Heart and Soleus

Have you ever done something so embarrassing while no one was looking that you were afraid to admit it to anyone? Maybe it was intentional, like picking up that strawberry off the floor and eating it, after thoroughly inspecting it, of course. Or perhaps it was unintentional like driving through a stop sign, or stepping in some dog crap. Maybe you don’t even remember doing something yet you are completely mortified of the outcome. I guess in my case, it is the latter. I don’t know what the hell I did but did I f*** it up royally.

I have to blame it on the 20-miler I did on Monday. But who knows. Perhaps it was already in the works and it just decided to rear it’s ugly head after Monday’s run. I have no idea. But I’m so embarrassed and ashamed at whatever I did, I literally crawled into a hole early this week just as I getting the footing down to crawl out of one. 2014 has just not been my year. Any self doubt I have ever possessed has come forth in a blaze of glory. I’m surprised I still have a tongue since it seems like all I do anymore is bite it.

Tuesday morning, I awoke with an odd sensation in my calf. Or shin? I couldn’t quite pinpoint it to be honest. And I really still cannot. I don’t know exactly which hurts, my ankle, my calf or my shin. It is on the inside of my left leg and it is another of those bizarre injuries where sometimes it hurts like the dickens, and other times, it doesn’t even bother me to walk on it. I ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, each day managing to get the run done with little incidence. I saw my PT on Friday and one thing we did rule out was a stress fracture using the tuning fork trick. She asked me if it was getting any worse, and at the time, it wasn’t. So, she told me how to ice it and how to stretch it, assuming that it was in fact the soleus that was acting up, or the medial tibia. Many times this injury occurs due to overuse or improper foot wear. So maybe it was the obvious increase in milage that Hal had me doing last week. Or maybe it was from running in the more cushioned Brooks Ravenna. Either, or both…it sucks.

Friday was  a rest day and I took it with glee. I thought the day off would suit it well. The weekend came and Hal asked me to run back to back long runs Saturday and Sunday. For some reason I awoke in a crappy mood Saturday despite the tiny respite in the weather. I had to get my run done before 1pm to get my girls to their horsey lesson. But I wasn’t thinking and forgot that 13 miles would take me close to 2 hours. And I also forgot that I had to leave the house at noon to get them there saddled and ready to go at 1pm. I left the house at 10am. Yep…not thinking at all. My calf complained a little at first, but it quickly got jiggy with it and I was flying through the first half of the run, despite the fact that it was uphill and into the wind. I ran up the country road as far as it would go, which was only 5 miles or so, which meant that after I turned around, I’d have to detour somewhere to make up the additional 3. I suppose if I were smart, I’d have just completed the 10 and called it a day. But, nooooooooooo. I decided to squeeze the extra three in. I didn’t eat breakfast, which didn’t help my brain at all. I was actually getting depressed as I ran, thinking about the busy week ahead, and the shit I have going on in my life, and my calf. My damn calf. What did I do to it and why is it preventing my from getting in a decent 13-miler? Ugh. I limped home, just devastated and in a mood deep from the bowels from hell. But dammit, I finished the run. My husband took the girls to their lesson so I could stretch it out, ice it, and recover somewhat. My mood improved after I ate something. But after going to the lesson and sitting around for an hour or two, I was in rough shape by late afternoon. And I knew by evening that a 15-miler the next day wasn’t going to happen. But, I kept massaging, icing and stretching like a warrior. Because, quite honestly, I had no idea what else to do.

Sunday sucked. I wasn’t going to even attempt to run on my leg. So I opted to sweep and mop my floors instead. It was a way to keep active without completely losing my mind. My CPR/First Aid class was scheduled for that evening so I would be getting out of the house soon. That could be good…or bad. In this case it was good, until the end of class when I tried to walk out of the building. Then it was bad. Oh dear God…what have I done? I drove home on the verge of hysterics the entire way. I decided I’d e-mail my PT and consult her just to be sure I was still doing the right thing. I got home and confessed to my husband that I did something really wrong and that I was sick about it. I just wanted to crawl into bed with an ice pack…which is pretty much what I did. Not until after I stretched, massaged and looked up every symptom on the interwebs. Yeah, pretty certain it is the soleus, or maybe a shin splint. Or an Achilles strain? Whatever it is, it has broken my heart as well.

Monday I woke up 50% better. Not nearly as awful as Sunday night, but still pretty bad. I opted again not to run. I didn’t even let it enter my mind. I did my P90X workout and spent the day with my daughters. It was their 14th birthday and they were off from school, so we ran around the area and did some shopping. Sometimes it hurt, sometimes it didn’t. And I just cherished the times that it didn’t. And prayed when it did. I brought an ice pack with me and iced it whenever I had the opportunity. And stretched it too.

