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This Running Life

Bloody hell, as they say... The Saturday morning run is a highlight of my week. Today I set out at daybreak for a nine-mile run that features a loop around Portland's downtown waterfront between Tilikum Crossing and Steel Bridge. A little more than a mile into it my left calf developed some bad attitude and I pulled up lame. Oh, fudge.

For two months I have eased back into my routine and cautiously built up mileage after running hardly at all between Thanksgiving and January 19 due to injury, snow, and ice. I was feeling good about my progress and looking forward to longer runs in warmer weather as we move into spring. Now a setback. Oh, fudge.

On Thanksgiving morning it was the right calf that went south on me. It tightened up, something like a cramp but not exactly. The issue first cropped up spring of 2014 as I was building my base to begin training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October. Sometimes it was the right leg, sometimes the left, with the right seeming to be more problematic. My PT guy suggested some exercises and stretches, with the qualifier that research is all over the place as to cause and treatment. The exercises and stretches did not hurt. They are now part of the routine. I soon learned though that down time and patience are the keys.

After some ups and downs with the calves I ramped up my mileage to marathon-training level and ran Twin Cities. A year later I ran the Portland Marathon. No races in 2016, but a good year nonetheless as I consistently put in 25- to 30-mile weeks from April until Thanksgiving.

Injuries are as much part of the running life as glorious t-shirt-and-shorts days when sky is a pure blue and sunlight sparkles the river. As my old French teach Marie Laure used to say, so whatcha gon' do? I will put in some extra time with stretches, the massage stick, and the Foot Rubz Massage Ball, force myself through clenched teeth to take a week off, and road-test it next Saturday, April Fool's Day. Maybe the timing is somehow appropriate.

Meantime, Big T will soon be tapering for Boston. I will be with him in spirit.

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