Running Experiences: The pain and the slowness of recovery

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Alright, after a decent but fun Marathon about two weeks ago, taking a mandatory day off and starting with very low week mileage for that week I went for what was supposed to be an uneventful easy long run. 13 miles was what was on the schedule, as I was running about half a mile to my turn around point another runner turned in and we started to talk about running. I slowed my pace and was feeling great. I decided to add 1-2 miles since sugar were in good range, I had plenty of water and extra gel in case I need it. What was supposed to be a 13 miler turned into a 16.

No problem, sugars still great, legs were great and music was playing favorite running music. With about 1/4 mile to my neighborhood, I felt a sharp pain in my lower right calf. I started a small hop as I slowed down to a very slow jog. I had cramps before, this was slightly different. As I started to increased the pace, BAM!!! This time so much pain that I had to stop.

I tried to walk, but no that is not going to work. I slowly but painfully moved to the side of the road. I barely moving forward, I considered calling my wife for pickup, but since I was so close home I decided just to take my time and slowly make my way home. My brain started to get worry a bit, this was a different pain. Super sharp and then dull around my calf. Stretching it was of no use and very painful.

After a few minutes, I finally got home. I told my wife, which helped me to get into a chair on our back deck. I drank water, some Advil and tried to massage the muscle. No use. I was mobile enough to hop into the shower and back to a chair. I was trying to figure out where the pain was coming from. Was it my Achilles? Where the tendon meets the calf muscle? Was the muscle it self? I have no clue.

I rested, applied Icy/Hot and compression around the calf muscle. It seems to help. But I can’t put any pressure on the ball of my feet. That night was very uncomfortable and a dull pain persisted  thru the night. The next day I spend most of the day sitting and just moving enough. I had to mow the lawn and could not wait another weekend. With Advil in the system, compression sock on, I mowed the lawn basically almost jumping on one leg. lol Well exaggerating a bit.

Sunday night, ice was the prescription. My wife recommended for me to go to doctor, but I said I will be fine. I did some searches on the web for information. As usual R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate) Monday came and just walking from the parking lot to my office was painful. That is when I started to realized that I have back to back 5k and Full Marathon in about three weeks. If this continues like this I am not going to be able to run the event. Even worse my 2016 13 weekly challenge is going to end if I can do a 13 miler this coming week.

It is not easy to have to skip a training run, but to skip more than two it is even harder and mentally painful. I already missed Sunday and now Monday too. Tuesday came and it does not feel like is getting better. No runs on Tuesday either. More ice, more ibuprofen and more compression. Minimal walking but once in a while I test putting pressure on the ball of my feet. The sharp pain still there. It was funny, because going up the stairs there was no pain at all, but going down, holy tamales!!! I guess this was a great way to show how different activities will use different muscles.

I was planning then to either try some cycling or swimming. I do not know if it was bad timing but I ended up having to deal with another emergency that had me spend couple nights away form home. So no swimming, no cycling for me either. Where is my cardio going to be at in couple weeks? I just need to be able to sustained it for 3 and for 26 miles. I started to adjust my goals for those events already and I have not even gotten to the starting line.

No run Wednesday or Thursday but starting to feel a little bit better. I can’t walk normally yet, but it is improving. Friday was my mandatory off day anyway but thinking I can test drive/run on Saturday. That Saturday morning I was feeling good almost back to walk normal. I feel very tight calf muscles and still pushing off the ball of my feet causes some sharp pain, but nothing like the few days ago. I went on that night to get a massage. I told the massage therapist that my right calf will be tender and not to apply too much pressure. But the funny thing was when asked about the level of pressure I had to instruct to use more pressure since it was not painful at all.

Sunday is the day, a whole week of no running, driving me insane. If I do not complete 13 miles today my 13 weekly challenge for this year goes to the drain. I set my self with water, gel, music and running gear. As I walked outside, I tell my wife that I was going to run about 6 slow miles and see how I feel. As I started to run I felt it, very tight and sore. After two miles in started to feel better. I found a slow rhythm that was letting me run. Running about 10:30 minute mile I was doing great. It is not the 8:30-9:00 minute mile fast pace I like to do during these runs but I will take it. Close to mile 3 I decided to continue to at least 5 miles to do ten. And then again once I got to 5, I push the turn around distance to 6.5. I felt I could extended a bit more, but I did not. I was very happy, slow pace, feeling better still some pain. Close to mile 10, as I was crossing a crossroad the pavement did a sudden change in pitch. Oh my!!! I felt the pressure and the sharp pain as I let go the tension and force on my right leg and quickly had the left one pick it up. A gentle but painful reminder, to not to screw this up. Glad to say that I was able to keep the streak alive at least for one more week. I learned a lot this week, about patience and having to manage pain and recovery.

Coming back form injury and mine was a small injury takes time. I still have lots to learn, but rest, ice, compression and elevation are key 1st steps. Watching sugars and food intake during inactivity is important too. Having sugars too low or too high will affect the recovery effectiveness. I was paying extra attention to make sure I was with optimal range most of the time. It is still too early to declare victory, but I know at least I am still heading in the right direction. More to come during the running adventures.