A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

19 May 2007

Up At My House

We're up at three AM. And this post, O Avid Fan, is brought you by ibuprofen, or the wearing-out thereof, and the weather.

You see, I have just had further proof that whatever intelligence may be at work in the universe, exercise is not part of its plan for me.

Last week I got back on the track with the Sun Run training program, acquired through Raincoaster. I ran one minute, then walked four in alternation until I had done each eight times (Monday) or nine (Tuesday).

Since I have no reliable chronometer--and can't seem to remember timings or do simple maths while wheezing, I basically run half-a-track (200 m, speedy I ain't) and walk a complete one. In a typical workout I go about three miles. I stick to the track because I'm still pretty porky around the belly regions and I am at the age when the future of one's knees has hove into view over the horizon, and I want to keep mine.

And things have been fine. I took a puff of powerful corticosteroids before headng out, so to circumvent the multiplying villanies of nature in my lungs, and felt amazingly good afterward.

Yesterday morning I was in the shower. The steaming water caressed my nude body. My hand traced lesiurely down my stomach, leaving bubbles in its wake. In the spririt of Bill O'Reilly I seized hold my loofah and ...

Hang on, hang on ... sorry ... that's for the other blog ... Where were we? Ah yes.

I raised my right foot, the better for to reach it: I keep it all the way at the end of my right leg and while my legs are not short, my torso is unreasonably long, so it's a fairly long way from my soap-bearing hands. And there was a wee twinge. I swore.

Mme Metro inquired solicitously what I was whining about. Hesitantly putting said foot back on the floor of the tub, I regarded it and its mate with some suspicion. They're plotting against me, I am certain. I swear sometimes they trade toes when they think I'm not paying attention.

But I felt that my tarsal toilette had been sufficiently made that I might reasonably end the procedings, so I turned to turn off the taps.

Which was when my spine, which had been lurking behind me, undetected, betrayed me.

The sensation was not unlike a powerful surge of electricity through my lower back and what are delicately referred to as the "hips". Hips, my ass ... more precisely.

I found myself leaning against the shower wall, getting a faceful of pressurized water and unable to gulp in the huge painful gasps I needed. I could not straighten up, and for a few seconds felt in very real danger of drowning.

Mme Metro and I have a pre-arranged secret signal to indicate trouble in the household. It is used only under the gravest circumstances, such as when the cat's pissed on the floor again, or we're out of milk, or one of us hasn't done the dishes (Since I am, by royal decree, only permitted to do the dishes on alternate leap years, you can guess who I'm referring to). The person in difficulty bellows:

"Aaaah ₤µ©λ!"

I duly did so, which brought Mme:
"Why the hell are you making that dreadful racket?" she inquired solicitously.

I explained, and Mme rose to the challenge, as I knew she would. Turning off the water, she bore me in her strong arms like a baby to the chiropractor ... or maybe I just imagined that bit.

"You're hurt," sums up in essence the words of the bone-cracker upon examining my spine.

Fortunately most of my essential work had been done this week, and I need only have some stuff finished by Monday night to address the balance. I spent the day, essentially, reading.

However, as Mme was at work and my (newish) glasses were way over in the bedroom, I was forced to lie on the sofa and snooze.

Which is what I would much rather do than exercise anyway.

So can't we make a deal here, Lord? I'll lie on the couch and snooze, and you just melt away the fat, deal?

But answer cometh there none.

Anyway, this is the sort of thing I think of when the drugs wear off, the room is too hot and muggy, and I'm afraid to try to roll over.


At 6:38 a.m., Anonymous azahar said...

It's perverse body sabotage, pure and simple. I was expecting a similar lower back protest after starting a 5-day-a-week yoga & pilates deal at the gym. So I was being as careful as a careful thing with bending and picking up things ... and then I broke a finger tendon whilst straightening the sofa cover!


At 4:03 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

You ARE doing your stretches after running, aren't you? If you don't, this will happen again and again. Do the Sarge's Salute, where you lie on your back and put your hands under each knee and pull your knees to your shoulders until your bum comes off the ground. Hold it for 20 seconds.

And yes, you need new shoes. Proper running shoes.

At 7:19 a.m., Anonymous archie said...

Alas I understand exactly what you are saying. I have had a problem back for decades. It is not a disc problem, it is a muscle thing. I can do all my stretching and warming up and it still only needs one small twist in the wrong direction and I am on my back for two or three weeks!

