Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Putting On The Brakes

Just when I am cruising along, feeling on top of the world, the universe steps in and gives me a swift swat on the ass and seems to say, you are not invincible, you are just a a middle aged woman in training who is putting her body through hell

After my monstrous weekend of non-stop cycling and running, I did a long swim Monday morning followed by a short run. My back got tight during the swim, as it often does. But, overall I felt fine after the workout.

I am not sure what happened to me in the middle of the night. The devil must have visited my low back because I woke up Tuesday morning with a ton of pain. I kind of ignored it – it was a planned rest day so I knew I would have some time to recover.

But, by late afternoon I was majorly uncomfortable. I told Coach Sharpie who reminded me: “There is no possible way for you or anyone to be training for what you're doing, and how quickly you've ascended, without your back hurting (and your neck and your IT band and your butt and your quads and your hamstrings...).” She also gave me some strategies to mange the pain including Pilates types moves and stretching.

We cut out my ride for today, which was going to be a ton of climbing. She told me to still try to do my planned hour run. I got out there and there was shooting pain with each step. It didn’t really feel awesome.

So, I did this instead.

IMAG1885

If I can’t train for an Ironman today, then I’ll read about training
(book = You Are An Ironman)

For some reason the worst back pain comes after I’ve been driving and get out of the car. I seriously look like a 83 year old woman on the way to a Bingo.

IMAG1889

Which is much different than this 83 year old yoga instructor, Betty Calman:

This a reminder that:

  • Life goes on if you miss a few training days
  • Your body gets pissed off when you do a lot to it
  • When pain comes, it’s time to STOP for a bit even when you are panicking about not reaching your goal
  • 83 year old white haired women in pant suits can still rock the house

Here’s a nice outtake:

IMAG1888

Have you ever had back pain from training and what did you do about it? I’ve taken some Motrin, am icing it and stretching a bit, gently. I also am going to go to PT to have it looked at.

This too shall pass (TTSFP) – I added the “F” in there if you know what I mean.

SUAR

74 comments:

  1. Pilates moves are the only thing that saves my lower back when it "seizes" up. I'm so sorry -- it can really derail your training. For me, the worst thing I can possibly do is to lie around. That seems to make it tighter. Good luck!

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    1. Good to know! It just feels so good to lay flat.

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    2. Lie flat with your feet up on the couch, knees at 90 degrees. Ahhh. Feels so good!

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    3. Legs up the wall. Put a rolled towel under your low back for support. Lay back and feels those hammies open. Relaxing and therapeutic!

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    4. Agree with Chastity. I have had years of back pain. I had to quit biking for 3 years until I discovered one on one Pilates. I am so thankful cause I love my bike. I can highly recommend Kelly Athey at Boulder BodyWorks. She changed my life.

      The thing with back pain that I have discovered is that what works for me might not work for you. I have tried all kinds of things. I hope it is a quick fix for you (usually is if its acute like that). Before my back hurt all the time, it would just spasm occasionally and Chiropractic would help. I would probably start with Chiropractic if you aren't feeling great in the next few days. I think Pilates is awesome but its more of a long term prevention and core strengthening modality than a quick fix. Chiropractic is a quick fix at least for me.

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  2. I am no where near your training level - I'm just training for my first half marathon - but I think I pinched a nerve in my leg because I'm feeling shooting pain and throbbing in my leg today. Last week I thought my IT band was just a little sore, but today my leg is like PAY ME SOME F'ING ATTENTION.

    Taking a full rest day and hoping to get back at it soon. This incident has definitely taught me the difference between soreness and pain... ugh. TTSFP!

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    1. Be careful with the IT band\hamstring area. I stretched an injury out for a year and a half cause I am to stupid\bullheaded\stubburn to take a break and rest. Won't do that again!! :-)

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  3. First, ouch! Hope you're on the mend soon!

    I once did a half marathon here in Yonkers, which is notorious for being hills, hills and more hills. I was cruising along, then I was screaming - what happened in between? I pulled a groin muscle on a downhill stretch. I cried the last 3 miles, then kids came out and told me I'd be okay - they took pity on me and ran a few blocks then gave me a tissue and a piece of candy.

    What did I learn? Kids carry candy. :)

    But back to you - hope you're taking it easy, or as easy as possible!

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  4. Sounds like a back spasm to me. I get them all the time, and getting out of the car is the most miserable thing ever. Best advice I've gotten is light stretching, light walking, massage, and heating pad. The doctors have given me muscle relaxants many times, but IMHO they don't work well at all...

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  5. I swear by my chiropractor! Would not be able to run, swim and bike without him!!!!

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    1. Ditto--that man knows my back and keeps me moving.

