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Once again, I have not responded to pain during a workout and have paid the price of injury. My training had been going well after having been sick last month, and I was nearing the end of my tempo run over a hilly course. I felt a twinge of pain below my right calf at the beginning of the last big hill, but I kept going. The pain persisted as I climbed the hill, but I wanted to make it to the top, so I kept on pushing, although at a slower pace. But this wasn’t the worst thing – I kept going on the flat, thinking the pain would subside. It didn’t, but I kept going, wanting to complete the tempo time. I walked the normal jog/walk 1 mile warm down, but the damage was done. My leg was sore for the next 3 days.
It felt better on the 4th day, so I played 9 holes of golf, walking, without any pain. I rested 2 more days, and on the 7th day, I decided to go for an easy walk/run. I walked for the first mile, and then started to run slowly up a long, steep hill. I felt a twinge of pain right below my right calf and slowed to a walk. The pain eased and the hill flattened into a shelf which I walked as well. Then the next section of the hill ascended even more sharply, and about halfway up this final part of the climb, the pain returned, so I walked the rest of it. I jogged on the next section which was flat, and I was relatively pain free. The rest of the run was downhill, but I walked most of it.
I made a fruit and protein smoothie right away and then elevated my legs. I felt better about an hour later, so I decided to do my normal post-workout stretching. I was fine doing the hamstring and quad high kicks, forward and back on both legs, and also with the bent-knee stretches on my left leg, but after a few bent-knee stretches on my right leg, I felt a severe cramp in my right calf, totally unexpected, because this was above where the pain has manifested itself. I iced the calf area, with my leg elevated, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The pain did abate, but I had to hobble around for the rest of the day and evening.
I went to sleep early and slept late, trying to give my body and the protein I had eaten a chance to repair the damaged tissue.
This morning the pain was about 90 percent gone, but I continued the 20 minute on, 20 minute off icing. I also focused on eating protein. With any luck I will be able to resume walking by the end of the week and start jogging on the flat (no hills!) the following week. When I do that, if I experience any pain at all, I will stop immediately and walk back home, or call for a ride back, if necessary. I need more time to heal as I age. Maybe I will learn, one of these days.
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