You have my sympathy.

At 7:48 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Yes, it is a conspiracy to keep me from looking like a Men's Health cover model.

I explained this theory to Mme and she broke into sobs. At least, she covered her face with her hands and her shoulders began to shake ...

After? Usually I stretch before. Logically. by the time I'm done I'm totally stretched, right.

But I will try it your way. Thanks.

The combination of the Forces followed by several years of trucking and the associated weight gain meant that I used to see a chiropractor once a month just to stay loose.

Now I just see one for emergencies, but that's still happening too often.

At 10:57 a.m., Anonymous azahar said...

I agree with RC that stretching *after* is just as important as stretching before.

Meanwhile, I don't think that running is in any way a good form of exercise for anyone with a dodgy back. You might want to try power walking instead once your back is feeling better. Running is just so bad for knees and especially lower backs. Hey. I had to give it up about 10 years ago and still miss it, but it's just too hard on the body.

And I am not going to go into my usual diatribe about chiropractors (you're welcome) except to say all the ones I ever saw - and paid for through the nose - happily took my money and never made a damned bit of difference. I tested this when I got seriously painful sciatica yet again - didn't go to the bone cracker - and I got well again in the exact same amount of time as previously. The main difference being I had more money in my bank account.

And laugh if you will, or want to, but our bodies are rather smart, often rather devious, and know when a bit of time out is needed to rethink stuff. I reckon I've understood the 'message' from the broken tendon. Do you think the message about your recent back pain episode was just to tell you to get better shoes?

At 5:15 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...



There's your problem right there, ten to one.

I will send you an email.

At 4:14 a.m., Anonymous azahar said...

Sorry! Butting out now . . .

At 6:58 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Thanks all:

I suppose I have something similar--although I really hope it doesn't last for several weeks! My original injury happened in the army, was reinforced by several years of trucking (and weight gain) and oddly enough, changing jobs from slinging oil drums around to sitting at a desk appears to have made me more vulnerable. Because I'm not getting the exercise, I suppose.

Thanks for all the advice. And for the support. In particular, I didn't know about doing five minutes light warmup before stretching in the first place.

You're absolutely right, my body must have been telling me I needed a short rest.

I think it's been a good experience--aside from the agonizing pain when sitting, standing, or pretty much anything-ing ;-)

I have been trying to walk more, greatly aided by the size of town and the ludicrous price of gasoline.

I do, however, tend to disagree with you about the bonecrunchers. All I can say is that they helped make it possible for me to nearly make a full-time career out of long-haul trucking.

For which I may eventually forgive them ...

Oh--just read your last comment ... not sure what you meant. Your advice is as welcome as anyone's.

At 11:33 a.m., Anonymous azahar said...

"Oh--just read your last comment ... not sure what you meant."

Oh, that was just me being paranoid about perhaps mouthing off too much ...

At 3:02 p.m., Anonymous Philipa said...

So sorry you're hurt Metro - back pain can be a bugger, it hurts everywhere. It's important you don't find yourself inadvertently tensing your muscles to hold yourself in a certain position but can relax into one, so I find massage useful. Even if Mme Metro can't touch your back, she could gently massage your head/ neck/ feet/ whatever, to get you to relax.

Get well soon.

At 8:44 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Thanks very much Philipa. However, Mme Metro is busy battling Ginger over at the Kidsfest, and drugs have done a great deal to help thus far.

I'm going to resvisit the bonecracer tomorrow, just to get clearance to do some of the stuff I'm required to do in the play.

At 6:03 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Here's a radical suggestion: consult a REAL doctor.

At 12:30 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Why? I'm not sick. I injured my back.

The doctor will look at it, say "muscle strain--stay off it for a few days" and give me painkillers.

The chiro actually does something about it that I find makes things better. I already have painkillers and I'm aware it's a muscle strain--this is about my twelfth back injury of any sort since 1991.

And at least this chiro doesn't go on and on about "colonic health", as another one did once.

I understand it has something to do with poor punctuation, but as a writer, I've rarely suffered from that.

A doctor fell into a well
and broke his collar bone
The moral: Doctor, tend the sick
and leave the well alone.

At 3:31 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Ya, ya, but you know what? I broke my back once, have never been to a chiropractor, am several years older than you, am equally overweight, and am on the exact same running program as you.

And my back is fine. Somebody's doing something righter than somebody else, is what I'm thinking.


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