Running, Dog Poop, and Calf Pain

I had to leave Kobe (my canine running pal) behind this morning. The training schedule called for intervals and Kobe gets too distracted by squirrels, deer, other dogs, just about anything really. So, he lags behind my blistering pace 🙂

Plus, he’s the only dog I know who can poop while he runs. I discovered it when we made another loop around the park. A 100 yard stretch of poopy presents. Creates quite a long cleanup.

It’s taken a long time to get back to this part of my training – running. Last summer, we were on holiday at South Padre Island, Tx and I found running on the beach a little too invigorating. I slipped on a pair of Vibrams and not only did I run longer intervals but also chose to boost the effort.

Bad choice. After about 10 intervals at almost 100% effort, I felt a sharp, tearing sensation behind my left knee. I knew it was more than a simple strain because I stopped almost immediately.

I remember thinking something like, “I’ll be fine….this is no big deal…just keep moving.” Isn’t interesting how your emotions can hijack your rational thinking? And it happens while you think you’re being rational.

Walking hurt. Not a good sign. My general rule about pain, as I have had and still have from time to time plenty of aches and pains, is to pay attention IF my function or form is affected. If I limp, can’t navigate stairs, etc then I know it’s time to get it fixed.

This time was one of those times where the pain meant significant injury. Walking hurt, I couldn’t go down a flight of stairs foot over foot. I limped. And this was day one of the holiday.


So, like any good soldier, I went for another run the next morning because, you know, it’s THE BEACH. Didn’t make it more than a few strides. Sometimes my lack of insight astounds me.

I spent the remainder of the holiday quietly stewing about my situation. I had a good idea of what was wrong and therefore, I knew what I was looking at.

One brief period of succumbing to the emotions of the moment. What was I thinking? Crap. I think there was a movie about that – Knocked Up.

Because of the location and nature of the symptoms, I had a good idea that rehab would not work very well. But I had to give it go anyway to be sure. A couple of months later, I’m on the phone with Dr. Fullerton’s office making an appointment for a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection.

What my moment of sprinting with abandon on the beach had done was tear part of my gastrocnemius muscle, some of my medial hamstring and a small bit of the medial meniscus where the hamstring connects to it.

I then had a PRP injection of all of the injured tissue followed be several weeks of rehab to rebuild the infrastructure, so to speak.

When I started “running” again, it was slow and short. About 10 seconds followed by 2-3 minutes of walking. If I had any hint of pain, I stopped. I would run once every 10 to 14 days and gradually increase the run duration of the interval.

Now, about six months into it, my run duration is 45 seconds (see what I mean about “gradually increasing”?) with 30 seconds of walking repeated for 30-40 minutes and once every 10 days or so. I won’t increase the duration. If anything, I’ll decrease it and increase the speed. So far, I’ve not had any significant issues pop up.

Today while running, I had the same Siren of Temptation show up that I had on the beach last summer. It was cool (for Texas that means it’s not 90 degrees at 6AM) and little breezy. I felt great. Light on my feet, quick off the ground. I wanted to turn it up a notch but this time, I chose not to and I’m glad I did.

Speed, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, is a reeeaaaallllyyyy important component of my training. But to be successful, I have to be smart about how aggressively I pursue it.

Slow wins the race in my case.

I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for reading….more to come.