Last weekend I walked Parkrun for only the third time ever (on two feet). The first time took me 1 hour 19, the second took me 1 hour 9, last weekend took me 58 mins. But… at a cost.
I could barely walk all weekend. I have to say I was quietly concerned, but still mulling over the idea that it just might be my foot saying WTF to me after many years of not being able to do anything. But… when my MLD therapist also raised concerns I decided the Southland ‘she’ll be right’ approach perhaps wasn’t cutting it and I needed more medical advice. you can understand my reluctance though, since it in itself is one of my PTSD triggers.
Having booked a physio appt for next Monday (the next one available) the physio called me and asked had I seen my doctor yet. Frankly I thought doc would just send me there anyway. However, as far as me and pain is concerned, its hardly any wonder everyone goes 🤯!
So I mentioned it to my GP this week anyway as a precaution. He asked me was I propelling off my right foot more on Saturday. Sure I was, its my only foot and I cant push off the other one, its plastic / hydraulic and all I do is roll over it, in effect.
It was concluded that the foot issue was merely exercise related and wasn’t it exciting that I can feel that kind of pain again and it isn’t something alarming or sinister! I have to agree with him there!
The left calf
Yesterday I cycled 35km on my indoor trainer / Zwift. I have done this once before recently, but on that occasion I buggered up the nutrition (aka only drank water) and ended up with ‘runners tummy’ afterwards. If you don’t know what that is, it is a fate sometimes felt by long distance athletes if you do not take on enough nutrition. What happens is the body starts shutting down what it considers non essential operations to ‘preserve life’ and in effect it forces you to vacate the contents of your stomach (in both directions!). I had not experienced this before, it sure wasn’t pleasant!
So, I had two mixed up energy drinks to take on board and that rectified the situation this time.
I am trying to extend my tolerance of distance, mixed with improving my strength in the leg for sprints and hills. Zwift has computer generated pace riders who you can join in a group ride. They cycle at a steady consistent wattage. Earlier in the week I tried one at 1.5w/kg. I was able to keep up for around 10km then I got dropped off the back of the pack. But, what it did do is improve my average speed to 30kmph for this ride. This is using the shiv, no bike modifications and no power assistance. So I was pretty pleased.
Yesterday my goal was to go further at a manageable speed so I chose a slower 1.1w/kg pace rider. This made me slow down (on quite a few occasions) but it also made the ride more sustainable and I had less claudication pain than I usually would have. Figures really if the muscle / oxygen demand is lower, slower and more steady.
I got off the bike and the leg felt ok, in fact I felt like I could have carried on. But later that evening I noticed my calf was sore, and was still sore the next morning. Naturally this sent me into panic stations, but thankfully my doc appt was today.
Here’s when we have the second piece of astounding information. The doc examined what’s left of my calf and decided it was muscle tightness, not claudication. This is pretty bloody exciting on its own because all I have managed to do till now is overload the remainder of my calf causing me claudication pain. That alone has been my biggest limiting factor when using my legs.
So the fact that I have managed to exercise it to the point of DOMS without causing claudication pain is bloody amazing, to be honest. The Doc was pretty excited by this too!
My mind is buzzing with this information and all the possibilities this could open up for me and this leg.
Watch this space.