind him.  Instead, I came up with the ill-advised plan of staying in front of Dominic.  My theory being that I would stay ahead of pace while running and then let Dominic catch up while I took a walking break and drank some Gatorade.  I had my stop pre-planned according to the map the website provided.  I would be stopping at about 5 miles for some Gatorade and again around 8 miles.  Anyway, I put Dominic behind me and hit my stride.  I knew I was moving fast, but I felt pretty good.  The race took onto Interstate 74 from Illinois, over the Mississippi River, and into Iowa.  I have driven over this exact bridge several times in my life, and not once did I ever consider the incline of the on-ramp or the bridge itself as it crosses the expanse of the river.  I will tell you now it's freaking steep!  I shortened my stride and brought my arms up as I think I read somewhere before.  The first incline went well and I descended into Iowa.

Immediately, the course exited the interstate turned onto Kimberly Road in Bettendorf, IA.  I had investigated the topography of this portion of the race, as I was unfamiliar with this area specifically.  I knew it was going to be uphill again.  At the bottom of the hill I hit the 2 mile mark at 15:08, a little fast but again I thought it would work into my plan of staying in front of Dominic.  As I began the ascent of Kimberly Road I again shortened my stride and brought my arms up.  It seemed to help for awhile, but I began to slow a bit as the incline seemed to last far too long.  I hit 3 miles at 22:40, still fast but I was feeling pretty good with my plan.  The other runners and I finally crested the hill and hit the first decline of the entire race.  It felt great to really stretch out my my legs.  Then I came across a real surprise.  A girl was standing on the side of the road holding a Gatorade sign.  It was the first refreshment support of the race and I was supposed to see that it had Gatorade; that was not what the map said it would be.  As this break came a little earlier than expected and was on the first downhill of the race, I decided to for go the nutrition in favor of the speed.  I was still planning on stopping around mile 5 for my first break.

Mile 4 went by at 30:08, then mile 5 at 37:46.  No sign of the Gatorade station yet, but I was sure it was just around the corner.  Thankfully, the route had turned parallel to the river and was running relatively flat, but I knew I had been pushing hard and my "fuel" stores were running desperately low.  By mile 6, I was  full-on freaking out.  I had no water or caloric intake for 6 miles, and I had pushed my body much harder than I should have.  Finally, I saw the next refreshment station.  I was elated.  Then I was immediately heartbroken.  The station only had GU gels, but I was desperate so I grabbed one, vanilla bean, ripped it open, held my breath, and squirted less than a teaspoon full of gel into my mouth.  I was immediately overcome by the experience.  I had never had a GU gel before and was only taking one because I was in a bad situation.  However, it was a very bad decision.  The gel had the texture of thicker-than-normal toothpaste and while I am sure vanilla bean is a great disguise for regular ingredients, the sweetness of the flavor was overwhelming.  I immediately spit it out.

I crossed the 10K mark (6.2 miles) at 46:54.  I was averaging better than 7:35 per mile, but I was fading fast!  Finally near mile 7, I came across the Gatorade station that I had been waiting for.  I held up two fingers and yelled, "Two, please!"  I grabbed two cups and pulled off to the side to walk.  No sooner had I stepped to the side, than Dominic and the 1:40 pace group ran by me.  "SHIT!"  I caught my breath as best as I could, downed the two cups of Gatorade, and started off again.  By this point Dominic was about 200 yards ahead of me, yet it seemed as though he was pulling away rather than getting closer.

The next thing that happened was a great surprise.  As I am running along, I hear a runner say, "Fulton?!"  I turned and running next to me was Matt "Dawg" Davis.  Dawg has been one of my best friend in the whole world since I was 4 years old.  He has been present at some of the most stupid events of my life (which will remain unmentioned) and some of the best (he was a groomsman at my wedding).  Dawg is also one of those friends that I do not have to speak with for years, but the moment we see each other it is like we have never been apart.  Matt and I embraced in a rather uncomfortable hug.  Not because of any weirdness or the fact that it was two guys embracing, but because we were hugging while continuing to run at a pretty brisk pace with other runners around us.  We broke the hug after a few steps and I asked if he was running the full marathon, and he confirmed my suspicion.  I knew that Matt had taken up running in recent years, but I was amazed to know that he was already at the level of marathon.  Dawg introduced me to his running mate, Joe, and said how we had grown up together.  Dawg asked how I was doing.  I responded that I was struggling.  He said "Don't worry, you over half way there!"  I wished each other good luck and parted ways, as he and Joe were moving much faster than I at this point in the race.  Dawg would finish his first full marathon in 3:24, impressive by most any measure.

