Sunday, May 5, 2013


Workout: 16 miles, 10:25 average, Connects

Today's good news: I ran 16 miles, the longest run the Hansons have me do. That means it can only get easier from here, right?! Sure.

However, that leads me to today's bad news: my right calf muscle started feeling a bit janky about 11 miles in, and after deciding to run through it, it's not feeling too hot right now. In fact, I'm rocking a pretty ridiculous wobble. This is worrisome.

While I let that soak in, let's go back to the good things. The weather was perfect today. We got a lot of snow yesterday, but it was really hot today (the thermometer's reading 62 in the sun right now!) so the roads were clear. In fact, large stretches of the Coastal Trail are free of snow! This unexpected and amazing development gave me the extra energy I needed at the beginning of the run when I was having a hard time dealing with the fact that I was going to be running for almost 3 hours. I've been running in the same places day after day, so it was awesome to change it up a bit. Plus, running on a secluded trail is way better than running with cars.

I didn't take any pictures, but here are some from CT runs past:

To me, this looks like a safari.

 No snow anymore!

Another good thing: fueling. I decided to be lame and stick to what worked during my fifteen-miler a few weeks ago: sports beans and Honey Stinger gels. I brought two gels instead of one this time, and I think it made a difference. I felt pretty great during my 15-miler, but was starving when I finished. This time I wasn't nearly as hungry.

Okay fine, back to the bad thing. I was chugging along when, about 11 miles in, my calf started hurting. I was low on water so had been stingy about drinking, so I figured it was just a cramp. I don't know that I've ever had muscle pains while running, so I had nothing to compare it to. I refilled my water bottle at my car and kept going. It didn't even occur to me that it could be anything but a cramp.

As I continued, the pain didn't go away, and soon it was accompanied by a pain on the front of my shin, directly opposite the calf pain. I stopped a few times to see if I could stretch it, which didn't really do anything, and just kept going. My reasoning was that it didn't hurt that badly and I've had issues with shin pain in the past that turned out to be nothing. Also, I really didn't want to bail partway through a run, especially my first (of three) 16-miler.

The pain seemed to ease up, and by the end I thought it had gone away. But then I got out of my car to buy my post-LR treat (Subway sandwich, duh) and I realized it was definitely not gone. In fact, it had stiffened quite a bit. Ouch.

The pain is on the top of my calf, just below the knee (on the back of the leg). As I mentioned, it felt more like a cramp than anything else, but now it's just sore and I can't walk normally. There's a band of muscle that runs from the top of my calf and around the inside of the leg to the front of the shin that's quite sore/tight. I've been walking on it every once in a while so it doesn't totally seize up, but I wonder if I shouldn't be staying off it as much as possible. Other than that, I'm icing it. I read somewhere that you shouldn't stretch a muscle if it's strained (which this very well may be) and am generally ambivalent towards stretching, so I'm not doing any of that. Also, I'm unfairly blaming this on the fact that I didn't wear compression socks for the second time this entire training cycle (the first time was last Thursday and I didn't feel any different).

It goes without saying that I won't run until I'm pain-free. This pains me (hardeehar), as I "caught up" with my training plan (which I started two weeks early) so can't just take another week off and pick up where I left off. This will require some flexibility on my part, which I'm, uh, not really great with when it comes to running (everything else? Sure. Not running).

So that's where I'm at.


It's Sunday and I just ran my highest mileage week ever, so let's do a quick recap and finish this post on a positive note:

Monday: 5 miles, easy
Tuesday: 9 miles with 6 x 1 miles (9:34 with 400m rest)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday10 miles with 8 tempo (9:44)
Friday: 5 miles, easy
Saturday: 8 miles easy
Sunday: 16 miles, easy-ish

Total: 53 miles

Huzzah! I would be screaming about how great this week was (albeit HARD), but, you know, it doesn't seem to have ended so well. Let's hope this turns out to be just a blip in an otherwise awesome training cycle, shall we?

Question: anyone ever experience pain like this? Any advice?


  1. 1. DON'T PANIC.

