Seriously. I’m done. Running with an injury has sucked all of the joy out of it. To make matters worse, I now have a second injury. Well, technically it was my first, but who is counting.
This sad story starts back in October. Exactly a week and a half after my half marathon. I went out for a “race pace” run the day before heading down to Florida to see family. The run went well and I technically got a PR on the run. I felt good and was feeling confident for my 5K that was coming up in a week and a half. The next morning I woke up with a dull pain in my left calf. It didn’t hurt all too much so I didn’t give it much thought. I went out for a few more runs through the weekend and following week. The calf pain didn’t bother me while running and it was never painful enough to raise a red flag for me. A week later when my right knee started acting up my focus shifted. And as I decreased my mileage for my knee, the calf pain almost disappeared completely.
I am not sure whether it was my bump in mileage last week, my 6 mile long run, or the 3 climbing sessions, but yesterday I noticed the dull calf pain was back. Again, it wasn’t significant enough to alarm me, but I noticed it. Then this morning, it was worse and as I got into my commute which has plenty of stairs, it got even worse. My calf was so sore that it hurt to cross my legs. I made an appointment for lunch time to see a sports medicine doctor.
The doctor was fairly certain it wasn’t clot because of the location of the pain. Phew. As he poked around he thought it could be some kind of strain and said it would be best if I took some time off running. I immediately said, “That’s not going to happen.” To which he replied, “Are you psychologically addicted to running?” “That’s besides the point.” is what popped into my head, but instead I told him about my guaranteed entry plan and that I had two more races — a 4 miler this Sunday and 15K (9.3 miles) next Sunday. He was very concerned about the second race. He asked me to take it easy for both, run/walking for both, and to not run at all other than the races. He recommended RICE, a high dose of anti-inflammatories, and compression socks. He also told me that he wouldn’t be surprised if my right knee issue wasn’t being caused by my left calf issue. As any runner knows, an injury typically leads to your body compensating in an unusual way that can lead to other injuries.
As we were talking through, he rechecked my calf and he noticed it was swollen. And he looked a little concerned. He made a phone call and told me he was sending me for an ultrasound for my calf to rule out a blood clot. Great. He asked me to email him afterward (if it wasn’t a clot) and we would make a plan from there. Luckily, the almost 2 hour visit to the diagnostics lab did not find a clot. It means that we don’t exactly know what is wrong, though, and that I can’t run.
I emailed the doc to see whether it is okay to climb and do any other sports while in recovery and am still waiting to hear back. I have a feeling he is going to want me to lay off anything that will use my calf. In the meantime, I skipped climbing tonight, came home and pulled on my calf compression sleeve and have been RICEing my calf and knee. I also took some ibuprofen. From what Dr.Google has told me, a calf injury can take 7-10 days to heal if it isn’t a tear. If I don’t run until my 4 miler on Sunday, that will be 7 days. Hopefully that will allow me to heal enough that I don’t do more damage. I’ll take it easy and then take off next week until the 15k if I have to. I’m nervous about running 9.3 miles with practically 2 weeks off of running, but I also don’t want to risk a tear.
This is not how I wanted to this to go. Things went so well with my training this year. I’d be lying if I said these injuries haven’t made me think about marathon training next year. I just keep trying to remind myself how much I progressed from the end of April when I started training for my 5 mile race to the half marathon in mid-October. A total of 24 weeks of injury free training while increasing my weekly mileage by 300% and my race distance by almost the same. Nine races in five months with two to go in the next two weeks. I just need to get through these next two races without permanent damage and take a break to recover fully. Marathon training doesn’t start for another 7 months. This is not how I wanted this to go, but I should still be able to complete my guaranteed entry. And that is all that matters right now.