December 2, 2014

A Real Pain In The Neck


After the Barefoot 50 the only part of me that really was painful was my neck and across the top of my shoulders/upper back. I chalked this up to a few things:

1) The witch dumped me at the start and I landed on my right shoulder

2) The Camelbak was very full with all 2 L of water, granola bars, maps, camera etc...

3) Gem was a beast for the first 10 miles and while I hate doing it, I was definitely in her mouth and tense in the upper body for a lot of the ride

4) It was 50 miles!

It lingered for a while and I kept thinking it was more from the fall than anything else.

After the Hunter Pace Sunday I noticed that my neck and upper back/shoulders were once again painful. Not as bad as in October, but it was definitely sore and troublesome to look up or down or move my shoulders much. Looking side to side was fine. It is gone now, but still this is an odd new problem.

I didn't wear the Camelbak to the Pace because, well mostly because I didn't even think about it as I left the house, but also because I knew it was only 2 hours or less and there was lunch afterward. So I can't blame that. Also, I wore the Camelbak at the Biltmore 25 and on my 2nd 20 mile conditioning ride without issues.

At Barefoot Gem was a beast, but during the Pace she was relaxed and calm. I barely even touched the reins the entire time and spent a lot of it neck reining or just relaxing. With the pain occurring in the same distribution, I can rule this out as a cause with a fair amount of certainty.

The only other thing that changed pre-50 to present was the addition of using my sports bra to ride in. I never did before, even during the 25s I have done. I'm not sure why I never thought of using it before. I'm in no way a "busty" woman but I have enough that bounces and gets very uncomfortable and I always run in one.

I decided to grab it on my way out the door to Barefoot and was very happy that I wore it during the ride. Since then I haven't ridden long or hard enough to warrant wearing it, but I did put it on for the Pace.

And had pain.

Could it be from the sports bra? I've owned the thing for forever and wore it through all 4 of my half marathons without complaint. But maybe that's because I am moving my arms a lot more when running and not so much when riding?

Do you think a different style of sports bra is needed for riding? I have a really hard time finding one. I need a small size and most of the ones that come in my size are rated for yoga or walking. I need one for high impact sports, but don't really want to spend a fortune.

Anyone else deal with this?


  1. I personally have not had issues with sports bras for distance riding, and it's the only thing I wear for riding. (As in, I refuse to wear regular bras; I get sore with those.) I'm small (36A; can take a B in some bras that run smaller) so I don't need anything with great amounts of support. My favorite sports bras are Champion brand; I buy them at Target & I like the double-layered ones with the wide straps. They have the traditional racerback design. So they really are nothing special. I use the same ones for running and working out.

    I have had that neck/inbetween the shoulder blades soreness but it's been from my safety vest: if I haven't used it in a long time, I'll be sore the first long ride I wear it, and if I HAVE been using it consistently, I'll be sore the first long ride I DON'T wear it, in both instances due to small posture changes. Maybe you're holding your shoulders differently when you wear the sports bra for riding?

  2. I had issues with my shoulders when I first started wearing the Equestrian Sports Bra (designed for large breasted women) and riding. The weight comes across the top of my shoulders from holding up 30 lbs of boob.

    You might also seek out chiropractic attention and see if there is a slip or dislocation in your spine or shoulder due to the accidental dismount Gem provided you with. I had one just below my shoulder blades that really radiated pain that once it was put back in place, the pain disappeared.

    1. I was thinking the same thing right after Barefoot. Had the pain not gone away by 10 days out I was going to see one, but it went away and hadn't returned until this ride. I might have to look someone up and have it checked out.