On Monday (after a day off on Sunday), I set out for a 9ish mile run, including 4 tempo miles. It was one mile less tempo than last week and with cooler temps, I wasn’t nervous about it, like I usually am for a hard workout.
I started early (4:30ish) so I could go to yoga after. It was dark and cool and I had the whole Lake Front Path to myself. I warmed up for 20 min in my heavy shoes and felt a little tightness in various places, including my right knee and right leg just below my calf. Both were the kind of twinges that are typical during marathon training. Those kind that loosen up eventually and after the run, I normally don’t even remember they were there. After 20 minutes the knee twinge was gone but the calf tightness lingered. I changed into my A5′s for the tempo miles and got 3 miles into the tempo feeling great. The first 2 had a super strong headwind (7:09, 7:09) so I was happy to turn around and have way less effort = similar paces. Mile 3: 7:08. After a hard week of training the week before, I remember thinking during the tempo miles that my body amazes me sometimes because of its ability to be strong and do what I ask of it, even when it should be tired. Wow, was I wrong.
Toward the end of mile 3, the pain in my right calf started to get worse and just as I was contemplating cutting out the 4th tempo mile, I felt a sharp pain and was stopped dead in my tracks. I stretched it out, walked a little bit and tried to lightly jog, but it hurt and I knew I wasn’t doing myself any good. I walked a mile to where my Brooks Ghosts were stashed in the bushes and changed them, hoping the stability shoes would allow me to run slowly back home. While I was walking, I think I was still a bit in denial. It didn’t occur to me at the point that I could be injured. But the more I walked, the more I found myself cursing the runners that were happily running by me. I silently thought that they didn’t realize how lucky they were to be running.
After I changed my shoes, the pain was still pretty sharp, so I walked out to the road (after being scared shitless by 2 raccoon), and got a taxi to take me home. I showered, iced, skipped yoga then went back to sleep for an hour or so. When I woke up, it hurt to even walk.
I pouted all morning. Argued with Brad about nothing (because hello?! my running life was OVER and it was clearly his fault). I sat down to work, but first I published my (already written) training recap from the week before. Shortly after, I got a few positive comments about my training, but I felt like a huge fraud, because I sat there on my couch barely able to walk. I registered for Boston and tried to get excited, but I was so consumed with the pain in my calf and what it might mean for NYC training that there was just a proverbial dark cloud over the whole experience.
Fortunately I already had an appointment that night with Liz, my ART/PT extraordinaire. I wore compression socks all day and iced several times and by the time I got to PT, I could at least walk normally. Liz told me that I most likely strained my muscular tendinous junction of the gastroc (huh?!) i.e. my lower calf. She treated me, then recommended rest and gave me a few “tests” to complete with no pain prior to trying to run again.
So I waited. And I mourned all the miles and workouts I was missing each day. I like running marathons, but I LOVE marathon training. I love hard workouts, big mileage weeks, updating my training log. I just love to train. So the hardest part for me isn’t really the possibility of not being able to run or PR the marathon, but to miss out on any part of the process of getting there.
Fortunately we were leaving Tuesday for our California vacation, so I had plenty of this…
And views outside of our hotel room like this…
…to keep me distracted. I was pretty sad to not get to explore Napa by foot, which I looked forward to all summer, but spending quality time with Brad and not having to drag myself out of bed early to run wasn’t so bad.
I rested 3 full days, then when we got to Carmel on Friday I did the elliptical and recumbent bike for an hour. It never felt so good to sweat. Saturday I did my long “run” on the elliptical, which was probably the most boring thing I have ever experienced. Then I tried to run this morning because I passed my tests from the PT with no pain. First 2 miles were fine, dull pain but totally manageable. The second 2 miles I had sharper pain and since Liz told me not to push through a 5/10 on the pain scale, I had to take some walk breaks to keep the pain under control. I was pretty disappointed, because I was hoping that 5 days off of running would be enough.
So now back to the drawing board. I have another PT appointment tomorrow and then will hopefully try to run again on Tuesday. Day by day, I guess.
So that’s that. I will keep you all updated as everything progresses.