I’m injured. For what feels like the 100th time in the last 4 years. Ughghghghgh
I was being careful – very gradual mileage changes, cross-training, no speed work. Being cautious in the face of even small ankle rolls or twinges. And yet, here I sit, having turned around in defeat partway through what I had hoped would be a 3 mile return from a slight calf strain that appeared, out of the blue, during my morning run last Thursday. It’s been a week (with 2 days, and then 4 more days off) and my calf is only marginally better.
I can do theraband plantar flexion exercises without any pain (yayyyy), can hike and bike with slight pain that occurs only on extremely steep climbs or when standing in the pedals in my highest gear (less sarcastic yay!), but cannot run more than half a mile without a feeling that something is off (big angry BOOOOOO).
The good news – it’s not my achilles. This was confirmed via MRI yesterday*. It feels like a strain just proximal to the musculotendinous junction of my soleus/gastroc and achilles – it burns/cramps after doing a few calf raises or after running about 800m (though I did make it 1.5 today without a major increase in pain, just enough steady discomfort that I figured running was doing more harm than good). Strains are better than tendon pathology, right?
I know it’s not a big deal in the big scheme of things. It’s a sign I need to add in some calf pre-hab – and deal with the scar tissue and apparently injury-potential left over from my previous calf strain in the same calf and approximately same anatomical location that occurred in early September. But good lord is it frustrating to have another injury to pen down in my running, or not so running, log I can’t even bike the frustration out until my indoor bike trainer (woohoo, new toys!) arrives next week, as we have suddenly entered winter and there is an alarming amount of ice on the road shoulders.
I suppose it’s a good thing it’ll be unappealingly snowy for running here soon – I’m losing the willpower for all these enforced breaks and could use some help from the weather to convince me that working out inside is actually a super fun idea. Time to just truck on, do what I can to start strengthening the calf, and remind myself to think of myself as an athlete for a bit, rather than a runner so that the cross-training seems more appealing.
* Perks of being an imaging engineer – free MRI’s during new scanner protocol testing. This, and the blessing of working with a really nice head MR technician and super helpful radiology fellow, meant I got to have my scan unofficially read to see if there was anything of concern and to provide me with a sweet little MR anatomy review to help with my own work 🙂 Plus the MR technicians got to show off their pretty images from the new hardware – much better than what the radiologists have been forced to deal with from the low-field mobile scanner!