Flashback to 2020, and I was twiddling my thumbs cooped up at my family’s home with absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to do. After all, a pandemic was ensuing. While some decided to make creative paradoxical renditions of Les Misérables and others absorbed the Boomer birdwatching pastime, I, on the other hand, thought it would be a brilliant idea to become a running machine—a considerable feat for someone who faked a two-week foot injury to take a break from rowing practice.
Much to my surprise, hitting that mile mark in under nine minutes was not easy after remaining sedentary for quite some time. But try I did. However, as I began to push myself out of my comfort zone every day, I noticed a reoccurring feeling each time I pounded the pavement. Pain. And not just any kind of pain, but crippling, period-like cramping pain.
At first, I chalked it up to one of two things: either a) Yes, I’m starting my period, or b) I’m severely out of shape. But after I ruled out those potential causes (those daily free weight workouts and HIIT circuits had to improve my respiratory endurance, right?), I began to wonder if anyone else dealt with the same issues when they laced up their running shoes. To Instagram polls I went!
And much to my surprise, when I asked the women from my 1,200 followers if they experience period-like cramping during runs, 84 percent answered yes while 16 percent answered no. While not a proper and professional censor, with such a high percentage of woman in agreement, I set out to find answers. Here, Dr. Ashley Rawlins, PT, DPT of Origin specializing in the treatment of pelvic floor muscle dysfunctions including pelvic pain, weighs in on what might be happening inside your body.