My runs have been pretty darn good this last week. I ran 9 miles last weekend and was very pleased with it. My starts are generally the hardest, meaning, that those first 2 – 3 miles take the most out of me, but by the 4th and 5th miles I’ve found my rhythm and am able to step my runs up from 1 minute to 2 then 3. My longest runs have been 3.5 minutes long with a minute walk. Not exactly how I’d pictured my first half marathon but it’s been the plan from the beginning as anything more would be impossible (calf nerve issues, not muscle). That said, I’ve really come a long way since I’ve first started so I’ve been very pleased. I had another 5 mile run on Tuesday and then was unable to do my second 5 mile run on Thursday due to some conflicts (kids sick, work, etc…) and the calf was acting up.
Today I was going to go for my last long run. I’d had a few days rest without running and was optimistic, feeling good overall about the week and my half marathon a week from today. Last night I had a nasty little pain that ran the left side of my lower back into my left buttock. It was a nagging pain and didn’t feel like a muscle strain but more like a nerve pinch. Well, I stretched things out pretty well this morning before heading out and found that at a mile and a half, the calf started feeling a bit nasty. I could feel the tell-tale pain that stretched the length of the middle of my calf all the way up to the back of my knee. Not good. Rather than push myself, which would only do more harm than good, I decided to walk the short distance back home. That means that I was not only 8 miles short of my target run for the day but that I couldn’t even walk it for fear of making things worse.
A couple of things I think are contributing to it, and this of course is my non-medical diagnosis, I’ve gone back to work this past week and so have had to don the heels again after a much enjoyed respite. I think they’ve contributed to some of the nerve issues as the calf is having to work muscles that it hasn’t had to in several months. Secondly, that nerve pinch in my lower back is definitely related to my calf. It’s one of those pinches that just needs Troy’s touch, adjustment, to get it back in line.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I won’t let the calf win. On my walk back I did some thinking and have accepted the fact that I may not run the majority of this half-marathon. I’ve known from the beginning that I’d be running/walking it, but today I realized that I could be walking more of it than running, assuming the calf acts up again as it did today. I could pretend I’m not disappointed, but I’d be lying. I’m irritated. My options are to quit or accept the fact that I’m there to do my best and finish. I’ve chosen the latter. Walk or run, I’ll finish. Yes, I’m a plodder, but it’s not for lack of trying.
My goals: to be present in the moment, and finish. This human may be broken, but my spirit is not.
I’ve been out of pocket for about a week now. So sorry! Just “stuff” going on that needed my attention. Running has been my saving grace, helping keep my “stuff” in perspective.
I’ve had several runs since my last post.
Day #20 – 3.5 mile run
Day #21 – Cross and/or strengthen
Did 30 minutes of bike and then did some legwork (resistance).
Day #22 – 3.5 mile run
Ran 4 miles! I increased my run time even further this time to 2 minutes and 30 seconds with 15 seconds walk. I alternate between the two for a full 4 miles. I was also able to run a couple of half miles straight without a walk in between. Getting better every day!
Day #23 – 40 minute cross/strengthen
Did 40 minutes of elliptical/treadmill and about 15 minutes of strenthening (mostly abs). I really need to spend some more time on the abs.
Day #24 – REST!!
You know how I love my REST day! I especially caught up on some much needed sleep today.
Day #25 – 5 mile run
Silly me. I read ahead and was working on a 6 mile long run today. I did well up until about mile 5.5 where my left calf started hurting . I am now convinced that Troy is on the right track as far as the source of my injury. Today, more than ever before, it felt like a nerve issue. That is, it didn’t feel like a muscle strain, but a soreness that stretched from the OUTER (new part of the calf) calf down to the middle/big toe and up a little to the back of the knee. It’s about 9 hours since my run and it’s just starting to feel better. And of course this all happens a few days after he told me to come back in 2 weeks (vs our 1 week visits), and maybe 3 if I’m fine and not having any issues at all. His attempts to break up with me are jinxing my recovery. I have a 4 mile run coming up on Tuesday. I hope I’ll be better before then.
The biggest day of my training was on Sunday when I was scheduled to run 5 miles. It wasn’t a great run, but not because of my calves. On a high note, the calves held up just fine. I just felt sluggish and it wasn’t as easy a run as I would have liked. Chalk it up to the margaritas the night before, but I didn’t have lots of them, two small ones. I could complain, but the truth is that I’m thrilled I was able to finish it. I did add more time to my running intervals. So where I was only running 1:30 minutes and walking :30 seconds, I upped it to 2 minute runs and :15 second walks. You can see why I’m thrilled. (And yes, that may explain why I felt so sluggish.)
