Thursday, October 25, 2007

What's Next

I asked this question last week on my mental high from Dick Collins, ready to jump into another 50 miler and excited about the prospect. One problem with that. Despite feeling like superwoman, I don't think my body is really as invincible as I was hoping. I mulled over the idea last week, and mulled, too, over the calf muscle that's been bothering me for the last month, the perpetual cold I can't seem to shake, and the graduate course work that's piling up.

Back in reality, fifty miles is pretty far. I think that I fell for that mentality of, "well, I did it, so it can't be that challenging" and forgot that it was a pretty big deal, and that it's okay if I need time to recover from it.

I've only run three times since the race, in part because I've just been tired and sick, and in part because I've been trying to spend more time on school work since, well, I can. It's sort of nice being able to take a break, to not feel too guilty for missing a run.

But, and this is a big but, not running does NOT feel good. I'm still eating like crazy, which isn't making my body (or my clothes for that matter) happy, and I'm still feeling the achiness that I feel during tapers when I don't run. Added to that, I had a running panic dream last night. I was running a 50 miler that started at 7pm (until 6am, it was a strange race) and somehow got the times mixed up, thinking it was starting at 7:30. So at 6:30 I realized I needed to be leaving NOW, and was frantically trying to pull together all the clothes and stuff I would need for the race, panicking about getting together night gear, and knowing I was going to be late. As I searched for clothes, I just kept finding the dirty clothes from the last 50 miler I had done, which was a few days before. I woke up both certain that I'm not in shape to do another 50 miler right now, and that I really, really, needed to run.

I just did an easy 6 miler around the 1/2 mile track at my school between my classes, which was good, but made my calf hurt. It's not a can't run hurt, but it is still worrisome. Then again, resting doesn't seem to be helping, so I'm thinking maybe I need to make it stronger? I don't know, I've never dealt with injuries. So I'm still torn on whether running more is good or less. But less doesn't feel good, so I think if I do decide to cut back on mileage, I really need to find some other activity so that I can still be active the same amount.

I also need a race to put on the calendar. Without some date as motivation, I find it much harder to get out there every day (well, 5 days a week). I need that outward push! So I'm thinking putting Woodside 50k on there. It should be the easiest 50k I've done (only 4500 ft elevation gain) and it's on the trails of my first trail run/race ever last february. I feel odd not picking something more challenging than my last event to shoot for, as that seems to be what I've always done, but I guess it's okay to give myself a break :)

So, I think, that's what's next!


Catherine said...

Addy, I think it's smart to give yourself a break. I know it's not easy tho, it sounds like we're a lot alike. Your calf injury sounds a lot like mine. I hurt it the end of June, a week later I did a 5k trail race. A week after that I did the Marin Crossing (my portion was the 16 mile trail run). I got diagnosed with a torn calf the day before the TRT50K. I decided to run anyway. The pain is how you describe, annoying but not "can't run" pain but it never gets better. I managed to do TRT then took 6 weeks off running. (The calf injury really made me compensate so I thrashed my left quad). It slowly got better then one day the pain was gone and I'm back to running normally. The time off was good to let my body heal after TRT but then I got restless. In an earlier post you described your lower leg as feeling really weak. That was my description exactly. It felt like my knee/leg could buckle at any moment. My mentality is I want to be an ultrarunner for many years to come so it was worth taking 6 weeks off to let myself heal. Didn't make it any easier tho :) Sorry for the long post, hope it helps.

andyb said...

Hey Addy,

I had a string of calf injuries years ago and they can really throw a wrench in your plans. I hate to say this, but you really should think about taking at least 4 weeks off if you want it to heal.

From what I have read, you may want to look into deep water running while rehabbing - though not quite sure if there would be any issues with continued strain on your calf. Or swimming - that's a good replacement exercise, and who knows, maybe "what's next" could turn into a triathlon! ;-)

Good luck, and take it easy for a little while, eh?!?

Addy said...

thanks guys. I really appreciate the advice. Catherine, its good (and bad) to know that my injury sounds just like what you had. Good because it gives me an idea of what to do about it. Bad because I don't want to stop running :( Maybe I should get a real diagnosis. I do feel the same. It just isn't getting better.

andy- maybe I'll go get a swimsuit :P

Amy said...

Hi Addy-

I've been having calf muscle problems too. Not severe pain, but more of a painful tightness, especially on the hills. I cut my miles back for a few weeks and started doing some yoga and its really helped. Might be worth a try.

Congrats on your first 50. I'm impressed by how quickly you were able to get to that distance (i'm tackling 30K next month and can't imagine doing 50 miles at this point).

Good luck with your recovery.

Mauricio said...

You can take a rest from running while doing another activities to keep you fit and heal your injury. Yoga, careful stretching and ice packs will help a lot.

