Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Break

I finally found the source of the lingering hip pain: it was my piriformis muscle.  This is a small muscle in your butt that is responsible for the lateral movement of the leg.  While I was cruising videos on I found a way to self-massage the piriformis by sitting on the ground and pulling the foot up toward your face while rocking back, and as soon as I did it I felt the most awesome muscle pain ever.  But it was a good kind of pain, because I could feel the knotted muscle slowly unwind.

But after cutting my running back to a couple days a week and doing lots of stretching, I still couldn't quite shake the soreness.  I decided I just needed to do a full stop and halt any running or stretching to aggravate the piriformis.  Thinking back on the year I realized that I had been training hard for about eight months without taking any serious time off, so a long winter break was due.

I've been keeping up my fitness by swimming, yoga, and weight lifting, basically anything that doesn't use my afflicted backside.  And after two weeks I'm starting to feel great.  With each day the pain in my hip recedes, and my energy is starting to peak.  After all of the success I had in the fall I thought I would be really missing my runs, but I don't.  I think it's because all of the other little things I do to stay in shape that are part of the running lifestyle: cross training, weight-lifting, stretching, diet, rest.  What I mean to say is that even though I haven't laced up in almost two weeks, I still feel like a runner.

This is a big change.  When I was forced to take time off before I would feel this terrible sense of loss, this emptiness.  Maybe my perspective has changed a little and I see the big picture more clearly now.  Anyway, I'm going to keep resting for another week, maybe two.  Based on how my body has reacted to rest in the past this can only be good for me.

P.S.  The weather in Provo has been wild lately, so perhaps this is why I don't mind taking a break (notice Monday, -13 degrees!  What?!)

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