This article was originally posted by Charlene at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
I don’t have a lot of running to post about lately as I had to take 2 weeks off after Green Bay. If you remember I was having trouble with my left calf for almost a week before the race and managed to get it to run properly after a lot of TLC and Biofreeze. Race was not bad but not great either and I naively thought that my left leg problems would just magically disappear post race.
Not so much. I was a little sore in the quads as normal the day after the race. I noticed that my calf had tightened up again. When I tried to run a mile 3 days after the race I found that my gait was just as awkward as it was the Thursday before the race. I tried a few stretches and noticed that my left foot would not dorsiflex at all. Some quick google research told me that in all certainty that trying to run when one cannot dorsiflex will cause horrible injury to one’s leg. Not that anyone would choose to run like that anyway as it is more of a hobble than a stride.
I made an appointment with Suzie, a sports massage therapist specializing in neuromuscular therapy. She worked on the calf for an hour and prescribed that I not run on it, relax, do gentle stretching, and stop living on Diet Coke. I was pretty worried after the appointment as after an hour of intense work the calf muscles still would not release.
But the very next morning I was able to dorsiflex!!!! I was so relieved. Each day I got back more range of motion and I went back to Suzie the following week and she suggested some more specific stretches that have really loosened up the entire leg.
Yesterday, I went for my 1st run in 2 weeks. It was super slow and just 3 miles but there was no pain at the back of the ankle and I had full range of motion from the start. Today I ran 6 miles and it was again frustratingly slow. Part of this is that I am terrified of hurting myself and cannot break out of a gentle jog. Also I think the leg was slowly tightening up in the weeks before the half and I need to figure out how to run with a leg that works instead of whatever I did to alter my gait to compensate beforehand. It sucks feeling like I am starting over just when I wanted to be gearing up for summer races. But I can run and that is what is important. I just have to keep telling myself that but I admit that my failure to improve for so very long now is really weighing me down. I am 35 years old and the clock is ticking. I trained all fall, winter and spring with hardly a twinge and now just as the racing season starts I am back at square one.
I do have some really good news and it is that my daughter’s 4×400 relay was 4th at State this last weekend. They ran a great time of 4:01 and we were so happy to see them on the podium. I had a great time at the State meet and got to watch a lot of really exciting and dramatic races. The level of competition was really high this year in all events. Over a dozen State records were broken.