We plan, we train, we sacrifice. For months at a time, we make races our priority, making sure we get our miles — and cross training — in while taking care of our familias, work and other responsibilities.
Reaching that finish line makes all of the trouble worth it.
But what happens when you do all the things…and can’t do the race because you’re injured?
Just three days before the Detroit Free Press Marathon, I got benched. I pouted.
My right calf had felt tight until about a month before when I had to walk quite a bit of one of my runs because it just hurt. The pain subsided and I was able to run the rest of the way and I did the whole rest, ice, compression and anti-inflammatory routine when I got home. I babied the leg for a few days and got back to training.
About three weeks later, the same thing happened the weekend before Detroit, except that the pain got worse and didn’t really go away. I walked a couple of miles back from the day’s long run. I did all the things again, but didn’t get better, so I called Dr. Awesome and he was able to squeeze me in.
Boy, was I relieved. He can fix it, I thought, and then I can run 26.2 miles. After all, I had plans to go to the expo, meet other Bib Rave Pro ambassadors and spend the night in a hotel with my runner friends.
Not so much. Instead, I was diagnosed with a micro-tear in my right calf. A very minor injury — but only if I took a short break and allowed it to heal. Running the marathon, Dr. Awesome assured me, would mean a much-more-serious injury and longer recovery time.
I did the math and sat the race out. Sure, I’ve been injured before and have spent many a week wishing I were running. But this one was extra painful because I have been looking forward to running Detroit for so long. And I had plans, dang it!
In fact, it was my goal race for 2018 and my whole training plan revolved around it. I also got to train with Gatorade Endurance because that’s what was going to be available on course.
What’s a chica to do?
Suck it up, butter cup.
As with all other injuries, I went through the stages of grief and moved on. This time, I listened to the doc right away and did what was best for my body. (I also talked to my sports med doc at Dr. Awesome’s suggestion and he, too, agreed with the protocol: no running or walking; avoiding stairs and anything that makes my calf hurt in the least. If things don’t get better, I’ll have to wear a — gasp! — boot.)
After resting for a week, I’ve been riding the Peloton bike, which helps a bit with my stress levels, tho I am most-definitely noticing that I am more jacked up than normal and I’ve not slept well since I stopped running.
On race day, I made sure to keep myself super busy with chores, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my friends’ accomplishments on social media. So many did their first full or achieved personal records that day.
Now a few days later, I’m still mourning a bit. But I’m moving on. I start physical therapy on Monday and am considering swimming lessons once a week at a local gym to increase my cross-training and, possibly, doing a triathlon next year. Because I may be mourning not being able to run, but I’m also realizing that I’m going to have to take care of my body if I want to keep racking up those miles.
Have you had to forego a race because you got injured at the last minute? What did you do? What type of cross-training do you do? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)