September 12: good day

Low pain today..that is good.

Workout: got a late start and did a LOT of PT.

pull ups: 6 sets of 5 partials and 2 sets of negatives. Pain free more or less

Push ups: during the PT: 10 sets of 10 flat between PT sets..did these prior to the pull ups.

Walk: 2 miles at a good clip on the Moss course

weights: less than 30 minutes, 3 sets of 10 each: curls, high incline (94), bench 134.

Later: 1.2 mile commuter walk.

Illinois D shines in 24-3 win over Virginia

This was a game to savor; ok; it was a highly imperfect game. It started with 2 Illini turn overs; pass interception on the 2’nd play of the game, and a fumble on the next series. The latter lead to a Virginia field goal and 3-0 UVa lead.

After that, it was all Illinois, though the Illini were to turn it over two more times.

The game was sloppy, no doubt. UVa had a shot gun center snap go over the quarterback’s head, and a fumble on a punt return was recovered in the end zone for a 7-3 Illinois lead.

The Illini then took over; a couple of drives lead to a 21-3 lead in the 2’nd quarter.

Then the Illini, pinned at the 4 yard line, drove the ball 96 yards only to fumble on a completed pass on the 1 yard line. But it was still 21-3 at the half.

Illinois mostly stuck to the ground game in the second half, though they used their tight ends a bit, and in the 3’rd quarter, made a short field goal, while missing two more.

In the 4’th quarter, Virginia used a long quarterback run to get to the 5 with 1 minute left, and the fans still left were chanting for the Illini to hold the line..and they did!

Overall, the Illini dominated 394-222 in yards, despite slowing things down with the big lead. But mistakes kept the game “closer” on the score board than it really was. It really was a dominant win.

Other games: well, Navy got whipped, as I expected. Texas played Alabama to a 1 point loss, and Notre Dame lost to Marshall (underrated team..but still).

I caught the end of Illinois State vs. Valpo and ISU pulled it out 28-21. Pity the Illinois game was at 3 instead of 11: Harry and I could have had a double header.

I am tired of this but

I had a flare up this morning. I got up, sat at the computer catching up with the late college games, then it flared up when I laid down to stretch. I managed to get just loose enough to lift and walk (these were pain free) but then …upon cooling down, it came back. Pain in the left glute/leg..clear what it was.

BUT…though the Z-position helped what really took it away was a hot shower with water in the small of the back.

Evidently, tight lumbar muscles bring it on too. So, much of my learning to live with this is knowing what hurts it, what doesn’t, when to move, when to rest, when to grab the ice bag and when to use heat.

The good news: walking to and from the stadium (.7-.8 miles each way) was fine and my walks and workout went fine.

Workout notes

Saturday a LOT of PT, mixed in with pull ups and push ups, 2 walks: 5K and a 2 miler with a 5 minute rest (75 minutes for 5.3 miles, which includes the break), and then downstairs for weights.

The details: pull ups with holds on some: 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4 then 2 negative, 2 negative.

push ups: 20 regular, 30 incline, 30 incline, then 2 sets of 10 with and extra banded walk.

Then the 2 walks: faster, 5K walk first. Both went great.

Then weight room: superset

3 sets of 10 x 94 Swiss bar high incline press, 3 sets of 10 curls

3 sets of 10 x 134 legs up bench.

After weight (house scale: 199) note that the first leather weight belt I bought now fits.

Sunday woke up feeling fine…flare up started after I sat for a while and tried my usual PT. Then after the bathroom, it really got going so I tried to work through it.

Fortunately deads were good:

10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 228 low

10 x 260 8 inch (very easy)

Then the walk, which went fine.

Lots of traffic and a gray, damp sky. But the walk went well; no real rain.

Finding the formula

Well, decent pain day today, though I did up my dose of Naproxen. I’ll try to lower it now.

Swim: 2000 meters;

500 of 100 side, back, side, back, side. First 100 back was awful; had to focus to keep straight.

500 in 10:36

200 drill/swim with fins

200 in 3:57

200 drill/swim with fins

200 in 3:57

100 drill/swim with fins

100 in 1:56

Later got home and walked 2 miles at a 12:30’ish pace

Later: commuter lunch walk (15:26 pace) and finished the rest of my PT, except banded walks.
Shown: my hang to stretch the back out.

Very low pain day, though my shoulder is a bit achy.


I look forward to the day that I no longer talk about my back, but alas, I am still in the figuring things out phase. My latest challenge: the bathroom; the last time of the day can cause pain. The first time and the day time: not so much. I’ll have to reread my MRI report; it sure appears that I have a disk issue too. Just looked: I do. Disk is bulging.

