A very sad post to write, and more than likely, not coming as a surprise for you to read. :(
It's official: I am not going to Niagara Falls this weekend. I have torn my left calf muscle. Although I am not limping or on crutches, I can feel the damage (tightness, dull pain at times, sharp shooting pains up the leg after standing for too long, swelling). I have been told 'no running' or physical activity for 6-8 weeks. I am currently waiting for a phone call from the Fowler-Kennedy Sports Clinic after my doctor acquiesced to my request for a referral to them.
Five weeks ago, I tore my calf muscle at the 18.5 km mark at my Springbank Half Marathon, and self-misdiagnosed it as a muscle cramp. Before my left leg suddenly seized up on me, I was on Cloud 9 - I was feeling great about how I was running and very pleased with how well my training was by this point. Although I PR'd by 11 minutes, I limped the last 3-ish km to the finish line, and felt concerned then by how much time it would take for me to heal. Three weeks later, after lots of R.I.C.E., and cutbacks on my training runs, I PR'd in the Festival City Run in Stratford. I used this race as a test to see where I was at with my leg 'cramp.' I ended up worsening my muscle tear at the 8K mark: I felt the "gravel hitting me in the back of the leg" sensation, the commonly-used description for a muscle tear, and this is when I realized I was in trouble.
This explains the lack of training updates on my blog, and why I stopped the automatic NFIM countdown posts I created for my blog weeks ago.
Last Sunday, I drove up to Grand Bend for the Pinery Provincial Park Road Races. It was the last run of the Runpiker's Series, and the Series shirts were being distributed to all the runners who had participated faithfully in them. I had pre-registered for the 10K a while ago so I had a race shirt to collect, too. :) I didn't want to miss out on this event and actually debated with myself on the drive north whether I could participate in at least the 5K ... when I took a wrong turn which ended up making me miss the start of the races. This was not just a coincidence (Divine Intervention?). :) I ended up cheering for my friends and fellow runners as they ran in, collecting my race shirts, eating my free egg sandwich and walking away empty-handed from the Series draw for big prizes. And I didn't re-injure my leg. :)
I needed to work through this disappointment on my own before sharing it with everyone here. The timing of my injury is very disappointing because this has been my #1 running goal since participating in the same event last October. However, I am okay with it now after allowing myself to go through different stages, which included a huge amount of denial, before finally reaching acceptance.
I am very grateful for having a terrific running season filled with so many fun races, a slew of successful secondary running goals and milestones, and proudly, quite a few PRs, before this occurred. I have already contacted my local running store to be a race volunteer in a few weeks at the annual Halloween Haunting race. I have run in it for the last three years, but will be on the sidelines this year volunteering instead.
I have draft posts written from these races and will edit/post them this week, for anyone interested in the details. I know that I love to read other people's race reports so I am assuming 'better late than never". :)
In closing this post, I just want to thank everyone who checks in on my blog for your supportive comments and encouragement throughout this year. I really appreciate how enthusiastic and positive you have been for me. This has definitely been one of the best aspects of running!! :) :) My posting will no doubt be haphazard for the next six weeks since I use this exclusively for recording my running and I will have nothing but physical therapy and rest to report on! :) However, at the top of my homepage, there is a tab called, "Training and Race Calendar (Nov. 2011-May 2012)." Six weeks from now is when this plan is supposed to start. Hopefully, I will heal in time for the next round of training for a spring half marathon. :) :)