Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Running vs. Common Sense


The running has been going well! On Friday I finished up Week 5 of the Couch to 5K program… mostly. I was supposed to run for a full two miles and only made it 1.5 miles. Still a victory, especially considering the immense stupidity I exhibited by running at all.

I managed to severely tweak my neck Friday morning. (Had woken up at 5am, gone to the couch to work, and had fallen asleep in a terrible position.) I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t turn my neck to the sides, but I’d had stuff like this happen in the past, so I wasn’t worried. It felt like a spinal/muscle thing, and I was hoping it would work itself out before too long.

But then… I went running. Somehow my brain convinced me that running was linear — no need to turn your head to the sides — so I’d be fine. I completely forgot about the whole up and down part, the part that jostles and pressures your neck and spine with every single stride.

I realized my mistake after I got to the park and had trouble with my “brisk 5-minute warm-up walk.” But by then it was too late. I was already out there. And besides, I’d been dreading my first truly long run all week, and had partially convinced myself that this whole neck thing was just an excuse. And how fun would it be to come home and tweet that I’d run a whole two miles!

Instead, I came home and instantly took Advil, pounded hot water on my shoulders, and settled into the couch with a heating pad and a glass of wine. I had made my neck issue so much worse. And really, I should have known better.

Now it’s Monday. I was in a lot of pain over the weekend, but am starting to recover. I can turn my neck to the side in one direction. I can walk around without wincing, mostly. I’m still taking Advil and using the heating pad, but the end is in sight.

And… Week 6 of Couch to 5K is supposed to start today. I no longer understand my brain enough — no longer have any connection to that thing I used to love called “logic” — to know what I’m going to do about it.

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Jenn Reese


  • Can you just wait a day to see if tomorrow is better, or does that throw the whole thing off? Maybe take off a day or two and then pick up in the middle of week 6? Neck stuff SUCKS. It's like shoulder stuff, and I seem to recall someone giving me good advice about that…

    • I think I will wait, as you suggest. Friday was really, really horrible, and I've already lost an entire weekend to the stupidity. Maybe caution is better than valor in this instance. And yeah — somehow I knew you would understand!

      • Yesterday my great triumph was not "going for a run" but "stopping when the horrible wheeze began." Sometimes you have to redefine your success. (My long run last week is probably what set off the full-on bronchitis. Bad training strategy! But I understand exactly what you were thinking–it felt doable at the time.)

  • Do you have to keep to the schedule? Just wait until it feels better and then start the week 6 schedule. I assume the schedule is just to keep you motivated, if so, you don't need to stick to it exactly, IMO. Kudos to you for trying! I get nasty neck kinks now and then, too. Sometimes I can run with them, other times, not. The only way I've figured it out is through experience, which is what you've gained thru this incident.

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the advice, Sarah — I really appreciate it! I feel better knowing that there *are* some neck issues you can run through. I felt so stupid when I realized my mistake. I'm also bummed that I didn't make it the full 2 miles. But honestly, I'm amazed I made it 1.5 miles, even. When I started a few weeks ago, I could barely run for 90 seconds at a time. It's really wonderful to see that sort of improvement already. (Which is why I hate taking days off — I think I secretly fear that I'll have to start all over or something.)

  • @jennreese OUCH on the neck pain! But as someone who loves, loves, loves, running, I'm rooting for you. You can make it to that 5k!

  • @jennreese Ack. Just tried to comment on your blog (not LJ) and got a "fatal error." "call to undefined functions…on line 291"

  • So silly me it seems you might need to quick go see a masseuse!

    I've had good success with running and the whole exercise thing recently, but the advice to simply layoff till you can move your neck properly is the right thing to do. It's hard because sticking to a schedule can be the only thing that really works sometimes. You run because your calender told you too and that's just fine.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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