The day to day life: MUCH better. MUCH.

Workout notes: 2000 meter swim then, at home, a 2.18 mile walk.

the swim: 500 of side/back Then:

200 swim/drill with fins
200 in 4:00

200 swim/drill with fins

200 in 3:56 (swam with more abandon.

200 swim/drill with fins

100 in 1:56

100 swim/drill fins

100 in 1:57

100 swim/drill fins

100 cruise (2:06)

Then home for the walk.

Walk was fine; must a bit heavy legged. I did the extra half lap on Cooper.

No commute walk today.

Note: my new office chair cushion appears to be very good.

Figuring it out

I’ve had back flare ups at night; often after a bowl movement. I have to be careful during and after. Last night’s wasn’t as bad as the previous two, but I felt it.

I also altered my morning workout, taking out some stuff to limit the stress on my back. But I did things.

First: extended PT. Lots of it, including the kneeling on one knee hip flexor stretches.

Then 20 flat push ups, then pull ups with a belt. This time, I did singles in sets:

5, 4, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4 taking care to keep my knees in front of me and to keep a flat back, and most reps were partial reps..not quite over the bar for most. Then I did a set of negatives, and I also did some holds. Result: almost zero pain; last time, I was limping afterward.

Then I did 3 more sets of 20 flat push ups (PT in between) then 20 incline push ups.

Downstairs: 3 sets of 10 x 134 bench presses

10 x 134, 10 x 184 low dead lifts and I decided to call it a day. I felt fine.

Back upstairs for a 2 mile walk and it was easy; averaged under 12 mpm. Later: 1 mile commute walk (16 mpm) over lunch.

total time: 30 minutes PT inside, 50 minutes on the porch, 30 minutes downstairs, and 25 minutes walking.

The pull ups look…well…like I am struggling. But I’ll get better; I was improving by the 4’th set. But these ARE harder.

And for the most part, my back felt pretty good during the day; now-a-days, it usually does. Got to fix those new night flares though.

Second back flareup

I had a flare up last night….again while laying down. Relief: laying on the floor with my legs up and bent like this helped. This is a screen shot from this outstanding video by Dr. Andrea Furlan. It is really the best one I’ve seen; lots of outstanding advice here.

The flare ups started last Thursday and are always associated with lying down. I also note they started after I switched to walking before doing pull ups, and I’ve noticed some radiating pain (not severe) a few sets into pull ups. I think I know why: I appear to be arching my back on the way up, and that is never good.

I’ll start doing few pull ups, with legs in front and if I need to 1-2-3 at a time (if that), that’s what I’ll do. I might even do some with the assist machine to train the muscles the right way.

I’ve noticed occasional pain when doing the crawl stroke, pull ups, sometimes with the bench press (after I torched it with pull ups) and toward the end of walking on a hilly course.
Oddly: deadlifts (ok, with the trap bar and light weights I use) are painless, as are push ups, back stroke, side stroke, or swimming as fast as I can.

Walking slowly (15 mpm or slower) starts to get slightly uncomfortable ..walking under 13 minutes a mile feels good.

(for those reading my blog for the first time: I suffer from neurogenic claudication brought on by femoral spinal stenosis which results from isthmic spondylolistheis. the TL:DR version: my L5 vertebra is slipped forward due to a chronic stress fracture in my pars (back of the spine) and this slippage impinges my L5 nerve root.

Today’s workout: I had some trepidation. But walking to work and back home were fine; I added distance to ensure 1.1 out, 1.03 back. No trouble at all. Work was fine too. I also did PT and a morning swim…very gingerly as the back ached while crawling; I made an effort to keep a flat back and not arch.

1000 with 4 side stroke 100’s, 4 back stroke 100’s, 1 fin segment (50 crawl, 50 back) and 1 no fin segment (50 crawl, 50 back)

5 x 100 drill/swim (4 kick on the sides/swim, 1 kick front, swim

6 x 50 on the 1:30. all but 1 were 0:57, one was 56 (swimming scared..kept a lot on the tank)

200 in 4:00 (again, swimming scared)

Then I had my two lunch walks.

So back to this injury: it is sort of crazy. I’ve got walking back, I can swim (provided I mix strokes and don’t over extend my crawl) and I can lift..with in reason.

The new worrisome symptom is the lay-down flare up. But my work life and walking are 90 percent better!

I am not ready for the knife yet, but I do have to manage my activities carefully and constantly checking for what might not be working.

Minor flare ups

I’ve reached a point where I am getting minor flare ups from time to time, but not while walking.

