Running is tricky business. It is not the same every day. The same course, weather, body, gear, maybe, but the way you hold yourself and your gait can change from run to run, causing pain or damage. Small changes can make a big difference. Limp a little, hold your foot or arm a little differently, tired from other pursuits, and you may twist your body unknowingly, causing a little more stress with each step of each mile, until you find you have ruined yourself without having obviously suffered an injury.
That is what I did on our last run. We went out into a cool afternoon, cloud cover and spitting rain. It was chilly at first, but soon enough I worked up a sweat. Only I could feel my bounce was different from the start. Some days, you flow. Other days, you jounce every step. It was like I’d had my shock absorbers removed.
I also had my sandal strap seated wrong. It rubbed a little under my toe. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty touching it. I tried moving it with my foot. I should have known better. Learn from my mistake. These things only get worse, not better. Address them immediately or suffer the consequences.
Mile one, ok. Mile two, the cramps began. I didn’t think we had speed going on, but J thought we had a good pace. I always judge I’m slower than I am. I wanted badly to walk. I felt tired. I felt it in my body, but the urge was mental. Then I began to get that feeling in my right leg.
J asks that I describe it, but that is difficult. It feels like my leg is weak, not hurt, but like something is definitely wrong. It’s a strange feeling, not like a strain. It starts in my lower leg and moves into the hamstring. My hamstring will threaten to cramp or feel like it could give out at any second. It doesn’t, but it feels like it may.
The odd part was that the hills were easy. My leg didn’t kill me on the hills. The angle or the distribution of weight, slowing down to climb or a change in the way I moved my legs caused me to feel fine on the hills. The flats were kicking my ass. Horrible. I made it to the last mile before I had one of those moments where I just stop without thinking. And I told J I thought something was wrong.
We walked from there and gradually the leg got worse. It got cold, stiffened. The walk felt like it took an eternity. That night, I could hardly move. My heels felt like they’d been flayed. At other times they felt as if the padding inside had been removed surgically, without painkillers, leaving all the nerves exposed.
Standing was ridiculous. My body weight crushed my heels and sent pain in all directions. Within a few hours, I was better. The next day, worse. We’re on day two beyond the run and my feet still don’t forgive me, my hamstring still feels weak and irritated.
J wants to blame the sandals. I think it was me. One of those days where I was sloppy and it compounded to ruin me.