Saturday, January 19, 2008


I am so frustrated. My running has absolutely sucked this week. My energy level is up, way up. But my legs, my body is not keeping up with what I want to do. And I know what this means.

It means I am not the kitten I think am. I am, after all, a cougar. A slow cougar at that. A lame old cat! Ugh. I so want to be the frisky little kitty.

It's hard when your age finally catches up with you.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while then you know I am no good at following a marathon plan. But nevertheless I do have loose notion of plan: an idea of how I want my training to go. And I get really pissed off when I can't adhere to this no plan plan.

Last week my "plan" was to hit it hard and jump start my training after a lazy month in December. I seriously can't imagine I lost that much fitness. I still averaged about 40 miles for each week even with one week where I only ran eight miles because of that blasted bronchitis. Not to mention in September, October and November my weekly average was fifty+ miles. And I was also swimming and biking.

So I am puzzled why my legs are shot this week. I figured that my legs might need a break from last week and I planned accordingly for this week to be a cut back week. But maybe my idea of cut back isn't cut back enough?

This is what I planned: 2 speed workouts, 2 2 hour runs, 1-2 easy runs and some biking and swimming. I wanted my mileage to be around 40 miles--which I consider my base as I have been average at least 40 miles or more for nearly 2 years now. Today I am 36 miles and I will probably run today too so I should hit 40 but not the way I planned to hit 40. All my workouts this week are failures.

This is what I accomplished:
Sunday: 6 mile trail run that proved extraordinarily painful in my calves.
Monday: 1+ mile treadmill run where my legs were just too tired, too heavy. So I did dead leg swim for 30 minutes.
Tuesday: 10 mile hilly run where I walked the uphills and sprinted the downhill and flat areas. This was to relieve the tension in my calf muscles.
Wednesday: Same 10 mile hilly run but I ran the whole way at an even pace. Calf muscles felt better but I had some hip/butt tendon/nerve pain. Probably sciatica or piriformous issue rearing it's head. I generally don't pay this much attention as it has long been an issue for me and wanes and waxes throughout my training.
Thursday: Hit the treadmill thinking optimistically that a short quick treadmill run would prepare my legs for a 2+hr run on Friday. I did one mile at 8:30 pace. 3 miles at an average 7:20 pace--maxing out at the end of each mile at a 10mph for one minute. Half mile cool down at about 10 minute pace. I think the whole 4.5 miles took me about 33 minutes. (So overall slower than the 29 minute for 4 miles I typically get on the treadmill.)
I then stretched for 20 minutes. And I can't believe the amount of flexibility I have lost. Everywhere: legs, groin, hips, chest, back etc. I couldn't even hit my bench mark split. No where close and I can always do a left leg split. The right leg and middle take a tad more work but with effort I can usually get those. I didn't realize I had been so neglectful of my stretching.
Friday: Woke up feeling good. No stiffness upon waking and I always have stiffness. So I surprised when I headed out for my run that my left calf started knotting up. It isn't painful like it was earlier in the week and that is somewhat puzzling. The best I can explain it is that the muscle just isn't cooperating. I pulled up my pant's leg and was somewhat alarmed to see that the veins on my lower calf were bulging and greenish. Now I am fairly veiny and my veins do tend to bulge in my arms when I lift weights and in my lower legs after running but they are never green. I have no idea what this means but it is a little frightening looking. But maybe they always look like that. At any rate both calves still loook a little swollen and feel harder/tighter than normal.

I rubbed my leg and decided to give a bit more. I started on the uphills and I had to walk. The calf was so tight. I even yelled out in anger. About a mile and half in I turned around jogged/walked home. I felt so defeated and was so mad. 3 miles, ugh.

I called "uncle" on my calf and made an appointment with a orthopedist for Monday.

I was somewhat lost on who to call. I looked up the orthopedic surgeon who did my pelvic surgery 18 years ago.

For those that don't know-- which I don't know how you couldn't since apparently, according to some, I mention it a lot, all the time even-- I broke my pelvis in a car accident. And I know some of you are rolling your eyes but breaking your pelvis is pretty serious and 3 weeks in a hospital bed is something that kind of sticks with you. Not to mention the scars. And, I did have a severe and unusual break.

The easiest way to describe it is that my pelvis was broken in half and the left side was smushed over on top of the right side. It had to be reconstructed and at the time the surgeon's best possible prognosis was that I might always have a slight limp but I would definitely walk again. You can safely assume that running, much less running marathons was not mentioned. He did say that my gymnastic career was officially over--not that it was a very optimistic career anyway.

