Let this be a lesson to me: Run to the pain, then stop.
A couple of months ago, I was proud that I managed to run a full mile without having to stop for oxygen. As I’ve increased my distances, I’ve tried to remind myself not to push it, not to try to get a body that’s been relatively idle to go too far. But I’ve also discovered that feeling runners get when they “find their pace”. Not wanting to stop. Having the desire and energy to run through a mileage goal. Knowing the difference between pain and injury. Turns out, I may not know that last part so well.
Last Monday, at about the 4-mile mark of a run in Brookfield (the 4-mile mark? I can go further than 4 miles?), I started to feel tightness in my right calf. I stopped, stretched it out, and started running again. And it felt fine. But the pain returned, and I shut it down. I walked for about 3/4 of a mile, but I got impatient and bored, and ran the last mile or so home. I mean, come on. Walking takes a lot longer than running, I think because it’s slower. And despite the discomfort, I pushed. Way too hard.
It’s been a week and a half now. I just got back from a trial run, and a 1/4 of a mile in I knew I wasn’t ready. Not only did I hurt myself more that I thought, but I overestimated my recovery time. Maybe what those sobbing retiring athletes say is true: the older we get, the more time that takes. The more patience, the more preparation, the more attention to the physiological “signs” our bodies are sending. Especially for someone like me who is brand new to this type of strenuous activity.
So the wait will continue. More stretching is a given; maybe more heat/ice treatment is in order as well. I’ll wait a few more days and see how it goes. I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, I’ve started to new blog to track my quest to run every street in Brookfield,IL. Just check out runningbrookfield.wordpress.com for updates. It’d be cool to get others to start running their towns too. Hopefully, I’ll be adding new streets soon.