Last week I wrote about how happy I was to be running again but that I was having a problems with my knees noisy neighbour, the left calf. Every time that I’d attempted to run over the last month it had cramped up just after the 2 mile mark regardless of if the run was outside or on a treadmill. It was frustrating but it wasn’t the end of the world as I had no knee pain and the calf hopefully would eventually settle down, but I needed to clarify this with my physio.
Last Wednesday I went along to the hospital for my appointment and we did some vigorous testing of the knee putting it under some serious stress with squats, lunges, jumps and a few other physical twists and turns at the hands of the physio. My knee passed all the tests which was great and then I explained about my calf problem. The physio looked at both of my calfs and it was plainly obvious that the left one had lost a hell of a lot of muscle definition in comparison to the right calf. This was because my right leg had been doing all my work over the past 6 months or so to compensate for the bad left knee. The physio explained that this was why I was having problems and that basically by resting for a few days after each ‘cramp’ I wasn’t helping my situation. Basically Every time that I was running I was hitting a wall and being repelled, I’d rest and have another go but still wouldn’t have the strength to get past that wall. What I needed to do was dig in and use my legs to give me the strength to push through the wall. I needed to tell my calf to man up and to keep working.
We devised a strategy where I would run for a mile, walk a few minutes, run for a mile, walk some more and then run again as hopefully this would bypass the cramp trigger point. I agreed that I would give it a go. I was also given some more calf strengthening exercises to do and told to keep up my pilates regime. And then much to my amazement I was told that I was being discharged because “we don’t treat people who don’t have pain”. I can’t tell you how happy that made me feel, a few months back I was told my leg was so weak that I may not run again, then best case scenario was aiming to run in December and now here I was in early September being discharged and told to go for a run. That kind of progress came down to a lot of hard work I guess, some excellent treatment and the healing hands of my physio team James and Anna who have been brilliant and I can’t thank them enough.
I’ve ran several times since then, including a day with a morning and evening run and have had no pain, no cramp, just fun! My knee is still taped for rocktape for a little support and I’m wearing my calf guards but these might just be comfort blankets whilst I take my first steps back along the road to where I want to be. I’m up to 4 miles now, I aim to gradually increase to hit 5 miles by the end of this month and 10 miles by the end of November.
Many people have asked me on twitter etc… if this now means that I’ll be doing an Ironman next year? Well whilst the temptation to enter Lanzarote and join my 20 clubmates is overwhelming I have to be sensible. I could get caught up in my own euphoria and do something stupid but trust me when I say I’m not going to be one of those comeback athletes that is “Discharged and Dangerous”. I’m going to take it very easy and I can safely say that there will be no Ironman in 2014. Beyond that we’ll just have to see, I personally think that if my body heals well, I build it up properly and I approach it sensibly then I have a shot of once again going long at some point.
But for now I’m jut going to lace up my shoes, head out the door in all weathers and enjoy where ever my feet take me.