I’m struggling man, I’m struggling.
Not with swimming. Okay, I am struggling with swimming. Getting used to open water swimming is still a struggle. I’m having MAJOR goggle fogging struggles and in general, swimming will always be my nemesis.
But what I’m really struggling with is my running. I mentioned earlier that I have compartment syndrome (CS), but I’ve also been having hamstring issues. I’ve gone in to get dry needled to work out my hamstring issues and correct some of the issues I’m having which are leading to that and possibly by compartment syndrome. But beyond my nagging and chronic conditions like CS or my hamstring soreness, I’ve never really had an injury. That is until now.
Last week Brian and I were doing a two-person marathon relay. I had run the first 6.25 miles and it went really well. My CS and hamstring issues didn’t bother me and I felt good. Brian took his first 6.5 miles and then it was my turn again to hit the pavement and finish my last 6.5 miles.
I got about 2 miles into my last leg when my calf/Achilles was starting to tighten but I wasn’t worried. Typical aches and pains arise all the time while running and that’s what I assumed this was. Just after my calf/Achilles started to tighten I saw Brian on the route cheering me on and I had decided to use that time to grab the BioFreeze from him and spray my leg. I thought that was going to be the fix I needed and I didn’t think about my sore leg again. That is until it popped.
Yep, it popped. About 1/4 mile after seeing Brian I was running along minding my business when my calf popped. And I stopped. Actually I swore – loudly – and then I stopped. I had no idea what just happened. All I knew was that it was quite painful and wasn’t going to be a good thing. I tried to keep running and I couldn’t. And that’s when panic set in because I knew I wasn’t going to see Brian for another 2+ miles at the next rendezvous spot. I tried to continue hobbling along the best I could, willing myself to be okay. But I soon realized I wasn’t going to be okay and I wasn’t going to make it to the next rendezvous spot – at least not quickly. That’s when I remembered the really fancy and expensive stop watch (aka my Apple watch) on my wrist. I had gotten it because I don’t run with my phone and I felt I needed the security of being able to contact someone in case of emergency while running. Little did I know the emergency was going to be during a race and not a training run. I had never tried calling on my watch before and I surely hadn’t tried to do it as I was hobbling along with the medical staff following me. (Yes, a woman from the medical team had spotted me in distress and biked over to me to see if I was okay. When I said yes I was fine, I’m not sure why she didn’t believe me. Was it the crying or the hobbling? Not sure! Either way she followed me for quite a while to make sure I was okay.) I couldn’t get in touch with Brian but thankfully my sister Carol was rocking the route too, so I called her instead. It turned out that she was with Brian. I told them what happened and that I couldn’t go on and that I needed them to back track the course to come find me – which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I gave them my wrong locale and I just couldn’t seem to find where I was, to give them an exact place where to find me. But eventually they did. But to my credit, I made it another .75 miles on my bad leg while Brian and Carol tried to find me.
And of course, I was not going to have a DNF on my report card so when Brian said to get in the car, that we were done, I said NO! I wasn’t letting Team Miles for Miles drop out. I would finish my last 3 miles if I had to walk or crawl it. BUT there was another option… Brian could take my last 3 miles in addition to his last 6.5. Knowing how stubborn I am and that I absolutely would have hobbled my last 3 miles if given the option, Brian reluctantly agreed to take over for me. But not after calling me the most stubborn person he knows! (That may be true!)
Fast forward to today, Friday… 5 days after my injury – which turned out to be a calf tear – and I’m still limping. It’s a minor calf tear and the first few days, while pretty painful, contained a lot of improvement and progress. But now my progress as slowed. I feel like I may have taken a step backwards. A limpy, gimpy step backwards, but a backwards step nonetheless.
I have a 25 mile bike race tomorrow that we are going to do and I’m a bit afraid. I totally thought I was going to be ready, but I’m not feeling as pain-free as I had hoped. I also have a sprint tri next week that I don’t know if I’ll be ready for or if I’ll have to pull out. And all of this unknown due to an injury has me freaked out.
As I said earlier, I’ve never truly been injured. I’ve had nagging pain – lots of it, but not a full-blown injury. Not even as a kid. Growing up a tomboy on a farm, you’d have thought I’d have had my share of injuries. But not even a sprained ankle or a stitches. I’ve been really lucky. Until now and that’s why I think my mental anguish is as bad as the physical anguish. While I’m not dying, and it’s only a minor calf tear, I just don’t know what to do with being sidelined. The thought of dropping out of an event is REALLY REALLY hard for me to wrap my head around.
It’s already been established that I’m stubborn and that stubbornness is telling me to rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. But I’d also like to think that I’m smart. Smart enough to know that my goal events are the Chicago Tri in August and the Marine Corp Marathon in October and I have to heal to get ready for those races. And while I know this, I still hate the thought of possibly dropping out of a stupid “warm up” tri next week? Why is that? Like I said, I’m smart enough to know the right thing to do, why can’t I do it? The thought of dropping out makes me feel like I wimped out and I’m being a pussy. I feel like I should be able to leather up and see my commitment all the way through to the end.
But then again, my main commitment is the Chi Tri and Marine Corp which may not happen if I re-injure myself or don’t heal in time to ramp up my training.
UGH! The round and round I’m having internally in my own head is making me quite bi-polar now. I can’t make the lambs stop screaming (name that movie reference)!
So, that’s the latest and greatest. I’m loading my bike and heading north tonight for the bike ride tomorrow. I’ll see how my leg feels during the bike ride and the rest of the weekend. I have another dry needling appointment Tuesday morning and depending on how I feel after that, I’ll make the call whether or not I drop out of the Tri next weekend. So wish me luck!
Until next time,
Gotta run (or hobble slowly)