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standing in line with mister jimmy | Main | Marathon pictures

July 16, 2004


Anne walked into the house yesterday afternoon, and said, "Will you set up the computer for me, so I can write the marathon story?"

"Yes. Yes I can," I said. "The natives have been growing restless."

"I know," she said. "I finally have some time to do it."

I pulled myself up off the floor, where I've spent much of the last two days with a very painful lower back, and did as she asked.

We're going to link in some pictures and stuff, but I absolutely can't sit here longer than a minute or so before I feel like I'm going to cry from the pain, so the full story won't come out until Monday.

Until then, here's a little bit of her entry:

In all our training, we were able walk 13 miles and feel great. So I figured when we did the marathon, it might be a bit tiring, but such a thrill to be there that it wouldn't matter. Boy, was I wrong. By the time we reached that oh-so-exciting 13.1 mile marker (that would be the half way point for those of you keeping score at home) I was completely exhausted. "Half way!" I said as we approached the sign. Of course, the people around us probably thought I was excited but the truth was, I was pissed that I felt so terrible and it was only have way done. Or halfway left. However you want to look at it.

Wil and I both went through waves of feeling great and feeling like we couldn't go on over the next ten miles. Of course, when Wil was feeling great, I had to listen to him make up songs about keeping our head up and our shoulders back. Mmm. That was nice. But when I was feeling really wiped out and in pain, I just kept saying, "This is nothing compared to seven days of radiation or a month of chemo." Then I felt like such a chump for even complaining at all.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and check back on Monday for the full post.

Posted by wil at July 16, 2004 01:38 PM
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Woohoo, first post...?!?!

Posted by: Jennifer Dulock at July 16, 2004 01:45 PM

Second!? Looking forward to reading this. It's almost enough to make we want to do excersise.

Posted by: Geoff at July 16, 2004 01:48 PM

Ok, so now that that's out of the way - I think that you guys have done an AWESOME thing, and I can't wait to hear Anne's story.

Just keep going....just keep going...



Posted by: Jennifer Dulock at July 16, 2004 01:48 PM

I just wanted to say I feel your pain, Wil. I suffer from lower back issues and I understand what you're going through.

I'm looking forward to the full story!

Hang in there. :) (hugs)

Posted by: Lori at July 16, 2004 01:59 PM

Oh Wil. That's so mean. ^_^ Congrats to both of you vor even going for it! And Anne, I don't really think that you feeling bad after 13 miles is anything to be ashamed of! Can't wait for the next post ^_^

Posted by: Shaynie at July 16, 2004 02:00 PM

i can't wait to read the rest! and feel better wil. get thee to a chiropractor.

Posted by: zettgrl at July 16, 2004 02:03 PM

Oh, sure-- keep us waiting with baited breath!

I'm training for the Portland Marathon for TNT, too; the posts from you and Ann have really inspired me and helped me get across to others why I'm doing this thing, this crazy thing. Thank you for that.

Posted by: Mortaine at July 16, 2004 02:15 PM

I never did understand why people post "Woo! FIRST POSTz0R" things, not like they usually say anything useful... Perhaps the point should not be who can post the fastest but who can post something related to the topic fastest, and make sense, AND have decent enough spelling... (And just posting "Yeah, me too" wouldn't count...)

Personally I CAN wait for the full entry... mostly because I know it's coming, it's coming soon, and I know when... now if they just said "It'll be 'round soon enough" I'm might start complaining... though probably not because that's not really something to complain about... something to complain about might be that I don't get enough sleep and when I stay up all night playing realmyst I end up posting really weird shit like this...

Posted by: StarkRG at July 16, 2004 02:20 PM

Yikes, I hope your back gets better soon! If you're lucky (and it seems as though you are) you'll be able to garner some sympathy TLC with it at least. That's always a nice benefit of having a s.o. :)

I'm always in awe of people who can finish marathons in any manner! I run, but have yet to do 26 miles at a time. It really is amazing to discover what our bodies are capable of enduring, though.

Posted by: ignote at July 16, 2004 02:24 PM


I have frequent lower back pain and this seems to help me: take a thick pillow wrapped in a blanket or a thick, rolled-up sleeping bag. Lie on the floor on your stomach with the pillow or bag under your waistline. Rock back and forth for several minutes. This will unpinch some pinched nerves. It helps me a lot.

