Stop, Donut Pass Go

Well, I’m still hanging in strong as the world’s slowest healer. The good news, though, is there is clear evidence of progress. (And delicious donuts have been had.)

As mentioned in my last post, my soleus calf strain is taking a painfully long time to heal. To recap, I was diagnosed with a strain in mid-December. I took about six weeks off running, then slowly built up to 15 miles a week of running over five weeks, only to learn that my strain wasn’t yet healed.

Now, I’m five weeks into my second block of time off–16 weeks after my initial diagnosis–and the follow up to my follow-up musculoskeletal ultrasound has revealed that while the strain has healed quite a bit…it’s not yet back to 100 percent.

On February 21, my first ultrasound revealed a tear of the medial soleus measuring 5.1 cm x 0.4 cm x 2.0 cm. Yesterday, on March 28, the follow up ultrasound revealed my tear now measures. 2.7 cm x 0.3 cm x 0.6 cm.

Here’s what that looks like:

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White: Measurement as of 2/21; Purple: Measurement as of 3/28

The good news is that the current strain is about a fifth of the size that it was five weeks ago.

The bad news is the doctor recommends an additional four weeks off, and a third follow-up ultrasound, before I get back to running. That will put me at a total of 20 weeks of healing for this injury–a full seven weeks longer than my stress fracture the winter of 2014/2015.

The other good news, however, is that the ultrasound showed no intramuscular hematoma. That means my current cross-training regimen of barre and spinning isn’t causing any damage, so I can continue with that for the next four weeks. I have to be thankful for that.

The other bad news, though, is that I had to let go of all my 2017 running goals and come to peace with the fact that this is going to be my first marathon-free year since before I ran my first marathon in 2013.

Sure, by the time I start running again in late April, I could build up my mileage high enough by the end of the year to run a marathon. But I wouldn’t be able to build it up and run a race I would be proud of.

You see, returning to running after a muscle strain will be different than returning to running after a stress fracture. Muscles are far more susceptible to re-injury. And given that I had a tear in a muscle that is particularly important when running fast, I can’t rush back into speed work. I don’t currently see myself returning to workouts again until July. With a wedding in September, a fast marathon just isn’t in the cards.

Instead, I’m going to shift my focus to the half marathon. That is a race distance I can comfortably build a base for by the end of the year, and that will allow me to gauge where I am relative to my goals without a full marathon build up.

I’m still tinkering with my goals for now, but I’ll be sure to share them once I hit the pavement again. Until then, I’ll be hitting the bike and the barre. A lot. After all, I have a wedding dress I need to fit into, whether or not I’m running. And who can say no to a donut as cute as this? 

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9 thoughts on “Stop, Donut Pass Go

  1. *hugs* Really glad your injury is healing some! Any progress is good progress, and even if you have to take an additional 4 weeks off, at least you can see the end, you know that you’re closer to the “healed” side rather than the “newly injured” side. You’re on your way to getting OFF #TeamJanky. I’m glad you can do spin and barre because those are great forms of exercise too. I will say it’s been hard for me coming back to running though and I was only out 6 weeks. I feel like my lungs are okay but my legs have a long way to go. It’s tough coming back from any time off, you have to give your body grace and realize when you run, you are asking it to do something it has not done in a long time.

    I am sorry about this being a marathon free year. Now… if you wanna come and run one in December (which will give you plenty of time… hint hint), there’s a really nice one just down the road from me called the Kiawah Island Marathon.

    We might can even make a samoa donut happen…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you !

      And the donut is from California Donut in LA 🙂 I had seen it on Instragram, and when I found myself in LA for a friend’s wedding I just had to go !

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  2. Somoa donut ?! That sounds amazing. I’ve been pigging out on somoas and thin mints all week.

    Anyway, I am very much looking to get off off the bench, even though I know coming back can always be so demoralizing. I really do think you need an equal amount of time back running as you had off to feel good again, so you’ll be there before you know it!

    As for a December marathon, that’s out because I don’t think my November honeymoon will be conducive to training 😀

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  3. I took two years away from the marathon when I had the double stress fracture and hamstring strain combo. The first couple back were very humbling, although I did try to do them off minimal mileage, no speed work, and an extra 20 lbs, so I didn’t really set myself up for success, lol. And when we got married in August 2014, I didn’t run a marathon that year, either. I didn’t want to juggle training stress with wedding stress, so I focused on an early November half (we honeymooned the first week of September; I ran twice for a total of 8 miles … still PR’d!).

    The marathon isn’t going anywhere. They’ll still be here when you’re ready for them. And you’re not “less” of a runner because you focusing on a shorter distance. It’s not “just” a half — those damn things are hard!

    Heal up, enjoy the donuts, and have fun planning your wedding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tracy! It really means a lot hearing about your experience, because your training and racing have been so impressive the last couple of years! Sometimes it is hard not to fear that the best is behind me, but you prove that with hard work and consistent training, huge new PRs are still possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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