This week was 60 miles of running, 1500 yards of swimming and 18 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.
On Thursday, I got an epidural injection of a corticosteroid in my back on each side of the L5 vertebra with the goal of trying to locate the source of my issues. An MRI of my lumbar spine and pelvis doesn't show much of concern, just some slight narrowing/bulging, but MRIs are not always accurate. So we tried the shot - if I noticed a big difference, then it would confirm that my issue was with the nerves in L5 or lower.
And I noticed a big difference within 24 hours. To explain - running has become this thing where I am constantly worrying about balance/tripping/wobbling - I've been running on pavement or even running tracks with the same amount of focus as someone else who runs on trails with rocks and tree branches. Just a ton of concentration and care.
Part of it has just been that my legs felt like they just couldn't react quickly - if I caught a toe or a foot landed on a slightly uneven bit of pavement, I was going to fall because I wouldn't be able to react quickly enough to maintain my balance. And my leg muscles weren't reliably listening to me. My quads were like wet brakes - I would contract the quad slightly during my running gait, and it would just over-contract and lock up - sometimes, but not always. Or alternately it wouldn't contract and just feel like it was going to collapse on me.
On Friday-Sunday, I was able to just run. No worries about cracks and manhole covers and bumps on the road. I ran in high stack shoes, I ran down hills, I ran on salted roads. All without issue.
I hadn't realized it before, but even my walking has been affected - in the days since the shot, I feel so much more secure and stable on wet pool decks, slushy sidewalks, etc.
So, it seems like I clearly have some answers - my problems are caused by inflammation of the nerves in my spine at L5 and below (of course, the outstanding question is: what is causing the inflammation?) . I'll check back in with the doctor in mid-February to discuss next steps; in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this.
Monday: 9 "miles" pool-running and streaming yoga Foam rolling at night.