Running While Being Stabbed in the Back

Well, that's what it felt like these past 3 days. I wrote about my latest encounter with pain last Friday as my back gave out halfway into a 45 minute run.  To alleviate the pain I walked around the office with a black weight lifting belt around my lower back.  I also bought an ice pack and tried Advil.  At the end of the change in the pain.  So I figured, wait it out...that seems to work for a lot of my injuries.

That night I took a hot jacuzzi bath, did some yoga-like stretches and popped more Advil. Woke up Saturday morning with the knife-like sensation still firmly emblazoned in my lower left back.

This was all a bummer for me. I came back from vacation the week before, dead set on doing another 20 miler this weekend.  I have my longest ever run, a hilly, trail 50K (31 miles) on the calendar for August 22nd. One friend says there's no way I can finish this run without doing a hilly long run. But on Saturday morning, I was in no shape to run, let alone walk.

But for the sake of doing something, I strapped on the weight belt as tight as it would go and ran a painfully slow 2.7 mile loop.  The pain was pretty sharp the first half of the run as I went slightly downhill. It was not quite as bad while running uphill and as the Advil seemed to kick in. Later that day the kids and I went to a pool party.  My back limited my movement but it felt good moving around in the pool...until I made a wrong turn and...AGGHHH!!

Sunday was more of the same. My wife told me I was an idiot for running while so sore.  I disagree. I was just stoopid.  I should have just lied down on the couch with an ice pack.

So the weekly tally for last week was still 34 miles, even with the injury through the weekend.  Chalk it up as another "down" week after my 25 miles on the cruise ship.

It had been several years since I visited a chiropractor, but today, after another sore and slow morning (another 2.7 mile loop but this time without the weight belt...and it hurt), I did so.  His immediate matter-of-fact comment was "you have a back spasm." So after several procedures and a heat pack, I left the office walking with much less pain.

Tonight the pain is still there but I feel like I'll be "back" on track in a few days. And oh goodie, I bought a different back support that isn't as bulky as the weight belt.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a 5 miler in tomorrow morning!

So what are the lessons learned from all this? Learn to read your body. Some pain you can "run through" (I'll call that "good" pain) and other pain you best deal with ASAP!  I pretty much knew this was of the latter variety but I was stubborn and probably prolonged the injury by running the next day.  Oh, well!