Injury Recovery Run

I ran my second half marathon one month ago—the Giants Run in San Francisco. It was an amazing race that ran all along the waterfront from the Giants ball park to the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the stadium, finishing with a half lap on the field. I would highly recommend this race and I will be back next year. This half marathon was so much better than my first one. I was better prepared and therefore felt strong the entire race wanting to keep going after my PR finish. In my two and a half years of running I would have to say I was in the best running shape by far for this half.

Two weeks prior to my race I felt a tug, if you will, on my right leg where it connects to my body after a run. I didn’t think much of it figuring it was just sore from the large mileage I poured on one weekend after a week of vacationing with my boys at Disney World where it was too hot to train—I logged a feeble total of 5 miles! Then I went into taper mode and the pain subsided. Needless to say, after the half the pain came back. A few days later after a subsequent recovery run I couldn’t even bear weight on my leg when I got up the next day. The pain was intense, and thought I might need to use a crutch. I didn’t run for 3 weeks and consoled my pigheaded ego by riding an old mountain bike on a newly purchased (for recovery purposes) trainer to make up for the lack of running.

Fast forward to today. I have run five times in the past week and a half. Not too far… 2, then 3, 4 and finally 5.5 miles a few days ago. I was sore after the five-miler. Really sore. And then the leg pain crept back again. On a scale of 1 to 10… I now give it a 1. It’s like running with shin splints. You can feel it and you can run through it, but it still nags you. There is a worry that it will worsen if I push too hard. My fingers are crossed that it goes away soon.

running past the marsh

Today I did a four-miler. It was too beautiful of a day to not get outdoors and run. I just had to. I have a favorite loop that passes an estuary where the water sits as smooth as glass on a day such as this. On this path I can choose to go either 4.5 or 6 miles. My brain shouts “do the six!”, but playing it safe and dare I say, smart, I go for the former. I pass our newly resident group of white as snow pelicans crowded on a small island. They gather there every morning in a tight huddle much like the start corral of any race. They are sort of an anomaly. In my 40 plus years of living in this area, I have only known them to migrate here in the past year.

a flock of pelicans crowd a small island

Just past this point of the paved pathway is my 2 mile marker and a hidden turn off into the trail of the marshes. Until I started running this path I had not known it was even there if I hadn’t seen someone coming out of it on one of my prior runs. I take it and am almost to a turn-around point and the long stretch of fire road. I am flanked by the estuary on my right and the marshes and some trees providing shade on my left. Beyond the trees lies an inlet of the San Francisco Bay and the famous San Quentin Prison. Somehow the criminal housing’s ugliness is camouflaged by the beauty of the bay and I forget it is there entirely.

a seemingly endless mile ahead

I don’t have the pain in my leg like I had the other day. Tomorrow I will have a better indication of my recovery. Sometimes recovering from an injury feels like an endless path like the one pictured above. Will it ever end? I have dealt with other injuries and have gone through all the emotions associated with them. I know what I should do: rest. But I also have committed to run the Rock & Roll Las Vegas Marathon in early December and want to make sure I can do it. I will give this “injury” another week of short runs sprinkled with cross-training bike workouts in between them. Once I feel completely pain free, I will start to build mileage. What else can I do? In the meantime, I hope to have more days like today; clear skies, warm temps, and beautiful scenery to escape to.

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