So lately, since I have been having pain mostly on the left side it has occured to me that maybe somehow this is related to the break.

And since the surgeon that repaired my break is the only orthopedist I have had experience with and that I leads to believe that he must be good since I have not only managed to walk without a limp but have been able to run and, I think, run well. I Googled him and called his office. I explained to the receptionist my calf problem, mentioned the past pelvic break and my current nonspecific butt/hip issue and that I was hoping to get an appointment with my old surgeon. She conferred with a nurse practitioner and decided that I needed to see a different doctor. One with a specialty in spinal issues.

I am a little frustrated as I do not think my calf issue is a spinal issue. I personally think my calf issue is a muscle deficiency of some sort and it is throwing off my stride and thus causing pain and discomfort in other areas. But I am no doctor. Also, if I am being completely honest, I am afraid to go to this doctor because I think he is going to say "Don't run." And I really don't want to pay someone money for what I don't want to hear.

And so, since I am probably going to be told not to run I plan on spending the weekend running before I get my death sentence.

Yes, I am being a tad melodramatic. Are you surprised?

Yesterday afternoon I hit the treadmill hoping to get a good run in but again my legs were not cooperating. It isn't painful, they just feel tired. But I don't feel tired. I ran 2 miles at an 8:30 pace. I couldn't even get my heart rate over 125. So I while I felt like I could run faster, further my legs said otherwise. I just don't know what is going on. So I quit the treadmill and lifted weights for 30minutes then stretched for 15 minutes.

I will say that I looked back at my posts from last winter and it seems that I had some similar issues with my training. Maybe it is just the cold and my body has a hard time adjusting as it looks like I struggled through winter training last year with calf and Achilles issues.

So now I am thinking maybe I jumped the gun with calling the orthopedist. Any thoughts, tips? Yes, I know. Rest. Blah, blah, blah. Na na na na. Any other thoughts?


  1. Completely rest your legs for one week. NO running-maybe swimming without kicking? Try that before consulting Dr. They probably just have some inflammation that needs to completely clear and you keep aggravating them so they never have a chance to get rid of it. Then if they still give you problems-go to the Dr. This is your MOTHER speaking. Lala

  2. There is tons of stuff about how to develop good plans that keep you healthy and in tip top shape. Maybe you just need something a little more formal ya know? You can hit your cross training xtra hard on your easy running weeks. Just a thought...

  3. Listen to your Mother !

  4. Listen to your Mother!


  5. I am in the same boat that you are. I am supposed to be doing a 16-miler tomorrow and it seems like the only running I will be able to accomplish is to the fridge and back. Knee issues. Won't go to the doctor until I exhaust all my "homeopathic remedies" and pain won't stop. I hate being told I can't do something. Hope that you feel better soon! Try some compression stockings. Lots of triathletes sleep in them and it's now all the rage to race in them. They keep blood from pooling in your legs and help with overall circulation, which could be a reason why you are having the cramping/stiffness issues.

  6. You know, I'm hopeful about the doctor. Maybe a set of fresh eyes will be able to see whatever we've been overlooking (besides your overtraining).

    Clearly there is something up with your calves and though the orthopaedist is a bone dr, he/she might have some kind of advice. The guy I saw at Resurgens is totally responsible for me being able to finish the Disney race last year. He was awesome.

  7. Lala--One week? Come on. This coming from a woman who when she had a back injury she wore her electro shock therapy to aerobics. Not to mention the celebrax so you can run.
    Wes I have tried a formal plan and I get very frustrated that I can follow it. My porblem is that I have a hard time letting go a missed workout.
    Dani- Ugh, sorry about your knee! And thanks for reminding me about the compression socks. That did occur to me and then like everything else quickly slipped out of my mind.
    Steph I am seeing a dr at Resurgeons. So that makes me feel better. I wasn't really sure who called for muscle stuff. Not that I know for sure it is muscle but I suppose at least this is a starting place and he can refer me elsewhere.

  8. I agree with the idea of the craziness of a WHOLE week off exercise- I am finishing up day 6 of NOTHING, not even swimming. And day 15 of no running...ugh, it's been very, very hard. Battling with the stomach flu all week helped keep me 'occupied', but the sad thing is, my hip isn't feeling that much better :(

    I have a doc appoint (sports med) on Monday as well, here's to hoping we both get good news!!