To be honest, I have been incredibly lucky when it comes to staying injury-free. In the few years I’ve been running, especially this last year, I haven’t had to deal with achey knees, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, or sore ankles.
But I hurt my back. And it hurts. A lot. I’m not sure what happened. After a stressful race Saturday morning (everything a race timer would fear would go wrong, did, and the race director was *not* pleased with us), I came home and all I wanted to do was go for a nice, long run (and by long, I mean 6+). I put 5 miles as my goal in my Nike+ because per my training schedule, I really only needed to do an easy 3 miles, but I knew I wanted to do more, and would at the very least do 5. And as soon as I ran around my house and crossed the street, I knew my back was not pleased with my running plans.
The route was nothing new or interesting – my usual route that takes me down a long hill, loops around, and climbs back up until I get to Pond Meadow Park. Once in the park, I’ll run around the park’s trails, go out the other side, and climb a final hill back to my house. I hit a light on my way down the hill, and tried to stretch out my already sore back as I waited for it to change green. It turned, and I kept going. I desperately wanted to stop and walk, but my Taurus stubbornness demanded that I at least run those 3 miles. I was making a good pace (for me) and figured that maybe my back only hurt because I was going pretty quick and maybe I just needed to stretch more.
When I hit 3 miles (at 27:45 – not bad for a 10mm girl!), my legs quit and I started walking. I tried to run a little bit during that 4th mile, but my body was pretty uninterested in trying. I took the quickest route through the park and started walking/slowly running home. Running slowly to get my body temperature back up since it was quite cold and I hadn’t planned on walking 1+ miles after sweating on the run. With a couple blocks to go, and my house in sight, my Nike+ said “1 more mile to go!” And my Taurus stubbornness suggested that my back didn’t feel *that* bad and maybe I should just finish the 5 miles like I planned. So I started running. I told myself it would be fiiiiiiine, it was downhill, it was an easy mile, and maybe I was even feeling better after all that walking! (LIES!) So I ran. And eventually the Nike+ said “400 meters to go.” And then “300 meters to go.” And “200 meters to go.” And with 100 meters remaining, I turned to make it up a short hill back towards my house.
I spent the afternoon curled up on the couch, uninterested in moving and standing upright. I slept poorly last night because it hurt to roll around. This morning, I gobbled up some ibuprofen before my race-timing gig in Boston, and spent a lot of the time squatting rather than standing because my back had better things to do than let me stand up straight. I hobbled around Trader Joes after the race to pick up necessary foodstuffs. I tried to stretch out my back when I got home, but realized how poor a choice that was when it literally inspired me to yell in pain. And I’ve spent the last 7+ hours trying to find new comfortable ways to sit/lay/fetal-position on the couch.
So, now what? Keep taking Ibuprofen, stretching, and resting? How long is this going to last? Probably no chance of getting in that long run tomorrow that I was *SO* looking forward to for my day off? HARUMPH.
This has happened before. My lower back is probably my weakest link. I was out of commission for days after a move a few years ago because I strained my back lifting heavy boxes and furniture. BUT I WASN’T A RUNNER BACK THEN! The idea of being out of commission for a few days because of my back is really obnoxious and I’m going to go be a grump now.
Any ideas, interweb readers? What can I do to make this better, less painful? And, thinking longer-term, what can I do to strengthen my lower back?