PSA: I started this post last Sunday, but didn’t get around to finishing it until today (Thursday), so I apologize if the timing doesn’t make sense! I am on vacation
and under the influence of margaritas so procrastination is the name of the game.
As far my running hobby
(obsession?) goes, the last year has been fantastic. PRs! Sub-4 marathons! Love! Rainbows! Puppies! Aside from a tight calf here and there, the Running Gods have spared me from suffering from any real running-related injures. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have some terrible, awful, no good, very bad news. One week ago, I experienced my first DNF since the VCM salmonella incident of 2014. At the Paul Mailman 10 miler, I was forced to drop due to a stabbing pain in my right buttocks. Yes, I am discussing my buttocks on the interwebs. Yes, my colleagues read this blog. (Hello!)
Before you reach for the tissues
and buy me get well soon presents such as brownies and/or chocolate chip cookies (I will also accept gummy bears), this sob story has a happy ending. So please keep your tears inside your head for the time being. If you want to cry happy tears, please do not hesitate to do so but know that I will be judging you. The story starts on May 29th. On that day, I volunteered at the Central Vermont Kids Track Meet, a.k.a. the most adorable event in the history of events except for the puppy bowl.
In between corralling tiny exhausted humans into straight lines and asking them their names (I imagine it would have been easier to convince a pride of lions to dance in a circle whist singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”), I happened to mention to a fellow volunteer that I had a sporadic stabbing pain in my right butt cheek. Since I was only 5 days out from the marathon, I was not very concerned with aforementioned butt cheek pain. However, my fellow volunteer happens to be a Physical Therapist and world champion Iron Woman. Ya know, just the usual sort of person. She mentioned that I may have piriformis pain/syndrome/evilness, which I filed away in my head
next to future yellow lab puppy names before resuming management of my herd of adorable tiny runners.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. In the interim, I resumed running; no real issues except for legs made of lead; lots of trails
and bears; probably jinxed myself by writing a post about how I was going to run nothing but trails. Well, two Fridays ago, as in June 19th, I was frolicking through the woods on one my favorite trails when OW OW OW OW OW. The right butt cheek pain was back, and it was back with a vengeance. I attempted to limp through the rest of my run, but the pain was noticeably altering my gait. I made my way back to car and drove home, where I proceeded to attack my butt and other muscles with a tennis ball.
Due to Friday’s butt cheek pain, I did not run on Saturday. I may have returned to Kettle Pond for a 3 mile walk with my favorite human and favorite non-human, but as a friendly reminder, there are bears at Kettle Pond so you should not go there under any circumstances. During the mild inclines (as in, I stepped over a rock), my right butt cheek was NOT happy. I dealt with the situation in a perfectly healthy manner by pretending that my right butt cheek was completely fine.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early to volunteer at the registration table for the Paul Mailman 10 miler. I had also tentatively planned to run the race if my post-marathon legs felt up to it. (This plan was formed prior to right butt cheek pain. Obviously the plan changed considerably after right butt cheek pain. On opposite day.) To make a long story short, I
stupidly toed the line and promptly realized that 10 miles was not in the cards. Did I drop out right away? Of course not! That would have been wise! Instead, I ran like a wounded horse for 2.5 miles before informing a course marshal that I would be turning around thankyouverymuch. I then proceeded to wallow in self-pity for the remainder of the day.
You may be wondering, where is the happy ending in this tale of woe? Well, after a week of rest and a PT session, I am back to running pain free! Apparently, my silly right butt cheek has been utilizing my piriformis muscle when it should be using my much stronger gluteus maximus muscle. The good news is that my PT confirmed that this is not a strength issue. My glute max is very strong, she informed me.
In other words, I have buns of steal. No surprise there. She showed me a few exercises I need to do in order to activate the right muscle. So far, the exercises are working. KNOCK ON AN EXTREMELY BIG PIECE OF WOOD SUCH AS A TREE.
The not so great news is that between marathon recovery and an injury scare, I have lost a lot of fitness. However, as someone who has been forced to take months off due to injuries, I am just grateful to be able to run. Even if running results in the consumption (and wearing) of lots of bugs.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to
drinking margaritas vacation.