Fractured Elbow and Training

Nine weeks to go for the New York City marathon and I manage to get a fractured elbow but at least it isn’t a stress fracture in my leg.  Right now I cannot tell you whether I’ll be running with a cast or not.  I have a nondisplaced radial head in my elbow.  Basically that means that there is a small crack in my elbow.  What does that mean for me personally?  My elbow hurts a lot and I’m currently taking 800 mg IB.  I have not taken the Vicodin that they also prescribed for intense pain because I’m not in that much pain.

After a great 8k race for me (30:45), I headed down the VA Beach side walk to cool down.  I ran out 1.5 miles and while running back a cyclist on a beach cruiser came out of a parking lot and hit me.  I immediately fell to the ground directly on my elbow.  I didn’t hear a crack or break and it felt like I had hit my funny bone.  The cyclist did not stop and muttered sorry as I was still laying on the ground. 

After getting up I noticed my knee, shoulder and elbow were bleeding profusely.  I was able to run back where I met my dad and started talking to him and washed up.  During my run back my arm felt “funny” but it didn’t feel awful.  (I think I still had a lot of adrenaline pumping through) but as we headed home it started to get progressively worse and by the time we were home, in my gut I knew it was broken. 

After getting x-rays at the hospital, they told me I had a nondisplaced radial head fracture in my elbow.  They put a soft cast on it and said it would be 4-6 weeks for it to fully heal.  I asked what this meant for running, for work, my move, ect.

Considering I cannot lift anything heavy right now (or do anything weight baring) I took a leave of absence at work.  (my last day should have been this coming Friday but now I’m done for good).  Packing will be tougher because I have a lot of heavy boxes to lift.

The question I have gotten the most is how is the going to affect my training?

Honestly  I don’t know yet.  I don’t have an injury that affects my legs.  I might try running but I’m going to be extremely careful and see where it takes me.  If it hurts, I won’t do it.  If that means giving up the NYC marathon, I’ll be heartbroken but that is what I’ll have to do.  Six weeks away is the first week of October and seasoned marathoners could probably get away with training for a marathon in a month.  I’m  not a seasoned marathoner.  Long story short, I have no idea where my training is going.  I am trying to be positive, I truly am, but it seems like I cannot catch a break.  I worked my butt off this summer creating a base and staying injury free.

There isn’t much I can do and feeling sorry for myself and making myself more miserable will just make the situation worse so with that I’ll attempt to stay busy in my last week in VA.  Hopefully that might include a run or two but I couldn’t tell you.



  1. boo about all of this. But you are being really smart, especially about training and seeing what feels right. I have to say, after some of your past injuries, this must feel like nothing because it isn’t in your legs but at least you understand it is still pretty serious. I am glad your work was so understanding because there is definitely no way you could have done that without hurting it even more. moving will be a bitch but luckily that is what family and friends are for! Hoping for the best for you~

  2. I hope you’re able to get back on the training, I know it SUCKS to be pulled away. I’m sending bone-building prayers your way.

  3. Hollie!!! I’m so sorry!! I understand accidents happen, but what a jerk thing to do. He didn’t even make sure you were okay?! Anyway, you already know you are not defined by one race. Still I hope you you find a way to make this work and compete. I hope you get to reap the rewards for all your hard work. Good luck!!! Rootin’ for ya!!!

  4. I can’t believe that jerk didn’t stop to help you up and make sure you were okay. I think you have an incredible attitude about the situation and wish you a VERY speedy recovery. Crossing my fingers you can still come run NYCM! Feel better soon!

  5. I actually broke my radial head in two spots after a fall. The surgeon who put in the permanent screws told me recovery for elbow injuries is difficult to predict, The first week for me was miserable with bed rest and my hand swelling making me look like Hell Boy.

    I had to do physio for over a month to get my flexion back.

    So hang in there, don’t over do any lifting and take it one day at a time.

  6. Oh my gosh…this is seriously awful! I can’t believe that person didn’t even stop to see if you were okay! People are so rude and inconsiderate! Anyway, hopefully you’ll heal quickly and be able to do the marathon. Keep your chin up! Sending good vibes your way!

  7. Oh wow, that sucks. I cannot believe that the biker didn’t even stop…I hope karma’s going to bite them hard. Keeping my fingers crossed that you’re still able to train ok!

  8. Ugh, I am so, so sorry Hollie! I can’t begin to imagine how hard this is. After all of your injuries, I know you’ll do what’s right for yourself in the long run which is a great example to the rest of us who have stupidly pushed through injuries before.
    Best of luck, sending healing thought your way!

  9. I’m so sorry, Hollie – that really stinks 🙁 And the fact that the [insert choice word here] didn’t even stop to see if you were okay is just icing on the cake. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery. I hope you’ll still be able to run NYC.

  10. Oh man. You’ve been so careful about taking rests when you need them and not overexerting yourself so that you don’t mess up your legs and then THIS happens. Whether you get to run or not you should be very proud of your training so far! And I really do hope that you get to run because you deserve it. Keeping you [and your arm 😀 ] in my thoughts Hollie!

