Last month I ran my first 10K in a very long time. I trained for the race, the same as I had trained for the many other races I’ve trained for. I ran 3 times a week and I increased my long runs gradually. The week before the race I ran 6 miles and felt incredible.
Race day did everything to keep my running confidence at a high. I even finished my 10K race under an hour! By the end of race day, I noticed my legs were feeling more sore than they had since I started increasing my mileage. My left leg was really sore. It felt like I had a giant knot in my calf. It hurt to point my foot down and my ankle felt really weak.
I started foam rolling the heck out of my calf. I started doing some research and everything I read pointed to something being wrong with my Achilles tendon. My heart sank. I know that an Achilles tendon injury can land someone on the sidelines for a very long time.
After a week of taking it easy, no running, a lot of foam rolling and stretching, my leg wasn’t really feeling any better, so I decided to go to the doctor and get checked out. Turns out that my Achilles tendon was super inflamed. The doctor confirmed that there was no rupture, but I would need to take it easy for at least a couple more weeks.
I was bummed and a little angry. There was no explanation as to why this happened. Why the six miles the previous week were amazing and the six miles of the race left me with a super-inflamed Achilles. I was training for a half marathon, which was in May. Until this 10K race, I was on track and super feeling confident. Not to mention I had a 5K coming up that I had hoped to run under 30 minutes.
And now all that was blown to pieces because my Achilles was angry.
I then realized I had a choice. I could feel sorry for myself because I wasn’t going to get to run my races as planned. I *could* push myself and run with pain at the risk actually injuring myself. Or, I could be grateful that I was just having a minor setback.
I chose to keep a positive attitude, be kind to myself, and listen to my body.
I mean, I would much rather lose 3 weeks of training, than 6 months to a year because I pushed too hard and ended up with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
After about 3 weeks of resting, my leg was feeling so much better, so I decided to try and go out for a run. And guess what? No pain! I ran for 1.75 miles before I had to take a walk break, which was due to my decreased endurance, not because of any pain in my Achilles. I was so happy!
I’ve spent zero energy on feeling bad about where I *could* have been if I wasn’t dealing with an inflamed Achilles. I focused on the positives of where I actually was. And at that moment, it was a pain-free 1.75 miles of running!
And this past Sunday, my positive attitude and taking the time to ensure my leg was all better, paid off! I ran the Race to Forever virtual 5K and I finished in 30:16! I ran the entire 3.1 miles and I had no pain at all! I never expected to run it that fast! I felt so proud all day long!
So, I guess the moral of my story is: Be kind to yourself. Take the time to listen to your body because it’s definitely not worth pushing yourself to an injury.