Thursday, May 23, 2013

State of the legs

Well, I have officially been doing 5 commutes per week on foot for over 6 months now (well, 5 per week at most; I've missed about 8 or so total).  And marathon training started this past week.

If I hurt anywhere in relation to running, it is generally something in my calf.  I know way too much about the various calf muscles and primary tendons (the gastroc, the soleus, the Achilles, the peroneus lungus).  All of those have been identified at one point or another in one leg or another as the problem and source of my calf pain. 

Well, after the 5k on Saturday, I felt solid.  The race hadn't gone particularly well (about 45 seconds slower than a PR, and about 5 seconds per mile slower than my other two 5ks within the last month), but I attributed that primarily to the weather and to the course (a bridge hill that we ran over and then back over).  I finished the race, grabbed some water, and immediately headed out backwards on the course to find my accounting buddy as she was finishing up her second 5k ever.  I found here, and we walked and ran the last 3/4 of a mile together. 

Then I had a fairly typical rest of the day Saturday.  I spent some time after the race hanging out, having a beer, waiting for the AG awards.  I went home, had an early lunch, showered, went to volunteer for a couple hours (seated work), went to that confirmation/communion thing, went out for dinner. 

What was unusual was what happened Saturday night -- I woke up in the middle of the night from calf pain.  I usually sleep partially on my left side, partially on my stomach, and somehow my right leg was on top of my left leg and pushing against my calf -- and it hurt a lot. 

I'd already decided to take Sunday as a rest day.  My very last Sunday off until Oct. 7, the week after the marathon probably.  Though I suppose there may be a couple random Sundays that we are out of town or something and I have to reschedule or skip my long run.  But basically the last Sunday before my Berlin training season gets underway.

All day Sunday, it hurt.  It seemed to be worst when I dorsi-flexed my foot.  But the absolute most intense pain was when I touched it.  Even lightly rubbing my inner upper calf on my left leg caused A LOT of pain. 

I have no good explanation for why I went to boot camp Monday.  Well, that's not true.  This is the explanation:

Yes, that photo seems like a good reason to go to boot camp!  I'd eaten a very healthy dinner Sunday night when I hosted book club, but I followed that with too much of a very unhealthy dessert!
So I really felt like a slug and I needed to get up and get moving on Monday morning.  I decided I'd go to boot camp but give the instructor a heads-up about my pain and just avoid doing the running, and avoid any leg work that caused pain. 
When I got home from camp, there was still the same issues -- pain when I dorsi-flexed, pain when I touched it.  Fortunately, Mondays are my day to drive to work (so I can bring my laptop and my clothes).  I put a bunch of Bio-Freeze gel on under my work pants and went to work smelling like I was made of menthol. 
All day, I made a conscious effort not to cross my legs, and it seemed like even after the Bio-freeze wore off, it was somewhat less painful. 
Tuesday morning, there was still some pain, but I set out for my first group training run of the marathon season.  And of course the first day is always rough in a group at our pace.  Lots of the guys turn it into something of a pissing match, outdoing one another on the pace, but honestly, the women are almost as bad.  Everyone runs too fast, thinking they have to prove they belong.  And I was more guilty than some.  Our group got very spread out (usually that's a no-no, but this season for this group, that is the plan), and I stayed toward the middle, when in reality, I belong at the back.  The run was very tough; it didn't help that it was 79 degrees at 5:15 a.m.  I ran much faster than I should have, and while I didn't have any calf pain, when I finished the 6 miles, pretty much everything hurt.
I went home, had breakfast, loaded up on the bio-freeze again, and then set off for my slow paced easy run commute.  I had a friend keeping me company for the first mile, which was nice and ensured I wasn't picking up the pace.
In the end, I think I had one of my slowest commutes ever.  My friend u-turned and I had no gas in the tank to pick up the pace.  It was a nice, slow run. 
The main thing I noticed during the day Tuesday was not calf pain, but all over leg pain.  My hamstrings on both legs were very tight.  I could touch the back of my leg and it felt like a taut rubber band.  Ugh.  At one point, I was in my boss's office on a call, and I was trying to remember a judge's name.  I knew I had it on a printout in my office on top of my desk.  In my office next door.  So I attempted to stand up, run to my office, grab it, and run back.  But what happened was that I heaved myself up, hobbled out, grabbed it, and hobbled back.  Oh, it was painful.
Due to some pretty big thunderstorms, the track meet on Tuesday night was cancelled.  Instead, I worked late on Tuesday so that I wouldn't be running home in thunder or lightning, and ideally not even running home in the rain.  Fortunately, I'm so far behind at work, I could have stayed all night!  I had a dry run home, but one of my slowest commutes going home (downhill) ever.  My legs were so tight and sore, and I felt like I never got into my stride.  At one point, I could see that I needed to speed up to catch a traffic light, and it was so awkward and painful. 
Wednesday morning, I woke up and I hesitate to say this, but something miraculous happened overnight.  I woke up pain free.  No calf pain on dorsiflexion.  No calf pain to the touch.  Hammies are still tight, but not excessively.  I still skipped out on about half the running at boot camp and elected to jump rope instead during those times, and I ran pretty slowly to work, but I think it's all good.
Wednesday night was a smooth and slow run home, half of it with my accounting buddy, and on this morning's group run, I did a better job of hanging toward the back of the pack and taking time to stretch pretty throroughly when I finished.  I'll head to work in about 20 mins and take it nice and easy, part of it with a friend again. 
So my current biggest leg complaint is that I have had some chafing for two or three days in a row in the most awkward place ever.  Pretty much right where the liner of my shorts hits my inner thigh.  I've had inner thigh chafing before, but this wasn't that -- this was higher, and actually from the liner.  Ugh.  And I have no idea why.  My weight hasn't changed at all and these are all three pairs of shorts I've had and worn for a long time without issue. 
But I feel like aside from the chafing and a bit of tightness, I can honestly say that I'm starting this season pretty strong and injury free.  Usually at some point in marathon training, I realize that when I flex my legs just right, my quads sometimes feel like rocks.  Surprisingly enough, I'm already there.  And I'm already at my Boston marathon weight (which is my current PR), so ideally, I'll be a couple pounds below that for Berlin.  All that remains now is to do the training and to stay where I am physically, pain-free and at PR weight. 
That is the official state of my legs. 

1 comment:

  1. I hope you start feeling better soon - that chafing sounds awful.