Take Catherine's advice, if you want to run for long, then a couple of weeks are worth the wait. Don't follow the path of evil runaholism as many of us do, you're one of our last hopes...


PS. I really enjoy your running nightmares. Full adventure! :)

Abbie said...

It's DEFINITELY okay to give yourself a break! If you rest now, you can heal up and be 110% for your next race!

Sarah said...

Can you imagine yourself a year ago thinking that a 50K less than 2 months after running a 50M is taking a break? : ) You've had a big build-up this year, so there's no shame in easing back a bit. Enjoy your rest! Like you, I need a race to keep me motivated.

Phil said...

You continue to crack me up, "... fifty miles is pretty far." 50 miles is damn far!

Sorry to hear about you calf. Unfortunately, calf injuries are something I know about and I wouldn't advise running through the pain. You've got to let it heal.

During my last calf injury, I used an eliptical machince to keep my cardio-vascular system in shape and took a short jog every 3 or 4 days to test out the calf. It healed quickly and I got right back to training ... so do what everyone is telling you to do. Stop running, ice the calf after exercise and get yourself healthy. You just ran a 50 mile race after all. 50 MILES! Most of us fret and fret and fret about our marathons. Everytime I read about your exploits I think about how trashed I feel at the end of 26 miles and can't imagine turning around and running back to the start line. You're increadible and inspirational.

runningtwig said...

Take care of yourself now before you are really forced to give yourself a break! I know what you mean though - not running doesn't feel good. I've been hampered by a case of runner's knee lately and not running sucks!

I hope your calf is feeling better!!

Oh, and I'm looking at a 50M in March - it's tentative, but I'm looking!!

rustyboy said...

My suggestion, and this is from a guy who's had to nurse an I.T. injury now...TWICE:

Find a physical therapist and get some advice on training back up. Typically, and this is typically, an acute muscle injury will take about 4-6 weeks to repair itself *IF* you care for it. If not? Well, you're talkin' to a guy who was nursing an I.T. injury for 2 1/2 months because he didn't take the correct course of action. One visit to the PT after those 2 1/2 months, and I was running again 2 weeks later.

Rest. Ask a pro for advice, preferably a PT who is a runner him/herself. And, as everyone else says, reward yourself! Time away will get you itching to get back out there!

Yes, it's one week after my 100 attempt and I'm itching already :)

Sensationally Red said...

Yes, I think you've gotten some excellent advice here--find a good running PT or Sports Doc, ease on the running and find some alternate cardio for awhile. Swimming, for me, is almost as good as running and keeps me mentally sane while I'm dealing with reduced running. The I-T monster usually gets me, but I've been having some calf issues, as well since I've been uping the trail miles. Hang in there girl!

Donald said...

Like everyone else said - give yourself a break. I've only run once since Firetrails, and I'm in complete slacker mode for the next month. Woodside sounds like a good plan once you've had some rest.

Addy said...

thanks for the advice guys. The leg killed all friday, so I definitely think it needs a break. I would like to see a PT but have no idea how to do that (or how that'd work money wise). I tried to buy a swimsuit but apparently target no longer sells them since it's fall :(. I might try to order online. I do have a few suits but they aren't exactly made for working out swimming. I need to start going and using the elliptical at least. I feel so lazy :(

Your father said...

Hey there,

Know it's hard with school and teaching to find time to find and see someone. From the other posts, sounds like it is worth the effort.

If some local runner has a PT to recommend, that's usually a good way to start. those "fast" women you did a run with during the summer?

money is the easy part... that's what parents of grad students are for.

might consider seeing an MD, just to rule out anything that might actually take more than PT to correct. would be nice if you got set up to see a doc under our healthplan. If for whatever reason that is not do-able, perhaps a sports medicine doc, who probably has PT's to refer you to.

Love you,


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

You poor thing--first serious bout of running withdrawal, on top of injury and an overworked immune system. I feel your pain, fatigue & torture!

Being late for a race has replaced being late for a big exam (think, Tom Cruise, Risky Business) as my most common anxiety dream. Maybe this is the surer sign that you have become an ultrarunner.

Scott Dunlap said...

Congrats on your 50m! You've had an adventurous season, so I'm not surprised your body is pushing back a bit. Don't be afraid to rest for a week or two with no running. You now have a base level of fitness that won't disappear in a couple of weeks, for sure. But taking that calf to the limit may knock out a whole season.

I'm a big fan of swimming, particularly running in deep water. Always best to seek a doc first. But I enjoy doing a 5-min warm up and then 10x 1 min sprints running in the deep water. It definitely gets the heart rate up, and keeps the pressure off the joints, IT band, and feet.

Would love to have you up in my neck of the woods for the Woodside 50k, but make the call the day of to see if you might want to take it down a notch. My house is at the first aid station if you need a ride down the hill. ;-)