“Back” in business..so to speak.

What happened: in June-July 2020, I started to get glute pain upon walking…it became more and more severe until even 2 miles was enough to bring it on. Weight lifting: it did not appear during workouts, though I grew to understand that certain exercise (heavy deadlifts, arching while bench pressing, arching while shoulder pressing) brought on the referred pain AFTER the fact…not during.

I also had foot tingles/leg tingles at night; sometimes extensive.

As you can see, I am quite bent forward when I walk; I think it was my body’s attempt to take pressure off.

I sought out PT for it in summer of 2021…fall of 2021..even walking from my car to a game was painful. I tried resting from all walking, this stretch, that stretch.

Well, I’ve had this spondylolisthesis for many years; it was first noticed in ..yes, 1978 (summer). I have a pars defect (fracture of the pars; aka spondylolysis) which lead to the L5 vertebra slipping forward, ahead of S1 (top of your tailbone). I’ve had episodes for some time, most lately in 2006, 2011, 2013, 2016 and this time, conservative treatment could not quite clear it up.

Update: I just looked at my records online; in addition to my spondylolisthesis (due to pars defect) I have lumbar spinal stenosis (due to the nerve root impingement) which causes neurogenic claudication. (heaviness and pain in the leg due to the nerve root being impinged

My S1 is tilted forward and the L5 slides down, even when standing straight (shear force).

This leads to a lack of space for my L5 nerve root, hence foot tingles, sometimes shin tingles, and glute pain on my left side at about .8-1.5 miles of walking (warmed up); .4-.6 miles of walking (no warm up).

PT has helped and strengthening my glutes and core has helped. But not enough.

So, after meeting with the non-surgery back doctor, he referred me to a surgeon.

The surgeon explained that the definitive treatment would be spinal fusion, but that while the operation would probably relieve the symptoms, it would probably lead to different problems down the road and start me on the road to more surgery.

So…epidural steroidal injections have a decent success rate and possibly stop the cycle of irritation.

I get mine a week from today.

Workout catch up part N+

I forgot to log my Thursday weight workout so here goes: about 2 hours plus of PT and weights/strength.

Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (some sloppy), 2 sets of 5 wide

push ups: 20 incline, 30 decline, 30 incline, 20 regular (went well)

Swiss bar bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 156, 6 x 145, 6 x 145

curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

trap bar deads (all low) 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 184 (being “squatty”)

Felt good afterward.

Today: ok…walking has been rough this week; it seems as if symptoms come on about 1.3-1.4 miles; to be honest, whether I make it to 2 depends on if I can get the right degree of ab tightening and do some mini back stretches on the fly. Yes, this is better than the old 0.8 miles but …adding .5-.6 miles in a month’s time? Gads.

I wonder if it is past time to put the ego on hold and just stop when symptoms appear.

So far, this week looks like:

Monday: 1.11, 1.0, Wednesday: 2.02, Friday 1.58, Saturday 2.03 (really 1.8)

But really, the symptom free distance is 1.3-1.5 on a good day, 1.1 on a bad one.

Today’s workout:

Swim: ok, that went ok.

800 of 50 side, 50 choice (choice being 50 breast or 50 back)

200 of 25 front kick (no fins), 25 free

200 in 3:38 (felt fine, if slow)

100 back

350 fins, consisting of 200 free kick (SFS, font, side), 100 dolphin kick, 50 free with fins)

1650 yards in all.

Then I drove home as people showed up at the playground and were on the path.

PT (second round…mini round in the morning)

A very rough 1.8 mile walk..and because I was near Bradley Hall, I did a 20 second stretch (if that) and walked it home.

Lot of nothing

More grind; another 2 hour workout where most of the time was spent on physical therapy with a lot of shoulder squeezes.

Note: the shoulder feels…pretty darned good. And..I did NOT do the crawl yesterday. I am sensing a pattern…I need to wait for the shoulder PT to kick in, and then introduce crawl back oh-so-slowly, and stick with fins, side, back and breast ..for a very long time.

Getting older sucks. My issue here: OS acromiale. In my case, the bones in the top of my shoulder never fused together properly and there is a tendency for the acromiale to tilt forward and impinge my rotator cuff.

