Friday, October 24, 2014

Here goes nothing..

So, like a good girl, I tapered for Horror Hill.

I nixed a hilly road 10 miler last Saturday in favour of a 10 kilometer trail run.

Sunday was an easy-pace 6km trail run which was originally going to be 10k.

I kept the mileage down (ok, 46km instead of 56km for the week), and for once even started getting some sleep.

Running rocks!

I ran easy on Monday evening - just a half-hour around my neighbourhood. I did have to run on some uneven grass a couple of times to avoid inconsiderate people who feel the sidewalk is their sacred domain, not to be yielded to some dorky runner, but it seemed like no big deal.

I headed out Tuesday evening in misting rain for my last hard run before the race: 6.5km of tempo. I took off a little more quickly than I intended up our street, feeling a bit of a chill - it's definitely not July anymore. There was a bit of a twinge from my left lower leg, but it diminished rapidly.

All went fine as I climbed to my turn-around point, though my throat felt a little phlegmy. "Great - just what I need!" I though, turning on the jets a bit at the top of the last uphill so I could make the light to cross the street. "A damn cold isn't going to help at all.."

You see, I was actually entertaining the idea of a PR at Horror Hill this year. I've been running really well since mid-summer, and while I've only done a single run of 20+km / 2+ hours since the Waterloo Marathon, I know that my endurance is in pretty good shape from a few years of long distance stuff (not to mention the marathon and Around the Bay in the spring).

I cruised through the mostly-downhill return route back to the house, thinking about what kind of swim I'd put in at the pool after the run.



As I came to a slight uphill less than a kilometer from home, the back of my left calf SCREAMED at me! It felt like the achilles tendon above my ankle was caught in a bear trap, and it was all I could do to keep running up to the top of the small climb.

When I got there, though, and darted back across the road (now on flat ground into a downhill) it felt just fine.


So I kept running. Onto my street, down the slope and around the bend, then another slight uphill to the end of my driveway.

More pain.


I did my usual post-run walk and dynamic stretches, noticing that walking "grapevine" style or stepping backward down the slope to my house (both of which stretch the soleus) was extremely painful. Walking forwards downhill or on a flat surface was just fine, but even tottering up the mild rise of my driveway was unpleasant.

Into the house and up the stairs, I'd have to put my whole foot on each step in order to walk up pain-free. After changing for the pool, stepping down a stair with my right foot would make the trailing left leg hurt, but I noted that I could avoid any pain by making sure I lifted my heel.


The swim was fine - the sore calf actually felt better afterwards than it did before, despite twinging nastily while doing some breast stroke (frog kicking) for a cool-down. I gave the whole back of my left lower leg a good rub-down with some witch hazel, then some arnica cream, and slapped on a compression sock.

Wednesday I had planned as a rest day anyway, so I foam rolled as usual in the morning before work. I spent more time than my boss would like to know about on teh interwebz looking for information about the issue, coming to the conclusion that I'd probably strained my soleus. No pain doing anything with a straight leg, so probably not an achilles tendon issue after all - it only hurts when I do bent-leg stuff. I actually even went so far as to pick up some kinesiology tape and slap on a hybrid achilles/calf strain application.


I also read a lot of stuff about how this sort of thing doesn't really respond well to rest, but that people have had success treating similar problems with eccentric heel drops and knee to wall touches.

I got to work. 20 knee to wall touches every time I used the bathroom at the office. Sets of 15 heel drops every time I was near a step.

Things began to feel better. I was able to do my usual Thursday pre-race yoga (2 sun salutations + 2 moon salutations) without much pain, and got in more heel drops. I was walking pain free even up mild slopes, and only feeling a twinge walking down stairs. I can walk up stairs with my heel over fresh air, and it doesn't hurt. Hitting the pool Thursday evening, I had no pain at all even when breast stroking.

The tape job began to come off before I even got in the water, though.

I had a really good stretch out in the hot tub afterwards, peeling off the last of the adhering tape, then went for a walk 'round the block with Tanker once I got home. More rubbing with with hazel and arnica, and more compression sockery.

As I sit and write this.
Yes, I know I'm a complete knob.

So that brings us to today. It's definitely not perfect, but about the same as yesterday only un-taped. There is no visible or palpable swelling, bruising or lumpiness to indicate a rupture. It hurts like a bitch when I roll it out with an oversized tennis ball (better for targeting the soleus than a cylindrical roller), but most of the time it feels pretty much ok. I haven't tried running since it happened.

Packet pickup is this evening. The race is tomorrow at 9am.

The biggest thing I have to consider is that I can't mess myself up any further. I have another race coming up in mid-November that means the world to me, and even if I can't pull off the Chocolate Double (the 10k at 7:30am PLUS the 5k at 9:30am) I must be able to run the 5k that day.

I really only have two options:

1) Pull a DNS and sleep in. 
2) Go see how far I can make it. 

For those of you who are regular readers, I'm pretty sure you know there's really only one option.

How bad could it be?

So this may end up being less than a 6 minute race instead of a 6 hour race, but I have to give it a whack. After all, I raced Frosty Trail all the way back in January on a broken toe and made it the full 3 hours. Even if I can't run much, it actually looks like it's going to be a pretty nice day. Why not go for a walk in the woods among friends?

Wish me luck - I'm off to do some wall touches.

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