  11. I hope you get to run, but more than anything I hope you heal quickly. You will run again and soon, your health and well-being is he most important thing <3 I am here if you need a text rant or someone to hear you out.

  12. I think once the cast comes off you could still complete the NYC marathon, but it’s a case of whether you could live with letting your goal time go…it’s a tough decision and I’m so sorry this has happened to you. You’re much more mature than I would be and I really admire your positive attitude, so I’ll just have to yell out an ‘it’s bloody well not fair!’ on your behalf.

    In terms of training, I guess it’s possible to run while keeping your arm in about the same position, because I don’t think most of the drive from the arms while running comes from the elbow…it’s more likely to be the impact that could shake things up and cause pain/delay healing. I really hope running doesn’t hurt, but as you say it’s better to back off if it does. I wish I wasn’t in another country so I could come and help you with moving so you didn’t have to lift all of that heavy stuff 🙁 Is there anyone that can help you with it at all?

  13. Can you train enough to just go out and have fun and not worry about times? I know it’s a longer distance but you run pretty far as it is! I hope the healing goes well. I’d be pissed about that guy just riding off! How rude!!!!

  14. I feel awful hearing about this and I’m so sorry for you. It’s even more frustrating that it isn’t an injury that directly affects your running since it’s not in your legs. You’re keeping a great outlook on all of it and I really hope you’re able to get back to running soon and that it heals well. Thinking of you!

  15. You can e-mail me and have a pity party all you want, Hollie. I will listen to anything and everything you have to say because I cannot believe this happened to you. Who would have thought you would go injury free running but end up with a FREAK accident. I’m not going to lie… I would probably hunt the biker down and give him a piece of my mind. Search party! UGH, I cannot imagine how you feel right now. 🙁

  16. So sorry to hear this…and I can’t believe he didn’t stop. I’m sure you will be smart and listen to your body, and I will be hoping for quick healing for you!

  17. Oh geeze, Hollie. I am so, so sorry to hear about all of this. I admire you trying to stay positive. Thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery. We’re all rooting for you to run NYC.

  18. I don’t know if I could stay as positive as you are if I was faced with something like this! I’d definitely have it out for that biker LOL. But regardless, I applaud you for staying optimistic and realistic. You’ve had curveballs thrown at you in the past and you’ll get through this just like you got through those other hurdles!

  19. Ugh that just sucks! I can’t believe they didn’t even stop to make sure you were ok. People amaze me. I have to say I admire your attitude towards it all. I am the queen of pity parties. Keep your head up!

  20. Aw I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank goodness it wasn’t your legs though because that would have been so much worse. Wishing you a fast recovery!

  21. I just read your ‘Running Story’ page yesterday and then read through today’s post. You have the worst running luck ever! I really hope you have a speedy recovery so you can get right back to running again. I can’t believe they didn’t stop…they knocked you to the ground!!! 🙁 Makes you really wonder about some people.

  22. Oh gosh, I did this too back in the beginning of the year. Mine actually took surgery and 6 screws. The good news is that you can run. I asked my surgeon after the surgery and he said – do you need your elbow to run? Haha. Truthfully, I took it easy and kept to the treadmill at first. Your stride may be thrown off (mine was) because of the cast/sling. I wore heavy duty roller skate style elbow pads for protection. Be smart. The major risk is a fall which could reinjure it. K
    Good luck with the recovery. One more thing – with elbows generally it is good to start mobility of the joint as soon as possible.

    1. Wow that sounds very painful! When I first researched fractured radial heads, surgery and very painful recovery is what came up and it had me so worried. Wow I can’t even imagine going through that! My stride has been a bit thrown off and awkward but I’m honestly just glad I can run!

  23. Oh my gosh. Yikes. Glad to hear you’re going OK. When I saw your Instagram, I thought it was an actual cyclist who hit you–not someone on a beach cruiser. I can’t believe they didn’t stop to see if you were hurt. That makes me so mad.

  24. Sorry Hollie! I hope you can run, Mike’s mom broke her shoulder while running and she wasn’t able to run for awhile, so I hope your story is different! Take care of yourself.

  25. Wishing you a quick recovery, and an even quicker return to training! But def take care & listen to the dr. x

  26. Really sorry, Hollie. This just sucks, but you have a good attitude about it. Hopefully it will heal up quickly. Maybe you can bribe some friends with coffee to lift the heavy boxes.

  27. I still cannot believe that damn tourist did that!!!! And to not stop!!

    Please, please, please, take Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium all at the same time, each day. It will aid in speedy healing!

    I’m so bummed for you. 🙁

    1. And bone broth!!! Drink it all day long!
      Check out Camille Herron’s blog…

  28. Oh my goodness!! I am so sorry- that is so frustrating that the cyclist didn’t even come back to see if you were okay… and now to know that your training might have to end here, ugh… not happy news at all. Thinking of you and crossing my fingers for the best!

  29. Oh Hollie. I know I am SO late on this, but I saw your tweet after it happened and I honestly almost cried for you as I read it. I am SO bummed that you fractured your elbow. UGHHHHH!!! I really hope it heals so that you’re able to race. You did NOT deserve that, but you will get through it. You always have the best attitude in situations like these.

Comments are closed.