My back is feeling better. Thanks to my mom and my friend Kelsa's advice, I iced it and that appeared to be the cure.
Because my back is in better shape, I had no reason to skip my 4 mile run today. So I did it. It was a beautiful day for a run - 58 degrees and sunny. I told myself there was no need to push too hard. I wanted to make it and if that meant walking part of the way, I would.
I was a little surprised because based on my post run calculations, I kept a pretty steady 11:34 min/mile pace. Not terribly fast, but I also walked a lot. Probably close to at least 0.5 miles of walking total. That means when I was running, I was running faster than 11:34. It gives me hope that my speed actually is increasing. And with two weeks until the Shamrock Shuffle, I might just have enough time to work on my endurance. Things are looking up. Much like the roads I run on, my relationship with running has its own peaks and valleys.