    2. Go back and read #1 again. :)

    3. If it felt like a cramp...and looked like a may have been a cramp. A bad cramp CAN leave you feeling sore afterward. (Calf cramps definitely leave me sore.)

    4. I'm gonna be radical here and tell you that if it felt like a cramp, and it feels stiff now, go ahead and try some heat on it. (gasp!) If it genuinely was a weirdly placed cramp, and it's now sore, heat may actually help it continue to relax.

    5. I'd try stretching, but I don't want to mess with your non-stretching mojo. ;-)

    6. Rest tomorrow and see how it feels on Tuesday morning.

    7. Did I mention you shouldn't panic? ;-)

  2. Ha, yeah don't panic. I would also try foam rolling, if you have one. It will get out any knots if it was a cramp and just general release the muscles, without the pulling/tugging of stretching. You should also roll out your hammies really well because if it's the top of your calf near your knee, that can also be a hamstring thing. On another note - the muscle that runs from the back of your knee to the inside of your shin is always incredibly sore and tight on me. No idea why. Zach always rubs it out for me. Incredibly painful, but also incredibly helpful.

    Either way, a few rest days won't hurt all the training you've done - in FACT, the Hansons, the brilliant brothers that they are, even has that whole section on if you took "X" number of days off, here is how you adjust.

    But besides that, AWESOME JOB THIS WEEK!!! 53 miles - that's huge!!! I'm HOPING to break 50 this week - finger's crossed everything goes well.

    PS - your photo definitely looks like a safari.

    1. Good look with your high mileage! I don't actually have a foam roller, but I might try my foam roller standby (a Nalgene). Now if I could just locate someone to give me massages on command...

  3. Shit balls! Don't be hurt Jean-o! I agree, don't panic just yet. Foam roll, stretch, what you have to do. My fingers are crossed for you. I swear by compression socks, but I'm not sure how much they work or if it's just the advertising tricking my mind into thinking they do.

    1. Right, I was excited to ditch the compression socks because I wanted to get rid of my ridiculous tan... I'm convinced Pro Compression hired someone to Tanya Harding me so I'd buy six million more pairs with the discount code TANYAHARDING (that's my attempt to make fun of the fact that there's five trillion 40% off discount codes out there). Whatever happened, I'm never not wearing them again. Good job, Pro Compression!

    2. Ha! I will NOT wear ProCompression exactly for this purpose. I like Point6 and even SmartWool compression socks because they are made from merino wool and are much better quality than synthetic Pro.

  4. It really does sound like a cramp to me. I get them from time to time in my calves. Pain! Ouch! Do you have compression socks? Maybe a warm epson salt bath and a bit of Ben Gay will help, too. KEEP US UPDATED - We are pulling for you to finish out this training plan like a champ, you can do it.

    1. I really hope it's only a cramp! I think that's what it felt like while I was running, but I've never gotten cramps in my legs so I'm not sure whether that's what it was. It's still pretty sore, but I've got only a slight limp now. Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow! I'm thinking I'll have to cool it with the running until Thursday. I'm so bummed, I WANT to finish the training plan like a champ!

  5. I've been pondering this location all day: Maybe the popliteus muscle?

    1. Hmmm... I'm looking at google images and it seems like it could be that, except that the pain wraps around the inside of the knee and continues to the front of the leg. The pain DOES seem to have diminished, however (your recommendation to apply heat seemed to help! You'll be happy to hear that I even grudgingly stretched it a bit). I just don't understand how a simple cramp could continue to hurt for so long!

    2. Also, Holly, you always know exactly what to say to people when they're down ;). Thanks.

    3. A cramp can cause discomfort for so long because it spasms the muscle tight, and holds it there - almost like an extended weight-training hold. It's sorta like you held a squat position for 5 minutes. Of course your legs would be sore the next day! So this weird muscle that doesn't usually get any special/specific exercise suddenly tenses up, crazy fast and really hard. Even once the cramp releases, the muscle can stay sore for a few days, recovering from its "workout". Want to do the other side, just to keep things even? ;-)