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Sidelined…question mark

We interrupt this regularly scheduled relay recapping for an update.

In the last 7 days:

I’ve run a quarter of the mileage I normally log (IF that, it’s too emotionally scarring to actually tally it up).

I’ve taken more rest days in the last week than I care to take over the course of an entire year.

I’ve put my pilates membership on an indefinite hold and shed a few tears while sending the email requesting this change.

I’ve spent lots of time bonding with this:


And almost no time bonding with these:


I’ve tweeted exactly two things unrelated to my current lack of sweat. Which is approximately the same number of conversations I’ve had not on this same topic since last Monday.

I’ve spent countless hours with an ice pack glued to my side and a similar number of hours googling my symptoms.

And all for an absolutely dumb, non-running injury.

It all started last Monday during a lunchtime trip to the office gym for some weight lifting. At some point during my workout, I noticed that my left side was feeling slightly off. I dismissed it as an insignificant twinge and continued through my routine without any issues. But when I got to my shoulder exercises and it felt a little more off, I quit after a couple of repetitions.

After work, I went for a run and then joined a birthday celebration for one of my favorite redheads. Everything felt pretty normal. I laughed, I sneezed, I lifted drinks to my face, I walked home. No issues.

The next day, I went for a run at lunch with one of my coworkers. As we were chatting away the miles, I kept noticing a sharp pain in my side that nagged at me during very specific movements. It didn’t hurt that much but it, again, felt off. Still thinking it was just a small tweak, I went to pilates after work and requested to stay away from the oblique area. But every time I tried to engage my core at all, it felt like something was stabbing me in the side. I walked out after 10 minutes and proceeded to sulk home and pour myself a very stiff cocktail as I made the first of what would turn into several trips to my freezer to pull out the ice pack.

I sat in bed, drink in one hand, google in the other and self-diagnosed myself with an oblique muscle strain. An injury that the internets inform me is common in baseball players, tough to heal, and requires lots of rest. All things that don’t really go over well in the House of Sweat.

Since last Tuesday, it’s gotten worse.

Every time I move, every sneeze, every laugh, every step I take feels like someone is stabbing me in the side with a very sharp, very painful weapon. The annoying thing about this injury…scratch that, one of several annoying things about this injury, is that you use your core for EVERYTHING. This is the first time I’ve ever been hurt and felt like I could do absolutely nothing to stay active. Even while in a boot and on crutches, I was able to workout for 2-3 hours a day.  But throw your oblique a little off and sweating is a long lost cause.

I have an appointment with my doctor this morning, but I will be shocked if she suggests it’s anything but a fairly strained oblique muscle. I am emotionally prepared for her to tell me the worst (which would obviously be to rest for a significant period of time) and I’m ready to accept that.

I know that I can’t achieve my goals for Carlsbad unless I’m 100 percent. I need my pilates, I need my weight lifting and I certainly need to make it through speed workouts, challenging long runs and every mile in between if I want to PR my next marathon. I have no interest in half-assing my way to the starting line and if that means resting and readjusting my timeline by a few months, then that’s what I’ll do.

I’ve had a ridiculously incredible year of running. While it obviously won’t make me happy to receive confirmation that I’m stuck with a really shitty injury, I’ve watched running friends endure a lot worse this year, and much closer to their goal races. A few months off for an injury that can and will heal is not the end of the world.

That said, don’t think there won’t be a few outbursts of anger/sadness/rage if I actually can’t run for the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned and send lots of healthy abdominal thoughts in the general direction of DC.

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34 Responses to Sidelined…question mark

  1. So sorry to hear about your injury, Emily. Fingers crossed the visit to the doctor goes well–let us know what happens!

  2. Oh no – fingers crossed for you and hope the visit to the doc goes better than expected! Keep us posted!

  3. I had something similar happen to me earlier this year – but my pain was in my upper chest area. It happened while I was running on a treadmill – sharp pain near my armpit, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. The pain stuck around for 3 months and basically prevented me from strength training at all (running was fine). I finally saw a doctor, and after an EKG and a cardio echo (because doctor’s dont really like to hear “I have chest pain”), they decided it was just an injury to the cartilage between my ribs. I hope yours turns out to be insignificant too!

  4. SO sorry to hear about your injury! I hop your doctor’s appointment goes well!

  5. Thinking hopeful thoughts for you! I was sidelined 6 mos ago with a high hamstring tendon strain that was close enough to my core to keep me from doing almost any sweating for several weeks(exception was swimming, pull only). I thought I would go crazy.

    Honestly, reading your blog posts from when you had a stress fracture was one of the most inspiring and helpful things I did. It was a reminder that injuries do heal, and that we can come back stronger and smarter!

    Hopes for quick healing and peace of mind.

  6. fingers are crossed that it is nothing serious!

  7. Hey Em.
    So I had a random oblique type injury about a year ago. The good news, is that I think that area of the body heals really quickly.

