Well, I finally got to see my physical therapist yesterday. After a battery of tests checking strength and flexibility, interviewing me about signs and symptoms, trying some deep tissue massage (ouch) and ultrasound, the preliminary diagnoses is "soft tissue injury". I'm still going to get an x-ray this week to rule out stress fracture but all the signs are pointing away from that.
So that's good news! He even thinks I'll be feeling really good by 4 weeks of continued cross-training and letting the leg muscles heal. He did say I could run but discourages it because the continued pounding just keeps the tissues irritated and delays healing.
My plans for the next 6 weeks have really been up in the air waiting for this diagnoses. I ran 120 miles in January before developing pain in both lower legs. I backed off the running, only running 60 miles in February and only 5 miles in the last 10 days. After this last rest period the pain in my right leg disappeared. Appears that it is healed. The pain in my left leg was just as bad even after not running on it for 10 days. I'm scheduled to do Rucky Chucky 50k in 11 days. I'm still undecided about it. If I am pain free relatively quickly, I'll probably run it (I'm stupid that way). If not, I'll volunteer. The bigger question is American River 50M in just over 3 weeks. I feel like I'm in good shape cardiovascularly but I just haven't put the miles in. I also don't want to injure myself so bad I can't run the Big Sur marathon April 27th. I'm running it with my 2 cousins and don't want to jeopardize it. So I guess I'll just stay in limbo and procrastinate making any decision until it gets closer.
I must say that deep tissue massage on an injured muscle sure doesn't feel all that great. As the doctor dug his thumbs into my muscle and my whole body tensed and my facial muscles flexed into something probably not that flattering looking, he told me to go to my "happy place". I must be a runner because my happy place involved running even though I was going through a whole bunch of pain because I ran too much.....a vicious cycle.
On Saturday, my family went to Placerville to visit more family. On the way back I managed to convince my dad to stop in Cool so I could check the results of Way Too Cool 50k. It's a "who's who" of ultrarunning, all the biggest names were there with some impressive performances. You can check out the results here. The runners had the best weather to run in. Cool in the morning then about mid-60's. Beautiful day. As I looked around the finish area I saw a lot of smiling runners.
So there it is. Overall, it is good news and I hope to be back running the trails soon. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying being back on the road and mountain bikes.