Saturday, 26 January 2013
Things can change ever so quickly, and whilst my setback is relatively minor, it made me realise that I need to take niggles, nagging pains and stretching more seriously in the future.
Stretching has been something that I neglected rather too much the past few months. As a result my calf muscles started to become tighter, and the other week I strained my calf whilst running on the track.
After taking a break from running of just over one week (which was replaced with swimming), last Tuesday I decided to go for a gentle run. For the first few kilometres my calf muscle felt fine. There was no pain at all. Then suddenly, without warning, I felt my calf muscle tear. The pain stopped me in my tracks. Unfortunately there was no way to get back to work without walking, so I limped slowly back to work.
The next day I went to the sports doctor. He performed an ultrasound on my leg and found a 1.1cm tear in the muscle. His advice was to take at least 2-3 weeks break from running, forget about doing the Barcelona half marathon and going cross country skiing this weekend, wear a compression bandage during the day and start getting physiotherapy 2 times per week for 9 sessions.
Whilst a calf muscle tear generally heals well, the important thing to ensure is that the scar tissue aligns itself well as it starts to form. If the scar tissue is badly aligned or becomes too thick, it is likely that the tear will reoccur at a later point in time. That is why stretching and physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery process.
As well as having to resign myself to the fact that I cannot do the Barcelona half marathon in February, I also had to cancel my Cresta Run booking. The Cresta Run is something that I have wanted to do for a few years now. It is only open for 9 weeks a year, and I had a beginner's booking on the 4th of February. The problem is that to brake (or rake as they call it), you have to dig the spikes on your boots into the ice, and with an injured calf this might prove rather painful. There is also the additional risk of a heavy impact if I was to come out of the Run at Shuttlecock (the most famous corner of the Run). It did not make sense to attempt it and risk injuring myself further.
I now need to focus my energy on trying to ensure a good, solid recovery ready for the Border to Border cross country ski event in March. The doctor thinks this event is still possible, as my calf muscle should heal fully within 4-6 weeks. The good news also, is that I am allowed to swim front crawl (but not breaststroke) as much as I like. So there is no need for me to get fat and lose my fitness completely.