Exactly one week ago, I strained my left calf muscle during a tempo run. I had 2 minutes left of my tempo interval and then a 10 minute cool-down. Because I was so focused on finishing my workout, I did not stop running even though the pain was actually pain rather than simply discomfort. Once I finished running, I hobbled back to my car thinking, “Geez, that was stupid. Note to self: If something hurts, STOP RUNNING.” I ended up hobbling around for the rest of the afternoon. This incident didn’t feel like a mild strain. I didn’t want to believe it, but it definitely felt like something that would require more rest than I wanted to give.
I spent the past 7 days following the RICE plan: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation along with stretching and frequent foam rolling. My goal was to get my calf back in shape so I could run the Montana de Oro trail race this Sunday. You know, the race I’ve been training for over the past few months.
As the days went by, my calf seemed better and better and for the past two days, I was walking around without any kind of nagging in my calf. So this morning I set out for a 30 minute easy jog and was very optimistic for the first minute and a half of my run. By 2 minutes into my run, I started feeling a slight ache in my calf. That ache turned into a nag and that nag turned into more nagging. 15 minutes into the run I thought, “Sure, I can run with a little constant nagging. It’s not that bad.” So along I ran on the super flat trail…nag, nag, nag, nag, and then OUCH, OUCH!! At 23 minutes into the run, I had to stop and walk. I walked back to my car with pain and what felt like a cramp in my calf muscle. If my calf was hurting that soon and that much on flat-as-a-pancake terrain, it would be killed on a trail run with 3200 feet of elevation gain.
So…I won’t be running on the Mountain of Gold this Sunday, and I am so disappointed. Fred and I spent the last few months training for this race. My last long run 2 weeks ago was over 14 miles with 3158 feet of elevation gain. I was so ready to run Montana de Oro.
But so it goes. I’ve been reading about calf strains: A Grade 1 strain may take about 2 weeks for full recovery. A Grade 2 strain might need 5-8 weeks for full recovery. I’m hoping for a Grade 1 strain but I’m bracing myself for a Grade 2. (Insert heavy sigh here.) For the first time in over 10 years, I’m officially sitting on the injured bench. I hope I don’t go craaaazy!
I guess I’ll take up swimming again, or aqua jogging which I hear is TONS of fun. Ideally, I’d hit all the spin classes, but spinning also works the calves and at least for this first week, I need to stick to activities with very minimal calf impact.
Anyone need an aqua jogging partner???