Very soon I turned off of the river path and back onto the roads.  But the speed and the lack of nutrition had taking its toll.  Even the small incline from the river to the streets of Rock Island had my legs burning.  I was nearing another bridge over the river to Arsenal Island, and before I could tackle another incline I had to stop and walk for a few meters.  I caught my breath, prepared for the next short incline and jogged up the hill to the arsenal bridge.  This bridge was terrible!  It was a metal grated bridge which organizers had laid a 3 foot wide carpet runner on.  I was shocked when I was finally able to grasp the entire situation.  Most people were able to stick to the carpeted path, but some were forced to the metal mesh in order to pass runners in front of them.  While running across the bridge, my energy level began to wain significantly, my run turned to more of a jog. My form was so sloppy that I was barely picking my feet up.  Suddenly, I stumbled on the carpet.  Not just a little slip, but a full-on flailing trip that nearly sent me to the surface of the bridge.  Thinking back, if I had gone down on the metal surface of that bridge it could have put me completely out of the race, OUCH!  Fortunately, I recovered before face planting, but my energy levels were almost fully depleted. 

A couple hundred meters after crossing the bridge to Arsenal Island I had to stop and walk again.  I had given up on my hopes of finishing sub-1:41.  Dominic was no longer in sight and I knew the clock was against me know. As my trip across Arsenal Island wore on, my condition became worse.  With each hill that I came across, I felt like Sisyphus pushing the boulder only to see it roll back down again.  My blood sugar levels were getting dangerously low, as well.  I remember coming across one station that was supposed to be water and Gatorade.  At the bottom of the hill was water, but the Gatorade was at the top and I remember feeling like some cruel joke was being played out.  How could the Gatorade that I needed so badly be at the top of another damn hill?!  As I got the Gatorade, I stopped and walked again, but as I finished my two cups I remember thinking "That is not enough; I am screwed."

At about mile 10.5, I was struggling mightily.  I found that I could only run about 100 to 200 yards before my legs would start cramping up, and I would have to slow to a walk.  Other runners were very encouraging, cheering me on to "keep it up" or "you're almost there", but I was cooked.  Finally, I heard somebody from the crowd say to a runner right behind me, " I love your hat!"  I knew it was the 1:45 pacer.  And thank goodness it was.  That woman was wonderful.  I told her that I hoped I would not see her the entire race.  She was full of encouragement and energy.  She asked me to run with her for a little while and I did for a very little while, but I was forced to say to her that I could not keep up.  She told me how great I looked, that my hands were relaxed (I knew it was because I did not have the energy to close them), and to keep moving forward.  She was great!

I had finally resigned to running when I could and walking when I had to.  I knew my condition was becoming a crisis because my vision began to deteriorate and I started seeing "stars" for lack of a better term.  There were lines of glowing geometric shapes twinkling on the periphery of my vision.  I was starting to get pretty worried.  My worry or condition must have been showing through, because a volunteer looked at me and asked if I was okay; I must have looked bad.  I told him that I needed sugar, and he said it was up (another freaking hill!) and around the corner.  That little jaunt felt like a mile and a half, but eventually I came to the station that he spoke of.  They were giving out oranges and bananas.  What a great idea!  I grabbed 3 orange sections and grasped for a banana but it slipped out of my hands.  The oranges were terrible and fibrous, but I sucked the juice out of those things like it was my life's blood.  Shortly after I heard sirens, but was pretty sure they were real and not some delusion.  It was the escort for the first marathoners.  I was just completing my twelfth mile and these guys were clipping past mile 19 for them.  Those athletes are absolutely amazing! 

Finally I came to the last bridge.  My energy had picked up a little from the oranges and I decided to run to the crest of the bridge.  I walked for a bit at the top, and finally decided that it was time to finish the race running.  The exit ramp of the bridge was steep enough that I felt as though my legs would give out and I would just rill down, but again I made it.  I turned the corner, saw the finish line and attempted to push with all I had left, but it wasn't much.  My wife,parents, and kids were on the sidelines.  I saw them cheering me on.  I knew I had failed at my goal, but nothing can make you feel more like a winner than your kids holding signs, smiling and cheering you on, no matter if you were in first or last place.  That was probably the best feeling of the race.

