I have some advice for you and that is that if you ever decide to injure yourself bad enough to interrupt your running for multiple weeks, don't do it just before / during the holidays / travel. Over the course of mid-December, my achey left calf got progressively worse and worse even as my runs got shorter and less intense until, after an easy 4-miler in Spokane, I could no longer really put weight on it.
Since then, it's all been kind of a blur of limping & travel & phone calls in airport terminals various & sundry to about a dozen doctors and clinics as I desperately tried to find someone with a medical degree who could fit me in & maybe tell me what the heck is going on. (This is why late December is a terrible time to injure yourself. Obviously no one can see you unless you're dying, and afterward they're swamped trying to take care of everyone who managed mild-to-moderate damage to themselves during the holidays.)
For the first two weeks, I could barely walk & couldn't bear any weight at all on the ball of my foot, & was routinely waking up at night in really surprising amounts of pain. In the last week I've been able to walk pretty much normally as long as I keep to less than say half a mile at a time, but there's still a reasonable amount of pain, even just to the touch in some places, and running is still so, soooooo far from happening.
I couldn't get in to see a sports medicine doctor until this coming Wednesday, but I did manage to get in for x-rays on the 3rd. Predictably, they didn't show anything; stress fractures generally don't show up on x-rays until they start to heal (usually ~4-6 weeks later), so even if that's what it is, only an MRI or bone scan would catch it.
(Don't ask me what that other stuff means; apparently they aren't concerned about any of it, but I'm still curious to know.)
I spent Thursday dejectedly explaining the situation to my PT & getting his take on it. His bullet points:
- Kind of presenting like bone, but impossible to confirm without MRI / bone scan.
- Regardless of the bone situation, there is definitely a pretty bad muscle strain in a few different places.
- Realistically, the bone situation kind of doesn't matter since the treatment is still "don't run on it until it stops hurting."
- WOW, your left calf is *obscenely* tight, ie bad strain = completely not surprising. (And yes, cupping did indeed ensue.)
We'll see if the sports medicine doctor has anything new to add on Wednesday.
So this week has been emotional and hard. The hip muscle I tore last May has been feeling great for a couple of months now and I was just starting to get back into the rhythm of training and building mileage, so suddenly finding myself saddled with another injury and likely *another* month of no running has been utterly demoralizing. It's also been tough trying to come to terms with the fact that (sigh) there is just no way I'll be ready to run a marathon on March 2nd. Even if my leg magically gets better tomorrow, it's not as if I'll be able to jump right back where I was. Once my leg is pain-free, my PT says I can start with a quarter mile to a half mile of jogging per day, & gradually work up from there based on how it feels, which is obviously very very far from what I'd hoped to be doing seven weeks out from NVM.
I don't know yet whether I'll be able to run KP Half or not. Absolute best case, it will most likely just be as an easy training run, as I haven't been able to do enough speed / tempo runs (and probably won't for a while) to feel confident about racing it.
So. All that sucks.
Still. The way I see it, my options are "Sit at home & feel sorry for yourself" or "Do whatever you can & like it," which is not a particularly difficult choice.
Please direct complaints to 1-800-waa-waaa, ext. Life Is Hard.
Until things get better, I am taking full advantage of my gym membership & loading up the week with strength sessions, yoga classes, & spin workouts, plus whatever bits of martial arts my leg can handle. I've been trying to simulate the runs I would be doing via minutes & effort level, & gradually figuring out how to translate certain paces into Watts.
Ie: 2 miles warm up, 3 x (800 @ 6:00/mile / 1:00 jog), 30:00 @ marathon pace, 3 x (800 @ 6:00/mile / 1:00 jog)
Becomes: 15:00 ~85 Watts, 3 x (3:00 @ 130 Watts / 1:00 easy), 20:00 @ 90 Watts, 3 x (3:00 @ 130 Watts / 1:00 easy)
(I had to hack off 10 minutes in the middle that day due to time.)
And: 2 miles warm up, 4 x (1600m @ LT pace / 2:00 jog)
Becomes: 15:00 @ ~85 Watts, 4 x (7:20 @ 105 Watts / 2:00 easy)
Yes, it's a little like living on protein shakes & rice cakes instead of actual food, but it's also keeping me half sane (and hopefully keeping me out of a massive cardio hole somewhat).
Grand Total: 44.5 miles (biked, obviously)
- * 29.9 easy
* 6 speed
* 8.6 tempo
a.m. 8.5 easy / lunch time yoga
a.m. strength work / p.m. 3.8 warm up, 3 x (.8 @ 5K effort / .2 easy), 4.6 @ marathon effort, 3x(.8 @ 5K effort / .2 easy) = 14.2 miles
I've learned some new cool strength exercises lately, so it was fun to try them out. More on that later....
a.m. 8.6 easy / lunch time yoga / p.m. karate + light strength
Rest; super-tight schedule with not a moment to spare.
Lunch time strength work / p.m. 3.1 warm up, 4 x (1.9 @ LT pace / .33 easy), 1.5 cool down = 13.2 miles
Since my gym is down by my office on the Peninsula, there's not a lot I can do on the weekend besides basic strength stuff. Which was just as well, since Don & I were both sick as dogs with some kind of nasty cold/sinus thing. At least we don't have the flu!
Next week's goal: Get rid of leg pain, run some amount that is not zero.