Yes, there was a lot of back PT too; most of it was that. Root nerve impingement (L5-S1); mostly it affects walking.

The actual exercises: 40 singles pull up, 10 singles chin ups, 2 sets of 5 wide.

Push ups: this time, 5 sets of 20 working on keeping the elbows further in. 1 incline, 1 decline, 1 deficit, 2 regular.

Bench presses (Swiss bar) 3 sets of 10 x 135 (focus on squeezing the shoulder blades and not hunching my shoulders)

One armed rows: 3 sets of 10 slow..
Curls: 3 sets of 10

deadlifts: 10 x 134 low, 10 x 184 low, 10 x 235 4 inch..all felt GREAT.

Marathon and beyond list

Note: most links are broken.

And…this is probably my final list; body can’t take it anymore. Total is 62.

1980
Maryland Marathon: 3:33

1981
San Antonio Marathon 3:48

1983
East Lyme Marathon (CT) 4:24

1998 (2)
Quad Cities Marathon 3:55 (hot: 207 out of over 1000)
Chicago Marathon 3:46

1999
Quad Cities Marathon 3:45

2000 (2)
Lake Okoboji (IA) 4:25
Indianapolis Marathon 3:38

2001
Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40

2002 (4) (13 total)
San Diego Marathon 3:57 (run)
Fairfield (IA) 50K 6:22 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 4:44 (walk)
Rocket City Marathon 4:04 (run)
(injured going in; had to run/walk)

2003 (5) (18 total)
McNaughton 50K (run) 7:04
Ice Age 50K 7:18 (walk)
Park City Marathon (UT) 5:17 (walk)

Judy Birthday 50K (walk; informal-Fat ass type)
Quivering Quads (MO) 50K 8:11 (walk)

2004 (7) (25 total)
McNaughton 50 mile 12:46 (walk)
Cornbelt (IA) 24 hour (101 miles), walk
Wandleweekend (NED) 24 hour (88 miles) walk

Fairfield 50K 7:16 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 5:13 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:20 (walk)

Ultracentric (TX) 24 hour 81 miles (walk)

2005 (8) (33 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:25 (run, sort of)
Chicago Ultra 50K (spring) 6:42 (walk)
McNaughton 100 34:16 (walk)
Andy Payne Marathon (OK) 5:25 (walk)
Lean Horse 100 (SD), 29:34 (walk)

Quad Cities Marathon 5:34 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:29 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 70 (walk)

2006 (5) (38 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:37 (run, sort of)
Houston Ultra 24 hour 76 mile (walk)
Stigma 8 hour 27 mile (trail) (walk)
McNaughton (100 DNF), got to mile 50 then 20 more.
Ice Age 50K 7:36 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 83 miles (walk)

2007 (4) (42 total)
FANS 24 hour 66 mile (walk) (couldn’t train until 5-6 weeks prior)
FX 12 hour 34 mile (walk)
Farmdale 33 miles 9:27 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 58 mile (walk)

2008 (3) (45 total)
McNaughton 50 mile (staged; 31:37 walk)
Andy Payne Marathon 6:16 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 47 miles (walk)

2009 (5) (50 total)
McNaughton 100 miler (47:45; staged, walk)
(brutal conditions; the drop out rate was astounding: 74 started the 100 and 27 finished; 47 started the 150 and 27 made it to 100 (including the 12 who finished all 150); in total 54 out of 121 starters made it to 100 miles and I was one of these)
Rockford Marathon 5:14 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 66 miles (walk)
Mulshoe 44 (DNF, ran out of time at mile 29) walk
Quad Cities Marathon 5:28 (walk)
McNot-aGain 30 mile 8:55 (walk)
(fought through injuries for these last two; almost no training was possible)

2010 (51)
McNotagain 30 mile 9:52 (knee surgery 3.5 months prior)

2011 (52)
Fans 24 hour: 54.5 miles

2012 (53)
We Walk Lake Wobegone marathon 6:58:58

2013 (54)
River City Marathon (run/walk) 5:44:55

2014 (55)
McNotAgain 30 9:54

2015 3 for the year (58 )
FANS 24 hour 59.9 miles

PNC River City Marathon (walk) 5:49:23

McNotAgain 30 (walk) 11:03

2016 2 for the year, (60 and counting)

FANS 24 hour walk 38 miles (35.9 in 10:40)

PNC marathon (run/walk) 5:52

2017: 2 DNF, one 50K
36 Hours of Jack Monkey Flunker 50K 8:42.

