On Sunday May 8th, I woke up with a pain in my lower abdomen that my chiropractor was eventually able to diagnose as a psoas muscle issue. This damn injury caused me to ditch my marathon plans a month ago and deal with the issue.
I visited my chiropractor regularly (generally 2 or 3 times per week) and he adjusted me and did things that didn't seem like they would have a direct impact on the dull pain. But my years of first-hand experience with injuries told me I had to be patient, not that I didn't need periodic assurances from my chiropractor that this thing would eventually go way. As seasoned as I am with injuries, I still needed to hear that to stay positive.
For 2 months I hadn't been able to run at full speed or for too long of a distance. But the good thing was that I could still run, albeit some days with more discomfort, other days with not-so-bad discomfort. Felt good to just get out there and stay consistent.
After my bone-headed 6.5 mile run in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers on July 2nd, even though my calves were thrashed and sore, I felt some hope in that my turnover started picking up. I guess concentrating on running with zero cushioning took my mind off my injury. A few days later, on a whim I signed up for a 5K race, my first one in at least 9 months, this past Sunday. It was the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair 5K run in Old Town Camarillo. I figured the pain in my calves would go away by then. My family was out of town and I just felt like "doing something."
On Saturday, I ran about 45 minutes and the psoas issue was still there. And my calves were STILL sore, 5 days after my July 4th barefoot run. But I still planned to run the 5K, soreness, injuries, sleepy, or what have you.
Sunday morning I woke up early and noticed something different. No more pain! It's like overnight, it went away. Something "clicked." What a pleasant surprise!
But I was still having problems walking normally downstairs because of my calves, which were, unbelievably, STILL sore, 6 full days after running 6.5 miles mostly on pavement "barefoot." But I was signed up for that race and was gonna run it, regardless.
When the horn went off, I felt my age and lack of speedwork. Guys, gals, young and old, all TOOK OFF as is always the case in these local 5K races. My old age and experience is useful in these moments as I know the rule of thumb is that usually all but a few come back to me, The Aged One. Sure enough, most did. My legs felt like wooden blocks but I worked my way into the race.
But I knew I wasn't operating on all cylinders. My calves were SORE from the start and getting SORER.
Through mile 1 I ran about 5:50 but knew that was my limit. The calf muscles are criticial for propelling the body forward and when they're sore, you ain't gonna be running at your peak. But I grinned and grunted and beared it and held my own for an 18:39 5K, good for 1st place in my age, 2nd master. This time was over a minute slower than my typical 5K times running off of no speedwork. I think my natural speed is still there.
The first 2 guys in the race blitzed this fun, low key, 2-lap new course in Old Town Camarillo in 15:13 and 16:12. 3rd place was 18:21. I was 7th but there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that 3rd place would have been mine in normal circumstances.
So overall, I'm THRILLED to be back at it. Nothing better than running a local 5K race to get your motivation going.
And once again, I have survived an injury. Injuries are depressing and frustrating. But when you are sidelined by one, keep in mind...the body is resilient. It may take some time, but eventually, most of us WILL recuperate and get back to what we enjoy. Stay positive. Stay focused. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.