Sunday, February 5, 2012

Worst Run of the Year

The year is still young, but I run every single day...so there are quite a few runs already logged.  Many have been great. Others OK. Today was the worst run of the year. Terrible. Sad. Frustrating. I somehow tweaked my left calf during last night's short run on the sidewalks around town. Yesterday's run was only 2.5 miles long, but something went wrong. I can't place the actual step, but at some point my left calf got "tweaked."  It wasn't a major incident...it just happened. I slowly jogged home and figured with massage and foam rolling it would be better today. I was wrong.

I awoke to a tight and painful left calf. Since I had no real plans for the day, I figured I could lounge around the house and get in an easy trail run later in the day. The calf would loosen up and fell better. The run probably wouldn't be great, but it would get better after each mile got the muscles warmed up. The plan was sound. Walk, jog, walk more if needed. Enjoy the soft trail. Log easy miles and let the legs loosen and heal. Let the calf "work itself well" after a mile or two. I was wrong.

I started today's run by walking 1/4 mile on the trail. The left calf was tight and it hurt...but not too bad while walking. The sun was out and the air temperature was in the low 40s. Very light breeze. Great day for February!  After that first 1/4 mile walk, I started a slow jog. The calf didn't like it. Very tight. Very painful.  I tried to alter my gait to protect the calf...but nothing seemed to help. I walked more. Figured it just needed more warming. I was wrong.

After repeated walk/run cycles, I was determined to get a full 1+ mile of jogging on the trails. The calf rebelled.  It squealed. It tightened. It hurt. I managed to keep going for a little over a mile, then walked it back to the parking lot. It felt better to walk...still not good, but better. Pretended to do a few stretches at my care...but those didn't really feel right either. I went home.

After showering, eating pizza, cheesy bread, and drinking a beer...I felt better.  The calf still hurt, but I felt better. Walking around home, it is sore and tight. I'll try to massage it and "roll it"...but this could be the end of my 74-day running streak. I won't go silently. I'll try to keep going. Breakfast may be Advil and OJ...then an easy jog. Next weekend I'm scheduled to tackle a 28-mile trail fat ass put on by the local running club. I'm thinking a pain-free 7-mile first loop will suffice. We'll see. Today was the worst run of this year...I hope tomorrow is better.

For those that follow this blog, this injury is almost identical to last year's calf strain that ended my running streak at 95-days last February. Hmmm...what's up with my left calf? At least last year it got pulled doing extremely fast speed work on the treadmill. I ran fast and deserved some retribution. I taunted the running gods, and they punished me. Not this year. Fickle gods.

9 comments:

trice said...

Suggestion: STOP RUNNING
Your body is telling you to knock it off and rest, and you're not listening.

David said...

Ditto what trice said!!!

jeff said...

go get a massage from one that knows runners....do not stop running....warm-uplonger, run 1 mile...cool down longer...for as many days as you need...you are not going to die...keep running

Chris said...

Tom and David,

Nonsense! Stop running? Why not stop breathing too? Crazy talk! The body is pretending to be weak...and the mind must conquer it. I will go forward, step by step.

Jeff,
I am going to increase my warm up and cool down and seek professional massage. Wife has been rubbing/massaging the calf and I've been doing foam roller plus "the stick." Slightly better this Monday morning...but I'm not running until tonight. I'll know more around 7pm this evening.

trice said...

Stop running. "Why not stop breathing too?" Ridiculous. I think your brain is dying. Your calf is weak and hurting. Use some common sense. I have seen so many runners run on an injury, thus prolonging the abuse. If you must, go ahead and run. I don't want to hear about your misery later.

trice said...

"This injury is almost identical to last year's calf strain that ended my running streak at 95-days last February. Hmmm...what's up with my left calf? At least last year it got pulled doing extremely fast speed work on the treadmill. I ran fast and deserved some retribution. I taunted the running gods, and they punished me." You haven't learned a thing.

Chris said...

Tom,

Learning is overrated.

Last year's injury feels very similar to this thing, but with no precipitating event that I can pin down. I assume it's landing oddly on a sidewalk-road up/down section.

I'll report on my recovery. I promise no misery reports if things go downhill. I appreciate your concern. Hope to see you at Lake Mingo this weekend. Even if I can't run a full loop, I'll try to do a few miles...and drink a few beers.

janak said...

Chris,
I remember last year when you and I were the only ones on the running streak and you had the same problem on your left calf. I remember that it got very painful even sitting at a desk in office. I hope it is not that bad this year. Since you already know my take on running streak, I am not going to give you any advice :-).

jeff said...

I forgot the most important thing...ice, ice, ice....numb the pain enough to run 1 mile a day for 5 straight days...ice after run too...ice at work 10,2,4...never give up...even ice while running...remember what I did for 78 miles at Rocky...Ritz ran while hooked to a injection removal pump....you can rest when your retired, like Tom and Janak.