Out of the Game
This is a bit of a long blog, dear friends. But I hope you will bear with me, as it is likely to the be last one that I write for some time.
What's that phrase Laura likes to cite on the podcasts for the later weeks and on 5K+? Oh, yeah. It's "If you're new to running, or if you've been out of the game for awhile..." Well, I'm no longer new to running, but it looks like I'm going to be out of the game, at least for a little while.
My Couch-to-5K started five months ago, in late August. Running every other day (as opposed to three times per week) meant that I graduated in mid-October. I spent the next couple of months building and consolidating on what I had achieved -- upon graduation, I could run for 30 minutes, of course. I then went on to run a full 5K, participate in some ParkRuns, work my way through the 5K+ podcasts, and -- finally -- get my 5K time under 30 minutes. Personal best, thus far, is 28:36.
Along the way, the benefits were many. Alongside the running, I cross-trained by swimming a minimum of 2000 meters on my "rest" days. Between the running, swimming, and dieting, I have lost three stone in the past seven months; my BMI has dropped from nearly 35 (rather obese) down to 28 (somewhat overweight), and I am more than halfway to my eventual goal of 23 (healthy and normal).
With the new year, I started the Bridge-to-10K plan. I want to complete an Olympic distance triathlon. The running portion is a 10 km race. Therefore, the B210k programme was the natural choice after I had consolidated my Couch-to-5K gains. I started on New Years Day and was moving along steadily. Last week -- in Week 3 -- I passed 9km for the first time _while_ also marking a new record for average speed: 10.7 km/hour. On Tuesday, I started Week 4 and reached 9.2 km in 54 minutes of running.
All was going well... until the last sixty seconds of the run. I broke into a sprint to "finish on a high note", as Laura likes to say... and experienced a searing pain in my right calf. Web research has led me to a self-diagnosis of "calf strain". Not good.
I am currently away from home, travelling for work until next week. I land in the afternoon of Thursday January 31st; I already have an appointment scheduled with my GP for the following morning.
Until then, I am making myself a promise not to run. Not even a "light job". This is a hard resolution to keep -- especially when the weather here in Japan is perfect for running! It is cool, clear, and crisp with bright blue skies. Absolutely lovely conditions for a run!
It wasn't so long ago that it took a supreme effort to get me out the door running. Now it takes an equal amount of willpower to stop me from going out for a run. My, how things change! I may not be all that amazing a runner at this stage, but being a runner has become part of who I am. And runners? Well, they run! Which is what I want to be doing right now.
To be honest, I could probably manage a slow 5K if I were careful. But I'm not going to try. The web is filled with warnings about not running with a calf strain, and how pushing too soon could ultimately end one's career as a runner. So I'm going to refrain until I get home and see the GP; I won't start running again until she says it is safe to do so. As much as I want to be running NOW, I also want to be running in one, two, five, ten years time.
This week is particularly difficult, for a couple of reasons. As I already mentioned, the phenomenal weather is one. For another, being away from home, I've not had access to a pool and, thus, I have not been swimming. Without running, I am temporarily without exercise. Feh. And, of course, there is the fact that I last ran on Tuesday; if I were running today, I could pick up with the 10K training from precisely where I left off.
So, yeah, it's hard right now. When I get home next week, it will be a bit easier, as I can resume swimming. Also, from what I've read, cycling with a calf strain should not pose a problem for my recovery, so I will start working on this previously neglected portion of the triathlon. I do hope that I won't be out of the game for too long -- I really don't want to go all the way back to Week 1 of Couch-to-5K! Still, if it happens, then it happens... and I will work my way back up again!
After all, five months ago, running for 60 seconds was difficult for me. And now, prior to Tuesday's injury, I was on the verge of a 10K! To channel the Terminator for a moment: "I'll be back!" Even if I have to go all the way to the beginning, I can work my way up to where I am now... and beyond!
Other than checking replies to this entry, I am likely to vanish from this forum for a bit, until I get home next week and talk to my GP. In the meantime, I hope that everyone is doing well... and happy running!
[Addendum: After posting this blog, I was reading the news. As chance would have it, I happened upon an article about running in the New York times (see well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013...). It was mainly about studies of running styles in indigenous peoples but there was a side comment on running injuries. If I am to take their claim at face value, runners have an injury rate of greater than 50% per runner per year. So perhaps something like this was only a matter of time; practically inevitable, being a question of when -- rather than if!]