So, you know that Facebook phenomenon where one posts a picture of cartoon characters with different stereotypical traits (clown, jock, princess), and then tags that photo with names of friends who possess those traits?
My last two friends tagged me as the “jock.”
For me, the word initially conjures images of brutish boys with low IQs and letterman jackets. But then, I think. Oh – like an athlete. Someone who participates in sports.
After the Ascent, Disney World Marathon and Disneyland Half Marathon, I still never considered myself an “athlete.”
Yet here I am training for my first triathlon. Along with weekly trips to the climbing gym.
So I’ll take the “jock” label for the first time in my life.
And with it came my first strained muscle.
I went for a ride on Monday morning, and the weather was cool, but clear. So I planned to do a 16 mile ride. 2 miles into the ride, it started to snow. I went another mile and it was really coming down. The wind was biting and the snow was accumulating on the chest of my fleece. By mile 4, my toes were numb. I was heading back to my car, and I was miserable.
Right after the ride, my legs felt stiff and cramped. I got home, warmed up and worked for a good part of the day. The whole time my left calf ached, and I was thinking it was a cramp that I needed to work out. I was walking on my toes because I was unable to put my heel to the ground without a very sharp strong pain shooting up my leg. That evening, as we watched tv, I tried massaging it and it was incredibly tender to the touch.
The next day, I got an appt at Great Moves PT. Jessica wasn’t available so I saw Emily. Her diagnosis was quick – a torn gastrocnemius – strained calf muscle. She was very apologetic about my injury. When I asked how long it would take, she hesitated and said it was hard to say.
The thought of not being able to do the triathlon was deeply disappointing. She worked on my calf with light massage and Biofreeze. She suggested that I see an orthopedic doctor to determine the severity. While I iced my calf, I made an appt. She asked me to stay off of it for another day or two.
I asked if I could swim that day. She looked dubious. So I promised to completely rest it for a couple of days.
Today I saw Dr. Mahony, who is orthopedic doctor/surgeon for the CC Tigers. He was recommended to me by a friend. His offices are filled with sports paraphernalia signed by his patients.
He is a super nice doc, and when he checked me out, he did a couple of squeezes and pokes. He then looked concerned. When he pressed on my inner thigh, I winced in surprise. The other side did not elicit the same response. He called the tech in and asked that I immediately have an ultrasound to determine if I had a blood clot in my leg. All of a sudden, I felt nervous. She called to the lab and they said they would fit me in, but it could take a while..
So I went down, returned some client calls, got registered, and went out to the lobby and got some lunch. Just as I finished, they called me back for my u/s. It was pretty interesting watching her view and listen to the blood flowing through the veins/arteries in my leg.
And it turned out that I don’t have a blood clot. Whew! I went back up to Dr. Mahony.
He said it would take about 6 weeks to heal. I balked. I have a race in 5 weeks. He said that it wouldn’t be dangerous, but it would probably be painful. And if the race was important to me, I could do it. But I would have to suck it up about the pain. He said to keep working on swimming and biking. And I could start stretching my calf again next week and ease back into running with a shorter stride.
So, now I’m trying to figure out what to do.