I don’t really know when it started, but it was a long time ago. It probably really started as a result of my passion for gardening and landscaping – digging up mature bushes, and even ripping their mature tap roots out of the ground. I enjoyed hard work, and there was nothing I wouldn’t try to do myself.

I thought I had pulled my right hamstring because the back of my right leg hurt, but only when I ran 16 miles or longer. Did I take any time off from running? Not really because it never hurt except on those longer runs, and then just a little. If I ran a marathon hard, it would hurt a little during the race and then again when I sat down for the next day or so. The only treatment I sought was wearing thigh compression sleeves during long runs, and icing afterwards.


Wearing thigh compression sleeves under my shorts in Boston

Fast forward to the 2011 Richmond Marathon… Around mile 16 my hamstring started hurting, and then by mile 20 it was hurting to the point that I actually cried for a minute or so. By mile 22 my calf was hurting, and by mile 24 my whole leg was hurting. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I burst into tears out of frustration.


Hmmm… not so sure I want to celebrate it!
(sign along the Richmond Marathon course)

The following January, Bill and I decided to start the P90X2 workouts. I don’t do anything half-hearted, so I went after those workouts with gusto and loved them! Two Saturdays in a row, we ran 16 miles in the morning and did a total body workout that afternoon. Perhaps a little too much? No way, not me – I was a beast and I could push my body to do anything I wanted it to do. Sigh…



Perhaps I was too tired from my run and wasn’t holding my core as tight as I should have been, perhaps I was trying to lift too much weight, perhaps that movement was just the final straw that “broke the camel’s Deb’s back,” or perhaps it was all of the above. Whatever the reason, when I made that one careless move, my running life changed forever. I babied my sore back for a week, and tried to run the following Saturday. I ran one mile out and had to walk home. I spent the rest of the weekend lying down because my back hurt to much to stand.

After a few days my back stopped hurting, but the pain started radiating down my right leg. Sometimes my “hamstring” hurt, sometimes my calf, sometimes my entire leg, and by now my toes were numb. The pain got so bad that I saw a spine specialist, had an MRI, and got diagnosed with a bulging L4-L5 that was pressing against my sciatic nerve. Epidural steroid injections, time off from running (about three months), physical therapy, and traction got me back on the trail walking, and then eventually running; but never at the distances I had run before.



Cartoon in my doctor’s office


Needles injecting the medicine into my inflamed lower back,
or maybe it’s a hairball in my cat’s stomach!

Once physical therapy was over, and I was no longer getting traction therapy there, my doctor suggested I purchase this Teeter Hang Ups EP-950 Inversion Table With Healthy Back DVD. It helps decompress my spine and helps keep that bulging disc from pressing against my sciatic nerve.


Just hanging out

I have a feeling that I won’t run a marathon again, but after 41 marathons and one ultra, I’m OK with that. I want to run forever, and if I have to run shorter distances, I’ll do that. I think what I will miss most are my Saturday morning really long runs with the Cruisers. I’ll be thrilled to be able to continue running ten miles on Saturdays, running shorter distances a couple of times a week, and running the occasional half-marathon. That would keep my legs and heart happy!

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 15-miler and I have had some leg pain/toe numbness return since then. It’s made me reflect on my injury, take it seriously again, and take a little time off. This past Saturday, I ran four miles, and then walked about three miles.

I wish could say that today’s post was an April Fool’s joke…


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever had a side-lining injury?
  • Do you cross train?
  • Did you get a good April Fools joke on anyone?