Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coddling the Calf

March 24 - Last weekend I ran a half marathon that wasn't planned. I did it because I've been feeling amazing. I did it because I want to maintain my fitness level for the next one that is on my schedule - the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon. I did it because it was insanely fun to sign up at the last minute, and KNOW that I COULD do it.  

Feeling great at mile 2

The week prior my left calf muscles were a bit tight and spasming a little, so I took all the typical precautionary measures: ice, KT Tape, the stick, and foam rolling.

After the race I sported my compression shorts, compression socks, and decided to take a little rest. My legs were tired, but overall I was feeling pretty good. I was thinking I can do half marathons all the time!

On Monday, my calf was feeling very, very cranky = tight and tender. Uh oh. So I continued all of the above, took some ibuprofen and went to see the chiropractor.

Mr. Chiropractor adjusted my lower back, my hips, my ankle and my foot. Then he told me You have very little arch in that foot. WHHATT?  He explained that my calf muscles were working extra hard because of the lack of support in my foot. So I ordered myself a pair of made-just-for-me orthotics to go with my new pair of Nikes.

I skipped my scheduled run on Tuesday because the calf was still feeling ouchy. I continued to coddle the calf, even working it out using my wobble board; it's great for stretching and strengthening.

On Thursday it was feeling a lot better so I did a short trail run before another visit to Mr. Chiropractor. In addition to a full adjustment, I was told to get a sports massage.

So this morning before my appointment I went for a four mile run. I took the dog with me hoping he would prevent me from going too fast. My calf was still feeling a little stiff and I even had to stop to stretch it, but by the end it had loosened up considerably. Luckily my massage therapist is also a runner. She worked all the tight muscles in my legs, used hot rocks on my calves, and stretched out my quads and hips. She also suggested that I use heat before stretching and rolling my tense calf muscles with a tennis ball.

I am hoping to pick up the made-just-for-me orthotics next week and then put an end to this tight calf business. I am looking forward to another season of good running, fun experiences, and another pain-free half marathon!

How do you deal with a nagging pain/injury?
Do you think custom orthotics work?