This is the most normal I have felt in nine days since I strained my calf on my last long run. Today, I finally got to run, albeit only three miles, but that is all I was supposed to run today, just five days out from the Napa Valley Marathon. It’s taper time, so I’m not too worried about missing the last few runs.
I am just so happy that I could run. I have spent the last nine days doing everything I can to make this marathon still transpire. I have done three A.R.T. (Active Release Therapy) sessions with one last visit tomorrow (all on my own dime, thank you health care system), have done the R.I.C.E. treatments, worn my Zensah compression sleeves and comfortable shoes (I miss my heels). I’m stretching my calfs periodically throughout the day. I’m applying heat. I massage them with the “stick”. Yesterday I started rubbing my calfs with Arnicare gel. (at my mom’s suggestion) and now, today, have added KT Tape to my healing regimen.
I ran super slow, a 12 minute mile. At the beginning I even slowed my pace to 12:30 for a quarter of a mile. I stopped, stretched my calf a bit and then resumed. I focussed on how I was striking the treadmill with my feet and did everything I could to land flat footed and avoid the forefoot as I feel pain in my calf when the ball of my foot strikes down. It took considerable concentration to change my gait. Only a few times did I feel a slight pricking like someone was sticking pins in my calf. (BTW, whoever is it, can you please pull the pins out of your Michele voodoo doll? Please?) I always tell myself that at 5 m.p.h. I could run all day. I hope that theory rings true this Sunday.
After Sunday’s failed run attempt, I was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously. The fun of running the marathon had been sucked out of me. Who wants to run that far in pain? Yesterday I saw Dr. Britton, the ART specialist, and I told her I wasn’t going to run all week-save myself for the race. But she said, “yes you are” and to start today. So I did. She said I was rehabbing and I need to keep moving. I asked her about the KT Tape, as I am desperate to try anything to make Napa happen. She was indifferent. She’d heard athletes say that it works and it doesn’t. She told me, “whatever mentally helps you get through.” So, I’m not sure if I just “think” the tape works, or it really does, but for now, it’s my newest friend and marathon companion, along with my compression sleeves (in matching blue.) I bought the tape in blue, because, well, it coordinates with my marathon outfit top. Yes, I still care about how I look out there! If you’ve been following my blog, you should know that by now! If I’m gonna go down, I’m going to go down looking good! I will be dressed in black and blue (no pun intended). All Athleta gear. Of course. 😉 I’m even going to paint my nails/toe nails blue. How about that? Jedi mind tricks? Using the force? Fun outfit? Whatever works!
During my run today I had to force my mind away from negative thoughts of the pain returning. It reminded me of this:
That dreaded feeling you can’t shake. Oh my calf! Oh my calf! Oh my calf! I had to redirect my thoughts to other parts of my body. How am I landing on my feet? How am I pushing off? Is my posture good? Am I lifting my legs enough? And thoughts of the race. Run slow and steady. Walk if you MUST. And if you are walking, pull out that iphone and snap a few photos. Will make for a good post-marathon blog. It’s going to be a beautiful day so I am going to try to drink in the scenic Napa Valley, like most tourists will be doing that morning at the local wineries. Most importantly, I will not worry if I can’t keep up with my team. At this point I am completely at ease with them leaving me in the dust. I KNOW I will see them at the finish. The best part, providing they wait around, is that they will get to see ME cross it!
I am super excited and incredibly grateful that my legs are capable of doing this race/run. I will be even more so when I cross the finish.
Four more days!!
Today’s tip via my Runner’s World Smartcoach:
The last week before your race, called the “Taper Week,” is the most important one of your whole training program. After all, you don’t want to do something wrong now that will wreck all the hard work you’ve put in. The best advice: Relax, take it easy. Read a book, watch some movies. The hay is in the barn. Enjoy your extra time off the roads.
Since something already has gone wrong, it can only be uphill from here!!