I think I may be experiencing my first running injury.
A few weeks ago I went for a lunch run as usual. It was a completely average winter lunch run. Not very cold, perhaps even just above zero. It was not especially snowy, icy or slippery. I ran a completely average distance, in my usual shoes. And, most importantly, I did not do anything unusual like slip, twist or hit anything. But while I was running, I developed this numb ache in my right calf, somewhere on the lower outside and somewhat around the base of the foot. While it was painful in a way, it also felt like something you might run away from, like some stiffness or fatigue some proper circulation would get rid of. So I kept moving, somewhat awkwardly, and finished the run, but it was clear some serious rest was in order. To make efficient use of my time, I fell ill after a few days and so the break came to last for two weeks. The first two days or so felt quite awkward, but after that the discomfort dropped to a much more managable level. However, it never went away completely. The first time I put weight on the leg after some sitting or lying down often feels uncertain and stiff, the type of thing which makes you hold back just in case it will hurt for real.
When I ran again after the two weeks I felt stiff, sore, out of step and generally past my prime. In the years I have been running regularly my knees have sometimes sent signals of warning, but I have never really been injured so this was all new ground.
As I write this it has been another week. I have kept my regular schedule of running every other day, but I run very carefully and think about more or less every step. The first few times I felt completely rusty, as if I was limping along and would keep limping forever, but things have got better. I still feel my calf, but as long as I keep focus on my step and pace I do warm up and feel some flow coming back. So now it does feel like the circulation is doing me good, and I do not wake up the next morning regretting every step. The difference is striking from the first night, when I slept in one position for much of the night just because it felt so uncomfortable to move the leg to turn.
I think I am on the right path, but I feel impatient. I want to be free of pain right now, please. I miss the flow, I miss the feel of natural simplicity, I miss the feeling of my last long run a couple of weeks earlier. I missed a race (not that I have attended many) for the first time last year because I feel ill, and I do not want to miss my first race because of injury this year. So, this thing better get itself out of the way well before Lejonbragden in May, or I will be a very sad and frustrated runner. But who knows. In any case, I suppose it is good to take things slowly and get even better at listening to whichever signals my body sends.