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  6. I swear by my chiropractor! Would not be able to run, swim and bike without him!!!!

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  7. Hope you're feeling better soon. Just started following your blog...found you by Googling 'eh-hem' bathroom issues while running. Just thought you'd like to know :) I just started running in April and am running a half in September. Really enjoy your posts!

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  8. Hi Beth! I've been swimming competitively for decades. I've found that when my lower back feels tight when I'm in the pool that my head is too high (thus causing my lower back to drop). When I concentrate on lowering my head and looking DOWN, not forward, and bracing my lower abs to make sure my back isn't sagging, then my back feels much better. It doesn't help if I turn my eyes down, I have to turn my FACE down, lowering my head. Also, I've had those days when it's hard to get out of the car. I think it's because my car seat forces me to sit with internally rotated femurs. If I sit cross legged on the floor, it helps. Hope you feel better soon!

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    1. GREAT advice. Thanks so much. I will think about this the next time I swim.

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    2. Whoa, That IS Good Advice! My Car Is The Source Of My Hip Misalignment, And My PT Gave Me Exercises To Correct It. All Good Info To Share W The PT.

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  10. I recommend a chiropractor, too! I've had a lot of trouble with my hips and lower back hurting in the past, and an adjustment ALWAYS takes care of the problem. You may have to go several times within the first couple of weeks to get to the point where your back stays in the proper alignment on it's own (if it's been "out" for a long time), but after that you'll be able to go longer and longer between visits.

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  11. Hi! I am also a runner (however, not quite as extreme) and although I am only 18 years old, I have also experienced back pain. I started doing yoga after runs and I feel much better! I can feel myself getting stronger and more flexible all while relaxing! I'm not sure what type of running form you have or what you use for sneakers, but if you have not already, I would suggest looking into minimalist running! It seems crazy, but I felt the results and preach its ways whenever I can! Good luck with the Ironman!

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  12. your posts are always so timely for me! i've been dealing with a strained piriformis over the past month and just slowly easing back into running 2 - 3 K doing 5 and 1s...coming from someone who can easily run 10K or more, i had to be held back from sprinting from being able to run again! now i'm having lower back pain and have been stretching it out like crazy, but would love to know what kind of pilates moves you're doing that are helping? i've been foam rollering the beejeezus out of myself lately too...foam roller and i are best friends!

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  13. I have had some back pain recently. It's worse in the car and if I am sitting too long. I think I need to see a chiropractor and do more core work. Hope your back feels better soon!

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  15. I'm so sorry! I haven't ever dealt with back pain because of running, so I don't know how to help. Speedy recovery!

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  16. I see a chiropractor regularly to keep me in alignment during my training. It saves me and all of my ouchy areas.

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  17. Thai massage has worked for me. When I swim more than 3,800 yards my back seems to give me fits and Thai massage has done me well. Several beers and a few days off also helps and is a lot more fun.

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  18. Feel better soon, Beth. I am having hamstring/pirisformis issues and it does the same thing- I walk really funny when I get out of the car :(

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  19. Massage works really well for me. Due to some various factors I had a very sensitive back. Something little can really throw it off. I have found that regular massages really help. That and making sure my hamstrings are always good and stretched really helps my back as well (hamstrings tied to low back pain).

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  20. advil, rest, ice, repeat. way to be smart woman. Now rock some yoga. ;-)

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  21. I think you need to be having weekly massages to counter balance the huge amounts of training you are doing right now - maybe that will help keep you loose and relaxed!

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    1. Don't know that I can afford weekly - I have them set up every three weeks...but weekly would be DEVINE!!

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    2. I go to the local IBMC- 90 minutes with a licensed therapist is $55. Massage schools are awesome.

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  22. Forward bends while pulling the toes towards your forehead, to stretch out the hammies & calves, and rolling the lower back next to the spine with lacrosse or tennis balls seems to help me. Also, more crunches or "boat pose" work. Takes the load off the lower back if the lower abs are "engaged".

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  23. Could be a SI joint so maybe an adustment. Seems to work for me. Stretch GENTLY though. I hyperextended at yoga and trust me you don't want to stretch too far when you're injured

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  24. I second the advice to not let your low back sag down during swims...that will wreak havoc on your low back. If needed, use a flotation belt under your abs to keep the low back flat during swims until you can master it without the belt. Sooooo worth it.

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  25. My back has hurt FOREVER (8 pregnancies)And so when I started walking/running I thought the pain would go away. It didn't but I didn't let it stop me either. Since ragnar and all the training my back was even worse. I finally pulled out the DVD I have of "Diamond Dallas Page YRG over 50 workout" I've done 2 20 min sessions,yesterday and today, and my back feels so much better! It still hurts, but it doesn't scream at me when I lift my legs up to get in the car...Yes it was that bad before!!! So try some easy on the spine yoga. I'm sold! Good luck! Your blog has kept me running and laughing for over a year now!

