The first week after running 50 miles followed by racing a 5K the next day went pretty well, even better than expected. I wasn't overly tired or hungry. I did one easy bike ride, one day on the elliptical and one 6 mile hike with my dog. The overall soreness in my legs dissipated by the Tuesday following the runs and if it wasn't for my injured leg I know I would have been doing easy runs by Wednesday. But not surprisingly the pain in my leg kept me from doing any running. In order to rest my leg I decided to do an easy hike instead which would allow me to spend some quality time with my dog as well. That was on Friday the 11th.
In addition to the leg injury, after the runs I developed pain along the top of my foot. It only hurt when I flexed my foot so I figured it was probably a muscular injury from flexing my foot with every foot swing during the run. However, I was surprised at how much it hurt during my hike. Between the pain in the foot, shin, and calf, I was pretty discouraged. I was able to enjoy the quiet hike through the woods taking in all the sights of spring wildflowers, buzzing insects (gnats can be so annoying this time of year tho,) and the sounds of the river flowing through the narrow canyon a couple hundred feet below me.
Soon I was at the trail junction and I headed down the switchback trail that would ultimately lead me to the waters edge. I had brought my trekking poles for added support and I'm glad I did.
South Yuba RiverThat canyon is so beautiful. You feel like you're the only person on earth and it's easy to transport yourself back in time to when miners roamed those hills and panned the river bottom hoping for any hint of those beautiful gold flakes.
First thing I did was find a nice flat rock next to the river, took off my shoes and soaked my legs in the ice cold water. In the meantime, Yuba got in the water and proceeded to try to dig up rocks under water. He'll stick his whole head underwater and blow bubbles out his nose. Often he comes up with a huge rock in his mouth. Soon tho, he decided he was more interested in sharing my pop tart.
It didn't take long before my legs were numb from the knees down so I put my shoes and socks back on for the hike back out. My left leg/foot felt better after the soak and I enjoyed a little faster pace back to the car.
Nature's ice bath
By that night I was throwing up everything inside my body and thought I was going to die.
At first I thought it was food poisoning but by Saturday morning I had full body aches, my head pounded, I was completely exhausted and it took all my energy just to stand up. I would alternate between feeling hot and flushed to major chills. Unfortunately, Pat was at work and I had both girls. I explained to them that even though it was beautiful weather, we wouldn't be able to go outside and swing, mommy was really sick. Caitlyn immediately went into "Mom" mode and brought me pillows, medicine, and covered me with blankets. My real mom called to check on me and I immediately felt like I was 12 years old and wanted my mommy. I teared up and must have sounded utterly pathetic as I laid on the couch curled up in the fetal position. That pretty much sums up Saturday.
By Sunday Pat came home to take over kid duties and I spent another day in bed resting. I was feeling better but still exhausted. I think it was the combination of the 24 hour flu and the 50 miler catching up to me. All last week I was tired and lacked motivation to do anything physical. Finally by last Sunday (19th) I woke up thinking about a mountain bike ride. I took that as a good sign that it was time to get back on the wagon.
I signed up for an introduction to Pilates class and have been going 1x/wk for the last few weeks. It's very relaxing and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not a Yoga person, Pilates seems to suit me better but I still find I have to stop myself from laughing during some of the strange moves. But you do them right and it creates quite the "burn".
Pat and I went for a mountain bike ride yesterday and I actually found myself forcing the pace. Nothing over the top but it felt good to get my heart rate above 100 for once :)
So this all leads me to my leg injury. "How's it doing" you may ask. "Not well" I will answer. It almost seems worse. Now I expected it to be worse right after the runs but after 2 1/2 weeks of almost no exercise and absolutely no running, I thought the pain would start to dissipate. It's not. I have big plans of running the Big Sur marathon this Sunday with my cousin. Both families are getting together in Monterey to have a fun-filled weekend. But after a lot of thought (and changing my mind back and forth) I've decided that I just can't do the marathon. It would be stupid. And my physical therapist would kill me. Now I know I've been known to do stupid things before (look at the weekend of April 5-6) but eventually reality settles into my stubborn head (yes, I've been known to be a bit stubborn). I have a summer and fall packed with fun races I want to do and if I don't let my leg heal I won't be doing any running this year. At least not pain free. And that says nothing of the long term damage I could be doing to my leg. I have pin-point tenderness over the front of my shin that I'm convinced is a stress fracture but the x-ray showed nothing but I know they have been known to miss things.
I guess I have reached the point that Sarah and Addy reached long ago with their injuries. I have resigned myself to the fact that I just need to stop running for awhile. I will continue to do road and mountain biking and elliptical because that seemed to do a lot of good in February and March. My original plan on how to deal with this injury was to keep my fitness up with cross-training then just run the races. But I've found that what I miss most are the day-to-day runs, the short runs, the speed work, even the tempo runs, as well as the long slow runs. I want to get better so I can do all that again, not just run the races.
So I will head to Monterey on Saturday with my family to joyfully cheer on my cousin as she runs her second marathon. I will give her all my support and keep a genuine smile on my face even though I know it will be hard. I know I will want to be out there with her, running side by side, enjoying the incredible views along the Pacific Coast Highway.