Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wanted: New Calf

Doesn't have to be new, I'll take a gently used calf, left leg preferred.

After hurting my left calf running up hill in Tucson last week, I babied the thing most of this week. Ran 3 miles on Tuesday and 3 more on Wednesday. Same result both days. First mile went OK, calf tightened up just after 1 mile and I walked a short loop home. I rested on Thursday and Friday (did get in a couple of bike rides, however) and then on Saturday, neither my black lab nor I could take it any more and we ran 5.6 miles; half on hard pack dirt, half on asphalt.

My calf tightened up again at 1 mile, right on schedule and I stopped to contemplate the situation. Since I wasn't in any real pain, I decided to press on and see what happened. Not much at first, the tightness alleviated after another mile, but left some residual soreness. After getting back to my car, I tried to stretch out the calf and couldn't get very far into the stretch without severe pain developing.

I iced it on Saturday night and hobbled around. I was still in some pain Sunday morning, but only slight sore this afternoon when I took my lab out for a 7.6 mile run on hard-packed dirt. Although I was sore at first, the soreness disappeared within a quarter mile and it didn't give me any trouble for the entire run. However, it was very painful when I tried to stretch it out after the run.

So ... there you go. Any suggestions? At this point, I'm just going to keep the mileage low, keep stretching and icing and work my way through it.

RACES: Both Michele and David ran the Tom King half marathon over the weekend in less than perfect conditions and both PR'd. It's nice seeing fellow bloggers doing so well.

Have a great week.


Ewen said...

Bugger! If it's a strain, don't stretch it until there's no pain. Have a few days off running and just try brisk walking (if it doesn't hurt). Gentle massage after a few days might help.

If it's a tear (which I've had), you could need anything up to 4 weeks off running. I hope it's not!

Carmen said...

I'm right there in the trenches with you Phil. I kind of jacked my left inner calf area when I ran the Valley of the Sun relay last sunday. I spent the week running ultra low miles (2 miles) and spinning the rest on a bike for 15 minutes.

I found that the Galloway method of running and walking breaks during my quasi-long run yesterday really helped the leg.

Just curious as to what type of leg conditioning/strength training you employ. That's step 2 on my plan. I should ice like you do too.

hope the leg starts feeling like it's old self later this week or earlier!

Deene said...

my first thought was of the other kind of calf - as in veal.

maybe you need a different pair of shoes or orthotics.

Lana said...

Ouch - I have no ideas other than maybe some anti-inflammatory medicine and ice. Take care of it, though...don't push yourself until it's good and well.

J~Mom said...

I am sorry you are dealing with this Phil.

mindy said...

Try a good dose of anti-inflammatories. Also if you have a good sports massage therapist around, they can do wonders to ease a spasm that won't seem to let go. Take care of yourself, I know it's frustrating. Seems muscular, though which is usually something short-term. Hang in there!

Anne said...

I was going to mention orthodics too if it persists. To relieve the pain you might invest in one of those sticks to loosen the muscles and prevent more cramping.

It will get better. I just went through five months of rehab before finally feeling "new" again.

Thomas said...

I'll take an opposing view - don't use anti-inflammatories. They merely mask the symptoms and won't deal with the cause.

Have you tried PT or a massage yet? A good therapist and/or massage guy (girl?) could really make a difference. They might also know what exactly is wrong with your calf.

Dusty said...

Keep icing, taking Advil (or something for inflamation), easy days and take one off. Have you seen someone? I have a sports chiro who does lots of deep tissue massage and stem. That is what I'd do.

Hope you are feeling better soon! I'd get it checked to make sure it isn't a tear.

Gotta Run said...

If you find a donor could you also add a left IT Band to the list ;)

Is it to much to ask the Gods to grant us healed running bodies? I am at zero running for at least a week so I would listen to your body and not push it to far.

hang in there Phil!! We will come out of this soon.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

I'm with Mendy...a message would probably do wonders for what sounds like a tight/pulled calf muscle. If it were something worse, I doubt it would get better the further you went along. Otherwise, what you are doing sounds like a good course.

Mr. Satan A. Chilles said...

Frankly, I don't have much more to offer than what's already been said, though i'll agree that a massage might help a little.

I think what you've been doing is fine, and it just takes time to heal, maddening as it is. Keep showing up to run and adjusting your distance or effort, listening to your body is important. And by showing up you at least give yourself the confidence to try again, that's better than staying on the couch and feeling frustrated.

Hang in there...

Blaxabbath said...


I'm serious.

Go with white for strains and pulls; red for joint or misc issues.

Don't skimp of the bread.

Josh said...

Its ok to run thru some pains... but not others.

My advice: talk to a Dr or Sports Therapist.