296 days: The dreaded injury bug

Quick recap: I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Over two months in and so far we are on track. Raised so far: $1,490!

While training for an event, I tend to think of my days as falling into one of a few categories. These include, but are not limited to:

Category 1: Sometimes training is awesome. No matter the distance, no matter the speed, you feel like you swim/bike/run/whatever with ease. Want to go a little faster? No problem. Want to go a little farther? No problem. And you just do it, because you can and it feels right.

Category 2: Other days, well, are less awesome. It is a struggle just to get through the planned activity. The reasons vary, and most of them aren’t very happy, so we won’t explore this any further.

Category 3: And then there are those days when you are in Category 1… life is GREAT! And then it quickly becomes far less than satisfactory. A megadose of Category 2 that hits you from out of the blue.

This week started off as a raging case of Category 1. I was energetic. My training runs were fast and effortless. Then on Tuesday at the end of a run it hit me like a snowball thrown at your blindside by the schoolyard bully… and today the snowball grew. The bully had put a rock in the middle of that darn snowball.

The story

Tuesday I had a 35 minute tempo run on the training schedule. This essentially means I start off at a slow pace – in the neighborhood of 7:15/mile – and over the course of the next 12 to 15 minutes I ramp up to a very fast 10K race pace  – around 5:15 to 5:30/mile. I hold that pace for the next 12 to 15 minutes, then gradually slow back down to a slow-ish pace – about 6:30 to 6:45/mile – to finish off the run. At about the 5.3 mile mark, getting close to home, I could feel it build… a little tweak to my right calf muscle. Time to shut this run down, get home, and take care of it so it doesn’t build into anything bad.

Let me introduce you to a few of my friends that I spent a lot of time with over the next several days:

The Stick. It works out sore muscles and knots beautifully. I choose the Travel size because it is the right level of firmness, and can go anywhere/everywhere with me.

The Stick. It works out sore muscles and knots beautifully. I choose the Travel size because it is the right level of firmness, and can go anywhere/everywhere with me.

Mission Max Muscle Rehab. I love this stuff. It is like your good old Icy-Hot or Ben Gay, but not. I love EVERYTHING (well, almost) from Mission Athletecare....

Mission Max Muscle Rehab. I love this stuff. It is like your good old Icy-Hot or Ben Gay, but not. I love EVERYTHING (well, almost) from Mission Athletecare….

Any wrap to compress and hold the ice pack into place will do... we just happen to have TruFit hanging around our house.

Any wrap to compress and hold the ice pack into place will do… we just happen to have TruFit hanging around our house.

These little goodies, and a couple of unplanned rest days, let the ailing calf muscle return to its near-normal state by Friday morning. Some may say it was fortuitous that I injured my calf muscle on Tuesday, as the rains started rolling through the Los Angeles area on Wednesday. I, however, consider that to be VERY unfortunate… as a Pacific Northwest native I actually really enjoy a good run in the rain. Wednesday and Thursday were ridiculously painful for me to see the rain pelting down outside my window while I was unable to frolic in the puddly goodness.

Friday morning. The rain was coming down in glorious sheets. I gave the calf a quick test in a jog up the stairs in my house… and it felt fine. Time to get back on this pony! I lubed up the previously ailing calf muscle with a hefty dose of the Mission Max Muscle Rehab, threw on some running gear, and as an added precaution slipped on some calf compression sleeves before I headed out the door into the deluge.

I tried to rein in my enthusiasm for the first bit. But on fresh, rested legs and with the glorious wind and rain blasting in my face, I couldn’t help myself. Next thing I knew I was hitting a 6:15/mile pace… and I knew that wasn’t a good idea… I could feel the calf muscle start to tighten back up a little… time to ease off and head back toward home. So I did. And I found that I could hold a moderate 7:00/mile pace without the calf feeling tight. So I decided to add on a 2-mile out-and-back at this more sedate pace. It felt great. I got to the turnaround point, started heading home, and went to touch the button for the crossing signal 0.5 miles from home… when my left ankle rolled under me and I landed on my hands and knees in the mud puddled wetness of the sidewalk. My left ankle, the one I rolled 4 years ago on a trail run at the Sundance Resort (that ultimately resulted in a torn Achilles tendon), had rolled due to an unmarked divot in the sidewalk for a new wheelchair ramp.

So, with bloodied knees, I sit at my desk at home, in a ridiculously stressful time at work, with an ice pack on my ankle…

The aftermath of the Friday ankle roll over the curb. It is actually kind of fortunate that I fell, otherwise the ankle roll could have been worse. On the plus side, the calf muscle feels fine.

The aftermath of the Friday ankle roll over the curb. It is actually kind of fortunate that I fell, otherwise the ankle roll could have been worse. On the plus side, the calf muscle feels fine.

Yeah. Not a good training week.

Tri-ing for a Challenge is on Facebook! Like us! We like you…

This entry was posted in The Journey. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s