Resolve To Make Every Day Count


Most of you reading this today are probably unaware of the fact that I have not run for the past six months. Last August I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. Before this happened I could not provide you with a clear definition of disc herniation. Today, I feel like an expert. For months I could not move more than two inches in any direction without excruciating pain shooting up and down my back and into my leg and foot. My leg and foot would then go numb. I was stopped dead in my tracks as far as running was concerned, even walking was out of the question. For months on end I could not sleep longer than two or three hours straight.

How did this happen in the first place? I did not fall or hurt my back. I was not in a car accident. I did not suffer an injury in the past two years since my stress fracture. What was the root cause of this horrible predicament I now found myself in?

My physical therapist offered up the theory that it was a direct result of back-to-back cesarean sections only 18 months apart followed by a failure to re-strengthen more core.

My doctor offered no explanations, only the tools to make me feel better.

My neighbor, Lou Schuler, who happens to be a fitness and exercise journalist and author, offered me a copy of his book, The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. The main idea that popped out at me as I thumbed through his book was that everything boiled down to my core, and everything is connected.

Reasoning through all of the minor injuries and inconveniences that I have experienced since beginning running five years ago, suddenly everything made sense. I had a sudden epiphany that went something like this: two c-sections > failure to re-strengthen my abdominal muscles > start lifting > start running > stop lifting and add more running > train for first half marathon > iliotibial band syndrome > hip flexor problems > sacroiliac problem > train for first marathon > stress fracture > run a couple more marathons > more hip flexor problems > begin ultra running > severe back pain > herniated disc.

In retrospect, there is a very linear explanation for all of my pains. I never bothered working on my core! I jumped right into the good stuff without ever considering the basics, and I developed extraordinarily strong back muscles to make up for my weakness, propelling me into an even more imbalanced state of being.

After several courses of drugs with long names, physical therapy sessions, and a couple of steroid injections shot into the nerve near my spinal cord my life began to slowly get back to normal. The only thing now missing was my regular workout routine.

I know a lot of you can relate with what I am going to say next. Even though I cut out all alcohol, junk food and curbed my diet since last August, I have lost muscle and gained fat. I had to go out and buy new “fat” jeans and now even those are feeling a bit tight. I joined the gym but have only visited it once in the last six weeks.

It all boils down to motivation, and I have none.

Today, this all changes. No more excuses. Period. Today I turned to Phase I of Lou’s workout rules which will get me back on the trails in much better shape than when I left them six months ago.

Wish me luck!


9 thoughts on “Resolve To Make Every Day Count

  1. What a journey! So excited for your recovery and your ‘no more excuses’ attitude. The hardest step is always the first one out the door, the rest is all downhill from there.

  2. wow, sorry to hear all you’ve been going through. i hope you continue to feel better each day and are able to get back to “normal life” soon… thanks for illustrating just how important a strong core is. i keep saying i’m going to incorporate core workouts into my routine and never seem to get it done… this may be just the motivation i need, so thank you.

  3. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Jill! Thank you for still keeping up this site even with your injury…we all appreciate it very much!

  4. Jill,

    Hope you recover. I have been long time practitioner of Tai Chi and feel that has helped keep me running. Tai Chi builds the core, works on your balance and gently stretches your muscles-all good for runners.

  5. Jill great article. I started lifting weights after a injury sidelined me for about the same amount of time. Best thing I ever did. I still blame those pesky big car seats for kids on a lot of my aches and pains. Hope to see you out and running soon.

  6. I can relate. I have nearly constant lbp. It only feels better when I run. I know I should work my core but that’s no fun. I hope you’re feeling back to your old speedy self soon.

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