I have a 3.5 mile run tomorrow morning before my visit with Troy. He’ll be pleased that I was able to go longer on my running without any pain in the calves.
And lastly, it’s official. “Your registration has been successfully completed.” That’s the message I got when I submitted my registration for the San Antonio Half Marathon. It’s good. Before this I had an out. Now, my out will be a costly $95. I’m glad to have that added motivation. Who’s joining me?!
Labor Day threw me off. Just got caught up in all the free time and got too tired at the end of the day to blog much. My sincerest apologies to my two readers!!
Day 11 – REST (love my day of REST!!)
Day 12 – 4 mile run
My 4 mile run went extraordinarily well. I extended the length of my runs and shortened the length of my walks. So I ran 1:15 minute runs and walked :45 second walks. No problem baby!! It felt so good! I did add quite a bit of stretching this week. Whenever I could remember, I’d just stretch out the calves. I think it made a difference. As well, I’ve been much more careful about my diet, ensuring I’m getting an adequate amount of protein as a vegetarian, sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Day 13 – Stretch & Strengthen (also Labor Day and so because I’ve been working so hard these last few weeks, I’ve decided to give myself another day of REST. Hopefully you’ve picked up on the humor there because I was layed off in June. I’ve been working hard LOOKING for a job!)
Day 14 – 3.5 mile run
Had another great run! I lengthened my run/walk times again. I had 1:30 minute runs and :30 second walks. Troy was happy with my strategy and encouraged me to do more of the same. I had a little bit of discomfort on the lower part of my left calf, north of the ankle, and again Troy thinks it was more nerve related. He had Heather, his “fellow” in training (that’s not an insult, that’s what they call them), manipulate my calf in a stretch. Check out the bruises the brute inflicted.
How am I supposed to walk the catwalk with Heidi Klum with those bruises on my legs?!! Thank God for makeup. I should sue her ass, Heather not Heidi.
Day #9 – Cross train and/or strengthen
I flaked. I was so sore from my session with Troy and Heather (new PT asst) that I couldn’t bring myself to get to the gym. OK, the truth is, of course I could have. I was just too damn lazy to do it. I could make the excuse that I was super busy with some leads that came in for my job search and consulting biz, but bottom-line, I CHOSE not to. It really comes down to choice.
Day #10 – 3 mile run
Had a great run. I’m starting to stretch my minute run to 1.25 minutes and 45 seconds of walking. I had some discomfort in my right calf, but I think that was just soreness from Monday. Nothing new developed. So, I guess that’s good news!? I’m continuing my PT exercises and some additional stretching in the hopes that my calves will loosen up. Maybe I need a massage. Now there’s a great excuse to book one!
Going to slap some Bengay on my calf to see if that’ll help with the soreness. Yep, you read that correctly. Bengay. I’m getting old.
Day 7 – Stretch & Strengthen
Not sure what “Stretch” really means. Should I be doing Yoga? Because basic stretching, I’ve been doing that regularly now since I turned 41 and all these issues started. Should I be doing more? I don’t think I can do any more what with the stretches I already do and the PT stretches. I would like to add some Yoga into my fitness regimen but the truth is, it bores me. I’m about 1o or 15 minutes into it and my mind is elsewhere. How do people do it? And yes, I know it’s good for me. I told you, I want to do it, I just have to get my tail into a Yoga class. There are a couple I’ve spotted around town that offer 10 classes for $10, and another has an introductory offer of $39 for the first month of unlimited classes. I could take advantage of either, and I should. We’ll see. I already feel like I have plenty on my plate and one more thing could push me over the edge. Completely negate any good that comes of my Yoga.
I also did some cardio (elliptical and spin cycle) and lastly some leg strengthening.
Day 8 – 3 miles
I ran my 3 miles of 1 min walk/run and it was fine. Ah, the weird thing was that I had quite a bit of tightness and pain in BOTH of my calves on Monday. Now remember, after my run on Sunday only my right calf hurt and I wasn’t too worried about it. Well totally different story after the lactic acid started building up. It was pretty uncomfortable. So much so that this morning, I really questioned whether or not I should go for my run. I decided to give it a try after running a few paces in my home and feeling fine. I was mostly concerned with a slight twinge that I felt in my left calf that felt very much like the start of the nerve issues that began this fine journey. Didn’t want to re-aggravate that. Anyway, I decided to go, and it was fine. No significant discomfort while running. Every now and again I’d feel like my right calf was about to pull again, but nothing ever came of it. Thankfully.
