On injury and running…

I went for a run last week, a one mile run. While this isn’t a big deal to anyone but me, it was my first such effort since late May when I became sidelined by injury.

Piriformis syndrome (PF) has been part of my running life for over 10 years. After my first episode, it has returned about every 3 years, usually when I am increasing training intensity for a distance backpack. While I do a long backpack every year, PF seems to pick the most difficult trips to drop in on. Maybe because those are the times I train the hardest. This year was no exception.

The inflammation began in early May. As Trainer Vicki stepped up my lunges, deadlifts and high step ups, I began to increase my weekly running and hiking mileage. That achy, uncomfortable feeling would come after I worked out but it would go away within a day or two. One day in late May, the pain did not go away. Ouch!

I vacillated about pursuing physical therapy for weeks, a route I have always taken in the past. Meanwhile I applied heat, ice, rolled, stretched and finally started deep tissue massage. Trainer Vicki cut out the lunges, deadlifts and high steps and focused more on stretching and upper body. Needless to say, running was out and walking was uncomfortable.

As the days in June drifted away, I would have several mostly pain free days only to wake up find myself in pain again. It was frustrating and somewhat depressing but happily I continued to improve. By the middle of the third week, I was anxious to test my ability to run pain free.

I decided on a conservative goal of one mile because the one thing I didn’t want to do was injure myself again. As I started running, I was tense with anticipation. I kept waiting on the pain to settle in but it didn’t. I noticed some drop in running fitness from May but nope, no pain. That little mile went way too fast and it felt like a big win to me!

I haven’t run again because I am still only 90-95%. Instead I have chosen to focus on bicycling and kayaking. But hopefully in a week or two I will be healed. Meanwhile I am going to remain conservative with my gym training and work on a plan for running, hopefully a little slower and a little more sensible plan.

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