If forced to define who I am as a runner (which is not a thing that comes up often, mind), I would use two simple words: durable and consistent. I may not be fast. I have little desire to go super far. But I do get out there more often than not and hold together well.
You might know where this is going.
During the week between Christmas and the new year, we decided to decamp to Roxbury, New York. It's about an hour from here and is a cute little Catskills town. My husband and college-age kid could take advantage of nearby skiing; me and the high school kid could enjoy staring out of new windows for a few days. A win all the way around.
Roxbury is also the start of one of this area's hidden gems: the Catskill Scenic Trail. I made sure to pack some running gear so that I could get some time away from the family and break a sweat. Because, as I said, I am consistent.
There are a couple of muscles in my right hip/butt area that have been more tense than usual, probably a result of too much time in Zoom calls and staring at a computer. I've been stretching and rolling and having them poked with needles. They've been noticeably tight for ... a bit? Longer than I can remember anyway. The tightness comes; the tightness goes.
On Thursday morning, I woke up feeling like my entire right leg was actively on fire. I could not find a position to sit in that didn't cause even more pain. Lying down wasn't much better. Don't even get me started on walking. If it weren't so painful, I could have composed an epic poem about how many different flavors of oofff walking induced.
So I went to the doctor. She had me do some stretches so that she could see what my pain-free range of motion was -- in short: mighty oaks could bend more -- and poked two fingers into the muscle right next to my tailbone. I jumped (stiffly) ten feet straight up. Yup, she said. This is sciatica.
Near as we can figure, a couple of days sitting in strange chairs and sleeping in a strange bed caused one of those tight muscles to start pushing on my sciatic nerve. It makes as much sense as anything else. It could also be the result of sunspots or El Nino or a wind from the East. The end result is the same. The Pope and I have the same condition right now, which means that, given the transient property, I could lead the Catholic Church.
I welcomed 2021 whacked out on muscle relaxers, which isn't the worst way to great the new year. A couple of days further in, I'm down to just a couple of ibuprofen every now and again. My hip and leg don't quite feel like my own yet -- I still get flashes of pain and tingles if I sit for too long -- but I am on a decent path to recovery.
My doctor, also a runner, cleared me to run when the time seemed right. Not moving, she said, would be worse in the long term. For the last few days, I haven't felt okay enough to tie on my Brooks and go for it. I might try a very, very easy run tomorrow. We'll see how everything feels when I wake up.
While I'm intellectually OK with giving up my durable and consistent crowns for the time being, I'm emotionally itching for a good, pain-free easy run. I know that the best way to heal an injury is to give it time to, you know, heal. Still, I really want to get out there just to clear my head. I have no doubt that there are some BAMRs out there who know exactly where I am.
Again, there are certainly worse fates. Still, it's a Christmas gift that wasn't anywhere near my wish list.