Take care. I'm almost finished JAG.

Freeman :)

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at July 16, 2004 02:55 PM

Wil, get thee to a chiropractor! I used to have back pain a lot, especially after lifting something heavy. Once I started seeing the chiro, I never had that bad pain again. I only see her a few times a year now, and it is worth every penny my insurance pays her. :-)

Posted by: Jennifer S. at July 16, 2004 02:56 PM

It's awesome that you guys got worked up to 13 miles. My boyfriend and I are trying to get in shape for our wedding. We're up to getting a thrid of the way around the track, running, before we start feeling it. We're going for four, maybe more, laps. Next? Eating right. I have the distinct feeling that that's going to be harder than running.

Posted by: Veronica Knight at July 16, 2004 03:00 PM

Veronica Knight -- you're making it harder on yourself running on a track. It's easier to go farther if you aren't doing laps. But if you absolutely insist on running on a track, be sure and switch direction every so often. Not good to do all your running one way.

Posted by: stoolpigeon at July 16, 2004 04:16 PM

I'm anxious to see what else Anne has to say on the marathon. And I hope your back feels better soon. I know how it feels to be laid up with back problems.

Posted by: Amber at July 16, 2004 07:05 PM

I love the fact you compared your running 26 miles to rounds of chimotherapy. Everytime I think something in my life has gone to crap. I think of my relatives in England and how many of them survived wars in root cellars and on rations.
Go Wil and Anne what you did was wonderful and it'll come full circle....I truly believe that what goes around will come around. Good for the karma!

Posted by: 1cutebird at July 16, 2004 08:04 PM

hey Wil! Just wanted to let you know that Jackie and I had are baby last night. Beautiful baby girl. I've got lots of pics at the website(dougandjackie.com).

Posted by: Douglas at July 16, 2004 09:23 PM

hey Wil! Just wanted to let you know that Jackie and I had are baby last night. Beautiful baby girl. I've got lots of pics at the website(dougandjackie.com).

Posted by: Douglas at July 16, 2004 09:24 PM

Hi Wil and Anne,

Great update. Except for the back pain. And thanks to your readers for some great tips to deal with it since I have the hereditary lower back thing too. And to add my own tip, a cup of decaf green tea with a chunk of ginger root and a little honey every day has taken the edge off the chronic pain I have from an injury. Steep it all together. It took about a week before I noticed a difference. Just DON'T USE to take meds with though, it will slow or even cancel the uptake. In between meds may be ok, check with the doc.

Posted by: Karen S at July 17, 2004 05:40 AM

I feel for you.
I guess I should be lucky, cause my brother is a chiropracter.(sp)Well it was either that or a dentist and since the everyone in my family suffers from back pain it's a blessing. I can't wait to read the whole story and I'm so glad that you did the race and that you two had each other. Keep up the great work and take care of that back.

Posted by: Morgan at July 17, 2004 05:50 AM

W00t! 17th Post!

ummm, yeah. Forget the chiropractor and treat you and the wife to massages (I typed 'messages' by mistake -- treat yourselves to email!).

Congrats on the marathon!


Posted by: macfixer at July 17, 2004 08:01 AM

Spent the morning reading 'just a geek'. Really enjoying it. Its going fast though, hope you're working on the next book.

You planning on doing any book signings in Pasadena? Why don't you organize your own, find some geeky place (Cal Tech, JPL, Irish pub, game zone) and get a guinness keg or something.

BTW, if you go to Saturn in Monrovia, check out the pictures - there's one of me wearing a WWdN shirt.

Posted by: julia at July 17, 2004 08:48 AM

Oh, I'm with you on the back pain thing. If you're still hurting, get a book called "Treat Your Own Back". I got a copy from my doc and it's helped a lot.

The main exercise is lying face down on a hard surface. Nothing feels better for lower back pain.

Posted by: Niki at July 17, 2004 08:49 AM

Can't wait to read the rest! Hope you're back feels better soon.

Posted by: Sarah at July 17, 2004 09:23 AM

Just a little more unsolicited back pain advice.

Really now, nothing works better than the booze! A lot of the time the pain comes from muscle tension. Booze is a great relaxant, and well, getting a wee bit tipsy can't be so bad either! Any sort of muscle relaxant will generally help, but one combined with aspirin (anti-inflamatory) is better. Stretching the muscles is also a key thing to do. I also have a 'lucky chair' than I can sit in that gives lower back support only.