I also had my weekly PT session with Troy this morning. I told him all about my calf issues and he nodded his head and basically said, “You’re a mess.” No, he didn’t say that! Though I’ve thought it often!! I basically am now taking my exercise regimen to both legs which makes sense to me. I think my strengthening was imbalanced and so my right calf naturally gave out. That’s just my cereal-box-mail-away-medical-degree- theory. I was told to only run to that point just before the pain begins. I’m no longer allowed to run through the pain. Frankly, I’m not certain that will amount to much mileage. My calves are incredibly tight! I’m finding that they start to give out at about 3 miles now and that’s with my 1 minute walk/run program!! I really am worried now about my distances and my ability to ever get back up to even just a 5 mile run.
Another question for Troy was whether or not diet could be the cause of my calf issues. His first question was, “Are you a vegetarian?” Funny you should ask because it’s been since March of this year that I decided to go vegetarian. He told me I needed to look at ensuring I was getting my daily requirement for protein. (I’m pretty sure I do, but I need to look into this.) I’ve also started taking a multi-vitamin. I know I should be taking these anyway, or that’s what “they” tell us we should be doing, but for the most part, I’m a pretty good eater. I’m not a fan of the multi-vitamin, never have been, but given my vegetarianism, I will start taking these more regularly. I am a huge believer in that what you put into your body is what you get out so I need to be better about how I’m fueling it. Maybe that will be the cure-all to my calf issues!!! I can dream.
I continue to baffle my PTs (I have a new one that’s shadowing Troy, Cheryl; love her!). I went in on Friday with my new calf issue and they were debating whether it was a soleus strain or a nerve issue. Neither of which they tell me is of huge concern, both can be fixed, but frustrating nonetheless for me because all I want is an answer. A clear path for how to fix it so that it doesn’t happen again.
I know we’ll be able to pinpoint it soon, I just want it to be NOW. Patience, Ana. Patience.
My next visit isn’t until Monday the 31st and secretly, I’m hoping that I’ll pull it again just a day or two before then so they can have the immediate effects of the pain to work with. Right now it’s just remnants of my pain that they’re using to determine the issue. By the time I’m seeing them, I’m almost always recovering and then they’re having to palpate deep to find the pain or knots. Owwiee!!!
My training is supposed to start tomorrow for my half-marathon. I’m pressing on!!!! I won’t run through the pain, because Troy doesn’t want me to do that, and I listen to Troy, but I will move foward with the original plan. Fingers and toes crossed.
My PT, Troy, wanted me to run at least 3X this week, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk for a total of 30 minutes. My first run on Sunday was a bit nerve wracking because I guess part of me was expecting the calf to act up again. The second one was uneventful (which is a good thing) and I’ve just completed my 3rd run this evening. I am happy to report that all so far is going well!! I have my scheduled appt with Troy tomorrow and await my new weekly regimen. Very excited to be building up my time and distances! I know 30 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but for someone whose calf would give out after only .4 of a mile, that’s a huge accomplishment!
I’ve also been researching training plans for half marathons. I’ve found a couple that I think look good with training schedules varying between 9 and 12 weeks. I’m finding however that these plans, though marked for “beginners”, are for folks who have had some distance under their belt for a few weeks, sometimes months. With my injury, I’ve been forced to take a break for at least a couple of months and so feel like I’m back at square one. That’s a hard realization when I’d worked so hard to build up my distances to 5 miles. Big sigh.
But I’m alright! I could dwell on the fact that I’m starting all over again, or be grateful that I can start all over again! I’d rather take the latter course and am super excited about my training! Now it’s just a question of which plan will suit be best given the time I’ve been off and the time I have left to train (as of today, 14 weeks and 3 days for the San Antonio Half Marathon). I just read online that beginners who are not yet up at a 5-mile distance should consider following a 10K plan first, before starting a half-marathon training plan. I have to consider myself a beginner again given the break, and the fact that I currently can’t run a 5 miler. Right? Uggggh. I really want to do this! But I don’t want to injure myself again.
So I had my weekly physical therapy with Troy over at Sports Performance International yesterday and he gave me the green light to start running again. Yeah!! This has been 4 weeks in the works. Actually more like 8 if you count the 4 weeks before that that I entrusted to time (letting time heal the calf on its own) . After 4 weeks of daily calf exercises Troy said I could start running, but we’re going to go slow. He wants me to run at least 3 times this week for 20 – 30 minutes, 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, as well as continuing with my daily exercises. I could handle that! We also talked about my wanting to run the San Antonio Rock ‘N Roll half-marathon in November and he was optimistic. However, he was also cautious and wanted us to take it slow in ramping up my distances. He said that if we don’t heal entirely before then, we have others in the fall and early winter that we could shoot for.
I’m going to try my first run tomorrow. Wish me luck!