October was supposed to be THE month. It was my BIRTHDAY month! The month where my Race to 35 journey would end. Remember? My FIRST half-marathon for my 35th race and for my 35th birthday? Yeah…well. “So, what had happened was…”
My running game was off and I wanted to salvage my training. Since I knew I wouldn’t be ready for an October half, I looked at the possibility of doing a half-marathon in December. I thought that a 10 week crash course training schedule would help. I purchased the Runner’s World Training Plan and prayed to make it through. The first few weeks seemed easy enough. Short runs during the week and long runs on the weekends. The other days would consist of active rest and strength training. Crossing that half-marathon finish line by the end of the year would be possible and I was excited. Then IT happened.
It started off as a slight pain in my right calf. It wasn’t too bad and I thought it would eventually go away. I ran a few miles on the treadmill and it felt OK. A few days after, it started to feel worse. It would hurt to get out of my bed and I couldn’t put too much pressure on my right leg. I tried running a few steps and it felt tight. Stretching my calf was difficult and painful. My worst fear had just come true. OMG. Not now. Please don’t tell me I have an injury. Right when I was getting my training back on track and felt like running, I had to stop. You know what’s even worse? It was probably due to a non-running injury. I’m not making light of running injuries but damn, if I was going to get injured, why couldn’t it be from running?! After all I am a runner, right?!
I looked back and tried to remember where this could have happened. Some incidents came to mind:
1) Muscle cramp: One night, I was woken up with a massive muscle cramp. It was so bad that I almost cried. It went away and I didn’t think about it too much. There was some pain after but not as bad.
2) Strength Training: I was at the gym and was on a seated calf machine. I might have strained it when I added too much weight because after that workout, my calf felt a bit off.
3) Lack of stretching/warming-up: I am horrible and rarely (more like never) stretch before or after a run. I used to foam roll after a long run but haven’t in a long time. Maybe this pain was from that?
I have no idea…
After contemplating these possible scenarios, I did what any ‘smart runner’ would do. I decided to consult the most trusted doctor (on the internet); ahem…WebMd. Don’t judge! I diagnosed myself with a calf strain and prescribed myself R.I.C.E. Otherwise known an Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. I got myself a neoprene ice-pack and iced my calf nightly. I would read Runners World while lying in bed and tried to stay motivated. I scrolled through social media feeds and cheered on fellow runners. It was hard. I got runner’s envy. It was hard to stay positive and the reality of not completing my first half marathon this year sunk in. I knew I had to listen to my body and not run. I worried that it wouldn’t get better and my running days were over. Super dramatic, I know. All I could do was pray and hope for the best.
After a couple of weeks, I noticed there was no pain when I got out of bed. I cautiously stretched my calf and it didn’t hurt. Hallelujah! I went to the gym and tested it out on the treadmill. I ran a mile and it felt fine. It looked like I was back!
Lately, I’ve been running on the treadmill and getting my running legs back. It’s been hard starting over but I know it’s for the best. Last Saturday, I ran a couple of miles on the trail and I felt great! After this slight setback, I’ve learned a lot about myself and have reevaluated my running goals for this year. I may not run a half-marathon in the next few months but I know I WILL someday. My focus is to get back in shape and get stronger. I miss running races and I hope to finish 2014 with a fun race. My birthday came and went and though I didn’t get to cross that half-marathon line, I know I am truly blessed with my Fave, my family and health which are far more important than any medal.
Have you ever gotten an injury? How did you deal?
See you at the finish line!