Ask yourself "What would Picard do about back pain?" Well, you can bet your buns he'd keep his shirt tucked in.

Posted by: anc at July 17, 2004 10:16 AM

Sorry to hear about the back guy, I know, and feel your pain. I blew out two disc in my back, and suffered for a couple of years before the surgery fixed me right up. I hope/pray/keep positive thoughts, that you don't have to go through that. Especially since next weekend is Comic Con, here in Lovely Sandy Eggo.
I look forward to reading Ann's spin on the whole walk.
But you, Uncle Willie, back on the floor, keep icing the back, and take lots of Aleve.

Posted by: Jeff at July 17, 2004 12:32 PM

Hey Wil, I 'll be out of town for a week or two so why I am remembering it.. Happy Birthday real early. Have a great day on the 29th.

Posted by: Frank at July 17, 2004 02:07 PM


For your back pain, report to sick bay; have your mother wave her magic wand *rod, stick, staff--enough Data* over the injured area. Then report to 10 Forward, have Guinan fix you a tea, Earl Gray, hot with a shot of synthahol. Find Robin on the observation deck and ask her why the stars do shine, ask her why the ivy twines...

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at July 17, 2004 05:03 PM

Another long-time back sufferer here (due to scoliosis).

The best advice (that works for me, your mileage may vary) for short-term flair-ups is to:

- figure out if ice or heat works best for you - if it's chronic, most likely heat will help (relaxes muscles), if it's not, usually cold will work better (reduces inflammation). Apply for a decent period of time until you feel some relief.

- stretch. Generally using an excersize/Swiss ball works the best, but without one the Mad Cat stretch tends to be most effective for me.

- take an anti-inflammatory drug of some kind - if it's really unbearable try a muscle-relaxant/a-i combo. In Canada you can get aspirin plus low-dose codeine pills over the counter, which I find useful on occasion as well.

If it's a chronic thing, definitely see a chiropractor. They can help gets things moving, and can recommend further stretches and excercizes that will minimize and prevent further re-occurence. My chiropractor's mantra is "motion is lotion" (once the major flair-up is gone, of course), which has proven to be considerably more effective than doing nothing :)

Posted by: mabman at July 17, 2004 05:38 PM

Keep it up. Believe me it gets harder when you pass FIFTY. Congrats.

Posted by: Gary Hammontree, Judy's husband at July 17, 2004 08:01 PM

Hi, Wil and Anne. My first post, but I've been reading you a long time. I enjoy reading about the fam, the funny kid stories, the love you share, and the geek stuff. So, speaking of, what computer did you set up for Anne? I know you have mentioned your PowerBook in the past. Do you all use Macs? Each of my 3 have an iMac (the old fruity-style, not the sunflower-style). My poor wife has to use an HP to be compatible with her work, and she is always saying "Why did it do that?" My answer is usually, "Oh, it's Windows. No one knows why Windows does things one way one time, and another way another time."
So this fan from Louisiana says, "Stay young, or at least youthful"

Posted by: John Comeaux at July 17, 2004 09:16 PM


Sorry to hear about your sore back. You'll have to remember to set your egg timer next time you write. Is your desk ergonomically correct at home? I hope that you have a comfortable desk chair. I've seen too many people sit in all sorts of weird and uncomfortable positions while they use their computer -- on folding chairs, milk crates, computer boxes...and wonder why they ache after they sit at the computer too long!

Take lots of breaks from typing. I don't have carpel tunnel myself but it can be nasty and that's the last thing that you need. :-)

I enjoy reading your blog. I haven't sifted through the archives -- have you ever written about your life in 1993 when you rode the rails across the US? I'm sure you could come up with enough stories to fill another book. Dancing Barefoot was my favorite, and I'm still working on JAG. You talk about Wm Shatner a lot but not much about Leonard Nimoy. I enjoyed his book "I Am Spock" and had a secret crush on him when I was 6.

Before I go, I have to say that since I started reading your web log, I have been haunted by Stand By Me -- on HBO, in the check out stand, or just hearing the soundtrack on the radio. Do you ever watch your own movies or is it just too weird to see yourself on screen?

I'm sure I went over the comment limit. Have a nice weekend and get well soon!

