This year is big for me. No two ways about it. I don't have time to be injured. And, yet, that is where I find myself. Well, not injured per se. At least, I hope not. More, warding off an injury, nursing along a grumpy leg, trying to put my finger on that what ails me. For whatever reason, the ugly IT band issue from a couple of years ago seems to think it can make a reappearance. Well, I am here to tell it that I don't have time for that!
This year's race schedule includes exactly this:
- 2 marathons (one in 6.5 weeks!)
- 3 50Ks
- 1 50 Miler
- 1 100 Miler
Do you see any time in there for injury? I sure as heck don't.
So, here's what's happening. After a year (that would be last year) and a fall/winter off-season that was on the whole very injury free, I seem to have tweaked my left leg. I blame a number of things for this situation: 1) having such a good year I slacked off on my yoga and other stretching activities, so I have gotten noticably tighter and tighter; 2) a temp job that placed me in a chair hunched over a computer keyboard for 5 hours of every day Monday through Friday (can you say tight hip flexors? I can.); and 3) well, I am not sure what "3" is exactly, but there probably is one somewhere.
Anyway, after a perfectly fine 10-mile run one day, walking down my stairs to do laundry, I felt a bit of a ping in my left calf. It wasn't a snap, or a pop. Just a ping. Enough to feel like a pretty decent cramp. It lingered for a few days, and there was a bit of swelling for a couple of weeks. I did continue to run through all that - not because I am stupid or pig-headed - but because I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. It didn't hurt to run, after all.
So, exit the calf issue, and enter the IT band issue. Now I am smart enough to realize that one definitely followed as a result of the other. Sneaky devil that it is. The calf now feels ship shape, while the IT band feels wonky. It manifested itself in a bit of pain around the knee when I ran. So, I took five days off - and felt great! Deciding to get back into running, I started with a modest 3-mile walk on day 1. All was well, so a couple of days later I tried a 3-mile run/walk. Again, peachy! A couple of days later - a 4-mile run/walk, then a 5, a 6, a 7, an 8, ... until this past weekend - 10 glorious run/walk miles!!! And that was great, except for the pain I felt above my knee at mile 5. Sigh. Please note, the pain was in a different spot than the original pain that led to the five days off. So, here I am, unsure of where I'm at...if you get what I mean, dear Reader.
I am hoping that my progression was a bit too aggressive and that a down week this week will do the trick, but I really don't know. What I do know is I do not plan to be laid up for months on end if I can help it. I'd rather take a few weeks off now than that. The hard part is determining if that is necessary. So, over the next few weeks, I have a massage scheduled and a run analysis. I will continue what I have started - namely, more stretching, more exercises, more foam rolling. I will only run twice this week for three miles each time, but only if that feels okay. And then I will reassess next weekend.
Here is hoping that all does go well. After all, I have a big year ahead. Happy Running!