Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 26 – Fingers Crossed

Suddenly, out of the blue, my ‘good’ calf started tightening up today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it isn’t serious enough to derail my plans for my first triathlon next month.

Click here to read other journal entries and articles by Andrew Read, and look for his new journal every Monday as he trains for Ironman Melbourne.

Journal Entry 26 – Fingers Crossed

This week has finished with a fingers crossed kind of moment.

While it’s been another short week due to travel for work, I’ve followed the same plan I did for last week where I had the same constraints. You’d think having done it once with no problems doing the exact same week again wouldn’t pose a threat to my body.

Sadly, that may not be the case.

On my short week plan I do my usual Sunday ride on Thursday when I’ve got some free time. I follow that on Friday with my long run and an easy swim later in the day. Last week that all went off without a hitch. But today…

Today I was about ten minutes away from home on the first loop of what was supposed to be a ninety-minute run when I felt my “good” calf start to tighten up. I say “good” because I’ve only torn this one twice instead of the three times I did on the other one.

With my fear of re-injury still quite present when things start to tighten, I do tend to panic a bit. I have to say that the thought of weeks off running at this point doesn’t thrill me as my first ever triathlon – a half ironman – is in December and now only weeks away. My longest run to this point is only 14km – a mere two thirds of what I need to run for that event.

At this stage it’s been massaged today during my regular Friday rub down and my therapist has confirmed it’s tight but can’t tell if it’s torn. Even after a massage and a swim it’s still a bit tight. So it’s almost a matter of waiting to see what happens tomorrow morning when I wake up.

The trip away is almost good timing because it will force me to stay off it for a few days, although the plane trip may be problematic. I’ve been warned by my masseur and physiotherpist to make sure to wear my compression socks on the plane and do plenty of mobility work. I’m sure I’ll provide much hilarity for the other passengers when they see me up every hour or so to stretch and do joint rotations and flush some blood through it.

Like the other times, this came out of the blue. I ran well last week and this week had a really good breakthrough run on Thursday after a long ride. Part of me feels like the blame lies squarely with running three days in a row, even though I did it last week and had no such problems. Another part feels that with the fatigue of not having any days off work now for two weeks has also been to blame. Swimming today was an absolute mission of discipline, requiring an hour nap in my car before I could brave the pool. Even then it was a struggle – an odd sensation because I usually love every minute of swimming.

Whatever the cause is, I have already booked in for treatment when I return. With an event on the horizon and the fear of the Ironman marathon always in the back of my mind, I can’t really afford to take much time off. It’s funny how a day or two can change things. For weeks I’ve been feeling great with no problems from training. Not even a slight soreness in my calves. Today something was unhappy and it feels like I’m right back where I was months ago.

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