- Linda

Posted by: Linda at July 17, 2004 09:50 PM

Hey Wil, I've had bad back pain out of the blue for the last couple of days too. I think I figured it out though -- it's the pair of underwear I was wearing which was particularly tight. As soon as I exchanged them for a looser fit I felt relief. When I went to sleep without the tight underwear I woke up feeling much better.

Just thought you might benefit from this *ahem* experience

Posted by: Dude at July 17, 2004 11:50 PM

I hope your back feels better soon!!! Heating pads work wonders! ;)

Posted by: Laura at July 18, 2004 01:33 AM

I'm back for a second post, I had a thought (quick, run for the hills...)
What are the chances, since G4 TECH TV is moving to LA and there are still some of us who are hoping THE SCREEN SAVERS will survive said move, that you can be involved there somehow? Like on a regular basis maybe even.


Many hopes your back is better today, mine hurts now so I'm making ginger root tea after I click.

Posted by: Karen S. at July 18, 2004 04:56 AM

Completely unrelated to the post, but I got confirmation of delivery today from amazon for Just A Geek. Had forgotten I'd ordered it, actually.
And I'm in the UK. Woop!

Posted by: dizzy steinway at July 18, 2004 11:05 AM

Ohmigosh, Wil and Anne, I can't believe you tried to walk a marathon w/only having done a 13.1 walk before hand. On one hand, I'm thinking "That's crazy!" and on the other hand, I'm thinking, "How totally awesome they were able to will themselves to the finish!"

Learn from the Penguin--do a 20 mile walk beforehand next time. 'Cause I know there's going to be a next time :)

Looking forward to reading the rest of the story.

Posted by: JR at July 18, 2004 12:58 PM

OH yeah, I forgot all about the ice/heat thing. I usually on find that beneficial if I'm really bad off with the back pain. And then I generally have to alternate them. The ice numbs the pain and reduces the inflammation, and the hot relaxes the muscles more.

That and some tequila will tame the dragon. Or at least make him drunk.

Posted by: anc at July 18, 2004 03:11 PM

AAW: The Audience Is Listening

Looking forward to the official Anne post. The question on all of our minds is: Will Anne go up a major version number? Will we get Anne 4.0? Or will SMP sub-system changes be put off and we'll have to cope with 3.7?


By the way, what was the final total of donations?

Posted by: Craig Steffen at July 18, 2004 07:04 PM

Hey Wil-
For your back, you should try this stuff called Tiger Balm. I'm sure you can get it at any health food store, and probably even a supermarket (I got mine at ShopRite.) Anyway, you smear this stuff on your back, and then lay down on your back with a pillow under your knees. I guarantee you'll fall asleep, and when you wake up, your back will be much better. It works wonders. Let us know how you're feeling!
[email protected]

Posted by: Alicia at July 19, 2004 05:12 AM

Forgot a couple of things:

- a lot of people get more relief from elevating their legs while lying on the floor - you can try anything from a pillow to a chair (so your legs are almost at 90 degrees). Doing so sometimes makes your legs fall asleep, however :)

- if it's a chronic thing, and you're not allergic to sulfa-based drugs, a good option is to start taking the natural supplement "MSM" (methylsulfonylmethane). It's a natural form of sulphur, and is the active compound in horse linament. It reduces the overall inflammation in your body, which can help a lot. I've found that it does take 1-2 months of taking it every day to kick in (minimum 1000 mg/day for me, usually I take a lot more), but once it does you'll notice a big difference. So far, studies haven't found any negative drug interactions, and it appears any excess your body doesn't absorb gets excreted through the skin, which is odourless and colourless, and apparently has a slight bug repellent effect. Also your pee will smell a bit funny, but it's a small price to pay :) Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: mabman at July 19, 2004 06:25 AM

Wil, I did a few charity walkathons in he late 70's and early 80's, so I can appreciate what you and Ann went through. Kudos to both of you for hanging in there and staying the course to the end.

As far as your lower back goes, I would most definitely see a chiropractor without delay. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll be on your way to getting some real relief--I know from experience! Also, the longer you wait to get this condition treated, the greater the likelihood of it turning into something chronic (if it isn't already that way!), or even permanent. You're too young and have too much living (and writing!) to do to have that to contend with the rest of your life! Get thee to a chiropractor, Wil Wheaton--NOW!!

Posted by: Tom Nichol at July 19, 2004 06:53 AM


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