Sunday I laid around for the first half of the day to stay off that calve though it made me really nervous wondering how I was going to stay on track with my training schedule. The closer the marathon gets, the more important it all becomes. My 49-year-old body needs all the practice it can get to properly condition for this run but since running isn’t an option for the time being my calve is still lame so I have decided to skip the gym for now and start biking enough to try making up for my missed runs. Hopefully one or two weeks of this and my calve will be healed enough to run so I can resume my training schedule.
Monday I wrapped my calve with an ace bandage and wore my very bright multi fluorescent colored HOKA running shoes to the office. As glaringly ugly as these brightly colored shoes are, they provide an amazing amount of cushiness and I figured I would do everything I could keep babying that calve. I planned to ride my bike after work so I was really happy to leave the office on Monday afternoon and discover the temperatures had risen to 61 degrees. I quickly headed home to change into my bike/workout clothes and to grab the bike. I drove to Four Corners where I unloaded the bike and started riding west towered the Silverado. My plan was to only ride for an hour while being extra careful to not stress my calve injury. I was amazed how strong my legs felt. It had been a while since my legs felt this powerful and it made me realize just how much they much my workouts in the gym were strengthening them. Every run made so far during this training block has been on tired legs but since I skipped the gym last Thursday, rested on Friday and then cut my long run short on Saturday followed by yeet another rest day on Sunday, my legs felt really fresh. It was really encouraging so little by little I pushed myself harder while being careful not to antagonize my calve. It felt great and since I was able to ride strong without bothering my calve, it renewed my confidence I’d be able to continue my marathon training without running for a couple weeks.
I pushed pretty hard on the hill sections, going up the grades and down. I intentionally didn’t bring my Garmin watch or Strava along on this ride to record it because when I do I have a tendency to push harder but this ride was to see how my calf would respond to my bike and I wanted to be sure I did not over stress it.
Tuesday, since my calve muscle was still a little tender, I decided to skip the gym again and instead do a little longer bike ride after work so I repeated the day prior and rushed home to change and grab the bike. It was 58 degrees Tuesday so it wasn’t very hard to get excited about taking off on the bike after working in an office surrounded by walls all day. Again, I started out on the bike heading west from Four Corners and kept the pace slow until all my muscles warmed up only this time I did bring the Garmin. The first hill is approx. two miles from where I start and by the time I reached that way point I was warmed up enough to push myself and kept the bike in the highest gear while standing up and pushed hard for the entire length of the hill. By the time I crested the top of the hill I could feel my calve complain just a little but sitting down on the seat rectified the situation immediately.
The next hill was about two more miles down the road and once again I stayed in my highest gear, stood up and worked it hard, pushing all the way up that hill with everything I had. I was breathing really hard by the top of this hill but nothing was complaining so I bent down as best I could to shed some of the slight headwind and peddled the next 5 or 6 miles with a 14 mph average speed until I was back in front of the Silverado Saloon. On the way back I kept as high a cadence as I could on the downhill sections and it felt like I flew through them pretty fast however looking at my speed later on the Garmin reminded me of just how slow my mountain bike is compared to my road bike and I was not even close to being as amazing as I had imagined.:) I would like to get my road bike out but with so much salt, sand, big pot holes and frost heaves on the roads, its not very likely so for now I need to stick to my mountain bike (Click here to view my ride on Strava.)
Wednesday it was colder and windier then the day before but I only planned on a quick 10 mile or so ride just to move some blood in my legs so it wasn’t bad. Thursday I decided to take the bike and check out one of the local area snowmobile trails built on an old railroad grade. Basically it’s elevated swampland so the snow had already melted away exposed a rocky well-draining surface. Though it makes the trail surface very rough with lots of mixed surfaces, ranging from really big size gravel to sand, the change from riding on asphalt felt great and the rough surface provided a great workout. Unlike riding on the highway, the bike doesn’t coast very far in the gravel so you can’t stop peddling without an abrupt stop. I was only able to follow the trail for about 5 miles until it winded its way into the woods where the snow was still covering it but I still rode on it for an hour or so going back and forth on the longest clear section which made me sweat hard and provide my lungs a good workout. It was nice to not worry about inattentive drivers on cell phones and instead turn up the music in my ear buds and take in all the scenery.
Friday I did a very short easy bike ride on this trail again just for a leg stretch so I would be ready for Saturday morning’s long run. At this point I was planned to make Saturdays long run on the treadmill slow so I wanted to be prepared. My calve felt much better by this point but I was still a little gun shy after the last few weeks it cramped up during long runs so I was waiting for morning to decide whether I should ride bike or attempt a run on the treadmill but when I woke Saturday morning, the decision was easy. There were winds gusting over 30 mph out of the northwest and giant snowflakes were blowing past the bedroom window sideways; even more intense than the previous weekend. I walked around the house for a few minutes to see if my calve felt up to the task of a run and since it did, I put on my running shoes and headed out to the garage for a slow three hour run. My training schedule plotted 13 miles for this week but last week was supposed to be 16 miles and I didn’t make it so I compromised; run slow at 5 mph but for three hours which meant I was able to get in 15 miles without aggravating my calve. Now three hours in my garage staring at the walls while on a treadmill is very boring but a great way to rehab leg muscles since the surface is even/smooth and the speed is at a steady pace. If I would have been running outside it would have been very tempting to turn up my speed a little just to see if that calve would take it, however running on my treadmill reigns in those superhero impulses since you can’t run faster without turning up the speed on the console so it was probably the best course of action. Overall, my slow run was without issue and gave me a much needed confidence boost again that my schedule will soon be back on track if I can make it through next weekends scheduled 18 mile run on the treadmill again. My plan is to run it in three hours with the treadmill set just slightly higher at 6 mph. It isn’t a lot faster but I believe it’s fast enough to get the job done while insuring my calve is back to 100%. We will soon see!
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