You may have noticed a lack of activity on this site as well as my other social channels as of late. And there’s a good reason for it. Not a happy reason, but a good reason.
The Long Story
The long story is, way back in January, I started training for the NYC Half Marathon. And to jump start my training, I started running with my son in our running stroller. I did this as part of my training for the NYC Marathon a few months earlier and it worked out really well so I figured maybe this would be a great way to get some resistance training in and potentially PR the course.
Well, come early February, my back started to nag at me. I had a problem with it a few years back and after a cortisone shot and some consistent core work, things worked themselves out. But this issue wasn’t going away.
It Gets Worse
Add to the fact that I went on vacation with my wife, son and in-laws to Florida to get out of the cold for a week. While there, my dear mother-in-law booked me a massage. At the time, I thought I was having an issue with my piriformis and the guy who was giving me the massage (note, this was my first and last time getting a massage from a dude) told me he had a great stretch and massage for it.
I hobbled out of that massage and could barely walk by the time I got back to our suite. And by the next day I was searching for an urgent care facility on Sanibel Island. Another cortisone shot and some prescription strength naproxen got me back on my feet over the next five days and some very slow, very short tentative runs.
So for the first time in my life, I made a smart decision and deferred my entry for the NYC Half. I was so bummed as it was the first time in eight years that I was going to miss the race and it’s one of my absolute favorite courses of any race (along with the BK Half and the NYC Marathon, but I digress).
So over the next month or so, I go to my “guy” the body magician who has always been able to help fix my injuries, but this time didn’t really help. So I tried acupuncture, cupping and some light PT to not much effect. But slowly, ever so slowly, I start increasing my miles and start again to run with my son and the running stroller.
I was able to train to get myself to the end of the Brooklyn Half this year, but then things started to go downhill again.
Come June, I was able to participate in two more races. They weren’t long, one was five miles and the other a 10K, but making it to the finish line was a struggle. So I went to my regular doc and she diagnosed me with a bulging disc, gave me a series of cortisone shots (for those keeping track, that’s four so far this year) and a refreshed prescription for the naproxen.
Back Injury Diagnosis
By the middle of June, it became clear to me that I was going to need some deeper medical intervention and I made an appointment with an orthopedist who sent me for an MRI. Turns out I have a herniated disc at L4-5 that is touching, not impinging, a nerve. So now I know why the pain is radiating down my right leg, but what to do about it?
Treatment and Prognosis
His suggested course of action was a series of three epidural cortisone shots (which would be seven for the year to date, for those keeping score at home). What was I going to do, say no? As of yesterday I’ve had two of them with the last one scheduled for next Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, NYC Marathon training season began. I had my sights set on hiring a coach to help me PR the course (that means a 3:45 or better) which I think is still doable if I can get on my feet by next week. So my prognosis is hopeful.
I wanted to offer you an explanation for the radio silence and I guess just get it out there. Overall I’ve been really, really lucky in the 10 years since I’ve started running, this is the only serious injury I’ve ever had, and to be honest, looking at the bigger picture it’s not that bad.
Wish me luck with my last shot next week. I’ll do another post about my treatment as it’s pretty wild (and painful).