Pain Will Fade With Time But Achievements Will Last
I know attitude and perspective are everything when striving for a big goal and I also know you want to get your head in order before you venture into the storm.
This week I had another lesson on perspective. Tuesday as I started training legs and calves, everything was going fine. I finished up 3 sets of calf raises on the leg press like normal and even increased weight compared to last week. I moved on to the seated calf machine and started my set when suddenly on the third rep I felt something go in my left calf and my strength on that side gave out. Abruptly, I set the weight down and my mind was assuming the worst.
I got off the machine in an attempt to asses the damage. It was painful to support my weight and any type of flexion or extension of the foot was painful as well. My mind raced thinking of any number of things that may have happened and for those few moments, nothing mattered but the injury and the severity of it. Any problems or distractions that had been swimming around my head suddenly dissipated.
As I hobbled around the gym I was afraid to look at my calf but I couldn’t ignore it forever so I pulled up my pant leg to examine the area. The pain occurred in the lower part of the soleus and that’s the area I scrutinized, looking for any signs to indicate the severity of the injury. As I looked and felt around I found no discoloration and no deformity, which made me feel better right off the bat.
Finishing the workout was out of the question because there was no way I could support or stabilized my body during squats, not to mention the fact that it hurt to stretch my calf as well.
I made my way to Paul’s office and he took a look at it. Based on my description and how the calf looked, he didn’t think it was anything too severe and told me to go ice it.
I filled a Ziploc bag with ice and my focus shifted towards doing whatever I could to help speed the healing process. And, like in most cases that meant rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). I was very good about icing it all day and massaging the area with BioFreeze Gel.
My main concern became cardio. If I have to miss a leg workout and modify one or two leg days then so be it but I really hated the notion of missing cardio 17 weeks out from the USA. As Tuesday went on, I kept treating the area in hopes that it would be good enough to do the bike by 5:00 PM. I was optimistic that I could position my foot on the pedal so there would be little pain or aggravation to my calf. Paul said it was OK to try but if there was significant pain I should stop.
I began pedaling with caution and found it wasn’t causing much pain at all. I was able to complete the session with only mild discomfort at some points. As long as I didn’t push with my toe I was OK so I tried to keep most of the pressure on the center of my foot. I was really pleased I was able to do cardio and stay on my schedule.
My calf felt better on Wednesday and I know I am going to be fine in a few days. It was more of an alarming incident than anything and initially a little scary due to the possibility of it being more severe than it turned out to be.
There is a lesson to be learned here and to me that lesson deals with perspective. I woke up that morning somewhat clouded with outside distractions but at the onset of the injury, those distractions meant nothing and the only things I could think about were my goals, my plan and the approaching contests.
It gave me a reality check about what’s important in my life and what’s not as significant as it may seem. It reminded me how lucky I am to wake up healthy each day and be able to pursue my goals with passion and desire.
Waking up everyday with a purpose and the ability to strive for your dreams is a gift and it’s a shame not to see it that way. It’s also a shame to let matters that are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things detract from your performance and enjoyment of your quest to be your best.
This is not the first time I’ve had a strain and had to adjust training by any means. Things like this happen from time to time but hopefully they are very few and far between (knock on wood). I realized if I can take something good from this like gaining a better perspective and if I can stay on my schedule with only a minor interruption then this could very well be a blessing in disguise.
Pain will fade away with time but your achievements will last. Stay focused, elevate your standards and persevere!