What a gorgeous day! I hope it’s as beautiful where you are as it is here in Ohio today. Sunday night, the night after my 6 mile test run, my leg was bothering me a bit again. I had plans to meet a running buddy at 5:30 am on Monday morning to get a 5 mile run in. I woke up with my leg feeling sore and I was a bit worried about running on it. This running buddy is a BQ and is no stranger to injuries, so I figured I would just let her know that I was going to get started, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to do all 5 miles. Right around 5 am she sent me a text to let me know her dog was very ill and she was taking her to the emergency vet (the pup is fine now, she has a chronic illness that sometimes needs immediate medical attention). I was a bit relieved and decided to head to the gym to do 30 minutes on the bike instead. I’ve found that doing the bike seems to help relieve the stiffness in my leg and makes it feel better.
On Tuesday I was feeling better and decided to do my 5 miles on the treadmill on a slight incline so I wouldn’t be running “downhill.” I was met with plenty of odd looks for wearing my compression sleeves at the gym (injury protection, people!!!). I warmed up with a comfortable 1/4 mile walk and then eased into running. Around 3.5 miles of running I could feel the other muscles in my legs working overtime due to lack of running so I decided to cut it off at 4. I felt pretty good after the run and did my regular icing routine. Sure enough, Wednesday night my leg started to bother me again. I started to contemplate the decision of backing out of the race.
I had taken Wednesday off and also took Thursday off since I was able to get a follow up appointment with my doctor on Friday morning. I told the doctor I felt that running was just irritating the injury and was planning on backing out of the race. He told me to spend the next two weeks on the bike and do the race at whatever pace felt easy on my body. He mentioned that it would feel harder on my legs having not run for two weeks, but he felt I could finish the race just fine. I told him that I didn’t trust myself to not try to push for a strong pace and he said the worst case scenario if I did that was taking 4 weeks off from running after the race.
I have about 11-12 weeks before I need to start training for my fall half, so I have made the tough decision to back out of the race. I’d rather take care of my leg now and not risk making the injury worse on race day and needing more recovery time. Things in my person life have been pretty stressful the past two weeks and I’m fairly positive that this mental stress is also slowing the healing process of my leg. There is definitely still some swelling around the bone that the doctor felt as well. While it doesn’t hurt, it’s uncomfortable and is an obvious sign to me that my body needs this break.
While I’m bummed about the race, I’ve actually been enjoying the break from running. My training plan for this race was one I had never used and it didn’t really allow time for cross training, but I do enjoy it so for my fall race I will be switching back to the training plan I used for my race this past November. The weather has been gorgeous which, in the past, would have made me feel depressed that I can’t go out and run, but I have been enjoying taking the dog to the dog park and taking him on easy 1 mile walks. It’s also been nice to just marvel in the gorgeous weather rather than worrying about when to fit my run in.
The doctor suggested taking 2-3 weeks off from running and just sticking to cross and strength training. He said, “As a sports medicine doctor, the one thing you never want to do is tell a runner not to run.” However, he told me if I was going to take the next 2-3 weeks off from running to just commit to it and don’t give into temptation to do a short 1-2 mile run. I am willing to take off up to 6 weeks of running if that’s what it takes to get my leg feeling normal again.
For now there will be less fitness-related updates since I won’t be doing any formal training. I plan to cross train 3 times a week, 30-45 minutes twice during the week and 45 min-hour on the weekends with at least one day of strength training. I cut back greatly on my running from around Thanksgiving through January to focus on the holiday’s and time with family, so I am not too worried about getting back into shape after some time away from running. Right now the thing I am most looking forward to is my leg feeling normal again! If I am able to resume easy running in June (or sooner) and full training as scheduled in July, I will likely do a 10-miler in August with the woman with whom I was planning to run the half marathon.