Monday, June 2, 2014

making the right call

the past few weeks have not gone the way i envisioned when i set out on my new 5k speed goal. what i haven't been open about is the back/glute pain i've been having that has increased in aggressiveness and now is causing a major hiccup in my training. i guess i have some things to get off my chest.

on and off for the past year or so, i've had nagging sciatica pain run deep through my right glute (aka butt) and down my leg. it has been annoying at most, coming on and off, on and off. since it always went away after a period of time, i didn't worry much about it. during the last few months, however, that glute sciatica pain has gotten worse and it has now extended into my back. the pain in my back is worse than the pain in my butt - its sharp, its shooting and it leaves me immobile whenever it strikes. the back pain started to creep up on me during the past month, slowly making running more difficult and more painful. in truth, i think its all related to the back pull i had in dec of 2013. i guess i'm surprised symptoms would have taken this long to rear their ugly heads again. i have been able to manage some of the glute sciatica through foam rolling, but it seems to have made the back pain worse.

this past weekend, i had to make the heartbreaking decision to pull out of the dexter-ann arbor 5k race because of the pain. after taking over a week off from physical activity (in hopes i would miraculously heal somehow), i attempted a 2 mile run to see if the 5k was a possibility. at the end of the two mile run, i could barely stand up i was in so much pain. i hobbled into my house, grabbed ice packs from the fridge, hobbled upstairs to the bathroom, fell onto the cool tile and cried. after that run, i saw my 5k goals being crushed. i saw the vision of crossing the detroit women's 5k finish line as a lead runner being ripped away from me. the one thing i wanted so badly to work for, to train for...  it felt like it was ripped away from me that afternoon.

pulling out of the race wasn't an easy decision, but it was probably the best decision for me (as walking around the race the next morning hurt badly). on race day, i supported brandon as he ran the 10k. my heart hurt as i stood near the finish line, watching runner after runner come across. i was happy for them, and at the same time, i was sad for myself. i wasn't throwing myself a pity party. i just wanted to be pushing my body up the awful hills of ann arbor to get across that finish line. i wanted so badly to be able to run pain free. i wanted to run that morning and i wanted to run all the days after that.

brandon finishing the 10k (he's in the bright yellow)

on the bright side, got to meet up with andrea!

but i'm not able to run pain free right now and i have to come to terms with it. i have to keep my eyes on the long term, as many wise runners pointed out to me over the weekend. i have to put my eyes on the september prize, and maybe, if i get ahead of this injury now, maybe all is not lost for a september 5k. i have no idea what to expect. i have an orthopedic consultation later this month and i'm going to take a few more days off (maybe attempt another 2 mile run this weekend). i'm starting a back and ab pre-hab workout with my trainers to try and strengthen those key core muscles. above it all, i'm trying not to feel down or frustrated but it is incredibly difficult when it just feels like i'm running from one injury to another. is it so much to ask to be injury free?

trying to keep my eyes on the prize - the
detroit women's 5k in september

does back pain scare you as much as it scares me? dealt with a back injury before? would love to hear from others on how they've managed!


  1. My mom has suffered from sciatica so badly it made it difficult to walk, so while I haven't been through it myself, I have seen it in person. I definitely feel for you!

    Her's flares up from time to time, which may be common since your's flared from December's incident. I am not sure what you are supposed to do to relieve it so I hope the doctor can offer you some kind of relief so you can get back to doing what you love.

    I will be thinking about you and hoping you feel better soon!

    1. Thank you and I feel badly for your mom! Luckily, I can still walk and tolerate the pain but I can't imagine how frustrated I'd be if it got that bad. I'm just hoping for some answers - not knowing is the worst!

  2. Oh no, I am sorry to hear you had to pull out of the race due to the sciatica. I have sciatica flareups from time to time mostly in my right butt cheek with the pain extending down through my knee and sometimes further. I know the pain can be so unbearable and I really feel for you. I hope your doctor can help you come up with a plan to help alleviate the pain during your flareups. Sending positive thoughts your way!

    1. Thanks, Kristina! Your sciatica sounds like mine - have you found that anything triggers it or relieves it?


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