I feel it some just after pull ups (have to work on keeping the back straight; maybe use a belt?), bench (couldn’t quite get the back comfortable) and on rolling on my side from a prone position. I seem to be sensitive to arching; wondering if:

  1. Not doing the press ups
  2. too much sitting; just ordered a lumbar cushion
  3. Walking: how is the seems ok..the old pain while walking has gone down greatly.

I was worried about work, but no problems…even walked an extra mile home. But I didn’t do high incline presses.

PT, 1 mile walk, weights. Then a lunch walk

weights: pull ups 2 sets of 15 singles, then sets of 5. push ups: 3 sets 35, 30, 25 incline, 10 flat

bench: 10 x 134, 10 x 139, 10 x 139 feet up

curls: 3 sets of 10


The weather didn’t want to cooperate at first, but eventually we got a 4-3 Chiefs win. It was 4-1 in the top of the 9’th, when the visitors got a double and a home run. But that is where it stopped.

The crowd was pretty good, especially considering the weather delay.

Catch up (all over the place)

Sports (spectator)

No live football this weekend but a couple of Chiefs games on tap. Ok, I saw one last night; the Timberrattlers pitching kept the Chiefs at bay and allowed no hits through 7 innings; the Chiefs got 2 in the 8’th and even loaded the bases, but could only get one run. Still it was 2-1 going into the 9’th when the visitors got 2 more and won 4-1.

But there was at least a little bit of excitement. And it was fun to have the wife along.

TV football: I missed Illinois State getting run over by Wisconsin 38-0; I didn’t miss Navy getting outplayed by Delaware and losing 14-7. First 3 plays told the story: play one, Navy fumbled it to Delaware. Play 2: pass interference on Navy (obvious call). Play 3: Blue Hen touchdown.

I also watched Illinois lose to Indiana 23-20. The Illini were hurt by a bad call on a pass in the end zone

but still lead 20-16 with 2 minutes to go and the Hoosiers 75 yards away with no time outs. But the defense, which had switched to more blitzing to stop Indiana’s passing, played soft and allowed a march down the field.

Time and time again, the Illini made bad decisions and mistakes. Here, they passed on a field goal and went for it on 4’th down..leading by 1.

The positives is that the running game and short passing game looked decent for most of the night, and Virginia, the next opponent, gave up 170 rushing yards to FCS Richmond. But the problem will be Virginia’s passing: we don’t defend the pass well…not without blitzing. I still think this match up favors Illinois and I expect a hard fought win.


Saturday: PT, walk 1 (hard 5K), weights. Then a slow second walk after watching a football game on TV.

The first one tired me out a bit; I went pretty hard.

Pull ups: 12 sets of 5 with either 30 seconds rest or PT rest, push ups: 3 sets of 30 incline, 10 flat

bench press: I found that I still had back issues with my feet on plates; legs up is the best:

5 x 156, 4 x 156, 10 x 134, 10 x 134
curls 3 sets of 10

high incline: 3 sets of 10 x 94

Then came the 2 mile walk (after watching TV); first 1.5 was very pleasant ..some issues in the final 0.5

Today still some stuff with the back; I have to remember to NOT arch when I roll.

Went out for a walk intending 1-2 but felt good enough to do a slowish 5K; some issues in the final 0.5 miles or so.

Note: my Garmin recorded my watch stops to cross roads; those amounted to about 30 seconds or a 10 seconds per mile faster pace, but it does not matter.

After that, shoulder PT and deadlifts:

low: 10 x 134, 10 x 184
backed off the heavier sets: 10 x 234 4 inch

10 x 260 8 inch (easy)

My back won’t allow for true strength training; I am working to keep tone in my glutes and legs.

Back: sometimes I get the radiating pain on my back when I roll, and I think it is because I am used to arching my back when I roll.
I need to work on that, and I need to figure out a nice posture for my downhill walking. Flat walking and uphill walking is progressing nicely.


Recovered from a down internet…

Today: PT, swim at the Y, walk afterward (second mile was slower..trouble with downhills)

The swim: 2000 meters

500 in 11:09

500 of mixed (250 back total, 200 side total, 50 breast)

then 100 drill /swim fins

200 in 3:58

100 drill/swim fins

100 in 1:57

100 drill/swim fins

2 x 50: 55, 56

100 drill/swim fins

100 drill/swim fins

100 in 1:56

Back note I lied down for a up (evening) and felt the sciatica (and toe) pain..big time…worst I’ve felt it. It was kind of a dull pain; clear what it was…right in the glute.

Stretching cleared it up.

Friday: 2000 yard swim then a quick 2 mile walk afterward. Highlight: got 200 in 3:56, my best of the season.

That was nice, given how bad of a back attack I had on Friday.