Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Latest from Alter-G and Recumbent Bike Land

My time crunch continued on Thursday, which is one of the days I'm home with the kids. My Alter-G appointment was at 5:15 p.m., but Dan didn't want to leave work early again (I don't blame him).

So, being a flexible mom of twins, I assembled a Boredom Bag (crayons, paper, books and some graham crackers)--and took Will and Ruthie with me. I figured, how bad could it be? It's only 30 minutes.

Happily, they were so fascinated with the Alter-G that they barely cracked the Boredom Bag (they did eat all the graham crackers; I mean, these are MY children). And fortunately Patty, the physiologist, proved good with kids. She joked with them. She let them circle the machine and put their hands inside the bag when I was finished. Will made a drawing of a train for her. Turns out her son went to the same preschool that Will and Ruth attend. He's now 17, but apparently the director and the cook are the same people who were working there when he was there.

I don't expect this to work every time. Familiarity breeds contempt with little kids. But I got it done, and much more easily than I had on Monday. My kids, it turns out, are more forgiving than my job.

The session itself went well. I got closer to 3 miles for the total (sweet-talking Patty into letting me cut the cool-down short) and stayed no lower than 85% body weight the whole time.

Yesterday I took it easy, with a 30-minute walk (featuring some good break-up music--thanks to everyone for your excellent suggestions) and PT exercises. Then this morning I went to the gym and knocked out a 1-hour bike session with 55 minutes of intervals, followed by a 30-minute hill walk on the treadmill and then more PT exercises.

I'm not going to lie to you. My back is still unhappy. It's definitely not where I need it to be to start really running again. I've been trying to track when it bugs me the most, and it appears to be the leg raises on the stability ball and the glute exercises that irritate it. This doesn't surprise me, because attempts to do core work (and doing it poorly, I guess) are what sent me into PT in the first place. It IS frustrating that this still happens after nearly three months of work. It's also frustrating that most mornings getting out of bed I am still painfully stiff. Sometimes I want to run because, well, why not suffer AND run instead of....just suffer?

Patty, to whom I told all this, still seems to think I'm doing well. She's a runner herself, a Pilates instructor and has had SI issues. She said the move she recommends for glutes is more subtle than some of the ones I'm doing. It involves (when sitting, though she says you can try it walking or running, too) contracting the muscles that you imagine could bring your sit bones closer together. She says this brings not only the glutes but also the pelvic floor muscles into play for back support. I've been trying this any time I'm sitting down (and under her watchful eye also on the Alter-G), and I will say that while I'm concentrating on it, it does immediately reduce my back pain. The problem's hard to concentrate that hard all the time.

My next plan of action will be to get permission from Cathy, my physical therapist, to make a Pilates consultation appointment with Patty. I'm not due to see Cathy again until the middle of June, so I'm going to call and ask. It may not happen right away, as Patty has a vacation planned too. But I like Patty and I feel like she will be careful, so if I can get in and get a new exercise routine from her this week, I'll feel like I'm still making progress while not ignoring the plain sad fact that I still have too much back pain.


  1. Oh Terzah, I am frustrated for you!  It's so hard when you want and work so hard to make progress and it seems it just doesn't happen at all or goes more slowly than anticipated.  I know it's just as frustrating when people tell you to 'hang in there, it will come' - but doggone it - we wanted IT yesterday!  :-)  We have to trust the experts who are helping us along, although it's hard.  If Patty says you are doing well, then you have to believe her and keep doing the hard work  You can boo-hoo on my shoulder anytime - I understand.  :-)  Have a great weekend!

  2. BostonboundbrunetteMay 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    I think you are coming along just fine if you are able to run at 85% weight. For me it was either I could run or I couldn't.  I am glad that the kids were so fascinated with the Alter-G!  My son would have gotten into something!! :)

  3. I can relate to so much of this post...from the kids thing and husband working thing to the continued pain and not really being where you want to be to the thing about it being really hard to concentrate that hard all the time. I'm hoping we both have an awesome breakthrough really soon :)

  4. I wish you did not have that much pain ARE making progress...I do get the "why not suffer AND run instead of just suffer" part...but I know you know better!   Pilates sounds like a good plan...I have never tried it but I would give that a try if I were injured.

  5. When I'm running I cannot imagine doing much other than moving forward! Yesterday my coach was trying to get me to prance a bit to help me land mid foot and help with some heel pain I was having and then he started talking about how he's currently working on focusing on using his upper butt during his runs and I'm just thinking to myself - how the heck do I separate my butt into quadrants???
    I just tried to contract my sit bones closer together and I actually could do it while I was sitting down...but while running? doubtful :p

  6. The progress with this type of injury is so sloooooooooooooooow. Good grief. It's been 6 weeks since I hurt my back. It's better, but I'm still feeling around 70-75%. I still don't feel *right* and certainly not ready for intense running workouts. I did have a pain-free 6 miler today... with 400 mg of Motrin onboard, however. You do what you gotta do. I'm trying to be careful popping pills. :)

    Keep on keepin' on!

  7. I know the progress is slow and setbacks are frustrating, but I really think you are doing great. It sounds like you've got a good "plan of attack" going forward to. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  8. Ups and downs, my friend but I am sad to hear that you are still having so much back pain. But I am very glad that you are feeling like you are making progress.
    Well done, Will and Ruth, for letting you get your session in!
    Happy, happy anniversary. I hope you guys had a beautiful hike!

  9. If only you were here. Have a look here please:
    The doctor is a very good friend of mine and I am sure he would solve your problem.

  10. I feel your frustrations through your words :( I am sorry that the pain is still lingering. Many healing thoughts coming your way through the internet. 

  11. Isn't it fabulous when PT allows us to bring the kiddos and it all works out?  When I did PT for my knee they let me bring Avery and it made me so much happier with the entire process.

    I know you're frustrated - but since I'm behind and already got to read about your new tool - I'll limit this comment to - Good job sticking with it despite the frustrations!