As I've mentioned before, Thursdays are becoming the most difficult day of training in my week. It is the only day in the week that does not come after a rest day. So far, the problem has been primarily mental. My legs will be tired from the day before, but not so tired that I can't run; the evil white bunny in my head just tells me I can't.
Today I was prepared to combat the Thursday training blahs. I had a shorter run on the schedule, only 45 minutes. I had some right calf twinges when I got up and as I walked to the track, but since I forgot to do my stretches last night I figured (and I told myself) that the calf would warm up and be just fine. I started my run, hitting a good pace, and despite the need to keep a near-constant pep talk going in my mind it was going pretty well.
Then at about 25 minutes into it my right calf abruptly seized up and I had to stop. It was one of those where in order to continue (even to walk) I had to change my stride (limp, really) so I tried to walk it out. I limped about 100 meters and the pain kept getting worse. I stopped and did some stretches. With the stretch usually done for your hamstrings, it felt like I pulled out the cramp enough to where I could walk normally although my leg was still sore. I walked about another 100 meters and it felt pretty good so I tried running. Nope. Got about 20 paces and it cramped up again, shooting down into my ankle, and I couldn't get it to stretch out. I had to head home, trying not to limp. I was kind of successful so long as I walked very slowly. I hadn't been cold when I'd been running but I started to get very chilly once I stopped.
I iced it when I got home and took some ibuprofen. I can walk without limping but it's still very sore. As I was icing my leg, and later when I was glaring at it balefully, I noticed some swelling low in that leg, about two or three inches above my ankle. I check my Achilles tendons pretty regularly, palpating along them to check for tenderness. Today: tenderness. When I get to a computer, I start to consult Dr. Internet. Self diagnosis: it's my Achilles tendon that has been causing the calf pain and tightness, not the calf itself. Yippee.
As I mentioned, I've been concerned about the distance I have been able to go for last weekend's long run and this weekend's upcoming long run. It seemed like it would be too great of an increase in distance. Since this calf pain really got started after last Saturday's run, I'm thinking I did too much too quickly.
So, the plan. RICE the leg today and tomorrow. Plan for a five mile run on Saturday, no more. It may still take me 115 minutes, but I will keep it to five miles. I'm going to stick to the track so that if the leg does what it did today I don't have to walk a couple of miles to get back to my car. I figured that in my training schedule I would have to make accommodations for work and weather so there is plenty of room to ease off of training in order to stay healthy and keep this injury only temporary. In the interim, new insoles are definitely on the agenda; I forgot that I changed my mind at the last minute and didn't order insoles but instead opted for a nice warm running shirt that was on sale for cheaper than the insoles. I think I'm going to go to the running store and look at their insoles; I like to feel the things before I buy them. And new shoes are coming, in case I've underestimated just how much mileage I've put on my current ones (I still think it's just time for new insoles in those, they should have another 100 miles or so left on them).
Cross your fingers for me! I'd say cross your toes too, but that makes my ankle ache.