I've done this twice before: I ran really hard runs right before the Ottawa 10K in 2009 and the Army Run 5K in 2009. In the first race, I aggravated a nerve on the outside of my knee, but still was able to run the race. In the second one, I got sick and didn't run, as it was 2 weeks before my wedding and I didn't want to end up even more sick.
I've gone to physio twice since last week and I have two appointments this week. I'm diligently doing my exercises and applying heat to loosen up the muscles. The foot seems to feel better each day, so I'm trying to stay positive about the half marathon. I'm treating this as an extreme taper. In a test run on Thursday, it hurt to run. So I have to be honest with myself. Not running the half is a real possibility. If I can't run the race, it's not the end of the world. I'll be disappointed for sure, but there are other races to run.
What I need to figure out is why this keeps happening. I thought I had been doing well: I was going to physio every 6 weeks to get my back/muscles addressed, I was stretching regularly and doing my preventative exercises. But I still ended up here. It's incredibly frustrating that it's the same injury as before, just on the other side.
So this leads me to wonder: what am I doing wrong? I'm fairly sure the sciatic pain is related to cumulative muscle trauma - I'm damaging the muscles repeatedly before they have time to heal, and eventually the muscles and nerves end up in a cycle of swelling/overtightening/shortening. I need to figure out why the muscles are not healing. Is there a medical reason, like say, anemia or poor circulation? Is it my training, like I'm running all my runs too hard? After this is said and done, I'm going to find a running coach to go over my training log and help me design a training plan so I can avoid this in the future.
And I'm going to join the Ottawa Running Club. I've been meaning to do so, as they have track sessions and group runs. Since I don't play Ultimate anymore, I want to make my running more social, as running alone is not conducive to meeting new people!