I’ve been reluctantly dealing with a sore leg the past two weeks. It came on suddenly after a great tempo workout and the next day, I was in pain. Luckily, I’m surrounded by tons of runner people and have a great coach, so when I mentioned hurting during a run, I heard what I needed to hear. “Listen to your body.” “Take care of it now before it turns into something worse.” “Don’t run.” This wasn’t what I WANTED to hear, mind you, because the mind has a really good way of burying the reality of a bad situation and puts shiny glittery things in front of the facts you should really acknowledge.
I took a hill workout off, a long run off, and another in between, and my calf/shin was still in pain and getting worse. Because I’m very early into training for what I consider to be an extremely important race (even more now that I see how many people have registered for Boston so far), I decided it was best to bite the bullet and go see a physical therapist. I crawled out of the Denial Closet and made the call. I’ve done this before for Achilles tendonitis and another condition that affected my knee, so I was familiar with myofascial release, which is what many physical therapists use to help heal athletes. When I went in for my appointment, I told the entire story of my one leg that has had a laundry list of problems over the years, did some calf raises and other strength work so the doc could see my leg in movement, and then he got to work. Because the pain was in the center of my calf and shin, I thought he would work on that area. Oh, no, the source of the problem is often not where it hurts now, but in another place that is not working right and victimizes a different muscle. So the perp in this instance was the nerve/muscle just below my knee on the inside. As soon as he felt that the area was tight, he took out a vice grip and razor blade and cut my leg off. Oh wait, that’s just how it felt. Now I’ve had few therapy sessions that made me hold my breath and grit my teeth, but this was a new level that I wasn’t familiar with. My second visit was even more surprising. I have NEVER started to sweat faster when that searing pain started, except for maybe when I got the tattoo on my foot. I couldn’t even think swear words either. Sweat was rolling down my back, sweat was on my arms, legs, feet, neck. Wow. My poor leg was telling my brain to get the hell out of there and to not let that monster touch it again. My brain kept telling my leg to shut up and deal because it’s either this or pain with every step while running and there’s about a trillion steps to go. My brain won this time.
I will probably have to go a few times a week for the next two weeks, which isn’t pleasant for my leg nor my pocketbook, but I’m committed to doing what I need to heal the injury and learn how to prevent it from coming back. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my stretches, which is way more than my normal stretching, which is way more than I ever did for the first 38 years of my life. I guess that’s what it takes to make a dream come true.