When Not In Rome…

Over the past year, year and a half or so, I’ve been tracking my daily miles run. Looking back at this week last year, I ran 9.5 miles all week.  There’s a couple of reasons for that: First, my convalescence from doing three laps at the FIT Challenge – my muscles were basically stone for the week following, it was ugly – and second, we were in Italy for the week and I was more interested in sight seeing and drinking wine than I was in running.

So this week I’m determined to make some mileage gains against “year ago Mo,” but there is one slight complication: while I’m recovering quite nicely from the DOMS resulting from FIT, thank you very much, I tweaked myself a few weeks back at To Hale and Back – my butt is really giving it to me. More specifically I’m pretty sure I’m battling through a little something called Piriformis Syndrome (either that or hip cancer…these Internet diagnoses can be a little touch and go).

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The most recent Sneakerama Fun Run.  Bonus points if you can find me.  Photo Credit: Lisa Genatossio

It was letting up by the time I started FIT, but I could feel by butt radiating pain not too long into it.  It was low key most of the previous week, zinged me pretty good at the Thursday night Sneakerama Fun Run, but evened out for Saturday after resting on Friday.  Even the next day after FIT at Jay Lyons, it was bothering me – not quite as much as the stiffness in my leg muscles over all, but it was still there.  Who knew that running another 70-miles with a joint that was screaming about a repetitive use injury would exacerbate things?

It really kicked in last night at my running club’s group run – normally I’ll bang out 5 (last week 7!) miles, but this time I just did 4.  A day after running a 7:40 5k with sore muscles, I couldn’t get much beyond a 9:30+ pace.  It was ugly crying hot-mess all the way.  Tonight I banged out 3.7 at a very similar pace, limping all the way.  If anyone saw a 90-year old running around the Wachusett Reservoir this evening, that was me.  Small victories though: where a year ago I scraped by with 9.5 miles on the entire week, I hit 10.8 today.  Of course, I’m also not vacationing in Italy this week – so it’s truly a mixed bag with a net negative.

The stretches outlined in the link above combined with a heating pad and some analgesic cream seems to be having the desired effect. I do have to say that a nice hot heating pad on your butt is a not-unpleasant experience.

I’ve been playing with signing up for a long trail race or half marathon against doing nothing on Saturday.  After my run this evening, I was pretty much decided that “doing nothing” was going to win, but with some stretching and this heating pad I may reconsider, but I have to do it quickly – the half marathon registration window closes tomorrow and it looks like there may only be 11 or so more slots available.  Decisions, decisions.

I mean this heating pad is off the chain.

What I’m particularly happy with is that while I’ve been in a considerable amount of pain, I have been able to keep going; perhaps not as long nor as far as I would prefer, but I’ve been able to go.  I spent six, maybe 7 weeks on ice last year due to injury and I was still able to hit my running goal for the year. It is on that I set my goal for this year, but that requires that I stay healthy.  28-29 miles a week for 52-weeks.  Miss a week means amortizing 30 miles across the remaining weeks.  I can’t afford to lose time.

I know from my heart monitor data that I’m basically maintaining cardiovascular on the past couple of runs – not much exertion…can’t get moving fast enough to get my heart rate up high enough, long enough, but maintenance will suffice for the time being.  Maintaining means I’m not losing ground and that’s the next best thing to gaining ground.

I’ve forgotten how nice a warm heating pad feels.  And on your butt too?  Sublime. How have I not thought of this before now?

Well, I’m going to head to bed and hope that tomorrow morning enough of my aches and pains and dings and dents have given way so I can get a few miles in before work.  If I can’t be in Italy, I may as well run, right?

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