Week 11: Injury Is Awful.

Want to know the honest truth?

This week was awful for my running.  On the “schedule”, the plan was to have a peak week and then slowly begin to taper the Phoenix Full Marathon.  That obviously didn’t happen. I spent most of the week upset because my back was in a lot of pain.. Long story short I pulled my back muscle in the Rochester airport on Tuesday morning.

Diva moments of the week:

In the words of my favorite celebrity on my favorite TV show… 

tyra banks pain


I cried…a lot.

I told T to cancel our flight tickets to Phoenix.

I texted several people of my issues (several times…) and honestly this week crushed me.   Thank you to my friends (Dad, Victoria and Kris) who put up with those multiple text messages.

I was truly convinced I had a herniated disc or degenerative discs

Both of which have affected my family members in their early to mid 20s.  Due to genetics this is a legitimate concern for my siblings and I. 

I’m being more dramatic then needed but all of these thoughts crossed my mind.  With three weeks until my goal race, the last thing I want or need is an injury. Since my back hurt I was in an awful mood most of the week.  Until Friday afternoon I had talked myself out of the marathon.

Monday: 20 miles treadmill
Tuesday: Travel home, hurt back, throw hissy fit and rest
Wednesday: Continue to throw hissy fit, be a diva and rest
Thursday: First chiropractor appointment
Friday: Cross training AMT
Saturday: 10 miles Resume normal training
Sunday: 10 miles easy
Total 40

Let’s rewind to the beginning of the week:

On Monday I started the week off well.  I ran 20 miles on the treadmill.  I had no issues, felt good and had an overall great run.  It was my longest run on the treadmill and I played it safe.  Since I was in Rochester and they received 2 feet of snow, running outside on Monday was not an option. I just zoned out and ran.  I didn’t push the pace and felt great. I wasn’t in pain during or after the run.

On Tuesday morning in the Rochester Airport I threw out my back.  I was in a significant amount of pain and hobbled to my airplane and then ventured back home.  I’ve strained muscles in my back a few times.  Normally it takes 2 days and I’m pretty much healed.  This particular case left me unable to walk (that has never happened) and I didn’t feel any better two days later. I began to worry and panic it was something more serious.

Since I wasn’t feeling any better on Thursday I decided to jump the gun and make a chiropractor appointment.  I was in more of a panic mode because my marathon is in 3 weeks.  If I wasn’t running my second marathon so soon I don’t think I would have been so aggressive.

I literally said “this is my first time going to a chiro, I am in pain and I’m probably over reacting and being a diva.  Please help”.   We chatted about my issues and he did an adjustment (I guess that is what it is called). He said I had a couple of pinched nerves which he was easily able to locate. He made me feel a lot better because he said he sees multiple people with the same issue.   I am not a special snowflake!  Hooray!

I woke up Friday morning in more pain. I didn’t begin to see relief until Friday afternoon.  It was as if all of a sudden my back started to feel better.  It took the better part of the weekend but it felt good enough that I could run on Saturday.  It didn’t get any worse or any better while running on Saturday. On Sunday I felt relatively normal running. I’m stiff from a few days off but that will go away soon.

In summary, I think I had a really bad strained muscle in my back.   My guess is the 20 miler on the treadmill made my back tight and I tweaked my spine in the morning.  I’ve strained my back before but never this serious.  I might have over reacted a bit but we have all been there.  

I was not physically able to walk on Tuesday or Wednesday (thinking about running made me in pain). By Thursday I was able to walk and by Friday I almost walked normal.

Then the weekend was obviously the best part since I was able to run injury free again.  I’m glad to start and end this week injury free (I’ll just forget about the middle).  Only 3 weeks until Phoenix so it’s time to relax and taking care of the other factors.

Thanks to everyone who put up with my diva status this week. I hope this is the worst issue of the training cycle. I guess it’s time to enter the taper crazies.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to a chiropractor?

Do you over react during running injuries?

I think the fact that I was injury free for this cycle and to have something sneak up like this made me more of a diva than normal.  I would say I overreact in running injuries though (I’m a pretty big baby).



  1. Anytime! I know you’ve been on the receiving end of my dramatic texts too many times to count. So glad you are feeling better and keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way!! Thank you for being so candid with your ups & downs with us. I really appreciate that in a blogger!

