Welp, it was only a matter of time I suppose. I have acquired my first running injury.
I felt it coming during training. After a few runs, my calf was bothering me. I thought it was just a sore muscle. It would bug me as I would start a run, but eventually the pain would subside. I’d foam roll it out, massage it a bit during the day, and I was a.ok.
Then I ran the Nike Women’s Half in DC. I felt a tweak in my calf around mile 9, but I was on track to PR, so I pushed through the pain, it seemed to go away, and I was ok. I was ok as I crossed the finish line. I was ok as I perused the post-race expo. I gave it a little extra stretching (probably a mistake in hindsight if it is in fact a strained, aka torn, muscle). I was even ok walking around DC post-race and visiting the White House. We look just like the Obamas, no?
Then, I got in the car for the long, traffic-packed journey back to NYC. It started bugging me. I gave it a little gentle massaging. Then the rest stop happened. I got out of the car and ooocchh. Enter, Gimpy Nicole. I couldn’t walk without a limp. I figured – ok, I just ran a 13.1 miles faster than ever before. It’s just a bad sore muscle. It will go away. Wrongo.
First stop when I got home: Google. The search: running injuries calf. The result: a strained calf muscle. The description of the symptoms of a strained calf are dead on. Luckily, it doesn’t hurt if I’m not stretching it or putting any weight on it, so I know it’s not a terrible, surgery-required strain. Phew!
So, I’ve been trying to stay off it, as hard as that is. All you runners know that not running is usually harder than running an all uphill marathon. In the snow. But I want to be smart about this. I’ve been sitting when possible and keeping it elevated in a compression sock. I feel a little silly wearing one compression sock and one regular sock, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Maybe I’ll create a new fashion statement. What do you think?
I have another half marathon coming up in two weeks. I’m hoping I’ll still be able to run it – although goals of another PR are probably out the window. It’s been extremely tough not being able to run, but seeing as how I can’t walk normally and have to climb up and down stairs one leg at a time (pretty sure I’ve annoyed all of NYC in the subways with my sloth-like stair climbing), I’ll be happy if I can run/walk the race.
The calf has definitely gotten better over the past week, and by that I mean my limp is less Peg-Leg-Pete and more functional-old-lady-who-forgot-her-cane. I’m going to head back to the gym today for some upper body work, but will stay off the leg. Once I can walk normally, I’ll try to stretch it out and ease back into slow running. But I definitely don’t want to push it. I’ve heard once you get injured, it’s more likely to get injured again, so the last thing I want is for it to get worse before it gets better.
Fingers and toes crossed I can still participate in the Brooklyn Half!
Have you ever dealt with a running injury? How did you cope?