This week has been very hard on my back. For some reason last Saturday it just started hurting on the left lower portion. I took my usual Alleve and rested it. A few days later it felt a little better but the concentrated pain area had shifted to the right. I have stretched and tried to help it work its way out to no real success.
Back in 2004, my weight was about 70 pounds more than it is today. I was sedentary…working at a desk all day and going to law school classes at night. No exercise. My back was so problematic that I could hardly carry my books from my car to class. Trips across parking lots were as if I were a pioneer looking across the vast and open plane to the destination at the edge of the horizon. When I would go to the grocery store, I found myself looking long and hard at the little electric carts…..but for me, I felt that would be giving up.
I graduated law school n 2006. By then I was not working and was studying for the bar. Again. Very sedentary and no core strength to think of. Small tasks were made huge as a result of poor fitness and a “bad” back. I could not walk far. I could not stand for long periods of time. I could not sit long. It was not a good time for me.
Fall of 2007, a friend of mine and I decided that a good way to be sure we stayed in touch would be to do a 5k walk every month. Most of them had a one mile element and that would be a starting point. So, we signed up for the 2007 Candlelighters walk for childhood cancer. The day of the walk, my back ACHED. I took some meds and…well…a bit too much. When we took off, I was hunched over and we were definitely going to only do the one mile. But we missed the 1/2 mile turn around and were over half way through the 5k before we realized it. At one point, I had to tell my friend to stop talking to em for a while because I just had to try to make it through the walk and was hurting too bad. We finished. It was ugly. And we were definitely last.
We signed up for another…and after that another. And more. And soon we even signed up for a 10k in the Valley of Fire. Finally I was moving and doing something besides getting closer to crippled. And I liked it.
I even began spin class! There were setbacks, and my knee ended up requiring surgery. See, I had added golf to the mix too and was doing an awful lot given the weight I was carrying. But days after the surgery was at the 2009 Fatboy 5k. I went and though I could not walk it, I was there while Stacey did. And I was excited to get the leg going and get moving again.
By this time I was walking 5 and 10ks, golfing, and never even looking at the electric cart at the grocery store. Then I started working at my current job, where some co-workers talked about Kayaking. I love the water and had been in the desert about 11 years by that time. So, I decided to give that a whirl and LOVED it.
Got my own kayak and absolutely enjoy every minute of a kayaking day. That added yet another activity in to help improve my health as well as my quality of life. As a result, I have met tons of people with whom I really enjoy hanging out. They all also did something else I never thought I would EVER want to do…..ROCK CLIMBING! So, I got a harness and some climbing shoes and started going to the indoor gym with them. It was really fun and so I started going regularly. It is good for balance and it is also a great time to visit and get some social time in for the week. I don’t climb a lot and really have stopped for now to get some more weight off. But I still go on the outdoor climbs so that I can hike and take pictures of my friends. It is so quiet out on the walls and peaceful. I love the time outside and the wonderful exhaustion that comes with a hard scramble and hike in and out. Today I find my weekends filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing going to rock climbs or anything else that comes up. I bowl on a league for fun and I do CrossFit at CrossFit Max Effort in Las Vegas. I really have so much better a life than I did back when my back determined to limit me. I am writing this today because this week’s back pain reminded me how far this path has taken me. From looking at an electric scooter in the grocery store wondering if, at 45 my life had come to that, to eying Base Camp at Mount Everest at 51.