When this happened in March, it took a week for my calf to come around. And that was laying low. In four days, I'm supposed to run up Mt Washington. That was to be my capstone event for the summer. Now I'm out just like that. My calf is worse off than last time, and I don't want to provoke a season ending injury.
What is it about running? This random bullshit does not happen on the bike. Now I have to figure out why this recurs and try to prevent it from happening again. The more I learn about running, the more I'm convinced it is all about injury management, not really about enjoying exercise or training. It seems something is always getting broke and needs fixing and then constant preventative maintenance. I suspect at some point, long-time runners have a huge preventative maintenance check list. This does not sound like fun to me.
There is an eery similarity of training stress leading up to both the March and June calf blow-ups. These are:
- Week or more of little to no running prior to injury
- Huge off-road hike-a-bikes in carbon soled shoes in days prior to injury
- First run after the light week produced unusual left calf pain and I ran through it
- Injury occurred on second run after light week, with no discomfort before hand
- Injury occurred 3-4 miles into easy run on flat terrain with no warning
My medial gastrocnemius muscle is extremely tender.
No bleeding evidence visible.
If I continue running long term, I must figure this out. I thought I did a pretty good job stretching my calves. But maybe not. Did the huge hike-a-bike stress on Sunday (all toe push-off with heavy mountain bike) make my calves tight? Can muscle fibers get weakened with no sensation that something is about to pop? Did I take too much time off from running prior to each injury, maybe letting my calves tighten up? Who knows.
I've read calf injuries are far more prevalent in weekend warrior type athletes. My running could almost be classified as such. Perhaps on extended periods where I don't have planned training runs, I at least need to go out for an easy 2-3 miles. Maybe I need to stretch my calves before I run (I usually avoid stretching before I'm warmed up).
So here I am, trying to divine what went wrong on a hopelessly incomplete data set. This is probably no different than ancient mystic explaining how Earth, wind and fire worked. Not very happy right now. This might not seriously impact riding, but I can barely walk right now, let alone run.