I hadn't run since my excruciatingly painful double loop at Saguaro East on Sunday, October 3rd, so I knew I had better run on Tuesday night, the 12th, since my marathon is the 17th and bad things happen when I don't run at all the week before a race. Tuesday night was my Dog Intervals. I did not mention that before I even stepped out the door on Tuesday, my leg had had a dull ache pretty much all day. It's my lower left leg, on the outside, not exactly in the calf muscle and not in the shin, but sort of to the side of both of those. It was a dull but steady pain for most of the hilly 8 miles, but it got much worse on the last mile home, to the point where I could just manage a 9:30 jog and I was seriously gimping when I walked in the door. It's hurt ever since.
It's not any typical injury, though I feel like it has to do with my calf somehow. That's been a weak spot ever since San Diego in June. I've been icing it and shoveling down loads of Vitamin I and it hurts worse than ever today. It feels like a small rodent with long, sharp teeth has attched itself firmly in my leg and is hanging on, gnawing down deeper every now and then.
Last night I did something I probably shouldn't and went for a sunset hike with Tim on the 36th Street trails. It was short -- less than a mile total -- and the uphills weren't so bad but the downhills were awful. Who knows if I would have been in less pain today if I hadn't done that hike? I guess I shouldn't have. (But it was an awfully beautiful night...)
Lots of times I have gotten phantom injuries, either right before a race (i.e. intense, non-weight-bearing foot pain walking to the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon, which disappeared as soon as the gun went off and I started moving) or else at some other time when I just didn't feel like running (i.e., the phantom stress fracture at my mom's house one Christmas -- felt exactly like a stress fracture, persisted through vacation, but disappeared when vacation was over and I returned to Tucson). I think this injury is in that category. It's like the brain says to itself, "I know she is about to do something crazy and abuse her body in a terrible way, and she will do it unless I stop her by creating some pain. So I will make a phantom injury."
I don't really mind if I have to scratch this race, since it doesn't help me in my 50 States quest and I haven't properly trained for it anyway, but the bummer thing is that I have actually been looking forward to it. Okay, not a lot, because you have to be crazy to look forward to something like this, 26.2 miles pretty much straight up a mountain, but I have been looking forward to the raw experience of pushing myself into REALLY uncomfortable territory, which is where you usually get some pretty interesting insights. I have also looked forward to the feeling of great accomplishment that accompanies finishing any marathon, let alone one like that, and the camaraderie of doing it with other WOGgers, and best of all the excuse to eat anything I want afterwards. So I would be a little bummed to lose all that.
Brain, you might think you can outsmart me, but I am willing to bet I will be at that start line on Sunday despite all your best efforts, so don't get too cocky.