Sometimes the worst runs are the ones that can teach you the most. Let's take last night for example. First a little backstory. For probably about a month I have been having pain in the back of my right leg. Sort of started right where the buttocks meets the top of the thigh and then has progressed to the entire back of the leg and behind the knee with occasional twinges down into the calf. I have self-diagnosed it as piriformis syndrome. Thanks internet for my medical degree!
The pain is strongest when I drive and driving seems to exacerbate it. Since I average about two hours a day of driving it just keeps getting worse. I actually yelped while driving home from dance class Tuesday night. Fortunately, it hasn't bothered my running (until last night) other than noticing some tightness when I run and walking around Disneyland for three days straight actually seemed to make it go away for a short time. Good, except for the fact that my day involves sitting and not moving much so that doesn't help.
But onward to last night's run. I had six miles on the schedule and immediately knew it was going to be a bad run. The pain in the right leg wouldn't go away, my left ankle felt tight and uncomfortable and when I relaced the shoe to loosen it up then my heel would slip which changed my gait so my calf tightened up. Then the groin got in on the act. Really, Groin? Really? Anyway, I was doing two laps of a three-mile loop and at mile three I passed my car. I knew the run was crap by this point and I had even had to take a few walk breaks and I just wanted to stop. And there was my car and the opportunity to stop. But I didn't. Instead I did a quick assessment:
Are any of the pains you are having acute? No
Do you think running further will cause you harm? No
Are you just maybe being a whiny, namby pamby baby and could you run through this? Probably.
Will you regret stopping early? Yes
Than continue on, Grasshopper. And I did. And it felt good. Not physically good mind you but mentally good that I didn't wuss out. It took me years to get to the point of running through discomfort and pushing on when I want to stop. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't good but I did it. And that was my running victory last night. And my ass still hurts.