 I crossed the finish line, 1:50:44.  Ten minutes over my goal, but when I finished I screamed like a wounded warrior anyway!  I had done it, completed my first half marathon.  Immediately afterwards I would have told you that I would never run another half again.  The pain and the suffering were just too great.  But even now a couple of days later and I am estimating when I can run another one, how I could do it better, and accomplishing my goal.

When I looked a the stats later, I began to feel a bit better about my performance.  I finished 338 of 1638 runners and 36 of 100 male runners between the ages of 30-34.  Those are pretty good looking stats if I do say so myself.  And probably motivation enough for me to keep trying these races.

I did learn a few things:

1.  I overestimated my physical fitness.  I went entirely too fast out of the gates, and should have slowed down a bit at the beginning.  Additionally, I would have been better off if I was a few pounds lighter.

2.  I underestimated the terrain.  I knew this area was hilly and I knew that the first bridge and Kimberly Road were very steep, but I had no idea how steep nor how much it would take out of  me to climb them.  I need to work more hill training into my normal routine.

3.  I need to wok on better in-race nutrition and I never should have passed that first Gatorade station.

But what is the use of learning anything if you don't get the chance to use your knowledge?  So, I guess I will have to try another one of these things.  I sure hope it goes at least a little better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beware of this Man!

"Are you talkin' to me?  Are you talkin' to me?  Well, I don't see anybody else here.  So you must be talkin' to me."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Should I Be Nervous?

Here I sit just 3 days from my first half marathon and I wonder if I should be nervous?  I know that I have worked hard during my training.  I have completed a 12 mile run.  I feel confident that I can finish the distance.  Recently I have had some of my fastest runs, and I feel confident that I can achieve my goal time (Again, you're going down Ohno!). And I honestly question if I am not a little too cocky.

My allergies have been horrendous with the start of the harvest season, but I have been taking Allegra and it seems to have worked with none of the side effects of other drugs.  My asthma has started bugging me along with my allergies, but I have taken a few puffs of my inhaler and I seem to feel fine.  My back still gets a little tired and stiff in the evenings, but I feel markedly better thanks to Dr. Jackson.  But shouldn't these concerns be bothering me a little bit more?

I guess I am ready.  We will just have to see how it all turns out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Final Countdown

Believe it or not that is still one of my friend's, Benj's, favorite songs, and I have to admit that there is something about it, besides the big hair and synthesizer, that really gets me going.

That is right; it is the Final Countdown.  My first half marathon takes place in just 5 short days, but that is not what I am counting down to.  In just 3 days, I will be cutting my hair into a mohawk and shaving my goatee down to a moustache (don't worry, I will post some pictures).  No real reason other than I wanted to do something fun for the race, but this is not what I am counting down to either.  My countdown is for something much more important than any of these things.  I am counting down to my first post-race beer.

Back in August, I posted that I was going to be giving up drinking any alcohol until my half was finished.  I had tried to commit to just 7 drinks a week, but was not very successful, so I went Full Monty and gave up the sauce entirely until I was finished.  This has been the biggest commitment to my training, and if I had to do it over again I do not know if I would make the same decision.  I have been to a couple of guy's nights out, a 5 year old's birthday party (yes, there was plenty of alcohol there), and 2 tailgates with hardly a sip of alcohol.  I have been to our annual block party and several evening on the neighbor's back porch and stayed stone cold sober for them all.  I am not saying that one must consume alcohol to enjoy these things, and I have not regretted feeling good every weekend morning.  However, I would have enjoyed a good malt beverage or two at many of these events.  And sadly, my lack of consumption has not translated into greater weight loss, mostly because I have over compensated with food.  Simply, I have missed the taste of a good beer on a sunny summer day.  I think there is almost nothing more American than drinking a cold beer and grilling some good food in the parking lot of a college football game.