2018: Quad Cities Marathon (walk) 6:14:11.

2019: Quad Cities Marathon (walk) 6:42:02

Limbo

Lots of pebbles in the shoe today: toe blistered from fin use..still can walk though.

Back was ok..better than a week ago. Kind of got tired about 1.3 miles but I got stubborn and went for 1.7…maybe not enough press ups beforehand.

Weight: 202.8

Swim: no fins: 500 of side/free, 500 of 50 drills sans fins, 50 free

200 in 3:40 (bleah), 100 in 1:49, 100 in 1:46, 50 in 50, 50 in 50.
Intervals: 4:30, 2:30, 2:30, 1:30

50 pull, 100 breast.

The walk: felt pretty good up to about 1.1-1.2…had to focus and pain (mild) had started at about 1.6.

Progress?

I honestly feel better. I did catch a Bradley Baseball game last night (11-1 win) and got to talk to a mother of a Western Illinois outfielder at length.

Talk about sparse: there were perhaps 48 people at first pitch; maybe maxed at 70? 50 F, drizzle and this was a make up game.

The Sunday Chiefs game was better attended..and warmer..and it was great that the Chiefs won to stay over .500.

Oh, about my back: part of the improvement might be my not going up and down the damned steps all day..and part of it, I think, is my adjusting my weight exercises:

  1. Feet up on the bench press
  2. High incline rather than shoulder press
  3. No strain allowed on high incline
  4. Trap bar deadlift; only light weights with low handles; use less weight with 4 and 8 inch handles WITH a belt..getting the lumbar out of it.

And, in walking, doing one session and stopping before it gets too bad.

Workout notes

Swim: watch the shoulder..feeling pings from time to time.

500 of alternating 50 free, 50 side

1000 of alternating 50 drill with fins, 50 free

100 pull

100 breast

Weight: 202.5 best in a while

PT: a LOT of it; even used the bosu ball..did it indoors. Wore my mask, stuck to myself, etc.

Then a 1.28 mile walk; cut it short because I wanted to finish while I still felt good.

Moving on

Getting ready for a baseball game. I got a back friendly workout in…well, maybe. I have to evaluate walking when I deadlift (high handle) and what I do on the incline press: if I strain, even a little, on the incline or shoulder press I get some “lumbar referral” sensation.

LOTS of PT; a lot of it with extras, and extra rotator cuff.
pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10, then 7 chins, 5 wide with PT rests
push ups: 40 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 20 deficit, 10 regular
incline presses: (not high incline) 10 x 88, 10 x 110, 10 x 121 (felt the strain on set 3..very mild)

deadlifts: low: 10 x 134, 10 x 184 (ok), 4 inch: 10 x 224, 8 inch 10 x 260 these felt ok; I did work the upper glute but didn’t get thigh quivering.

1.4 mile walk to finish; I was ready to stop when I did..pain free to 1.1 then slight

Melancholy workout

I am trying not to be a drama queen, and trying not to live in the wreckage of the future, but it looks as if my sports era will come to an end very soon.

No, I am not going to sell my equipment; I plan on using it as long as it benefits my health and doesn’t harm it. And I will probably have to order a new set of bands as I broke my second one today. And I’ll be looking for new goggles and swim suits as swimming seems to be doing ok.

BUT: so much of my life, I wanted to either run faster, run longer, lift heavier, do more reps, etc. But now I need to focus on what is good for my health, and that means being risk adverse in my training and *always* leaving something in the tank.

I get my MRI tomorrow AND see my primary care doctor for my prostate and hopefully, finally some answers. What lies in store I do not know.

My guess: a benign enlarged prostate (which might contribute to the “swollen” feeling I sometimes get in my left pelvic/glute area) and some sort of bulging disk impinging on a nerve affecting my left side. (L-5?)

