At the end of my post last week I was definitely feeling pretty glum. I’d love to tell you that I got over myself and bounced back into the new week, but this past week was one of two parts – heavily weighted to the part where I overreact, throw my toys out the pram and imagine I’ll never run again! Melodramatic? Moi? 😂. I think the main issue for me is that my workload right now is rather hefty and without running to keep me feeling mentally balanced, I was struggling to keep things in perspective. It’s a miracle I survived the week!
Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – home yoga
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – recovery run + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun pacing
Sunday – 8 miles
For most of the week I was really struggling with tight, sore calves after my run at the weekend. I’m not often bothered with tight calves, and this was awful. The best comparison I have is that my calves felt like they had run a marathon but not invited my quads along to the party since it was only my calves that were bothering me. It was actually uncomfortable getting up to walk around and I couldn’t understand why this had happened. In hindsight there were probably a few things going on, including the time I had to take off becaseus of having that cough again, plus the fact that I basically ran the bulk of a half marathon distance on road whilst wearing a pair of fairly solid trail shoes. Not a decision I’ll make again! I got some relief from my Monday night yoga class, but there just weren’t enough postures which stretched my calves out enough to feel like it was making a big difference. On the plus side, after feeling quite “chesty” over the weekend and being worried about a relapse of the cough, my magic formula of Olbas oil in my bath, vaporub and a hot water bottle on my chest and a number of strategic lozenges had done the trick and I was feeling much better. Fingers crossed that’s me finally done with the winter cough.
The calf issue meant my Tuesday morning run was out (Sensible Head) so instead I made sure to do some yoga when I got home from work that evening. I was supposed to have a sports massage and was really looking forward to having my calves worked on, but unfortunately the appointment had to be postponed as my massage therapist was unwell. Disappointing, but no point in getting upset about it as I knew she was really ill and I certainly couldn’t expect her to be working. As an alternative, I got Steve to help me work though some exercises to try and figure out what was going on and begin to relieve the tension that had clearly built up in my calves.
I had hoped for more home yoga on Wednesday before heading to the final orchestra rehearsal of the season, but I ended up working later to help a pupil with some coursework so there was no time. To be honest, I really wasn’t feeling like heading out again but made myself go since I had missed the extra rehearsal the previous Sunday thanks to paying a visit to the Apple Store with my poorly MacBook. With a concert at the end of the week, I knew I had to make the effort and I always enjoy orchestra when I’m there, even if I didn’t feel like it beforehand.
Since I was feeling an improvement in my calves, I decided to try a recovery run on Thursday morning. Sometimes the answer really is to “run it out” but on this occasion it was maybe a bit too soon. My calves were like tender lumps of lead with every step and were showing no sign of loosening off. I ran (slowly) for 15 minutes, had a bit of a stretch then ran home as 30 minutes seemed a reasonable time to see if running made any difference. It did not initially, although as the day wore on things did begin to feel a little better and by the time I had worked through the Ashtanga sequence in class that evening, I was feeling a bit better (yes, Thursday morning was the point when I totally overreacted, declared that I was “broken” and clearly would never be able to run again since I shouldn’t still be struggling with an issue on Thursday after a Saturday run. Good thing Steve is patient!). I did, however, notice that my balance was terrible on my left leg and that is usually an indication of something being not quite right. Steve made some adjustments to the exercises he had given me to try and improve that.
I then headed down to the studio after work on Friday so I could do some really targeted work. By this point, my calves felt ok – not perfect, but like I could actually do my pacing stint at parkrun as I had been starting to wonder if I would have to pull out – but my knee had felt a bit “funny” and I knew that was caused by the way either my hip or ankle was moving and that with some mobility exercises it could be corrected quite quickly.
Post-session, I had a little job to do:
That’s right, my MacBook is back! I had someone replace the part that Apple suggested might be at fault and it came back with an operating system installed (I had been unable to get it to do that) which was a positive sign, but it was the old OS it shipped with so I needed to do a bit of upgrading. So far so good as I finalised and published this post on it. Yay!
I decided not to run a parkrun sandwich on Saturday, but to ease myself back in gently with my parkrun pacing role (28 minutes) and see how that felt. I knew that someone I knew a little from orchestra a few years ago was going to be passing through town and coming to parkun to try and lower her PB a bit closer to 28 minutes so I was keen to help her as much as I could. She did drop back a little in the second half of the run, but I was so pleased that she did get a new PB – even if she was pretty tired out from it! And we made sure to get a picture since it was our mutual love of Lucy Locket Loves leggings that connected us in the first place. (Full disclosure: I’m a LLL ambassador so if you purchase through my affiliate link then I get a teeny reward). Actually, before parkrun even started my leggings were attracting attention as a lovely lady said to me that she has been meaning to tell me that I have a great range of leggings. She particularly likes the gin ones!
As ever, I really enjoyed pacing. I know some runners got a new PB thanks to following me and I enjoy the chance to just settle into a comfortable pace and chat with others. Really happy with my time too. I timed it at 27:59.9 which rounds up to 28 minutes but the official time came through as 28:01 😏. Still, I know I did it! More importantly, I was able to actually run and although there was a little tightness in my calves, it was just the same when I finished as it was before so it didn’t make things any worse. What a difference from Thursday!
The remainder of Saturday was super busy as we had our usual post-parkrun breakfast with Steve’s brother, then I had an appointment at the hairdresser before heading straight to an orchestra rehearsal in the concert hall. Steve picked me up from there to whisk me home, feed me, then get me back down the road suitably attired for the paying public. Somehow I contrived to overlook taking a photo, perhaps because my sister (my usual concert photographer) wasn’t there, but the concert went well which I was pleased with given the programme had some pretty tricky corners and I had missed some rehearsals. Yes, I am still very much of the Eric Morecambe school of instrument playing (all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order) but I felt I played as well as I could and didn’t commit any dreadful clangers. Happy days!
We both made sure to get a bit of a lie-in on Sunday morning before heading out for a run. Apparently Steve was “tired from the concert” so didn’t want to overdo it. Yes Steve, it’s really tiring sitting in the audience having a doze and eating an ice cream at the interval. I feel your pain. Much easier rehearsing for 3 hours then playing through a full concert programme 🙄.
Anyway, Steve suggested I head out on a 10k route that could be extended to 8 miles if I felt good. I interpreted this as “run 8 miles” (of course) so headed out, in the strong winds delivered by Storm Freya (that naming thing AGAIN!), to run a favourite 8 mile loop. Some of it was definitely “character building” thanks to the wind, but I felt good and actually my calves felt better after the run than before so I think I’ve reached the stage where I really can run it out. Hopefully in the week ahead I can get myself properly back on track. Just 8 weeks to go until marathon day…!
How do you cope when you can’t run?
Have you ever learned to play an instrument?