3 Hours in the Sun

“It’ll help…if the sun comes out – that will make me more motivated to head out…”
“You should just go.”
“But…I’m cold.”
“No you’re not.”
“My leg hurts.”
“Run anyway.  I’ll pick you up, wherever you have to stop at.  But it’s time for you to leave this house.”

Once, shortly after my Husband and I moved in together, he literally shoved me out the front door and then locked it, ordering me to run or never come inside again.  That was probably about 8 years ago.  Today, he can still be pretty savage about ordering me to run, but his resolve wavers in the face of me in pain.  If I’m hurting badly before I even start out the door, it’s harder for him to force me to do it.  Mid-race?  He’ll tell me to suck it up.  Rolling out of bed and gasping in pain?  That puts him in a tight spot.

I managed to delay going out for my attempt at 20 miles today for…hours….  but, eventually, the sun really did come out.  And I had to go.

I admit I was a bit scared of it.  Not in the way most people thing of ‘scared’ when they read it.  I was more just…trying to avoid the discomfort of a very painful experience.  This IT-band/piriformis/”probably sciatica” (Thanks a bunch, Dr M.) injury can actually hurt up to a 9 on the pain scale some days.  Two weeks ago when I tried my luck at getting 18 miles, it dropped me at 15, making it nearly impossible for me to walk by the time I gave up trying to get to 16.

pain-scale.png
Not mine.  Check out the creator and her story at hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com  – she’s hilarious.

I don’t have a good memory for pain.  If I go to the Dr about an injury, I literally have to keep repeating the motion or action that causes the pain just so I can describe it and where it is.

Maybe this is why I manage long-distance running?

The injury, which currently resides in my ass (not to be confused with a ‘pain in the ass’), has started this new and annoying thing wherein I have a constant feeling of pins and needles going on with my foot.  That’s sciatic, right there.  For some reason, when a nerve enters the game, my brain starts a mild panic.  Nerves are serious players in the body….and it’s beyond me what the cure is if you jack one of those up.

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The piriformis sits right over top, and sometimes encircles, the sciatic nerve.  Which means that when the muscle is inflamed, it can put pressure on the nerve and cause such awesome symptoms as the pins and needles.  At least I don’t have “weakening”….

So I dug around for some information on this (it’s legitimately called “piriformus syndrome – and, haha, they are still arguing if its “real” or not.  Since they have no case studies of it in athletes.  Where. Do. I. Sign. Up?)

I found a stretch that is noted as “The only way to cure” this.  4 weeks of doing this, and some exercises, and the pain will be taken care of.   And then I did more research and found a better article and some of the same stretches and strengthening exercises.

So now I’m adding these steps to my daily routine, adding them to the 30 burpees for 15 days challenge I’m doing.  Something I read about this one in Runner’s World.  The author said she got faster, and that she struggled with the work out on and off as she went through the days.  I’m not struggling.  Not with this.  But my thighs, they do shake… and during my long run today, they felt a bit heavy.  I’m hoping I’ll see results.

Back to today’s run then.

I knocked out some of these stretches and some of the workouts before changing into my running gear.  I hoped hard that my 4th attempt at a pair of powerbeats3 would work – because if they failed today then I would know two things:  1. I would not run 20 miles today.  And 2.  Powerbeats3 were not meant to be used on Sundays.  Because the other pairs died during use on Sundays.  All.  Of.  Them.

With a resolve that this run would be over in about 6 miles, I headed out.

I made easy loops of some of the roads in my neighborhood, sticking close to town.  When, by mile 7, my leg wasn’t hurting and my headphones continued to work, I figured it was time to stop screwing around and head out for the bigger loop.  I put about 3 more miles in along my subdivision – stopping to toss a baseball a few times with a kid and then to start up some woman’s lawnmower for her.  Then I cut along a rough patch of country road to get into the next subdivision, where I only did 3 more miles – because it was steeply hilly (worse than my neighborhood) and that was bothering my leg.  Mile 9 marked when I started noticing some pain in the leg from the injury.  And mile 13 marks when I realized that I hadn’t noticed the pain for a while yet and I’d likely be able to actually do the distance my training plan actually called for.

The sun continued to bear, and there was a cool undercurrent to the air as I ran up along the main roadway of my area.  I stopped into a biker bar for a water refill, and chatted about motorcycles and other biker bars – both things I know about but also have zero experience with.

Mile 15 was marked by having to ask some random stranger if I could use his toilet.  I was extremely embarrassed.  He laughed and commented, “I’ve been there before.  It’s easier for a man!”  Uh…sure… I guess…..I mean…Aside from the embarrassment, I was able to poop just fine in this man’s restroom.

By mile 18, I knew I had it.  I knew that I was able to run 20 miles.  Despite the injury.  It wasn’t fully without pain – but it was just a tight pain, not a shooting or harsh pain, like I had suffered on so many runs since November.

This is a big deal for me.

In my mind, I had determined that if I couldn’t run a long training run of 20 miles at all, then I was absolutely not going to be able to run the marathon.  There was no way.  I might be hurting, and the actual race may take longer than I’m used to the Flying Pig taking me, but I feel pretty confident now that if I can keep the injury managed like I did today, I will actually be able to run the marathon!  I won’t have to miss out on this goal!

It doesn’t fix anything else, but it sure does help my mental game.

Now.  Now I must go put some after-sun lotion on my face.  Because I, friends, have managed to get my first sunburn of the year today as well.

 

Cheers!

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