Pick-me-up Piriformis

I’m getting into the part of my training where I need a little pick-me-up.

I think new shoes are in order, shortly, but I opted this time to save flexing the finances too much and bought new running clothes. I bought a lululemon running skort and I’ve never been one to wear skirts while running. Maybe it was the little ruffles on the butt that make me feel like I’m wearing feathers, or knowing that we are running 26 km for our long run, but I went for it. The skirt and I will do our 26 km run in style.

We often seek motivation when we need to dig deeper and convince ourselves to keep going. Often a race will be incentive, but striving for something months away can seem a bit too long term. If you miss a run here and there, what difference will it make in 2 months time? To keep going, I chose to reward myself in way that makes me feel better about what I am doing. I have long ago learned that food is not good incentive, for me. I find myself eating empty glutinous calories that don’t make me look better, run faster or feel better. Rewards more directly related to running are a better fit. This week’s run will be long, and next week I have signed up to run a 6 km trail race up a ski hill. My incentive is that I will look fashionable, at least at the start.

Friday I had another chiropractor appointment and then went for a run. The chiropractor tells me everything is still moving well, and then he proceeded to massage and “therapize” parts of me I didn’t realize hurt so much. My piriformis muscle is sore, and it’s a tough one to stretch and soothe. Lots of foam rolling, pigeon pose and general stretching seemed to ease the immediate pain of it. It doesn’t hurt too much when I run, but it can get achy and feel weak as the miles get longer.

The answer to the big questions in running is the same as the answer to the big questions in life: do the best with what you’ve got.

I felt worried about the long run on Sunday. I don’t usually lack the motivation to keep going once I am going, especially in a group, but there are times when I don’t want to start. Today’s run was longer than we have gone and it seemed long. Not long in mileage, but in time on my legs and my legs have not felt great lately. I have run longer than this run before, so I know I am capable of it. As we neared a turn we realized we were about 10 km from our start. “Almost home.” It’s curious how perspective changes when you run a longer distance. Then those 10 km stretched out long and slow.

Run, ducks! Run!

Ducks on the run (Photo credit: Henrique Vicente)

My legs hurt, my knees hurt, and my stomach was cramping. I have been experimenting with nutrition as I run (gels and Sharkies, etc) and I think I’ve got the brand of gels figured out, but the rest causes my stomach to churn. So the last few kilometers stretched out longer than the rest and I battled with my mind convincing my stomach that things were okay and I would make it home. I thought about the (real) endurance athletes who run 50k or 50 miles and beyond, and how their stomachs probably don’t always feel great. So much of running is convincing your mind that you can keep going, as you can always keep going.

In the end, I find that the mental motivation and distraction of running with a group helps to finish what you start.

*Have you kept going when you thought you couldn’t? Do you prefer to run with others, or solo?

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7 thoughts on “Pick-me-up Piriformis

  1. I have often kept going when I thought i couldn’t. Frankly, that’s how I’ve finished every marathon I’ve ever run. It’s a mental game. I know I can do it, even if I don’t always want to do it. I just have to tell myself TO do it! And I generally run alone, but that’s mainly because I run at 4:00 a.m. and I can’t seem to find others who want to get up and run that early. Periodically I run with others and every time I do it is always a joy — I always run at a faster pace and the distance never seems as far as I thought it would be. Good luck with the rest of your training!

    • Hi PDX,
      Thanks for your visit and comments. I’m just reading your blog now. 🙂

      I trained alone for a year and it was tough going. I also run early mornings, but only do a few runs this way — the rest through a run clinic where I can join up with a group. Group running has definitely pushed me to be faster and my fitness has really improved. I agree that running is so mental, much like being in any kind of shape or fitness. We have to convince our minds before we will act and do.
      Happy running!

  2. I always find it hardest to start a run. I have a negative voice in my head that tells me I can’t do it until around mile 2, at which point I usually feel like I can go forever (that feeling doesn’t last, though!). I’m training for my first marathon and did my longest run to date – 16 miles – a few days ago. I run alone on the longer runs and I use podcasts to keep me motivated. I agree with you – running is a mental game more than anything else!:)

    • Great job on the 16 miles! It can get lonely out there, but it’s all about learning to be with yourself.
      I think once I get started, on a run as in life, I can allow myself the chance to find things to enjoy.

  3. Good choice! Cute skort. What color did you get? But why the tennis ball pocket??? Is it in lieu of bear spray? Fetch, Bruin, fetch! ??
    Gives a different meaning to ” a fetching dress”. lol
    I know the adrenalin rush is part of the high of running
    but hadn’t made the link to pain. Is it also about addiction to pain?
    Or is pain just the pre-requisite to the adrenalin high?

  4. The longer I run, the less I want to run alone. It’s so much harder, and not half the fun. Running (at least for me) is about 80% mental. It’s gotten better, but it just mirrors how my mind wants to take over my entire life!

    • I agree that running is so mental, and when you are out there for so long, why would you want it to be suffering? I like the endurance aspect of running, but it’s a physical challenge all on its own: I don’t need more challenges like running solo to prove to myself it’s hard.
      Hope you had a great vacation! Are you back home now?

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