____ Finally, after three days of dealing with a sore back, I can exercise once again. I think three days is the longest time I’ve had to go without running or working out since January. Needless to say I did not like the time away from exercise. This morning I jumped right back into my regular routine, starting off with crunches, doing them slowly at first, making sure I wouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort in my back, or re-injure myself. My abs felt extra sore having not done them in three days. After that I started on my daily pushups, noticing right away that I was unable to do as many as usual in my twenty minute pushup routine. Fortunately I felt fine when I ran the track, knocking out five miles in my usual forty five minutes, at nine minutes per mile. It’s a huge relief being able to recover from a muscle strain so quickly, thus enabling me to jump right back into my normal swing of life, keeping my mind and body busy and occupied.
____ This past week there was a large number of inmates released from the hole all at once. Some twenty to thirty inmates were placed back in general population, not for any odd reason, they simply finished out their time and punishment. What’s amazing to me is the astonishing influx of inmates being hauled off to the hole, some reasons of course are seemingly warranted, but some are very petty and I have no doubt they would not have gone to the hole if the guards weren’t simply trying to fill it back up. Many of the inmates that have been here for several years say that they do this every year right around the time for family day because there are just too many people signed up to have their families come and this is their way of reducing the numbers. I always take rumors like this with a grain of salt, but after all that I’ve seen in this prison I believe it to be true. I certainly can’t complain because I prefer it to be this strict and petty and I’ll tell you why. The strict and petty enforcements are what make this a better prison. I feel safer here, there’s a lot less dirt going on in plain site because nobody wants to spend three to six months in the hole. I came from a prison where beatings, stabbings and rape were a daily occurrence. This prison is like living in a really rich city with a low crime rate, there’s nothing going on so the police pull you over for exceeding five miles over the speed limit because they have nothing else to do.
___I continue to love learning in my new horticulture course. Each day I’m learning something new and it fascinates me. Not everything taught in this class is easy to understand and retain, but fortunately my teacher is great, he’s always breaking things down for us, explaining things, elaborating and writing notes in laymen’s terms for us to copy and study. My teacher is a nice man, he treats us inmates like human beings and he has a great attitude, showing us that he enjoys what he’s teaching us and throwing in the occasional joke here and there. Just yesterday, at the end of class he shook my hand; this was a sure sign that he viewed me as another man, not just some lowlife inmate. This was the first time in my prison sentence that I felt like an equal to the staff in here; giving me the common respect deserved as just another human being on this planet we call earth. Today we had the privilege of joining our teacher in the greenhouse and the garden outside of the greenhouse for some hands on experience. It was very enjoyable for me to do this, once again being able to touch some plants and plunge my hands in the dirt, for me this was extremely therapeutic. Our teacher showed us the plants in the greenhouse, there’s a palm tree that’s more than ten feet tall, flowers, cactus, ferns, hostas and even a banana tree growing inside. We pulled some weeds around the place and we even got to pick some of the vegetables from the garden, like the green peppers and cucumbers and we got to eat them too. This all made my day
___Today I have to continue taking it easy, which means no running, no pushups, sit-ups, or exercising of any kind. Not being able to exercise really bothers me. When I run each morning I give myself a chance to clear my mind, reboot, and think about the important issues in my life, whether it be my family and future outside of prison, or just my goals for the day. Working out is a major stress reliever for me, it releases endorphins in my body, giving me the healthiest, most natural, guilt free high in the world. I just hope and pray that I recover soon, so I can get right back into my normal daily routine. Having worked out regularly for so long has strengthened my body so well that I often recover much quicker from pain and illnesses then I used to in the past, so I have faith that I’ll be back in the swing of things soon enough.