Last Sunday I ran the Heels & Hills Half Marathon. It was a really fun race on a beautiful course and I was happy with my performance, although not a PR, still pretty good considering I ran it on about 4 hours sleep. I felt fine after the race, but I must have done something to cause a pulled muscle.
Monday morning I skipped my lower body weight work out to allow my legs to recover, as I usually do after a Sunday race. I went to work as normal wearing my favorite Target wedge sandals that I wear almost every day.
Something weird started to happen by the very end of the work day. After walking around normally all day, I stood up from my desk chair and my left ankle slid off the side of my shoe. Now, I am clumsy. REALLY clumsy. So, at first I didn’t think anything of it. But then I started walking and every 4th or 5th step my ankle would collapse off the side of the wedge. It was kind of like I was trying to walk in heels with a foot that was asleep, except my foot wasn’t asleep. The more I walked, the worse it got. I had to take my shoes off and limp to my car at the end of the work day. The strangest part was there no pain, I just couldn’t support my ankle in those shoes.
Tuesday morning, I put on those same shoes and did a test walk around the house in the morning and everything seemed to be fine. Maybe I should have worn different shoes, but I was walking normally (and fashion before function, right)? Well, by noon on Tuesday I was having the same problem, except this time, by the end of the day I could feel a pulled muscle on the side of my left leg. I brought a pair of tennis shoes to work as back up and wore those for the remainder of the day. I skipped my regular Tuesday afternoon run and decided right then that this would be my rest and recovery week. I would still do my weight workouts on Wednesday and Friday (I already skipped Monday’s weights, remember). I would still do my daily 2 minute plank and walk (repeat: walk) my daily mile to keep my new year’s resolution of running or walking at least one mile every day in 2012. No running. This week I had to rest. As hard as it is for me, I knew staying off of it was the right thing to do. I have made the mistake of running through injuries before and it only extends the length of time and the severity of the injury.
It was strange for me not to work out all week. In the scheme of a week, two one hour long weight workouts on Wednesday and Friday barely felt like I did anything. I had these images in my head of the scale blowing up because I didn’t run for a week. I ate the same as I always do, even though I did wonder if I should cut my calories because of the reduced cardio, but I didn’t end up cutting any calories. Low-and-behold my weight stayed exactly the same all week.
By Saturday I couldn’t feel any more pain. I almost couldn’t believe it was healing so quickly. Staying off it really paid off. I decided to continue to let it rest over the week-end just to be sure, and try to run again on Monday. I am happy to report that this Monday morning on the tready before my weight workout, I felt great! No pain what-so-ever. I pushed myself to go faster and harder. Instead of suffering from the hard work-out, I could only feel elation that I could run again so soon. Sometimes it takes something being taken away from you to make you realize how much you appreciate it.
The thing about taking time off is that if it wasn’t for an injury (or sickness or other uncontrollable circumstance), I probably would never allow myself to do it for a whole week. I just finished up the Body for Life 12 week program, so the timing was perfect. Our bodies need to take a break for more than a day occasionally, probably several times a year. So this morning I am thankful for the injury, as it gave me a needed break that I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. I feel like now after a week off, I can come back stronger, faster and more motivated than ever.