Sorry for anyone who has been checking for any recent posts. Meant to keep this more fresh but with summer waning haven't been on the computer as much. The longer I waited I felt like I needed to come back with something monumental but I'll just go with what's on my mind right now; gotta start somewhere.
I have an axiom that, "Everything is connected." It never ceases to amaze me how often this proves true in the human body, and the past week has been no exception. Work on someone's foot and it affects their pelvis. Work on the pelvis and it goes to the shoulder. Work on the shoulder and it goes to the neck.
Despite seeing this every day in the office it always hits closer to home when one of these connections affect me. I'm sitting here now with a balled up hamstring that makes it hard to even bend over. However the issue didn't start in the hamstring. Last weekend we drove 4 hours to my folks' house. Between the drive, sitting around more than I usually do, and having any motivation to stretch being zapped from being around extended family, I felt pretty tight heading into the next morning's long run. I was unable to open up my stride, but had to get in some miles so I kept going. So consequently my right hamstring totally seized up the next day.
When sitting for long periods, more than what is normal for you, your hip flexors tend to tighten up and your gluts tend to shut off. This contributes to a pelvic tilt that preloads the hamstrings and also makes them over-compensate for the inhibited glutes. If you then go and run in that state the hamstring is more likely to have issues. This can range from an overt "pull" with speed-work to an abnormal tightness that won't leg go after the run, especially with longer distances. If you don't correct the underlying issues and continue running you can actually develop adhesions in the hamstring and even the sacro-tuberous ligament, which connects the hamstring to the pelvis. This ligament is the source of a lot of butt or "piriformis" pain in runners, particulary when they drive after running.
So, moral of the story: keep your butt moving! By the way, does anyone know a good sport chiropractor?