|not a beaver.|
they were raised, i surmise, by parents who had neither time nor tolerance for whiny children.
i say this because when i was a kid, any time i would show insufficient courage over a scraped knee, or a raccoon on the farmhouse roof, or getting bucked off an actual calf, one of them would call me a "big calf."
"it's a long way from your heart, ya big calf."
"it's not going to hurt you, you big calf."
"you know what you sound like? a big calf."
and so forth.
i'm sure they thought they were helping me.
fast forward a few decades, i'm now four-plus weeks into a running-related calf injury. every time i go out to run, in addition to an underlying concern about re-injury, i can still hear that old farm philosophy (OFP): it's a long way from your heart, ya big calf.
while true, physiologically, this observation is not particularly helpful, running-wise.
rather than defer to charming OFP stoicism, i engaged in some new-farm pragmatism: when in doubt, google it.
an overview of the medical literature tells me that regardless of their proximity to the heart, calf injuries can adversely affect running!
i also learned that "old man's calf" is a thing, and it's sometimes related to the plantaris muscle/tendon, which i didn't even know existed!
(unaddressed in any of these studies is the negative effect on sanity experienced by not-running runners. i ran just 16 days in march, including a stretch of eight consecutive zero-days. insanity level: bananas.)
semi-related: for the second time in four years i was unable to run the chuckanut 50k. this is dismaying for several reasons, not the least of which is the $95 down the drain.
tangentially related: i'm signed up for the sun mountain 50k in may, the backcountry rise 50k in early september, and a very theoretical 100-miler in late september. none of these events will be run (by me) without lots of base-building on a healthy calf.
ergo, about a week ago i decided my calf was healed. don't @ me.
after a few days of cautious, mostly comfortable short runs, i ran a slow 10 miles last wednesday, an even slower 6 miles thursday, and a sloth-like 3-mile hike with the dogs on friday.
saturday i ran long. and ran a 5k race.
(disclaimer: as training plans go, this one is endorsed by no one credible.)
the running of the beavers 5k is a fundraiser for ballard high school, held at a lovely waterfront park a little less than 5 miles from our house.
my thought was to do a slow warm-up run to the start, very conservatively run the race, then run home at a leisurely pace.
this would total up to a safe and sensible 12+ miles on the day.
(shakes head, sighs.)
i raced the race.
i didn't mean to...it just happened.
starting as planned, i ran with a friend i hadn't seen in months. he was also coming back from an injury, and what better way to while away a slow 5k than with a fellow injury-rehabber?
i dropped him after a quarter mile, because i'm some kind of monster.
after that i rabidly began looking for people to catch and pass, because i'm an idiot.
in the moment, it was glorious. the course was completely flat, the calf didn't hurt, and i was picking people off right and left.
in retrospect it was not great, because it was so very dumb. risking days or weeks of additional pain for the sake of a fleeting 5k over my much-bigger goals for the year?
(makes a disappointed, embarrassed face.)
update: it was during an easy recovery run two days after racing at wallace falls that a week-old calf injury turned into a weeks-long issue.
yesterday was day two post-running of the beavers, and with well-deserved worry i set out to test my
on reflection, it's clear that my overarching problem is not being insufficiently recovered ~ it's being insufficiently smart.
and, after many years and many miles, i'm still a big calf.
running of the beavers 5k
3/22 (M 50-59)
hoka clifton 4
song stuck in my head the entire time: "don't look back" ~ boston