Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Working through injury


Three weeks ago during a morning run I felt some pain in my right calf but it wasn't bad enough to make me stop.  The next morning I called off my run a short way into it and decided that it wasn't worth getting hurt right before my week long hiking vacation (NH, Baxter, Acadia) so I decided to rest for a few days. I figured it was the heat.  For the hiking I wore my compression sleeve on my calves which seemed to do the trick.  We had a bunch of great hikes including a nice long loop over the Knife Edge to Baxter and Hamlin Peaks.  We were tired at the end of the day, but my legs were OK.

Skip ahead to the Tuesday after the vacation when I went out for my first run in two weeks.  About one half mile into an easy run at my sister's house in NY I felt a familiar pain in my right calf and pulled up to a stop. I can't tell you how frustrating that was.  My plan was to go into the long run part of my marathon training right after the vacation but this was putting my race in October in jeopardy.  Even a full, quick recovery might not be enough to get the miles down in time.

So, the first thing I did (after moping) was to schedule a massage with my guy, but that wouldn't happen until the following Monday.  After I got back from NY I went for a bike ride after work to make sure that I could still exercise at all.  That ride was difficult because of the all runners I was passing and wishing I were with them.  Still, it was good to be out and active.  I ran into Jackie who was doing the regular Thursday night Charles River run and we chatted a bit and I felt a little better about my recovery plan.  On Saturday Monica and I went for a ride on the Mountain Bike Loop in the Fells which went really well.  I need a better mountain bike. :)  That will have to wait.

Monday comes and after work I have my massage with Nolan.  Boy, that hurt a lot but I think it really did a good job.  He worked on my calves for nearly 30 minutes with painful instruments of destruction and I had a bit of a hard time walking right after but I could tell it was good for me. We talked about the injury and he suggested I get something to stretch our my calves and use it many times a day. After false starts at two stores I found what I was looking for at City Sports. I'm now using it 5-10 times a day, every time I get up from my desk I try to stretch for a minute.

This morning (Wed) I went for my first real run in 3 weeks.  I stretched a bit before heading out and ran at a slow steady pace.  There was no pain, but when I got hurt there wasn't any pain until all of a sudden there was.  I crossed the Charles, taking the steps on the footbridge gingerly to avoid any unnecessary strain. At two miles I stopped and stretched again, no point being silly about this.  The final mile back to the house I could feel a little tightness so I slowed the pace (how could I go any slower?) and finished pain free.

Now it's a routine of ice, stretching, compression, and rest.  I'll try a run again on Friday, then a longer one on Sunday.  Perhaps the marathon isn't a lost cause yet.  If I can run a 12-14 miler in the next few weeks then I'll feel much better about mid-October.  Until then I'll just take it one day at a time, and try to work against my normal instincts and not overdo things.


  1. I think you need to post of video of you using that contraption because I can't figure out how it works...

  2. You stand on the thing, heel on the right side of the picture, toes on the left side, and depress your heel. This stretches the calf, Achilles tendon, and hamstring.