By Tuesday morning, it was 50% better than Monday morning. Good enough that the stretching was tight and not painful. And I was able to bear more weight on it. I decided to test it with a slow, deliberate walk on the treadmill. I set it for 10 minute intervals at 2.8 mph and got off and stretched good before attempting another 10 minutes. I easily made it 40 minutes before I had to take one of my daughters to an appointment. After that, I repeated the 40 minute walk when I returned home. Everything is looking on track for some kind of recovery. With only 20 days left now, I’m desperate for any kind of recovery. The e-mail I got back from my PT was positive. Of course, that is her job. She told me to continue the protocol and go ahead and take the time off not running. And that she was thinking of me. More like feeling sorry for me, in my honest opinion. She probably knows way more that she is admitting. And here come the waves of self doubt again. Another look at the interwebs, and another few stretches to try…plus self massage. Hey. This is working. It feels way better than it did two hours ago. Have I hit the jackpot?

Jump to Wednesday morning. 50% better again…but still not nearly where I’d like to be. The weather is pleasant this morning and the rest of the week calls for 10-15″ of snow. Ugh. I’m getting out there…even if it is just to walk. I did P90X and suited up. Walking down the driveway was a chore. I did my running dynamic stretches along the way, and stopped every once in a while to stretch the soleus. Oh Soleus A’Mio. Why have you failed me? It was windy and chilly and I underdressed so I already knew I wasn’t going far. The first mile I walked and jogged for just a few steps. I had to walk more than jog. This was getting depressing. But I was determined to at least get a mile in. I just kept walking and jogging. I couldn’t decide if it was my calf or ankle that hurt more. I just couldn’t pin point the pain. But, after a while I was jogging more than walking, and after that first mile, I was able to just jog. It is so odd that the longer I jogged, the better the leg felt. And everything melted away as my form improved. I was going slow as molasses, but I was going. And when mile 3 came, I felt like I could have gone longer. But I stopped. I got smart and I stopped. There would be time to test it again. Don’t push it, Varga.

After the run, I immediately iced the calf/ankle. Then I warmed it up again, stretched it and got in the shower just in time to pick my girls up from the arena. I’ve had a stab of discomfort here and there, but for the most part, knowing I did 3 miles on the leg today and still feel pretty good, feels pretty good. And looking at the interwebs again, it seems I can’t rule out the ole’ posterior shin splint. Maybe since I cleared up the tightness in the soleus, now the true beast can emerge.

Where will I be tomorrow? How will I feel? I have no idea. The weather turns tonight so running outside is out at least until Saturday. I was supposed to do 20, but already I know I’m done with long runs until the marathon. I can’t risk it now. And I’ve already done 2 long runs in this training program. I’ll have to believe that it is enough. I just want to wake up pain free. Is that too much to ask? And I’ll have to force myself to be positive positive POSITIVE. It’s half mental, right? I can talk myself out of injury, right? I have THREE WEEKS LEFT, RIGHT!?!

I believe in the power of prayer, and I’m going to pray that this all works itself out over the next 3 weeks. I’ll do my P90X and I’ll do treadmill walks if I have to. But I will run Boston. I am going. I got in. I’ve invested so much already. I won’t be disappointed in how I run. Just knowing I’ll be there and be running there will be enough.

It has to be. It’s in my heart and soleus.

19 Responses to Heart and Soleus

  1. Oh Theresa….I hope it something that works itself out quickly….3 weeks is right, YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!!!

  2. Theresa: Know that it will be okay whatever happens. God has a way if you lean on Him and know that you are supported here in our running community; we love you!

  3. Celia says:

    We are so related . That was my injury last year. I was wearing those Skechers shoes for a while when it got really bad. You will prevail!! Rest and rehab!

  4. A Running Chick says:

    Thanks, sister. I KNOW you get it. UGH.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear this! I woke up a few months ago with a TERRIBLE calf pain – it almost felt like a really deep knot way inside my calf or something like that. Since then, it’s been giving me pain on and off – a few days, there’s no chance I could run on it, but most days, I can get through it. Fingers crossed for you!

  6. I’ve had this happen right before a marathon. I just took the time off and when race day came, not a problem. I know it’s mentally just terrible 1) not to be able to run and 2) right before Boston – I get it. But your runners are right there with you and supporting you – just be careful! You’ll kick Boston’s butt on the 21st!!

  7. Oh, and give yourself a break!

  8. You’ve got this hon….You’ve done the training, so just taper back and heal. After my 20 miler last year, I literally screamed in pain as my calf muscle popped. But I came back and finished my marathon strong. xoxo I am cheering you on!!!

  9. Skd says:

    Your training is in the bank. Taper, rest, let this heal while you actively recover and you will make it to Boston and do great.

  10. I wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Liebster Award. All details are on my last post from Friday. Looking forward to meeting you in Boston!

  11. Hannah says:

    Hello! My name is Hannah and I just started a blog about my life living with chronic pain, and running through it! I would be grateful if you would go and check it out and tell everyone you know about it! I’m excited to share my story, spread awareness for chronic illness and inspire others! 🙂


  12. Theresa, hope you feel better soon! Goodluck in Boston! Having the opportunity to run it is half the battle:) Last year I did the Boston2BigSur Challenge! This year only Big Sur for me. You should put that on your bucket list!

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