But it could be anything from piriformis/gluteus medius strain/tear, to broken pieces of disk, to prostate cancer, spinal tumor, etc.

The physical therapist says it isn’t spinal stenosis as my McKenzie press ups are way too high.

My symptoms: left leg, tingles down the side, full feeling when I do something like banded walks, some discomfort upon standing still for too long and walking: onset of glute pain after 15-20 minutes if I am stretched and warmed up, 5-10 minutes if I am not. Tingles in the left lower leg/foot at night if I don’t stretch first..knees bent is more comfortable.

Relief: stretching; McKenzie press ups, Open book, yoga pyramid, revolved triangle, triangle help relive it almost instantly; bent forward twists help too.

Ok, there is still a lot I can do, and I can enjoy doing what I can. So what did I do today? I did all of my physical therapy along with:

pull ups: 10, 15, 10, 10, 10, 5 wide, 5 chins (strange I am 206-207..too heavy..but pull ups are going very well??? Improvement on my back?), push ups 30 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 30 sissy, 10 deficit

weights: 10 x 134, 5 x 156, 5 x 156, 10 x 134 (feet elevated)

4 sets of curls with 50

deadlifts: taking care to keep a flat back and use the glutes, hamstrings and quads:

10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 224 (these went well)

high handle (8 inch) 5 x 260, 5 x 280 (heavier belt) Rule: leave a lot in the tank. Can’t strain the lumbar.

The post lift McKenzie press ups had none of the warning left leg pain that I got when I did too much low handle or tried to arch when bench pressing.

Then a 1 mile walk; not my best as I got symptoms at .7-.8 miles but I got a mile.

Other tidbits: cutting back greatly on caffeine and spreading out my Naproxen dose (1 pill upon waking up, 1 after) and I have an oh-so-slight whine in my right shoulder.

I use an orthopedic cushion at games (watched Bradley softball split with Evansville yesterday with no ill effects)

recap

My goodness..things are just flying right now.

Yesterday: had a 1.26 mile walk after swimming 1200 yards

200 free, 100 back, 100 side, 100 kick drill with fins, 4 x 50 on the 1:10 (52-54) 100 kick drill with fins, 2 x 100 on 2:30 (1:46, 1:50), 200 odd strokes.

Oh so slight “feel” to the shoulder so I was diligent with PT.

Today: did the mat PT inside, standing PT outside with pull ups (10 singles, 4 sets of 10, 5 chins, 5 wide), push ups 40 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 15 deficit, 15 flat

bench presses: 10 x 134, 10 x 145, 8 x 150 (feet up)

curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

high incline: 3 sets of 10 x 103

Note: today was a low pain day. Changes:

  1. deadflits: anything over 225 is now high handle.
  2. bench: feet elevated, flat back
  3. belt while lifting
  4. limited caffeine (cut down on bladder stuff…not gone though)
  5. swimming
  6. walking: rarely more than 1.2 at a time, no pushing it to the limit reps.

Do these matter? I’ll find out soon enough.

Sort of rough

I’ll say it: my back ached today.and yesterday…..well, the usual hip (top), etc., pretty sure it was the back. Guess: last night’s game; wonder if I need a lumbar cushion for the game.

Oh, the game: got out of hand early; the Chiefs lost 15-2, getting one run in the bottom of the 9’th. Ugh.

Crowd was very sparse

I visited some with Vickie and Harry; that was fun. Announced was 1549 but…nah. It was not that far off from last year’s “socially distanced” home opener.

Workout notes:

Yesterday: walking plus PT. I got through the walks; PT was ok..but afterward..walking to the office..discomfort later in the day, and ache upon sitting at the Chiefs game. I took the walks to the limit. But man…the back…tough couple of days.

Today: well, last night..I wonder if that sitting set stuff off. But..then again, the workout went ok; some tingles after deadlifts but ..they didn’t look that bad.

Full PT plus with pull ups: 5 sets of 10, set of 5 wide, set of 5 chins

push ups: 40 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 20 flat, 10 deficit (tough)

deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 224 low (last set felt ragged)

10 x 260 high with new belt: felt fine.