  2. I definitely overreacted when I was injured over the summer. It’s stressful when you can’t do what you enjoy (running) but even worse when you can’t even walk around and it affects your daily life to where you can’t… live. Even if I’m not running (by choice), I don’t want to just sit around, you know?

    I have never been to a chiro (I am thinking about trying one though), but I am glad it worked for you and you’re able to resume training. It stinks you weren’t able to get your miles in this week, but hopefully you will toe the line injury free and smiling, and finish injury free and smiling, and that is what counts ultimately.

  3. I’m happy to listen to text rants of #rage anytime. I’m glad you are feeling a little better, also, I think I read somewhere that hissy fits are great for building VO2 max so you should be in great shape to finish out marathon training.

    As a wise runner once said, “better to show up on race day maybe undertrained than definitely injured.”

    1. I feel like my lungs are a lot stronger. I think it’s how i excelled in distance swimming…I don’t know about you but I think I whined more than I actually swam.

  4. Yikes that had to have been scary and frustrating (among a slew of other emotions); but so glad you’re feeling better! I used to go to a chiropractor and noticed a big difference (I would go monthly) and happy you had a positive experience (especially on your first one!). Also, at least you got a good 20 miler in before it all went down. Lastly, a good friend of mine would always tell me, “it’s better to go into a race under-prepared than over-prepared.” Can’t wait to see how you do in Pheonix l. 🙂

  5. LOLing at Victoria’s VO2 max comment! In all seriousness, though, it’s better to be cautious than to push through the pain–glad you were smart about it. All that’s left to do now is embrace the taper!

  6. I have never been to a chiropractor, but I practically kept my pt in business. I had the same one since I was 12, but had to find a new one when I moved to college. I don’t really over react anymore, I basically expect injuries will pop up.

  7. I’ve had something similar happen to me twice in the peak week before a marathon, but with my neck. It hurt so much that I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t push the gas pedal, and I couldn’t run my last 20-miler. While I also thought I was being a diva, if you can’t move, I think the diva-ness is justified. (Muscle relaxers saved me both times, maybe because they knocked me out completely for a couple days.)

    Anyway, the last time it happened was two years ago before the Pittsburgh marathon. I was about to cancel my flight, but I was going to see my sister so I decided to just go. And I went out and ran a PR.

    So, I think you should still go run Phoenix. You’ve been otherwise healthy, and this week off wasn’t enough time to lose fitness. If anything, it gave your legs a little rest before the final big push. Go out there and run to celebrate the fact that your back is ok!

  8. I just started reading your post and loudly went HOLY S%&*! I am in FL on vacation and was scheduled to run in a half this morning and after doing something, no idea what, to my upper back, right shoulder/neck area Friday I went for a massage last night hoping it would be better…no go and had to take off running today (no race) and probably tomorrow. That is soo weird! I’m heading back home Tuesday and thought about a chiropractor too. I’m thinking I reallllly should look into a chiro as an option! Hope you’re fully recovered soon!

  9. I love my chiropractor! Back pain is no joke! I know when I get it, it basically hurts to even breathe lol. Wishing you continued good health heading into your taper, which is probably coming at a good time so you can have more rest!!

  10. I think any injury scares the crap out of you if you are an athlete. Besides my knee, I freak out over any pain and think it’s a stress fracture immediately lol.

  11. Anyone training for several months totally understands. We put so much mentally and physically into our running. The early wake ups, miles, miles, eating healthy, rolling, stretching, miles, miles…. We give a lot on a regular basis and its hard to have that threatened…especially at the end of many weeks of training. Glad you are feeling better.

  12. My mom and aunt have back issues so I totally understand why you would react the way you did, especially having the family history. I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear you’re on the mend! Maybe tapering will actually be a good thing!

    1. I am so grateful to chat with you Liz! Thank you so much for all of your advice. I really appreciate it.

  13. i have a chiro that I go to and feel so much better after a session with him! Like any other profession there are good ones and bad ones. Do your research first. Chiro + massage is they best and what I do and feel so much better.