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  26. I agree with everyone above! Massages for sure! Plus, you can have a little bit of "me" time.

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  27. I go to my chiropractor...he works wonders :)

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  28. Oh Bethie...seriously, cut that injury shit out!!!!!!!!!!! Enough!

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  29. Thankfully for me, my back pain is eleviated by training. I find when I get up in the morning or after a long day my back is stiff and hurts. Within minutes of starting a run, it loosens right up. I guess it depends on the problem with the back. Hope you feel better....

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  30. One key for me with the worst of my back injuries was to alternate ice with heat, with ice sessions lasting 20 minutes. (Any longer and the ice can be counterproductive and aggravate the injury--at least according to the one chiropractor who did me some good, and he seems to have been right, in my experience.) Also, Pilates is *essential* to my ability to run with few(er) injuries. If you can afford it, schedule a few one-on-one sessions with an experienced Pilates instructor so she can get you on the Cadillac and do your back and hamstrings some real good. A competent instructor will be able to adjust your stretches and do miraculous minor corrections to work with your specific injuries. Good luck! Wishing you a speedy recovery. (And thank you for your blog, which I just recently found. You're an inspiration. "Shut up and run!" has become my motto.)

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  31. 2 Advil + 2 Tylenol = pain all gone!
    Give it a try....
    :-)

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  32. I use tons of Motrin and visit the chiropractor if I'm desperate.

    Taking a day off is good. Listen to your body. By the way, I have that same couch and that same book!

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  33. Taking time off is good. I'm actually in month three of my back injury, but only because I re-injured it on a run. So, running is not good when your back is hurting. Walking is much better.

    This is blog post I did about it with tips that work for me. You might want to try the jacuzzi to pool one...it's amazing.

    http://runkwrun.blogspot.com/2013/05/so-your-back-went-out.html

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  34. You are such an inspiration, your blog is my FAVORITE morning reading while I drink my coffee (at work, ssshhh don't tell my boss)! I'm so sorry you are hurt! Hopefully some TLC and maybe massage and chiropracitic visits can help you out? I'll pray to the running God's to please let you heal up quickly....they sometimes listen to me when I promise to stretch after every run from now on, if they just let me heal up quickly..... :) Feel better soon!!!!!

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  35. It's not easy training hard for a goal, and it doesn't get any easier as the years add up. I've been dealing with proximal hamstring strain and tendinosis for the last 8 months. I've gotten a lot of relief with the TPTherapy Products. If you are training hard, I recommend the trigger point work out a couple of times a week, on top of the foam rolling. It really helps!

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  36. I have to say that I finally became a believer in the chiro. I notice every few months that when something starts to feel tight if I can go in and maybe get a massage to then I usually head off injuries

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  37. Completely off topic...but your sweet side-kick Photo Bombed your couch photo! :c) It shows just how much your loved as I don't think the couch could get any closer.....awww....

    Your training hard....its good to see you listen and rest when needed.

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    1. I know! She is always within an arm's reach and I love it. I swear that dog smiles more than anyone I've ever met.

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  38. That 83 year old lady is impressive. I want to be like her when I'm 83.

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  39. Bummer Beth, I hope you find a fix and are back in action shortly. Injuries SUCK!! Currently I have a torn rotator cuff and per doctor, no running, no biking, no swimming, no... yea it sucks big time. But I am loving your posts and continue to be in awe of your strength and determination. Wish I could be in Florida to watch you, really an inspiration! Heal Fast!!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Always good to hear from you. I'm sorry about your injury. That sucks big time. But I know you will heal and will be back out there :)

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  40. Hi Beth,
    Once again, the first paragraph could not be timed any better for me - i've spent the last couple of days in the hospital with extreme vertigo that came out of nowhere an have no idea how long this dizziness will last - just as i was getting to the intense part on my marathon training. Sorry back to your question - last year i hurt my lower back 3 weeks out from my first 50k and it felt exactly as you describe. The only reason i got to the start line was because of 6 or 7 chiropractor visits, and a few massages. And also the alternate icing and heating that i think someone else mentioned too.
    Good luck for a speedy recovery!

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  41. What you're describing sounds like it's SI joint related, as another commenter pointed out. This would be enormously aggravated by tight psoas and piriformis muscles, which are just the ones you're putting through their paces with your Ironman training. A good massage therapist who does trigger point and/or myofascial therapy will help tremendously, as will a chiro who can do the subtle adjustments an SI joint being out of whack so often requires.

