Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's a Bit of a Stretch

I posted a goal on 43things about three weeks ago that I'd lose 10 pounds by April 15th. I didn't make it, but I blame it all on my back.

I was doing well intake-wise, but I couldn't exercise. Every time I moved one leg in front of the other, the muscles in my lower back would scream. So I rested it for three weeks. I cancelled the walk yesterday with George, but today I found myself with two hours before lunch with the boys. So I hit Lake Merritt.

My back didn't hurt at all as I started down the trail. Well, other back muscles hurt, the usual suspects, but not the ones that bothered me in recent past. So I was quite pleased with that.

Oh, how I miss the gains I made when I first started walking every day right after I retired! I joined a weight-loss group, watched my caloric intake, and walked either Lake Merritt or the San Leandro Marina, depending on the weather. (If it was warm, I would shun the lake's heat and go for the cooling breezes of the marina.) In those days, I was listening to a lot of audiotapes to kill the monotony of the hour-long walk. Jack London, Memoirs of a Geisha, tales of a veterinarian in England. But that was before my iPod. Now, I listen with glee to podcasts.

And today I was catching up on Battlestar Galactica. Today's podcast was a bit longer than the walk itself, a fan-attended meeting where Ron Moore meets his fans and his detractors. I was just getting to the part where I found out which characters were part of the Final Four (Cylons), when my achilles tendons started thumping like mad.

I had to stop and do some stretches with the bench along the lakeshore. It eased up a little, but not a lot. And that reminded me of a friend who asked recently, why do something that hurts? If you've ever done leg stretches, you know they hurt. But the idea is that they'll hurt less when you've stretched and warmed up those muscles.

I recently got a rope (through the internet) that allows me to stretch my leg muscles before I leave the house. I used to do it every day, and it really helped with work, but lost the rope in the 2000 move. Now that I've got that rope, I hope to keep up the stretches of calf muscles, hamstrings, and Achilles. These are my nemeses, the obstacles to walking regularly.

I have two charitable walks, both 5Ks, this weekend, the one for the March of Dimes on Saturday, and the one in support of Darfur on Sunday. I had better stretch before I go.

As it turned out, I was in constant pain for the first third of my walk today, but as the muscles eased up, warmed up, and stretched out, the pain went away. The last third was sheer pleasure. As I was listening to Ron Moore tell us about the 4th season, the walk, and the pain, was over.

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