Earlier this week after my hill session, I strained my right calf. I'm not talking a little bit.....I'm talking 'wincing in pain every time I took a step' strained. Obviously when you're this far into training and less than two months away from race day, minor panic mode sets in. On Wednesday I called my doctor and left him a voicemail saying/begging to get me in because I couldn't run. I'm not one to swallow my pride and beg....it was pathetic....but it worked. I can only assume that when a doctor who specializes in runners gets a message that says one of his patients can't run, he understands that this isn't an injury just blown out of proportion.
Just a little side note about my doc...I started seeing him back in November for my ongoing knee problems. I swore off any sort of "sports doctor" about 2 years ago simply because it was always the same thing. I would take time out of my busy day, go wait for an hour to actually see the doctor, he would say "ice it and stay off it for six weeks", I'd pay a ridiculous amount of money and be on my merry way. Telling a runner "to stay off it for six weeks" is like a death sentence. Ok, maybe that's a little drastic but it's pretty darn close. My doc was referred to me by another runner who does ultras and obviously knows their stuff. I am SO thankful I took a chance!
He was able to work me in on Wednesday and spent almost two hours working on this calf. After treatment I have followed the daily regimen of heat/stretch/ice every night. Seeing as how I had only run on Monday, I was a bit nervous about how 17 miles might feel.
Saturday I woke up, went through my normal pre-long run routine and off we went to White Rock. The first two miles I felt some minor twinges of pain but since I hadn't run in a few days, I wanted to give myself a few miles to just get warmed up before I made the call. About mile 4 things started to really pick up. The sun was shining, there was a nice cool breeze, and my leg felt pretty good....so away we go for 17 miles! Then the real adventure started!! About mile 6 I came across the bridge over by the dog park (if you've run there, you know exactly what I'm talking about) and BAM, thousands of walkers were out there to support the March of Dimes. Let me preface this by saying that it is an amazing cause. The signs that they had posted along their route that honored so many young children who lost their lives far before their time were just heartbreaking. I was also loving so many out there being active! One thing I do have to say is.....please be aware of your surroundings. Share the road. Control your children. With that many people around on such a narrow path, someone could get seriously hurt. But I digress....
With no end in site to that group, I opted for a 2 mile detour through the trails. Luckily I know my way around and it was kind of refreshing to take a new route. I dropped back out on the path right as their group was making the turn. Fabulous! I kept on trucking along and came up on the 9 mile mark, waved to Brandon, and continued on around. About mile 11 a branch (literally came out of nowhere) and sliced open my calf and ripped right through my KT Tape like it was butter. I'm not even kidding when I say that my heart skipped a beat. It happened so fast and was so painful that I honestly thought a snake had bitten me. I stopped to check for bite marks and realized it was just a cut, whew.
Two things I learned from this run:
1) I'm going to need to arrange to get a fresh new water bottle somewhere around the 9-10 mile mark. I've adopted a new fueling plan which has me taking in about 1/2 - 3/4 of a packet of Gu every 35-40 minutes. It has worked remarkably well for me, however, it requires me taking in more water than I'm used to.
2) I've really struggled with scaling back and controlling my pace. It is actually quite hard to scale it back and stick there. I am gradually getting better but even my splits prove that I'm still going out just a tad too fast.