    1. I always have the best luck with massages so I can relate to that! Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  14. Um, yes, I very much do overreact when things hurt running related! Especially since you’re on peak week! Hope you’re doing well now!
    And yes, I have used a chiropractor for sciatic nerve pain, it works if you find the right person that gets you. It took me a few tries to find the right person.

  15. I love the chiro I just got some stim and adjusted this past week and it really helps my imbalances – my hips are off and you can actually start to see one shoulder higher than the other. I am trying to get back into the habit.
    But seriously when it is close to race time and you feel an injury come on or ARE injured heck yes time to start being a diva! glad you are feeling better.

  16. OMG Hollie…in January I pulled an upper back muscle and I THOUGHT I WAS DYING. I’m not kidding. I seriously cried, couldn’t move, thought I was having spasms. Doing anything hurt. It took 2 weeks for me to feel better. I hope everything goes smoothly from here on out!

  17. Ack. Sorry to hear about the back pain, Hollie. I’m a pretty big overreacter when it comes to anything to do with my back/neck as well. My mom’s currently suffering from a whole lot of sciatic pain, and seeing what she has to go through makes me pretty paranoid. I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better.

  18. That seems like a close call! I would totally be freaking out as well. I’m happy you got everything sorted out! How do you change your training to compensate for a week like this?

  19. Yikes!! Injuries are no fun 😔 a couple years ago I did go to a chiropractor for a running injury– my pelvis has slipped out of alignment and was grinding against my spine. I could hardly walk!! I actually had to quit running for about a month and it took forever to get my speed back. So I’m glad you were able to run again by the weekend!!

  20. I’m sorry that happened Hollie 🙁 Injuring yourself while not running (I assume you weren’t at the airport for a runway workout) is definitely more annoying. It’s not an over reaction to think of the worst thing that can happen with these things, then anything better is a bonus. I definitely overreact though 😉 Take care, one more recovery week than planned but Phoenix has still got your name on it!

  21. I’m so glad it wasn’t a marathon-ending injury and I gave totally been there! In fact, this Saturday I had talked myself into a stress fracture until I read the symptoms and realized I had none of them. But, of course, I still spent serious time panicking about the demise of my training and the run this summer!

  22. No, you’re not a big baby. You haven’t had the chance to run a full marathon without something inhibiting your training, and you have every right to be frustrated and upset about the prospect of injury rearing its ugly head and sidelining you at the last minute. I’m just extremely happy and relieved for you that it was just a scare and not serious enough to prevent you from resuming your training. Don’t give yourself a hard time for being scared or supposedly overreacting: anyone else would have done the same thing, and you didn’t let it overwhelm you to the point of not being proactive enough to take the actions necessary towards your recovery.

    I’m in the ‘diva’ stage myself. I injured my foot somehow on Saturday and I’m in a total state of panic over it. I’m not sure if it’s a stress reaction (I don’t think the pain is localized enough to be a fracture, but I could be wrong. Worst nightmare territory right there) or severe tendinitis, but I’ve never known something come on so severely and so quickly if it’s a tendon problem.

  23. Hissy fit pretty much sums up how I react to injury. End of the world, it’s never going to get better, I’ll be bed ridden for life – you know, very rational thoughts 🙂 So sorry that your back is acting up but glad that it’s feeling better.

  24. I am the queen of flipping out over injuries — but what’s even worse is that I’m an admitted hypochondriac and I tend to panic over the smallest aches and pains. I’ve been running off and on since I was 13, and I *still* haven’t figured out the difference between normal training pains and real injury scares!

    I am so glad everything turned out OK in the end though. One of the things I like about your blog is that when you have an injury or injury scare, you are really smart about it…you don’t cross-train like a madwoman, you just take time off and let your body rest.

    1. I used to cross train a lot for injuries when I was in college. I realized that I’m not going to be an elite runner and running will never be my full time job. Why frustrate myself and cross train through an injury, slowing down the healing process.

      I really appreciate that!

  25. I REALLY want to try out a chiro but Im told it’s addictive?! I am SUCH an over-reactor. One unplanned rest day and I think I’m a goner!

  26. Holy cow! I would have “over reacted too!” With your second marathon right around the corner and a history of back issues in your family, that’s really scary. Plus, back injuries in general seem scary! I’m glad it seems to have worked itself out!

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