Q: This is a question for rage. I recently suffered a ruptured disc in February. I somehow didn't require surgery, but it was still a very bad case. I took almost 6 months off, and have been trying to run for the past month or so even though I still feel some pretty weird sensations back there a few times a day. What I was wondering was how your back was doing. I really appreciated the essay on the back injury. I can't begin to tell you how much it's helped, especially when I hear that it's common for people with this sort of injury to never run again, let alone at the good level you do. That is about where I aspire to if all goes well. Thanks again for sharing your perspective and all the great writing on your site. - J., 9/29/03

A: Oh man, do I know what you're going through. Patience, my friend. While I was very lucky, I think I had a lot going for me, according to the doc. First of all, I only weigh a buck thirty. That takes a lot of pressure off my back to begin with. Second, mine was an accute case...that is, I knew it the second I did it, and it was a major hosing...making surgery a no brainer, even for the tightest of tight ass HMO claims dudes who held my life in their hands. Even through I got in quick and got the pressure off the nerve, I still have numbness in my lower leg calf area. It's not bad. I just know it's there. My only physical problem is the quad is still smaller than the other. It doesn't really affect my running...just looks weird...that's all. I also think I don't have the push off up hills, which is where I have really fallen off performance wise. However, I am very pleased overall to be where I am now. I ran a 29:58 five miler my first race back and almost lost it in the chute. You can't know...oh, wait...yes you can. I ran a 38:21 10k in August and really cruised it...so in that sense, I was pleased. My next event will be the Civil War Relay which is a 5 person 50 mile team event with each runner going 5 x 2 miles. So, in that sense, I am totally recovered. Will I ever be back to where I was? Probably not. Not because I don't think I could. It's mostly that I just can't bring myself to pull the trigger mentally on stepping up the rigor of my work outs. Right now, I am enjoying being pain free. I will never forget where I was...just a short 10 months ago.

Good luck to you. I know you can come back just like I did. Just be patient. Get a good MRI and talk to a good neurosurgeon on advising you on the best course of action for you. Good Luck. - The Rage (10/10/03)

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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.