Life / Workouts

Are We To Push Through Using Pure Grit? Or Should We Use Our Brains Too?

Last night, while lying in bed, I picked up my April issue of Women’s Health and read an article about determination and grit. (you can read it here) I found it to be a very interesting article for many reasons. It really hit home for me in a way that I didn’t think I could admit, but here goes nothing.

You may have noticed my lack in posts on my running in the past week or so, and there is a reason for it.

I have an injury.

The last thing I wanted to happen to me, especially now that I’m trying to train for my first half-marathon….a half-marathon that I’ve already paid to enter…

Long story short, about 8 summers ago, I fell of Chelsea during a summer ride.  I don’t remember if it was her foot, or as a result of banging on a jump pole, but I remember injuring my calf after that fall.  The m. soleus muscle on my left calf swelled up immediately after that fall, and the bump never really seemed to go away.

Over the years, I never experienced any pains or issues with that bump. But a few weeks ago, I really noticed it start to bother me mostly after my speed runs.  It wasn’t an unbearable pain so I just kept pushing through.

This now brings me to 2 Saturdays ago.

I’m not sure what happened, but I woke up really early with the most intense pain shooting up the back of my left calf. It hurt so bad that I woke Chris up begging him to rub it because I just couldn’t move!  I ended up riding Chelsea that morning and the leg felt ok, but by the afternoon, I had developed a bit of a limp.  I had no clue what was going on!

The next Sunday, I woke up with that muscle on the back of my calf still hurting, but I just shrugged it off as I went to the farm to do my weekly chores.  I hobbled around while working, but thought nothing of it. (first mistake) According to my half-marathon training schedule, I had to get a 5M run in before the weekend was up.  The weather was great, so I went straight home from the farm, threw on my running clothes and headed out the door. (second mistake)

The first 4-5K of my run actually felt amazing.  The running was helping to stretch out that back muscle and I wasn’t really feeling the pain on the front m. soleus either.  I then seemed to hit a wall in my run.  I found myself running into the wind and it just so happened to start snowing like mad at the same time.  I don’t know what happened to me, but I found myself panicking a bit grasping for breath. (I hadn’t done a run this long outdoors since last May) For almost 1km I found myself literally walking for a minute every 3-4 minutes.  Until I finally turned a corner out of the wind. I pushed through that wall and I suddenly felt great again! I continued on at my nice slow pace and then I felt something. A sharp pain. I’m not sure if it was a tear or just a very bad pull, but that pain was right near my Achilles.  After looking at some images, I don’t think I damaged my Achilles.  Take a look below – what pulled was that muscle that runs down right near the ankle (red in the image).

When I felt it happen, the limp came right away. I pulled up for a second and attempted to stretch out my leg, but it didn’t really seem to do anything.  I then proceeded to walk, but I found walking hurt more than running at that point, so I continued on my run (I had another 1-2km to go)–  third mistake.

I had mapped my run to finish at the closest corner store to my house where I popped in quickly for a Gatorade and then proceeded to walk home.  My walk home wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as it stretched out my leg a bit more.  As soon as I got in the door, I did my usual stretches and iced the front and back of my calf.. so essentially my entire left calf.

We ended up going out later that afternoon for a tasting for our at home wedding reception and boy did I have a limp!  I decided right then and there that I would take the week off running.

My thoughts throughout the week went from “what did I do to myself” to “what did I get myself into” to “how am I going to run this half?” to “did I just throw my $60 fee down the drain” to “am I really going to have to quit?”

And that is where the Women’s Health article comes in.  I believe that I posses a lot of grit when it comes to setting goals and achieving those goals. I proved that to myself last year when I went from not running at all, to completing a 10K race in only 4 short months.  Being a week behind in my half-marathon training is it possible for me to just keep pushing on and give it a go at the end of May?

I am deathly terrified of injuring myself worse, but I don’t want to quit.  You have no idea how hard it was for me to watch people running outdoors in the warmer weather and sunshine over the past week. My heart wants to get out there and do it, but I’m not sure if my leg is in it 100%.  Should I just let my grit come through and push through the pain to accomplish my goal?  Or, is this a point where I should stop, think and maybe use my brain instead and cancel this goal for the time being?  Do I try to beg and plead to get my $ back from my early entry fee? Do I just forget it and say buh-bye to the $?  I am so torn what to do and just don’t want to feel like a failure for not completing what I set out to do.

Anyone been through something like this before?

I should also add, that m. soleus muscle was even sore to the touch over the past week, but I woke up this am to zero pain when I press on it.  I’m thinking of trying a light run tomorrow night to see how I’m feeling.

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4 thoughts on “Are We To Push Through Using Pure Grit? Or Should We Use Our Brains Too?

  1. oooh ive never had that kind of pain.
    my advice would be to rest it and ice it. and if it still continues to hurt after a week, maybe get it checked out.

    in regards you half marathon…..u know…there will be other runs and other half marathons. and dont think of it as $60 down the drain…think of it as $60 that is going to a very good cause.

    and i know that this is all easier said than done and i usually dont follow my own advice. but rest! dont injure urself more. use the bike or elliptical for cardio. just try to restrain from running.

    hey, i will even run a half with u in the fall time, if you decide to forgo this one.

    keep us updated on your progress and i am happy that you finally blogged about this!

    • thanks for the comment/advice Aneta. you have no idea how hard it was to blog/admit this. part of me feels a bit of a failure even though I know it’s not my fault. I’m definitely going to keep close watch on the pain. I only plan to try a run tomorrow if I’m pain free while walking. If it hurts to run, I’ll stop right away. Worst case scenario, I’ll axe this half in may and just rest up for that 5K in May. There will always be more races. 🙂

  2. Injuries seem to happen at the worst times. I got tennis elbow a week before the New York State tennis championship. I’ve always wondered if I would have done better if my arm wasn’t basically dead.

    I guess it really shows who is control. Your body holds most of the power it seems.

  3. I think the most important thing is your health and not making your injury worse. It sucks, I know! (I think my 5k dreams for this summer are also ruined thanks to the concussion!) Just do what you can, when you can, but don’t force anything…And I think you have nothing to lose by at least asking for your money back if you decide not to do the half-marathon..nothing to lose. I hope you feel better though!!

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