My calves suck too

Since Sunday morning’s 5 mile run was pretty much pain free, I decided to head out for a slightly longer run Monday evening. I thought a good goal for this run was 8-10 miles. I really wanted to get in one last double digit run before the marathon. Somehow I had convinced myself that 10 pain-free miles on Monday would mean 26.2 pain free miles on Sunday.

Instead of feeling excited for this run I spent most of the day dreading it. What if I fell apart after 5 miles? What if I couldn’t even make it 5 miles? Is my marathon completely doomed? This is the exact opposite of the mindset that I need to be in right now. The first mile of my run was brutal. All I could think was “I can’t do this.” Finally I managed to settle into a comfortable pace and started enjoying the fact that I was running without pain.

When I started the run, my calves were really tight. I was not surprised since every time I take a short break from running, I am met with tight calves when I resume training. I figured once I got warmed up they would feel better. After about 4 miles I could tell they were getting tight again. After about a half mile I started feeling a slightly painful tugging in my right Achilles. I was less than a mile from home, so I decided to give myself a few minutes to see if it got worse. It slowly got worse over the next half mile so I started taking a few walk breaks to see if that helped. Eventually I decided to just walk the rest of the way home. I started icing as soon as I got home.

Part of me was relieved that my back/hip seemed to be holding up just fine (no pain during or after the run!) and the other part of me worried if this was the start of another injury (maybe Achilles tendonitis?). I tried to remind myself that tendonitis is an overuse injury and I have never had any symptoms prior to this run. It was hopefully just my tight calves pulling my tendon tight and creating pain.

The next morning my Achilles still felt very tender. It was not the pain that I felt during my run, but it was clear that it was not fully recovered. My calves were still incredibly tight as well (even though I had been foam rolling them). Fortunately I had an appointment with Chris (the massage therapist) that morning.

Chris started by checking if the alignment corrections he had made last week were still in place (they were). My right hip is still slightly forward, so I will be continuing to do the recommend exercises. Next was massaging and scraping my adductor muscles (the muscles that are likely causing my hip issues). This was a lot more intense than my first appointment, but not terrible.

Finally Chris got to work on my calves. Oh my god, the pain. So much pain. My right calf is just a mess of tightness and knots. The scraping was absolutely miserable. Scraping along tight muscles. Scraping along the Achilles tendon. The left calf was in better shape than the right, just one really painful spot as opposed to the entire back of my lower leg hurting.

The pain seemed worth it in the end since when I left the appointment my Achilles was feeling completely normal. I woke up this morning with my calves feeling bruised, but there isn’t a mark on them. I guess this is normal for deep tissue massages and I should be feeling better tomorrow.

Thanks for making it through this boring injury update. My brain is kind of a mess right now. I really just want this week to hurry up so I can stop obsessing over the race. But also if you could slow time down so I could fit in a few more weeks of training, that would be nice too!

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5 thoughts on “My calves suck too

  1. I'm glad that massage helped your achilles feel better. I'm simultaneously looking forward to and not looking forward to the PT tomorrow. I know the calf massage is going to be killer, but I do think there is a “hurts so good” element to it after the initial shock of being prodded painfully. Maybe I'm just crazy!

    The week is hurrying up – it's Wednesday night already. Before you know it the race will be here and you'll be on your way to an exciting finish. Even if you don't finish for some reason, it's not the end of the world. At first it kind of feels like the end of the world, but fortunately life goes on and presents you with new opportunities to race.

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  2. Ugh I was hoping your next post would be “Feeling 100%! Ready for the race!” so I'm disappointed for you that you still have pain. Of course, when one thing gets better something else hurts. I hope you heal up really quickly and can somehow enjoy the race. I'm so sorry this happened to you Heather 😦

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  3. If you are feeling beat up after your massage I highly recommend a nap followed by a nice hot shower. I felt miserable when I got home from work yesterday and couldn't imagine going for a run, so I crawled into bed instead. I couldn't believe how much better I felt a few hours later.

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  4. Oh man. I'm really sorry, Heather. I don't know what else to say other than it's such rotten luck that this had to happen to you after you worked so hard and diligently, but I know that doesn't make you feel better.

    It seems like things are looking up though so even though there are only a few days left I'm crossing my fingers that you get to the starting line and are able to finish your first marathon on Sunday.

    You may not be able to run the race you wanted to run and trained for, but I think that getting to that finish line after all the hurdles thrown your way will make your first marathon experience memorable in a way it never could have been before. Remember, a marathon is more than just a race. There's a reason this distance is so special – it really is an embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit.

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