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  42. I am so sorry you are feeling that -- so frustrating! Heidi looks happy though! Your post could not have come at a better time though as I train for MCM in October. My left foot/ankle is hurting/feeling funny and as a stress fracture veteran, I know the signs. I am hoping it's not and I too am taking a day off to rest and ice. Here's to listening to your body and hoping it pays off! Good luck, you're my favorite blogger.

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  43. I'm training for my first marathon and regularly fight lower and upper back tightness. See what your PT says but mine has me spending lots of time with my foam roller. I have a long one and lie on it long ways as well as roll it perpendicularly down the spine (roller under me so arching over it). That makes you want to cry the first week, but is heaven once the back loosens a bit and gets used to it. I'm seriously obsessed with my roller and am already questioning if it will be allowed as a carryon when I travel - not leaving without it!
    Good luck!

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  44. Sorry to hear this Beth! When I was training for my 1st marathon this past spring, I woke up a few mornings with horrible lower back pain, so I googled it and a bunch of stuff came up about sleep positions. I was a stomach sleeper, until reading what I found online - many sites suggested sleeping on your back or side with a pillow either under the knees (if on your back), or between your knees (when on your side). I tried it, and have had no issues since. It saved me during my training because I was really afraid of being down for the count! I know you have the fancy sleep number bed, so I don't know if it raises your legs or anything, but might not hurt to try this pillow thing. Feel better!
    -Dawn

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    1. Thanks Dawn. Funny, I am stomach sleeper too, but a few months ago started to sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees. Feels MUCH better.

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  45. There is nothing worse than waking up with bad pain. Good pain (aka soreness) feels like validation from a good workout, but man....bad pain is rough. I usually get it in my neck and shoulders. Good for you for listenign to your body knowing when to take a break!

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  46. Sorry to hear about your back pain! I ran into an issue this week with my calf muscle cramping up. So, I'm taking a rest for a few days too. It can be so hard not to get concerned over ruining your long run goals, but in reality it will help to take the rest rather than push through the pain. Hope you feel better soon!

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  47. I finally decided that i need to back the eff down. i was doing cross training in stead of runnign but never really letting my body rest. and here i am... a year later from my original injury and now i've got other ones. dumb.

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  48. If this shows up2x I apologize...I am suffering from the same thing (not training for an IM but prepping for a Tri in September). I think the added spin and swim, with a weaker core made the perfect storm of awful low back and rear pelvic pain. Rest, acupuncture, a fantastic chiro and lots of kenisio tape have really helped. I wish you well! Love your blog!

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  49. http://www.fitsugar.com/Yoga-Sequence-Relieve-Lower-Back-Pain-20265058?slide=3&image_nid=gallery_interstitial-0
    Check out this yoga routine for back-it really helped me!

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    1. Checked it out, looks great, thank you!

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  50. a pants suit AND pearl earrings, I hope I can pull that off when I'm 83

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  51. My PT told me to never sleep on my stomach as it wil hurt my lower back...but if I do sleep on my stomach she said to place a thick pillow ie two under my abdomen and that should support my low back and keep it from caving in. She also said the absolute worst thing you can do while sleeping is the "number 4" position with your legs...you know, lay on your stomach then hike one knee/leg up along your side so it looks like your legs are forming the number four. It feels soooo comfortable but she said its horrible for your low back.

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  52. I had back pain through most of my IM training. Although my bike was well-fitted to me my back just didn't like being in that position for oh so many hours a week. What helped me the most was rolling over the trouble spots on a tennis ball. Brought tears to my eyes but helped to loosen my back up. Also got a massage every three weeks or so with a lot of deep tissue work in the lower back. Favorite fix was a weekend nap with the heating back under my back after a long workout. Hope it clears up fast for you!!

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  53. After hearing lots of runners rave about it, I bought a Sacro Wedgy from Amazon. I've saved a ton in chiropractor fees since. And I can be lazy at the same time - bonus!

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  54. I skip the ibuprofen since I've read that it can slow recovery and healing. But I do visit the chiropractor and massage therapist to get re-aligned. I'm a fan/practicer of Chi Running which has helped build a strong core and just become stronger overall. Hope you are on the mend!

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  55. Yes. Mine stemmed from a degenertive disc. I didnt know that until after I went to the ortho. It flairs up from time to time. From what you are saying, it could very well be something like that. I was still able to run the first round it flared up, the 2nd time I was out for 2 months because it slipped, pinched the sciatic which was quite frankly the most painful thing of my entire life.

    Hope you feel better!!!

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    ReplyDelete