Nine weeks into my sixteen week marathon training program, and I tweak my calf muscle. I got a sharp pain on the inside of my left leg’s calf muscle. I have had calf strains in the past. In 2012, a calf muscle tear caused me to miss the Apple Blossom 10k that I had been training for. So, as soon as I felt the strain at mile twelve of my fourteen miler, I stopped an walked the rest of the way home. I knew it was not a bad strain and decided to take a few days off from my training.

I have a bad habit of looking at my training plan online getting ideas of when I am going to fit my training runs in. Baseball and soccer practice for Connor, and swim lessons for he and Cole – I always have to plan for when I can squeeze these runs in. Every time I miss a workout on my online training plan, it gives me a little sad face icon for that day. I hate that face. It is the face of failure. So after a couple days of that sadistic little round headed jerk looking all disappointed in me, I got back out and ran a six miler. Happy smiley face dude is back. “Welcome back Smiley. I missed you. But I have some bad news. I re-injured my calf. Looks like I will be hanging out with grouchy face again.”

Playing it smart (I am not good at knowing my limitations) I took a full week off to *gasp* rest. The timing of this was perfect since we planned a long weekend vacation to the beach. Walking around the boardwalk and beach, my leg started to feel a lot better. In fact, it was whispering to me “Let’s go for a run. Just a little run. It will be fun. Come on, lazy. Look at this nice, flat boardwalk I have to run on.” The next morning I found myself on the boardwalk in my running gear ready to tackle a little run to get me back on track.

Sixteen miles later, I was back in my room showering for a full day of beach activities. But something was wrong. Now the outside of my calf and my ankle were killing me. Once the rest of the family was up and moving, it was obvious it was going to be a long day. It was torture walking up and down the boardwalk while Connor tossed quarter after quarter in the claw machines. Not good. Mean old frown face was going to be coming back to my calendar of training runs. A physical therapist friend of mine took a look and said I most likely have a tear in my calf and strained the ligament below my ankle.

This injury put me out of commission for ten days. 10 days of rest. How do you totally rest a leg? I have two nights a week of soccer to coach now. Fortunately it is feeling better and today I got to turn frown face upside down with an eleven miler. I hope that the injury is healed enough to not come back to haunt me before my marathon.

Missing three weeks of training has made it a bit nerve racking to try and plan out my runs. It is close to the turning point that if I am not healed, I have to defer the marathon until next year. I am hoping that is not the case. If it is, I will have a bigger frown than that stupid icon on my run calendar. I should visit the doctor but I have a feeling they will tell me what I don’t want to hear: “Rest it and skip your marathon. There will always be another one.” Grrrrrrrrr.