Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since the Marine Corps Marathon, and would have marked 4 weeks with no running. Two weeks out from the race I ended up at the orthopedist (yet again) to see if my calf/shin pain was the dreaded stress-fracture. The overall soreness from the race had passed after about 4-5 days, but my calf/shin issues lingered. Not sharp or shooting pain, but definitely not feeling right. The good news was the x-rays showed no damage, so I got the maddening advice of “if it hurts don’t do it”. I went straight from the doctor’s office to a nearby gym with a pool and signed up so I could get some cross-training going and hopefully not lose all my fitness. I’ve stuck to a good mix of swimming, stationary cycling, and lifting, but badly missed my old friend running.
Yesterday was a study in holiday-induced sloth. My inlaws had been visiting for 5 days, and rolled out of town around lunchtime. After a gluttonous mound of leftovers for lunch, all my good intentions gave way to lying on the couch alternately reading a book and watching TV. Finally, around 3:30, I snapped out of my coma and decided it was time to test my leg. The doctor had said probably 4-6 weeks of rest would be advisable, and I was within shouting distance of 4 weeks, so I needed to roll the dice. I wasn’t very optimistic based on past experience returning from an injury, but my leg was feeling much better, so I went through my stretching routine, laced up the Nimbii, and gave it a shot. The first step is always the worst, so I braced myself for the pain, took the step, and …. nothing. No pain. No tightness. No worries.
I kept myself in check and did an easy 3-mile run, but overall my legs felt good. Definitely felt like I hadn’t run in a month and my calf is a little tight/sore this morning, but knocking on all things wood I think I may be over the hurdle. By the halfway mark in the run my brain had already shifted from inspecting every aspect of every step to thinking about what my next race might be. I’m shutting that thinking down now as well until I’m sure my leg is back in business. I’m meeting a friend from work for a bike ride around lunchtime today, which should be interesting. I’m borrowing his Fuji Cyclocross bike, with the intent of seeing if I might want to invest in a road bike or tri bike to further force myself to cross train and break the constant running that seems to leave me broken. I haven’t gone on a bike ride of any distance in probably 20 years, so I’m anticipating a whole world of sore tomorrow.
Sore is good. Sore is my friend.