Friday (3/14/14) wasn't just a "rest day" -- it was an "I know tomorrow is going to be hard on my back, so I'm not going to poke the bear by going to the gym today" day.
On Saturday (3/15/14), I had the pleasure of volunteering at the DC Rock'n'Roll Race Series at Water Station No. 8 (the first station for those continuing past the half marathon to the full -- "Eight is great, come hydrate!"). It's bittersweet that I couldn't run the 5k, like I had wanted to, but it was awesome to get out there and see all the runners. Also awesome were the number of runners that said "thank you" as they ran by.
But... six hours on my feet, bending over and pouring wee little cups of water/Gatorade took its toll.
After lunch with my co-captain and a neighbor who came down to help, I came home to take a nap (and some anti-inflammatories) in order to have a modicum of energy for a friend's birthday celebration later that night.
I used to be, but I'm no longer a fan of crowded bars. I'm less a fan of crowded Irish bars the weekend before St. Patrick's Day. But I'm a good friend and sometimes you just gotta show up. I lost count of the number of people who bumped into me or put an elbow right in my back. Or you say "I have a bad back" and they try to give you a back massage.
Harder to bear, though, were the few who tried to do side-bend wiggle hugs. These were the few times I actually winced or yelped in pain. I tried to keep that happy-go-lucky face on, but there's nothing that scares me more than a wiggle hug. They start off all benign, and then you feel the person begin to shift their weight. You do everything you can to resist this movement, but they are determined to treat you like a slinky.
A few of those hugs and a few drunk people falling into/spilling beer on me was enough to send me packing.
Morning the next day (3/16/14) was rough. I had multiple invites to go and do things (visit my niece, grab a beer, hang out) but it was all I could do to get out of bed and make myself some tea. Nurse Jack Cat took care of me, but the woozle can't make a waffle to save his nine lives.
Point is this:
Having an injury sucks.
Having a chronic injury sucks.
Having an "invisible" chronic injury sucks. (For instance, everyone gave the guy at the bar with his leg in a cast a wide berth, but when I asked a guy to stop elbowing me because I had a bad back he thought that I was just saying it for shits and giggles).
But you know what doesn't suck? Having people in my life who understand that my saying to them "I can't, my back won't let me" isn't a personal attack against them. I'm not trying to be anti-social or inflexible. I'm not trying to weasel out of plans with people. Some people understand that I'm saying "My pain is preventing me from putting pants on."
Also in the realm of "not sucking" -- people who give "solid as a rock" hugs -- they use their arms to give a gentle squeeze and just let me drop my guard and relax into it.
And some people just give me crap about it.
I have some moccasins they should try on.