“Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at it’s zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters decend upon us.” – from A Christmas Story
And so it was this weekend.
I mentioned yesterday that I had apparently injured my right calf muscle sometime during my races. Truth is, I haven’t hurt that bad since completing the Route 66 half marathon last year. After that race, anytime I sat down, it was very hard to get up, and it took everything I could do to get moving once I got on my feet.
Yesterday was just like that, except only in my right leg. I have no idea what I could’ve done before, during or after the races. I didn’t do anything goofy — I wore clothes I’ve worn before, shoes I wear regularly for running, and I stretched the same way I always do. I don’t remember having any close calls where I had to avoid a collision, or any kind of potential ankle rolling that could’ve caused this. I am totally lost about the root cause of this injury.
So after a painful, restless night of little sleep, I got up this morning, and was still in a fair amount of pain in my calf, but I was also feeling some pain across the outside of my right ankle, and noticed it was swollen. I got dressed, and hobbled downstairs for a little coffee and poppyseed bread for breakfast. By the time I was back at the room, it was obvious to me that four (or more) hours of beating up that already injured leg wouldn’t be the smartest idea.
Could I have finished? Perhaps, but who know what kind of damage I would’ve done, and how much future racing it might cost me to recover from that.
I talked to Darla, told her what I was seeing and feeling, and she agreed that it was probably best for me not to put 13.1 miles of stress on my already-injured body. Begrudgingly, I began to pack my bags, checked out of the hotel, and headed for Da Lou.
I’m disappointed. I mean, really disappointed. I had such high hopes, and was in such a great state of mind going into yesterday’s races. Midway through the 5k yesterday, if you’d told me I be writing about a DNS for the half, I woulda told you you were nuts. I knew I had these races covered.
I talked at the Blogger’s Forum Friday night about trying to keep a positive outlook, and that I really just wanted to run and write about my journey, and hopefully inspire someone else along the way. Well, kids, this is part of the story too. It’s not just easy every race. Some races will challenge you like you’ve never been challenged. Some will come easy. Some will kick you to the curb like last week’s trash.
This weekend, I had both ends of that — the heights of revelry, and an unthinkable disaster.
But here’s the cool thing… I was smart enough NOT to push through this injury, and that probably means I’ll be out there running again sooner. It’s one thing to be smart about running a race — working on pace, stride, breathing, and all the other things that make up a racer’s profile — but it’s just as important to be smart about an injury, and not make things worse.
Of course I’m bummed, and I’m one medal short of where I wanted to be by this time in the weekend. However, there are always more medals to chase, more races to run, and more challenges to come. Even if I’m sidelined for a few weeks, I’m still the same dude I was before the injury this weekend, and I’m still jonesing to get out there for my next race, and show this old body what it can still do.