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I'm a new runner (a few weeks in) and not due to start my period for another week. I had to stop a mile in today because I got a ghost cramps out of nowhere and REALLY wanted a vicodin. (It was contemplating-getting-in-the fetal-position-in-the-middle-of-the-trail type pain) I thought I started my period. Of course, as I was about half way limping back to my car (10 mins?) it passed and I felt completely fine. I then sprinted back to my car so I could make it home before the next one came. The thing is, it was a ghost cramp. I haven't started my period. What gives? I'm always well hydrated so I know it's not that.

In addition to going to the doctor, I just want to know: Is this normal? Can it be avoided? Should I start taking painkillers before I run?

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OK, this is speculation as I'm not a woman, but in reading The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies I came across a bit that mentioned some trigger points on the legs can contribute to a much more painful period, and it doesn't strike me as odd that running could set that off as well.

If nobody else can give you a useful answer, I'd suggest checking out that book, or if healthcare is affordable for you, see a gynecologist.

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