My back, to put it bluntly, is jacked up. I've strained my lower back but good, and some days I can't even bend over. Ironically, I feel great when I race and workout. But the day to day activities of life are painful. It hurts to stand, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lay, it hurts to reach, it hurts to walk.
I know exactly how I did it, too. Such a rookie mistake. I got a new saddle for my bike and I didn't get it properly fit on my bike. In an effort to alleviate the complete and total numbing of my nether regions during long rides, I have turned the back side of my body inside out.
My husband installed my saddle. And no, I'm not blaming him, it's my fault. When it comes to pain, I don't like to complain, and I figured the sit bone pain was normal, along with the achy lower back. I figured it was just because I was sitting differently on the new saddle, and as my body adjusted, the pain would subside. Boy, was I incorrect about that assumption.
I awoke one morning after a long ride and I could not get out of bed. I couldn't bend over the sink to brush my teeth without having to support my upper body with my elbows. I couldn't turn, I couldn't do anything. And no, I didn't go to the doctor. That's another story for another day. But I did ice it, and I did spend several consecutive days doing agonizing yoga poses that weren't ordinarily agonizing. I felt 100 years old.
So I've suffered through a few bike workouts, I've even raced a short sprint tri. I felt great during and after the race, even the next morning. But the aches crept back in my back. And they haven't gone away entirely. As I sit and type this, my lower back feels tightly wound.
And now, smack in the middle of my half Ironman training program, I have missed several key workouts in an effort to get better and feel stronger, so that I can tackle the hell that comes in the back half of the training program, not to mention the 8 hours of hell that will come on race day. I took 4 days off from training, luckily during a recovery week. Yoga had become a daily routine again, and I realized that it never should have stopped being part of my daily routine. And ice is my new best friend.
I'm finding that my social media does little to make me feel better. Friends are training hard and strong, and I feel soft and weak. Others inadvertently post comments about getting out there and killing it and crushing it and getting it done, as if I don't want to be doing those things. I'm trying to tell myself that I have to live with this body for the next 40 years or so, and one damn race is just a speck in the grand scheme of things. I am jealous of people who can bend over and pick something up from the floor and not think twice about it.
But I am getting better each day. Those 4 days with no workouts (other than my yoga) were long and frustrating and riddled with guilt, but I am ready to face this week with mew eyes, a stronger back, and the determination to move forward in my quest to be half an Ironman. So if those 4 days off make me look weak, so be it. My body was screaming out to slow it down, take it in, and enjoy the ride at a bit slower pace. The finish line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta will be there, and so will I.