With all the training programs out there, I have not found one that fully covers how to return to running after spinal surgery, and that is why I started “Fusion to 5k.” The last time I ran was in March of 2011, a three mile run that left me with pain and a sick feeling that it may be the last one for a while. I didn’t expect my hiatus from running to span more than a year and jean size.
I started running in the late 70s, where short shorts, tall socks, and long hair were the style and the first running boom was just getting started. My first race was the inaugural Sage City 10k using running shoes stuffed with two extra insoles to make up for the lack of cushioning that ended up causing the biggest blisters I would ever see in my running life.
While sitting in the first aid tent getting the blisters treated, one of the elite runners, Dave Hoover, came by after seeing my world record blisters, and suggested I come by his store, Body n Sole, to get fit for a proper running shoe that wouldn’t tear up my feet. I didn’t know it at the time, but that one moment would start me on a lifetime of running and racing, which several years later turned into a career with Body n Sole Sports.
I have experienced the typical and not so typical injuries during my 30 + years of running, but usually a few weeks off, ice, therapy, etc., would get me back on track. The last three years I have noticed that my balance was off, with pain on the left side of my lower back and hip and numbness on my right side; I just tried to ignore it, thinking it would go away. During a physical I told my doctor about the symptoms I was having and after my exam he ordered X-rays and an appointment with a neurologist and the Spine Clinic. The next several months were filled with MRI’s from head to toe, nerve tests, physical therapy, injections, more therapy, and second opinions. The diagnosis was severe spinal stenosis, spondylitis and yada, yada yada, surgery was my last option.
I finally made the decision last fall to have surgery and asked my surgeon if I would ever be able to run again. He said if everything goes well and I do my therapy (walking, walking, and more walking) returning to running in six months might be a possibility. I was expecting to hear a different answer like, no running, why don’t you just take up walking or the elliptical machine. To have a doctor say that running would good for me is something I’m not used to hearing. After a slight delay the surgery was scheduled for December 2nd, 2011.
To be continued….