Welcome to Wednesday Word, a monthly linkup for everyone, not just health and fitness bloggers. On the first Wednesday of every month you will have a single word prompt to write about. Let your imagination run free and share with your readers your interpretation of that word, or simply use it as inspiration for your post. Today’s word is derail… I’d love to have you link up, and if you do, please remember to follow my six simple rules.


To obstruct the progress of
~ Merriam-Webster

It started innocuously enough that as a fit fifty-year-old, I ignored the pain in my right hamstring. It came and went, choosing to rear its ugly head only after a longer run of fifteen plus miles. Since it always went away so quickly and never bothered me except after my longer runs, I dismissed the pain as simply an annoyed hamstring.

I suspect that I ran at least eight marathons and countless training miles on that angry leg; however, it wasn’t until I ran my very last marathon that I finally acknowledged that something was up. With pain running from the outside of my right ankle up to my hamstring, I actually ran part of that marathon in tears. After taking a week or so off, I resumed running about thirty-five miles per week comfortably so I gave the injury little more thought.

The following winter I started training for the Rock ‘N’ Roll DC Marathon, but never made it past my second sixteen-mile training run. After that final sixteen-miler, I immediately, and stupidly, did an intense full-body P90X2 workout, and that’s where the derailment began… With an exhausted core from the run, I did a single-leg deadlift row without properly engaging my core causing me to feel a twinge that I will remember forever. 

The movement that caused the twinge most likely exacerbated a slight bulge between L4 and L5 that I didn’t even know I had. Inflammation and swelling set in as a result causing that tiny bulge to press just enough harder against my sciatic nerve to cause severe nerve pain running the length of my right leg. As a result, that sciatic nerve pain led to a derailment in my running… 

While taking a few months off from running, I received pain management therapy in the form of a giant needle introducing inflammation reducing synthetic steroids into my spine and participated in physical therapy. Eventually I was allowed to start going for long walks, then graduated to going on short run/walks, then short runs, and eventually longer runs.

It was my passion for running that forced me to finally practice what I preached – listen to your body. For years those four words had been the mantra I repeated to runners I coached, yet I dismissed them for myself. After I started listening to my body for clues that I was overdoing it, I started avoiding derailments in my running.

Since that initial injury there have been times where I’ve had to take a few days, a week, or even a month, off from my running because that nagging sciatic pain has once again reared its ugly head. Each time I acknowledged the clues my body was giving me and stepped back to allow my body to heal, not resuming running until I was back to feeling normal again. I tried my best to avoid allowing my training to get derailed by overdoing it.

During my recent interview for the Real Runners Virtual Summit which is coming up later this month, I talked about running longevity and how my running has changed as I’ve gotten older. While talking about what younger runners can do to ensure a long running career, I emphasized the importance of listening to your body. 


It may have taken me a little longer than it should have to learn to listen to the signals my body was sending me, but now that we’re on the same page, I’m hoping to avoid any long term derailments from the sport that gives me so much joy. 


In what have you been derailed? 


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Deb Runs


Next Month’s Wednesday Word: Nimble