Last week I started running again after being forced to take a week off because of a pulled calf muscle. Everything felt good with no pain and not even any soreness. Then on Saturday I was out on a short, slow run when the calf started getting sore. It got progressively worse until I gave in and walked up the hills. Later in the day it went from being sore to being painful. How depressing.
It would have been nice to have taken more time off, but I have a 20k race this next Sunday and a marathon the week after that so it is critical that I heal quickly. I thought I had until the latest setback.
So Sunday I went to the gym and did 2.5 hours on the elliptical trainer instead of running around the lake. This was followed by 30 minutes of the same on Monday. The calf was feeling better with just a hint of soreness so I ran again yesterday. I figured that if I couldn't do it then I'd probably be in trouble for the race this weekend. I'm happy to report that I was able to run 2.5 miles of warmup followed by four 1000m intervals and another 1.5 miles of cooldown. The calf was sore, but didn't get any worse and it feels good this morning so I think I'll be ok.
Just to be safe I won't do much more running for the rest of the week. The plan is to do the rest of the week's runs on the elliptical trainer with a few short runs on the treadmill to keep the running muscles loose.
Being injured is depressing. I felt great and everything was going really well right up until the injury. Now I have to worry about reinjury and conditioning and whether or not I'll be able to finish up my race series. I suppose it's hard to understand, but in the same way as running and achieving challenging goals make me feel really good, these periods of struggle can be disheartening. I'm trying to make the best of it and I'm grateful that other than this my season has gone very well. Hopefully I'll come through it stronger than ever.
It's been unseasonably warm this week and very humid, but the forecast if for a strong arctic air mass to plunge into central Texas tonight. So, the weather for the race should be in the low 30's. That's a little on the cold side, but it's better than the alternative. I'm hoping that the cool air will stick around for at least a week so that I'll have good conditions for the Dallas Marathon. I'm cautiously hopeful that despite the injury and disrupted training I'll be able to run well in both races.