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 is.....it'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.