Altitude Sickness, Column

Recovery progress continues with successful trail runs

By Brady Crain

Things are going really well with the back surgery recovery. Now that I can move my arms about and twist my spine, even trips to the chiropractor are easier, and it feels good to get back to the morning routine I have had forever, where I tumble out of bed, do a five minute full body warmup, do a hard five minutes of core activities, go for a walk or a run, shower, do five or so minutes of Tibetan yoga, and then eat breakfast. I haven’t been able to comfortably do this in almost a year, so it feels like old home week.

My swims are becoming much faster, alternating strokes every 100 yards, but I feel like I might be done swimming until fall, because I want to be doing things outdoors. The counterpoint to this is that swimming has a clear effect on the ease of my chiropractic adjustments, and I do enjoy that.

My running gained distance so quickly that I had to dial it back. My first trail run was a little over six miles with a 2,000 foot vertical climb, and I did quite well. In point of truth I ran much farther up the mountain without walking than I ever have before, walking perhaps a tenth of a mile or two up the steep scramble on the Pico Peak spur off the Sherburne Pass Trail.

The furthest I had made it before without any walking was the first two miles. This is enormous progress. I was a little sore the next day and the day after, and had a little bit of nerve ghosting, but that is to be expected less than five weeks off of surgery.

I also started taking naproxin with my evening meal to reduce swelling that occurs during my sleep. I chose naproxin over ibuprofen because eating late disturbs my sleep, and the extended effectiveness of naproxin allows me to take it with my evening meal and still have it out of my system by the time I exercise in the morning.

Two days later, the second trail run was more than eight miles, with closer to a 2,500 foot vertical climb, and I made it through that in exactly the same way: easily, but with a little stiffness and ghosting the next day.

My Monday softball game was also great, and I ran like a man on fire, even scoring an in-park home run, and playing as an extra on another team for a second game.

I took a rest day and played softball again on Wednesday, and I was a bit lackluster, as was the whole team. The amount of sprinting done in two well-played softball games on Monday was perhaps a bit beyond my capabilities, and the rest day Tuesday left me feeling crappy and stiff instead of relaxed and fluid.

I keep trying to work rest days into my schedule, but I haven’t found the right formula. I always feel like I am in worse shape than when I started. I think I might need to try emphasizing longer yoga workouts on rest days so that I am still getting flexibility training, but engaging in a less strenuous recovery type activity.

I am now heading to New York City for a couple of weeks, and will be putting my surgery to the test with a lot of pavement walking and running. I will miss my mountains, but it will be pleasant to reconvene with all my former city mice compatriots. I always miss New York City until I go back. I’ll inevitably come back broke and overstimulated.

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