Whoever said that running was pretty was wrong. Oh wait, no one ever said that.
I've heard it said that it is difficult to get through marathon training injury free, that somewhere along the way you are very likely to do something to yourself to cause some kind of break in training. That can be anywhere from your average over training muscle strain to full on stress fracture of the foot, the tibia, the hip, what have you.
Several of my running acquaintances have had said problems. A former coworker suffered from something with her hip, and forgive me because the details are vague, but I think it was something along the lines of a stress fracture of the hip. It put her out of running for months on end. It also caused her to limit her runs to no more than 6 miles every other day. Her words of the wise were to not run through the pain, to listen to how it feels and stop when you think you need to stop. This is true for fractures--if you push through the pain, the fracture gets worse and worse.
I've tried to take the stance that I should learn from others' mistakes as much as I learn from my own and therefore I've been fairly cautious when it comes to my training. In early April, we had a gorgeous weekend here in Boston for which I had nothing planned, so I did three difficult runs three days in a row. On the 3rd day, I felt a pain in my outer left calf that didn't go away and made me stop my run and take a week off. It was clear to me what had happened--I had pushed too hard for too many days without taking a break. Lesson learned.
Two weekends ago, I had a similar kind of weekend. I ran 8 miles on Saturday, did a fast 6 miles on Sunday, biked to and from work on Monday and then ran another 5 miles. On Tuesday, I started to feel a pain in that same spot on my calf, and after it worsened from a spin class on Wednesday, I went to the doctor on Thursday. To make a long and boring story short yet equally as boring, I'm out of running until next Wednesday. They don't think it's a fracture and they're not sure that it's not tendonitis, but it is likely that it is a muscle strain.
To anyone who doesn't run regularly, this might be a relief, a nice excuse to take it easy. I used to feel that way. An injury would be the best excuse to be lazy! But once you get bitten by the running bug, the same one that causes you to lose a bit of your mental capacity and decide that you're going to run over 80 miles in racing in one year, taking a week off from running is awful.
Now there are way worse things in this world and I understand that. I mean, imagine those places that don't even have a Marathon Sports store at their disposal! Atrocious.
A week from tomorrow, I am competing in the 100 on 100 relay race in Vermont. There are 6 of us on the team and 2 of us are suffering from injuries of some kind. We've both put ourselves on running leave until the race and I can only hope that any damage done by the race won't be permanent. My doctor said there was no physical, scientific reason to not run the race so I might as well. With this half-assed go ahead, I'm prepared with an ice pack, painkillers, icyhot, and a mental rein put on myself to keep from acting on the urge to push myself harder than my poor calf can handle.