My 2022 running season allowed me to meet every running goal I set for myself. I have been lucky and fortunate to avoid injuries or other physical setbacks.
2023 has not been so fortunate for me. No major injury this year but an old friend decided to check back in during the 2023 Run for your Heart 10k back in February. This was a new race for me, and it appeared I would be able to run a fast time since this course was completely flat and my training program was geared to keep me running fast in 2023.
Penn Medical Center defines sciatica as pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome is one of the common causes of sciatica and develops when the piriformis muscle becomes tight or spasms (Cleveland Clinic). The Cleveland Clinic identified about 40% of people in U.S. experience sciatica sometimes during their life. My bout occurred during a race! LOL.
I’ve had bouts in the past but was able to shake off in a couple weeks.
This episode came as a first since my latest sciatica experience came at the 3.5-mile point of the 2023 Run for Your Heart 10k in Port St. Lucie. Past episodes came about gradually but this one came as I was pushing my pace for a 10k PR.
Decided at the race start line to go out with a pace I could improve on as the race got deeper. My plan was to run negative splits each mile and get faster to close out the race.
This plan worked brilliantly through the first 3 miles, and I felt great physically and mentally. Started to smile more as I logged good mile splits and knew I was on pace to go below 55 minutes for the 10k.
I felt a slight twinge in my left hamstring at the 3.5-mile turnaround point on the course. I didn’t think much about it since leg soreness comes with running. Kept pushing the pace with designs the hamstring would work itself out so I could continue my quest towards a PR.
This fallacy soon left my mind and body as the hamstring pain intensified to the point; I thought I was cramping. Slowed down a bit with hopes the cramp would go away but it didn’t, and pain continued to intensify. Decided to pull over and stretch it out but that didn’t help either. This was a first for me during a race but continued moving forward with the hopes the cramp would go away. The PR was the last thing on my mind at this point. I just wanted to finish the race upright and I did.
Finished the race with no distinguishing kick—I eased to the finish line ahead of some of the 5k participants with the crowd cheering me to go faster. I ignored them completely. LOL.
Crossed the finish line with a grimace on my face but upright. Made my way to get water and refreshments with hopes this would take the cramp away. Please note, I refer to this as a cramp because that’s what I thought was happening.
Finished with a time of 1:02 (one hour, two seconds).
It took me a couple of days and lack of response to treatment to realize this was not a cramp. I have not had a sciatic episode in years and sometimes forget how it feels. Also, it has NEVER occurred during physical activity.
I began treating the sciatica with Epsom salt, ice, heat, and my massage gun. This all helped but it didn’t go away. Decided to take a few days off from running to see if that would help. This was the first forced break from running for me in years. Felt funny but was necessary since my leg was experiencing nerve pain.
Hoping the pain subsides in time for the 2023 Calgary Stampede 10k in two weeks.
Fingers crossed! Piriformis syndrome sucks! LOL.
NOTE1: I don’t publish articles in the order I write them—just when I’m done with the editing process.
NOTE2: I ran the 2023 Calgary Stampede and still had piriformis issues—made it to mile 5 before slowing. Decided to skip the 2023 Orlando Best Damn Half Marathon and the 2023 Virginia Beach Shamrock Half Marathon. First time I’ve signed up for races and not go to the race sight.
NOTE3: I wrote 90% of this article on my phone with SAMSUNG Notes while flying back from Jamaica over spring break. This is the first time I used my phone to write a blog article. This opens me up for additional writing opportunities to capture my thoughts and develop new content. Exciting times for the Walk into the Future blog! 😊