"Hello. Blimey, are you feeling ok? you've lost a lot of weight?"...
Now that was music to my ears quite frankly. Well at least its beginning to notice then. As I blogged a few weeks ago, the plan has been to concentrate on what I'm eating, cut out as much crap as possible and get myself back on the straight and narrow, meanwhile attempting to up the training efforts where I can injury permitting.
First, lets look at the diet...
43 days in, I'm doing more than ok.
37 days under the 1,770 net calorie target and 6 days where I've crept over. There was one weekend away in that at the beginning of July which meant no training, otherwise my progress has been more than acceptable.
I'm averaging around 1,202 calories a day and have run up a total calorie deficit of 24,411 calories. The weight loss is now kicking in and my running is benefitting hugely.
Of course, what with injuries, running has been very difficult in the last few months but I've managed to get back into some sort of routine over the last 6 weeks and it shows...
With the possibility of two more runs left in July, I will have racked up more than 90 miles this month. A huge improvement given the disappointments of May and June. Hopefully, August will see further improvement.
At this point, I'm still 100% certain that I made the correct decision in pulling out of the Berlin Marathon as early as I did. In terms of marathon training, I'd have two months left now and would have been running up in the high teens now in terms of distance so I dont think there is any doubt the decision was correct.
The fact that I've managed to get the miles in this month is testament to the fact that my back is getting better. It is nowhere near being 100% but its manageable at this current time.
Thanks to Alison's BUPA cover, I booked myself into see a specialist, Mr Colin Natali at the London Independent Hospital, just around the corner from my office in Whitechapel. Mr Natali sent me for a MRI and this is the result...
Now that you can see there is a cross section of my spine. Lets take a look at the more common view of a spine which will allow me to explain what is going on here.
As you can see from the diagram on the left, the spine is split into different areas, C1-C7, T1-T12 then L1-L5 and S1-S5. The vertebrae are most made up of water. Did you know that? No, I didnt either! Anyway, the MRI scan show that I have 'dehydration' of the L4/L5 and S1 vertebrae. That means that instead of the usual 90% water content, my lower back is around 78% and this causes the fluid sack to bulge against the nerves. I've got a small right-sided bulge why I get a lot of discomfort in my right groin and right bum cheek and down my right hamstring, the common sign of sciatica as it presses on the sciatic nerve.
So thats the diagnosis. Cure? Hmm. 90% of people respond to physiotherapy and pain management through pain killers. A small percentage of people end up having surgery. Fingers crossed the physiotherapy works for me. As yet, I havent booked the physio but I need to get a move on. Although I'm not suffering from discomfort, I am experiencing a lot of stiffness (ooooh er missus, someone call the innuendo police!) I feel ok when I'm moving about but first thing in the morning and whilst sitting down for long periods at work, it takes me a long while to get upright (oh for goodness sake, do stop it!)
So, all in all, things are definitely moving in the right direction. I'm feeling much better in myself, both physically and mentally. Running like a non-runner (pardon the expression) for the last few months has been exhausting mentally. When you've run 26.2 miles and then struggle to run 5k only 2 months later, you'll know what I mean but I'm most definitely on the way back up to where I should be. Happy Days!