Fortunately for me, the half marathon is almost finished.  I am going to smear Apolo Ohno's personal best all over the course. And when I finish the race, I am going to receive my medal and walk straight over to the complementary beer tent (Thank you, Miller Brewing Co.) and have my first beer in almost 2 months.  I know it will be before 10am, but I think I deserve it.  Hell, I've been counting on it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Going to Beat Apolo Anton Ohno

So Katie asked me the other day how I was feeling about my upcoming half marathon, and I have to admit that I had a pretty disheartening answer.  I told her that the race had become somewhat of an inconvenience.  I couldn't believe that something that I had worked so hard for, paid good money to do, and saw as a true challenge to my fitness had become an inconvenience, but the truth was that it felt that way.

My training had come to a bit of a roadblock due to my nagging back injury.  The chiropractic care has been critical to my recovery, but I have been nursing things along as my back still gets sore and tired everyday.  But prior to injuring my back I had completed a 12 mile run, so I felt as though I could finish the race even if I had to take it slow.  There in lies some of the problem.  I do not want to just finish the race.  I would like to burn it up. But again I hadn't really set any sort of time goals other than finishing in less than 2 hours, hoping for 1:45, and fascinating about 1:35.

What does any of this have to with Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Anton Ohno?  Simple, I have decided I am going to beat this Olympian at his own game.  No, not short track speed skating!  This guy would have me eating so much shaved ice I would look like snowcone.  However, Ohno has shaken up his training a bit and committed to running this year's New York Marathon.  Again, I will not be committing to any such distance, but in preparation for his marathon, Ohno recently ran in the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 11.  The world class athlete finished 13.1 miles in 1:40:59, a very respectable time, and in the process has given me enthusiasm for my own race again.

I am going to beat Apolo Anton Ohno's half marathon time of 1:40:59.  That means that I will have to average a mile every 7:42 for 13.1 miles.  With my new-found enthusiasm I went out for a 5-mile run this morning.  I ran 5 miles in 36:25; that's 7:17 per mile!  I felt pumped!  It was tough, but I feel great this afternoon.  I have all the confidence in the world that I can do this! You're goin' down, Ohno!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's a Crazy, Mixed Up World

I want a blender.  Katie and I used to have a blender.  We registered for it for our wedding.  And like most things that you register for your wedding, we hardly used it.  Then we took the blender over to a friend's house for a cocktail party and it burnt up on chopping ice.  I was not surprised.  The blender was affordable, and therefore not the most durable of things in the world.  Nor was I really broken up over it breaking down.  Like I said just a second ago we hardly used the thing.  We would make the occasional milkshake and maybe a couple of other recipes, but really not too much.

Why now do I want a blender?  Simple, because I do not have one.  But also I received this recent article from Runner's World about nutritious smoothies.  The smoothies sound really good, and sometimes (i.e. right now) I fascinate about being a creator and consumer of delicious, nutritious smoothies. I want to include all manner of antioxidant-loaded, carcinogen-fighting, cholestorol-lowering fruits and vegetables.  I want boost my metabolism and lower my fat with greek yogurt and whey protein.  I want to be a smoothie kind of guy.

There are just a few problem with this fascination; number one being I am not a smoothie kind of guy.  I sit here and think that these concoctions will be nutritious and delicious, but the fact remains that pureed spinach has a tendancy to taste like sand and a pint of heavy cream is about the only thing that can cover it up!  Plus I am a cheap bastard.  The moment I thought about getting a blender, I questioned if I might be able to find one at the resale store.  I am sure I could find a blender there, but not the kind that could whip through a carrot at 10,000 rpm.  A real smoothie making machine/blender cost a pretty penny.  When you add the cost of the fresh produce my dreams begin to crumble.  Don't get me wrong, I buy and eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies now.  But when you emascerate these items within an inch of their lives, it simply takes more of them to reach a satisfying volume.  When you add in the cost whey protein and ground flaxseed, you begin to relate to the alcoholics drinking their way into a bankruptcy.

It's a crazy, mixed up world we live in, and sometimes its mixed in a blender.  But for now, this guy is going to get his veggies the old-fashioned way, covered in ranch dressing (fat-free, of course)!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Answer

I you asked someone "Which former juvenile delinquent and NBA player went by the nickname 'The Answer'?", the answer would be Allen Iverson.  If you asked someone "How many calories are in a pound?", the answer used to be 3500 calories.  But according to a recent email that I got from the Livestrong Foundation, that answer maybe as ineffectual as Iverson.

