Sunday, December 18, 2011

WTF Calf?!

I wrote this blog in my head while waiting on a street a corner for 25 minutes in 35 degree weather for my husband to come pick me up because I decided to stop mid-run. My calf was hurting and I knew that I was risking serious injury if I didn't stop right then and there.

Let's back up.

The first hint I had that anything was wrong with my calf was immediately after the Turkey Trot just over three weeks ago. My left shin was achy, and I remember telling my husband that I thought the cause of the shin was a tight calf. I didn't run for two days and then I ran 10 miles pain free. Afterwards, however, I did notice that my calf felt tight.

I started stretching and foam rolling the calf regularly but nothing seemed to make the tightness go away. It didn't hurt, I could just tell it was tighter than it should be. I ran the Memphis Half Marathon with no issues, and then I took five days off because I felt sick/run-down. And then I took things very easy-- only running 4-5 miles every other day because I just wasn't feeling well. It had nothing to do with my calf. You would think with such a light running schedule that it would be nearly impossible to get an injury.

And then on Friday (two days ago) I decided to do the speed work that my coach prescribed. But instead of going to the track, I did it in a somewhat hilly neighborhood with a 15-mph sustained wind. My calf felt tight during the run, but it didn't actually hurt until afterwards. I stretched, iced and then went about my day. Yesterday, however, while walking around I noticed that I could feel my calf. With every step I took, my calf "spoke" to me. Probably a 2 out of 10 on the pain scale, so I wasn't freaking out, but I was worried that I could feel it at all.

This morning, my husband asked me if I was sure my calf was okay for a long run, and I said I thought it was, and that I would stop if it hurt. But deep down I knew he was right and that I shouldn't have attempted it. Considering my calf did not feel 100% to even walk on, the idea of going for a long run was ridiculous. But I really wanted to do it, given that it was definitely time to start training for my the Shamrock marathon.

I started running and immediately "felt" my calf with each stride. I thought maybe it was just tight and needed some time to warm up. But it just got worse and worse until I forced myself to stop after just three miles. My husband offered to run home, get the car and drive me home. I told him that I could just walk, but didn't think I should walk. He's so sweet!!!! (And he knows that I can be miserable to be around when I have an injury.)

I felt horrible for ruining his run, but he told me it wasn't ruined-- his top priority was making sure I didn't get injured. Even though we had run three miles, we were only two miles from home (we had taken a round-about route). So I waited there for 25 minutes with nothing to think about other than how frustrating this was and how stupid I was for attempting a long run when my calf wasn't 100%. I don't even have time to go pool running today because of a family commitment!

I don't know what's wrong with my calf. I doesn't hurt in one particular spot, but rather all around the inside of the leg.  I had scheduled an appointment with my sports chiro last week, thinking it was just tight and needed some ART. I see him tomorrow and maybe he will have an idea about what's going on. It's probably a muscle strain of some sort, but how on earth could I have strained a muscle on such little running!!!!

The good news is that the calf is completely pain-free while at rest and I only feel it when I walk on it. I know I did what I needed to do by stopping, but it's frustrating because I already feel like I am behind on my Shamrock training. I just spent two weeks of very little running because I felt sick and now I will probably be out for at least another week, unless my sports chiro can work some kind of magic.

WTF, calf?!


  1. Sorry to hear this. For me, hands-on self-massage is the most effective way to deal with calf problems. Usually, I can't even feel them when I start doing it (though something in my run will alert me there is an underlying tweak). Once you start massaging it, it "releases" and then you can feel the pain properly (a good thing because then it can go away). Glad you're going to have it played with, best of luck getting it gone asap.

  2. Ugh! How frustrating! At least you stopped when you did, rather than pushing even further -- hopefully that should minimize the recovery time.

    Did you ice it right away, I hope?

  3. Hopefully it's just a tight muscle. Rest and ice it. Also either foam roll the crap out of it or get a massage.
    My R quad was really tight this week after JATW 8k- with 3 days off from running, ice, and a aggresive foam rolling session it was resolved by Wed.
    best of luck girlie in a quick resolution!

  4. Oh no! Sorry to hear that. I hope you feel/get better soon.

  5. Oh, ugh! I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. Flo's advice seems good, and she's a smart gal. I'm an injury idiot; so I wont offer you any advice. I just hope you get better soon. And no worries about Shamrock- you already have a kicking base!

  6. ugh, how completely annoying. I hope the ART guy helps you figure it out. ugh, I'm so sorry to hear this.

  7. You weren't stupid at all to try and do your long run. I'm positive every runner would have gone out to try, I know I would have.
    I think it's a good sign that once you got home and gave it some rest that it's already feeling better.
    Don't stress out about your upcoming training, you'll be FINE! :)

  8. If you want the name of the guy I see in the city, let me know. He fixed my calves right up.

  9. I hope it's nothing serious! It sounds like you did the right thing by stopping.

  10. You were so smart to stop and call a doc. Hopefully he'll fix it right up, or at least give you an idea of what to do to make it better. You still have plenty of time to heal, pool run and have an awesome training season!

  11. WTF indeed. amy's guy in the city is my awesome PT, go see him!