1. The "what the hell is wrong with my leg" trainwreck Q&A I've been playing for the last week was abruptly halted yesterday with a diagnosis: partially torn soleus. The soleus is the big calf muscle that lives inside of the outer calf muscles and runs up the back/inside of your lower leg. I came home and googled it and every single symptom, every single one fits, it all just clunked into place. The symptoms of a gradual tear due to overuse or tightness, the pre-tear symptoms, all the various places my leg has hurt since this all happened, everything. Essentially the tightness in my shins that was caused by all my gait changes was exacerbated by my failure to transition into my Newtons properly along with an increase in running volume (NOT intensity), and eventually that tightness turned into a tear which grew until I couldn't run anymore. Hindsight is such a bitch.
2. My PT is overjoyed about the diagnosis because it finally all makes sense. He said that the tear was what caused all the inflammation in my outer calf muscles, which he broke up last week and caused all that sweet bruising. Now that the outer calf muscles are no longer swollen and ridiculously inflamed, he could feel the knot of scar tissue surrounding the tear. And nothing to do with a knot of scar tissue except rip it apart with the Graston tools. It caused the kind of pain where I can no longer be tense and pull away but instead can do nothing but just give up and succumb and let it wash over me. However, when he was done, I got up and could walk around without the pain shooting up from my heel for the first time since this mess happened. It feels like he ripped my calf muscle in half - which he sort of did - and I'm rocking a pretty serious pimp limp. But it also feels better, it's hard to explain how I can be in some pretty serious post-Graston pain AND feel better, but I feel like it's healing, like he did good work and now all the inflammation and scar tissue and crap just needs to be washed away so the muscle can heal.
3. I've been trying really hard to not fall in the pit of injury despair about this over the past two weeks. Last year when I injured my back, I literally climbed in bed and ate nothing but Oreos until my girlfriends showed up without warning and dragged me down the street for Thai food and injury tales of their own. It's so tempting, and would be so easy to let it rock my boat, but the lesson I'm trying to teach myself this time around is to not let it fuck with me emotionally. That doesn't mean I haven't had bad moments, that doesn't mean I didn't get off the trainer yesterday morning and throw my bike shoes on the ground because of how mad I was that it hurt to push hard in a low gear, that doesn't mean I didn't start crying in my office when thinking about all the gorgeous weather running I am missing right now. But I'm trying, I'm working really hard to keep a good outlook - not only externally, not only to my friends, not just keeping a brave face on it, but internally as well, really staying calm and breathing.
And the support that has been zinging my way from everywhere has been amazing. It feeds me where I need to feel strong, it reminds me that I'm not alone.
I don't know why either, but I've said before that while I don't really understand why this is my journey, I'm going to own it. In the big picture of my season and even the little picture of the next month, this is a bump in the road. So I'm going to just bump right over it and roll forwards. It really is hard sometimes, to be an easily-injured klutz in a sport that is so hard on the body, but it's who I am now and I'd certainly rather this be my life than watching it pass by from the couch. Sure, I wouldn't have a torn muscle in my stupid leg, but I would have missed out on so much happiness as well, and I'll take it if it means that I get to wring myself dry in the pool and fly down a mountain on a bicycle at 50mph and cross that finish line over and over and over. To the universe: if this is the deal, if these are the trade-offs, than it's worth it. I accept.