It used to be that one could set their weight loss plans on the idea that one pound was 3500 calories.  If one wanted to lose any weight, one must either burn extra calories from exercise or consume fewer calories in their diet, or usually some combination of the two.  I subscribe to this theory wholeheartedly; faithfully tracking my calories consumed and calories burned.  After my fitness evaluation, I adjusted my calorie deficits to include a higher than estimated basal rate.  I wrote a whole spreadsheet to calculate my needed and burned calories that included how many grams should be protein and how many should be carbs.  Now that I read this article that it takes different calorie deficits to equal one pound for different people, it kind of flies in the face of everything that I have been doing.  But you want to know something?  I am alright with it.  In fact, I believe that I am a shining example of the differences discussed in the article. 

I have been very good with calorie counting and lost almost no weight at all.  There are weeks where I can show a 3500-4000 calories deficit and have actually not changed weight on the scale at all.  Then there can be other weeks where I splurge and show no calorie deficit, but I lose 2 pounds on the scale.  It makes absolutely no sense if you use the theory of 3500 calories to 1 pound.

The biggest thing that I can take from the article is that you have got to find what works for you.  I ate low/no carb for a long time and lost a lot of weight in the process, but eventually I started eating carbs again.  I gained a couple of pounds back, but not nearly as much as I lost.  I run and bike to burn extra calories, but I also drink beer and have dessert. I feel confident that I have found the answer.  I will work hard and be disciplined, but I will never forget to have fun and enjoy all the things that life has to offer.  Somewhere in that answer is the balance that will help me to get fit, stay healthy, be happy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back Crackin'

So last Thursday I went out for my morning run.  I was supposed to run 5 miles at a quick pace, but I had gotten up late and was feeling pretty tired.  I settled on a 3-4 mile run at whatever pace felt comfortable.  It was cooler than normal on that morning and since I was already late I failed to stretch and warm-up as much as I should have.  I got my iPod started, press the start button on my stopwatch and started off on a pretty leisurely jog.  I was even kind of shocked at how slow I was running, but honestly I didn't feel as though I could go any faster.  then just a couple of hundred yards into my run I got a real shock.

I remember it so clearly.  Absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary.  The road was relatively flat; there weren't any cracks or uneven spots.  I didn't trip on my own feet or get startled by a unseen dog.  I was just running at an ordinary gait and when my right foot struck the ground, an "electric" pulse shot down my right leg and up my back.  Now, it seems like the feeling lasted forever, but at the time it was over before I knew what had happened.  I stopped jogging immediately, thought to myself "that was weird", stretched down to my toes a couple of times, stood up and twisted from side to side, and then went off running again.

But everything had changed.  I no longer felt like I had an ordinary stride.  I felt like I was hunched over, and some smaller shocks ran through my leg and spine.  I turned around and walked home.  By the time I got there my back had really started to tighten up.  I lay on the floor and tried to stretch but nothing was helping.  I stayed home from work for the next 2 days, laying on my back, switching back and forth between ice packs and a heating pad.  Eventually, Katie found me some drugs so I could at least move a bit more, but really all I did was sleep.  I lasted through the weekend, but by Monday I was tired of feeling this way and I had to get back to work.  I struggled through the workday and called a chiropractor, our friend Dr. Clint Jackson.  Clint got me in to see him, ran a couple of tests and performed some maintenance adjustments until he could confirm my condition.  the next day he confirmed that I had a pinched nerve in my lower back (and a couple of other places), he performed a couple of manipulations, and by the next morning I honestly felt better.  I am going to see Dr. Jackson frequently over the next 4 weeks leading up to the half marathon.  I am certain he has me on the mends and soon I will be back to running (which I haven't done since that Thursday morning!).  Thank you, Clint!

I had to jump through a couple of hoops to get approved for chiropractic care by my insurance company.  It really wasn't too awful, but it just seems so ridiculous to me.  It makes so much sense that regular chiropractic care helps the body to fight off disease and leads to an overall healthier body, which would actually save the insurance companies and you and I quite a bit of money.  But instead the insurance company would much rather pay for a cortisol shot or muscle relaxers, since I wouldn't even need a referral to get one of those.

Anyway, if my posts seem to be few and far between it's because I am spending my lunch hours getting my back cracked by Dr. Clint!