I really need to pay more attention.
Not long after my calf started bothering me, back in December, I was running with my friend on a Thursday night. Everything was fine, more or less–a little soreness, but nothing severe. But then we reached a busy intersection and had to wait for traffic to clear one way. We got halfway across and waited at the median. As soon as I pushed off to run across the second half of the road, my calf got that stabbing pain again. I slowed for a bit, and after a half-mile or so it settled down to a dull ache. I never had to walk, but it hurt.
It got worse before it got better, and now I can say that it’s definitely improved overall. But not completely. This past Saturday I had gone about three miles and was on the last stretch home when I had to wait for a traffic light, although I didn’t push the pedestrian button. When the light changed, I took off, but halfway across realized it had already turned yellow, I guess because the sensor thing only saw one car there and was moving things along. As I tried to speed up, there it was again. Not the stabbing ice pick from December, but enough for me to walk a bit. After a quarter-mile or so it felt okay to finish at a run.
Then Tuesday, my last night with this training group, guess what? I had gone about 1.25 miles and got stuck at a traffic light. It was ridiculously long, and when I finally got the Walk sign, I didn’t think. I just took off. And there it was again. Not as sharp and not as painful, but it definitely alerted me to its presence. You think I would have figured it out by now and would pay more attention at traffic lights, huh? It was a little funky the next half-mile or so, but it loosened up and I ended up running four miles.
I asked my sports doctor about it, and he just thought the still-recovering muscle was cooling down at these lights, and the sudden running aggravated it. I’m now supposed to walk before I run when I start moving again after a pause.
Did I remember that yesterday? Of course not.
I had a terrible day at work–too many middle school kids are making some really awful choices right now–and I decided to fire up the headphones and try to pound out some of my frustration and disappointment. Nearly a mile into my run, I didn’t have to wait for a traffic light but I did have to slow to wait for a break in traffic. As I picked up the pace again, that little tweak reminded me, oops I moved too quickly there. It wasn’t sharp and it didn’t make me slow down–I even managed to run (not walk) a small hill on the next street. But really? It’s not like this is an old injury I forgot about. I’m still getting weekly treatment for it, wearing compression sleeves on every run and compression socks for recovery afterward. I have not forgotten that it’s jacked up. Except at intersections, apparently.