Weeks 25-30, 2013: Licking my wounds.

I know. It's been a long time. In case you were wondering what was up with me, the title pretty much says it all. During the San Francisco marathon I got injured -- partial muscle tear of my calf is what it was. Let me tell you a bit about the six weeks of recovery I went through and about what's coming up.

The first few days I was out. I could barely walk. Around Thursday things started improving and I was even considering some gentle runs. But better safe than sorry so I decided to wait and only did some hiking over the weekend.

The following week I thought I was ready to slowly start exercising again. I went for CrossFit on Monday and all was good. I didn't run on Tuesday but instead went for another CrossFit workout on Wednesday. As luck would have it, there was a running (almost sprinting) component to the workout and I was stupid enough not to take it easy. Result? My calf snapping again. And, as usual, the second time around it was worse than initially. So now I was really in trouble. (It kinda happened at the beginning of the session so I did not even log it in my calendar).

On my coach's insistence I went to see a chiropractor. I'm still not sure whether I believe in this spine-adjustment magic, but he gave me some solid conventional advice as well. The following week no training at all.

By the end of the following week I was getting impatient. I did a short (5K), easy run on Saturday and was planning to slowly go back to my routine the following week.

I started on Monday with a slightly longer, though still short (7K) run and followed up with CrossFit. Then on Wednesday I increased the distance to 10K and... this is when I realized that I'm not fully recovered. At some point my calf was really not happy and I decided I'm back to taking it easy.

No more workouts until Sunday when I went to play volleyball with friends. Actually I was worried that this too might prove dangerous (all the jumping in volleyball is not exactly calf-friendly) but gladly all was well.

I think those last few days of recovery did the trick as the following week I felt much better. I did a slow run, but of a respectable 12K on Monday and all was well.

Then I did CrossFit on Tuesday and that was probably the toughest workout of my life. Perhaps not so much because of the workout itself, but more because I went for the 9am class and turned out to be the only one there. So I had a one-on-one with the coach. Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world. No taking it easy. No slacking off. No, I cannot do it anymore. It was awesome. My body hurt all over for a full week afterwards.

I did another easy 12K run on Thursday and then on Sunday decided I'm ready for some hills. I went to Mission Peak, in part because I happened to be around, but also I thought it'd be a good place for my comeback. I wanted to scale it twice. What a silly idea...

After the first kilometer I was reduced to a pitiful trot and the idea of doing it twice was long gone. After the second kilometer I was hardly moving and was reduced to a walk. Boy, if one needs a humility lesson (I didn't) Mission Peak is there to provide.

This was my slowest ever run on Mission Peak (and by quite a substantial margin< too) and yet I was happy. Why? Because it was the first non-trivial training after my injury and my calf held up and only voiced minor complains.


Coming back to training after an injury sure is a difficult thing. All those long months of hard preparations and improving bit by bit and then few weeks off and it's all gone in an instant. It's amazing how slow I am and how quickly I tire. Well, that's the life of a runner. And at least I'm running again.

From now on I'm giving myself 4 weeks to come back to my form. I did mere 35K this last week, I hope to do at least 60K in the next week and hopefully 80K the week after that. Although that's of course subject to the feedback from my calf.

This injury and my meetings with the chiropractor made me realize one thing. I used to treat my body as a rental car. I'd drive it whenever I felt like but maintenance wasn't really on my mind. That's not good and I'll try to change it. Problem is, the most important aspect of "sustainable driving" is the ability to listen to the signals of one's body. And frankly, that's not something I'm good at. But hey, practice makes perfect right?

Back to weekly posting schedule, so talk to you soon!

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