The Inevitable Peak-Week Injury

Denny Mayo

Peak Training time brings paranoia and second-guessing. Unfortunately, this week also has brought an injury.

Since I trained for my first marathon in 2007 (exactly five years ago today, actually), I've had persistent calf soreness in my left leg. Typically, the soreness has manifested itself as just that -- soreness with occasional foot numbness, never pain. It's been steadily becoming more and more sore as my recent training has progressed, but I figured this is largely a result of increased mileage.

Early Tuesday I ran ten miles early without any issues. Tuesday during the day my leg felt good, though tired. Tuesday night I put light pressure on my calf with my foam roller, which was fairly excruciating but needed as I hadn't foam rolled in a while.

Wednesday morning I woke up early to run and knew immediately my leg wasn't going to handle it. When I got up out of bed and stood up the soreness and stiffness were there, along with more of a burning sensation than I'm used to. I went back to sleep in order to avoid straining myself.

Today I went out at 5:15 AM to run. I made it seven steps and stopped. The sensation in my leg while running that short distance was worse than it's been as far back as I can recall. It's been along time since I've been injured; I haven't really felt this specific pain before, so I'm trying to figure out whether not this is something real or whether something that I'm just thinking that I feel. 98% sure it's real.

With that pain comes the inevitable dread that I'm dealing with now: I'm supposed to be peaking my training these next two weeks. I've done a piss-poor job of getting my miles in so far; I'm batting about .800 in total miles run per my plan. I really need to run the miles these next two weeks. I'm not going to -- I have an appointment with a sports medicine specialist next week, which means a week of wondering about my forthcoming diagnosis and not running, aside from a possible attempt in a few days.

Just when I thought I had my brain in a good place my leg flares up and now I'm questioning whether I'll be able to finish the race that's been my focus for so long. I'm not foolish enough to think that I need to run the race no matter what, but I'd like to run it if at all possible. I'm in limbo until I need with the doctor, and not having any sort of control over the situation beyond rest, ice, and ibuprofen really sucks.

Nothing profound that comes from all of this, just a boatload of frustration and angst and disappointment. I absolutely did the right thing today by not forcing the run and scheduling an appointment. Knowing that doesn't really soften the blow at all though.

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