As much as I wanted to run on Monday and complete the speed work on my training schedule I had to pass due to my Calve still being lame. I couldn’t stand the thought of being inactive so I went on a 16-mile bike ride after work. It was a little on the chilly side, at 28 degrees but zero wind and bright sunshine more than made up for this. It was a rush trying to get home to get dressed, grab my bike and then drive back to Four Corners with a couple hours of daylight left in the day but I managed. I was surprised at how good my muscles had recovered after last weekend’s painful run. My calf was pretty tight but the rest of me felt great. I headed out from Four Corners riding west to the Silverado Saloon and then back for a little over 17 miles of riding for an hour and twenty-five minutes. Although I felt like I was putting lots of effort into peddling along, according to the speed on my phone, (Strava) I was going slower than I would normally ride that section of road. My average speed was only 11.98 compared to most averages last year were around 14 or better. Guessing my legs are still a little zapped after the weekend long run, along with low tires on my mountain bike. The first hill on the ride is about three quarters of a mile to the top. I can make it up the hill using my highest gear but I must stand up and really work hard, keeping up as much cadence as I can. It felt great to get my heart rate to the top while giving my lungs a good workout and no body parts seemed to complain other than that calve. Without doubt, being clipped to my peddles places more stress on the calve while standing to peddle hard uphill. Whatever the reason, once I crested over the top of the hill and sat back down the calve was fine and never bothered me for the rest of my ride. (click here to see my bike ride on Strava)
Nothing like some fresh air and a bike ride to make me sleep good. After 9 hours of good sleep I headed to the gym for my Tuesday morning workout. Before beginning I told Tony about how much my calve was still misbehaving. For a warm up I got on the treadmill and gently ran at 5mph not going any faster out of fear I would agitate that calve. It wasn’t hurting at that moment but I was pretty gun shy at this point from the fear of being set back any further on my training schedule. I was hoping to keep it that way. I had an easy workout consisting mostly of stretching type exercise but I still felt a little tight. By the end of the day, I was feeling that calve a little off and on, and I still felt pretty tight in most of my core so I made a decision at that point to skip the intermediate run scheduled for Wednesday and to just rest that calve a little longer to make sure it healed up. Wednesday came along and I was still feeling it off and on making me all the more concerned since Thursday was supposed to be another leg workout. By midday I was still feeling that calf complain so I called Tony and let him know I was going to just skip the gym the following day altogether and give my body every chance I could for the calve to heal up before Saturdays long run. Thursday morning came with some calf pain and although not as bad, I was glad that I had made the decision to rest it altogether the day prior instead of working out on it. By Friday, the calve was feeling good again. I managed to make it through the day without even giving any thought to it. By Friday afternoon I was more concerned with the weather headed my way. They were forecasting measurable snow accumulation. Friday night my calve felt like it was 100%. Although I wasn’t running hard on it, I was trotting around the house somewhat testing it out, and felt absolutely zero complaints from it. I was pretty happy at this point, optimistic but confidant I was going to have a good run the following day and get everything back on schedule by completing 16 miles without any issues. Saturday morning rolled around and I looked up and out the window only to watch a wet heavy snow blow by my bedroom window sideways. According to the weather man, it was supposed to subside any time now, giving way to cloudy conditions with light winds and temps in the low 30’s. It wasnt anywhere near as nice as it had been the first few weekends of March but it really wasn’t that bad considering the weather possibilities here in Northern Minnesota. Once out of bed on my feet, I could detect a slight tightness in my calve but it did seem to go away once I was on it for a few minutes. This coupled with the snow falling made me start thinking about just waiting this one out on the treadmill. I knew the treadmill would be a benefit in the event my calve started to hurt again since I could just get off, however once I was walking around the house for a little while, my calve seemed perfectly fine so I turned my attention towered running outside and completing my long run for the week. I wasn’t sure what the highway was going to look like since we received about 3-4 inches of really heavy wet snow, but I was willing to guess that it had been plowed by now, making it the best running surface available to me today. I decided to dress warm not only because it was cloudy and breezy but also because I wanted to insure that I warmed up properly and could maintain my body temp while running into the head wind that I would be encountering on my way back. I really felt that my body got too cold during last weeks long run while returning into a headwind similar to todays. At this point if I had my choice between running in hot weather or running in cold weather, I would take the hot. All my muscles just seem to work so much better when they are warm. After getting warmed up a little with all my gear on in the house by trotting on the treadmill for a half mile or so, I headed down to four corners to run on that section of highway with the wide shoulders. The day didn’t look very promising for pleasant outdoor running as the road I was driving on hadn’t been plowed yet and the snow covering the road was not only really slippery, but was really wet and was being sent flying into the air in a heavy mist that was soaking the entire roadway with the passing of each car. My plan was to drive down the highway to my approximate turn around where I would leave a water bottle stashed in a friends paper box for my one and only midway water stop. It was around seven miles to his mailbox from four corners by the time I got to his paper box to stash the water bottle I was really beginning to dread my run. At this point, I just planned on being very wet for this run since most of the shoulders were not plowed off and neither were different stretches of the highway. I kept telling myself it would all be better once I had some miles under my sneakers and was all warmed up but this self talk didn’t seem to warm me up any. Once back to four corners were I was parking the truck, I wasted little time parking and pretty much just jumped out and started running down the highway. About half a mile down the highway I was met by a snowplow that was blading off the shoulder. This made me smile and I gave him a thumbs up. Having all that snow plowed off the shoulder of the roadway would make this run much more enjoyable. No doubt this run was looking brighter all the time. I was trying to run pretty slow, staying around a ten minute mile or better. I wanted to make sure I had a nice slow warm up on that calve muscle before I attempted to add any speed. Unfortunately, warming up slowly didn’t seem to be the issue because right around mile two, my calve muscle started cramping up again, just as it had done the last few weekends. It actually made me really mad and I wanted to press on but knew it would only worsen the condition. I slowed down to just a trot, hoping the pain might just magically vanish allowing me to finish this run but instead the pain just slowly kept announcing itself a little more loudly with each advancing step. I turned around and headed back to the truck hoping I could at least run slowly on it all the way back to the truck but within a minute or so the pain started to intensify to a point I knew I better listen to it. I stopped running and just began walking. Although I could feel it while walking, it wasn’t an intense pain so instead of calling Heidi and asking for a ride, I figured I would just walk the couple or so miles back to the truck. The two mile walk gave me plenty of time to think about my situation. At this point my training schedule is in huge trouble and will need to be changed but that will all depend on how fast I can rehab this calve. And rehabbing the calve might not be as easy as I thought since it’s been keeping me down for over three weeks now. At this point I had many different thoughts racing through my brain over the possibility’s of the calve pain to somehow being caused by some of the issues with my heart. After lots of thought, I decided to just chill out and let my body fix the problem. Obviously I didn’t rest the calve long enough and would just have to suck it up and try again. Running injuries of this type are very common, even in people that don’t histories of heart disease and heart failure. So most likely I was over thinking all of this anyhow and should have just be concentrating on how to salvage my training for grandmas. I am immediately going to start doing some cardio on my bicycle beginning Monday. The reason for Monday is to give my calve a couple days without inducing any pain before attempting the bike. I was able to ride it last week without causing any significant pain other than one little shot of pain while riding up a hill in a standing position. I think if I am careful, I can get a pretty hard work out on my bike without exasperating the calve any further. I also decided that I would try an Epsom salt bath, and also try wrapping the calve with an ace bandage to see if that would give any relief. Unquestionably the running must stop until the calve doesn’t hurt. I am not really sure how to train for a Marathon without running but I will figure something out. I’m not ready to throw the towel in yet.