    You might want to try biking? I was able to do that pretty well with the injury…:(

  8. Goodness! I’m sorry to hear this. I hope you get some answers. I haven’t been able to run for MONTHS, but my core still works, so I guess I shouldn’t complain!

  9. If it is what you think, it explains why it is so hard to heal. You DO use your core for everything and therefore it is almost impossible to “rest” that muscle. Just listen to the doc and make sure you don’t make it worse, draw it out, etc. A few weeks of healing now vs months of healing later.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  10. That sucks! Keep us updated on what the dr. says.

  11. ouch..that sucks Emily. So sorry to hear, you have had a pretty incredible year (okay, insanely amazing is more like it!). But its so hard to reflect on our past accomplishments as we always look forward to our next one.

    I haven’t run in 6 weeks and i’m at the point where it feels like ill never run again. Just keep trying to think “long-term” and know that you will though.

  12. I’m so sorry! I hope you get better news than you’re expecting!

  13. Healthy abdominal thoughts! What a weird injury, I don’t think I’ve heard of something like that before…

  14. Sotty to hear that, but cheep up you have overcome other injuries and got back in a better shape. Sometime you body gives you a wake up call and we have to follow it. Hope everything goes well with you doc appoinment. cheers from barcelona

  15. i meant sorry

  16. That sucks, lady. I hope you get a better diagnosis than you hope. I end up throwing my lower back out occasionally, and it’s never from working out, it’s something dumb like picking something up. You really can’t do ANYTHING with a bum lower back. Sending good thoughts!

  17. What a random injury!!! Sorry to hear about this – I hope it doesn’t sideline you for too long!

  18. not. fair.
    i am sending you lots of healing, healthy abdominal thoughts.
    you have an awesome attitude about this and that will take you SO far. if anyone can come back from a sideline like this — stronger and tougher than ever before — it is YOU.
    still though, i hope it’s nothing major and that you can jump right back in sooner rather than later! thinking of you tons!!

  19. Nooooooooooooooo! I can’t even imagine how much it hurts to have pulled an oblique. You use those f’ers for everything. Heal up soon.

  20. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this! But you definitely have the right attitude about it! Get better and then you can rock out!
    I know it’s not the same but I just ran yesterday for the first time in 7 days, I had a sinus infection with laryngitis, it sucked! But I am thankful to finally be getting better and slowly getting back into running.
    Good luck! Hope everything turns out okay!

  21. Good thoughts go out to you. Hope everything works out at your doc appt.

  22. Sending healing thoughts your way! I am couch-bound as well, recovering from thyroid surgery. It sucks not being able to get out there. I almost cried in the doctor’s office when she told me just how long I needed to avoid physical activity post-surgery. Hang in there!!

  23. Keeping my finger and toes crossed for you in London!! I feel your pain (sort of)- am fluey and apparently not allowed to bikram or run whilst I can’t walk in a straight line! My right ear is totally blocked.

  24. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with an injury and some rather intense pain. I hope the doctor can shed some light on what’s wrong and I will keep you in my thoughts! You have had an incredible year and kicked some serious ass!

  25. Do you still have one of those compex e-stim thingies? Acupuncture might help too. This blows. I had a vicious intercostal injury a couple of seasons in a row…what you describe sounds similar. I hope it’s a quick-to-heal thing! Wishing you the best!

  26. Hope the injury gets better really quickly! As you said, you’ve had an incredible year and you’ve pushed that body of yours to its limit. Maybe try to see this enforced idleness as a time of rest so that when it heals you can come back and kick it again.

    Easy for me to say, I know.

  27. Ouch!! Hope it’s insignificant and gets better quick!

    I pulled my lower rectus abdominis while doing an advanced plank move. I had felt something pop, only 2 months before my first marathon, so there I was in the middle of a group workout bawling, LOL. Must’ve left the big girl panties at home that day!

    Recovery bit the big one. I couldn’t even go from a sitting to standing to laying position, I couldn’t roll over in bad at night without gasping at pain. But after a couple weeks I could run, yet push-ups, planks, or anything really engaging the core took months. I ended developing pneumonia before the marathon too, so let’s not focus what my finishing time was, LOL!

  28. I had costochondritis over the summer after lots of easy base runs hard upper body lifting (which normally was fine for me) then really pushing myself through my first 100 mile bike ride at a pace that was absolutely unheard of for me. After pushing up a hill, I knew I did something to my chest. My ribs were super sore for a while, so I just continued doing easy runs and for a month then started more intense training. I hope your injury heals fast!

  29. oh gosh..I’m so sorry to hear about this. Crossing my fingers that everything is OK and nothing serious. I hope your doctor’s appointment went well!

  30. ^hugz Em^

  31. I’m really sorry about this. Fingers crossed for you.

  32. Ugh, I am so sorry to hear you are injured. Also, feeling guilty since we were just talking about how you haven’t gotten injured in awhile! Hopefully things went well at the doc and it’s nothing serious.

  33. Sorry to hear about this. Hope you recover soon and it is nothing serious.

  34. […] So, in a not uncommon move, I was maybe a tad bit dramatic in yesterday’s post. […]