1 mi warmup + 2200m intervals + 3 steps. Tax day! Usually not an issue for me, except for this year, when for personal reasons I had to wait ’til the very end to get my federal return done. No problems here. But that’s not the real tax – today I pulled a calf muscle or did damage to my left lower leg while taking off from the start line on a 200m interval at our weekly track workout. I have never sustained one of those, “I tore a muscle” injuries before, so I was very surprised and out of sorts. It felt like a small rubber band snapping in my calf. I know it could have been worse, it didn’t feel like failure of my whole calf, just a part of it. It happened 3 hours ago, my left leg is now stiff and tender to stretch as it goes back in my normal walking stride. The whole rear area below my knee is sore. I don’t know if it hurts too much or if it is just stunned, historically I don’t have an accurate pain gauge built inside me. I have built a neat defense mechanism over the years that allows me to surpress pain, which doesn’t help with a significant injury. I cannot run today, tomorrow, or this weekend. That’s fine, I am not doing the Boston Marathon this year. It is odd to feel injured, if anything, I’d expect to hurt a body part that I don’t have a good awareness of, like a back muscle or something. My legs? I know my legs, no signals or ideas that would have me do more or less of anything to avoid this event. I am flexible, I didn’t try to sprint fast in any of today’s intervals, it made an internal popping sound as I was 3 steps off the start line. I yelped, everyone heard, and that was the end of my run for this morning.
Oh lining of silver where for art thou? I found that sitting on the sideline watching was a lesson. I sat, I stretched and tried to determine how much pain there was and what I had done to myself. While waiting on the outer lanes of the track surface, I noticed the distance that our lead runners develop on a 500m dash, and even more so on the final 1200m interval. When I’ running, I don’t think these guys are this far ahead of me, but they are. A 17-minute 5k person can put significant distance on a mid-19 min 5k runner like myself. This is how they finish 2+ minutes faster than me over 3 full miles! I would like to be in that gap, between our fastest guys and the Erica, Tom and Gary pack. It won’t happen in the next 30 days, I don’t know what I have to do to recover, but I have the leg strength to be up there. I think the breathing issue will be a challenge. First step, recover and heal. Then I can climb up with those front runners. With both of my calf muscles.