The walk of shame

You know what I’m talking about…
…things didn’t go as planned.
…maybe you feel sheepish or a bit embarrassed.
…sometimes you even have to swallow back tears.

I’m not talking about that walk of shame.

I’m talking about when you go for a run only to find out you’re hurt or sick and have to walk the rest of the way home.

I’m no stranger to it: I’ve walked for long distances, I’ve called family to pick me up, I’ve walked in the middle of winter when my clothes are soaked with sweat and not nearly warm enough (one of the main reasons I always try to run with a phone now!).

It’s happened to Kelly, and I’ve run home to get a vehicle, we’ve called family, and he’s even hopped in a passing cab.

With the exception of one time (gut-wrenching cramps), it’s always due to injury-related pain that stops me from going any further.

I’ve had the walk of shame a few times in as many weeks.

Luckily I haven’t made it more than a block from home, so it’s been a short walk. That doesn’t mean tears of frustration don’t threaten to bubble out. Unluckily, it means I wasn’t able to go more than a block without intense pain.

After my IMS treatment, pain moved into the upper calf muscles of my left side. It was so sharp and severe I had to stop immediately. It felt like something was going to explode.

I talked to a few people about it. One physiotherapist thought it was just really tight calf muscles, so he gave me stretches to work it out. (Unfortunately, those gave me knee pain!) Another person thought it was a bursa sac bothering me.

I stretched the best I could, tried to roll it (so painful), used tiger balm, and wore compression socks.


I’m not out of the woods yet, but it’s been feeling much better. I ran on the treadmill last weekend so I wouldn’t have to walk home dejected (again) if the pain came back. It was a success! I ran again on Wednesday on the treadmill, incorporating six miles into a circuit.

On Saturday I rode long (and at better watts than ever before for 80km/50 miles). I’ve been itching for a good run in our spring weather, so Kelly and I planned a Sunday morning date.  We went for about an hour and 20 minutes and my calf felt awesome!

My left hip and hamstring got pretty tight, but I’m going to baby them for a few days and stick to strength and cycling.

I miss doing all my workouts in the fresh air!

Kelly’s gone mountain biking the last two weekends, but I’m not brave enough to go in freezing temps. Hopefully soon.

Have you experienced the walk of shame? (Either definition…no judgment!)
Tell me about it! 

32 responses to “The walk of shame

  1. I have definitely been a part of many walk of shames. And now I also am starting to experience “rides” of shame, like when I called my husband to pick me up from a bike ride when I got a flat!

  2. Oh my gosh yes! Mine is always stomach issues! I’ve been 2 miles out in the wooded bike path and had to walk/run in little intervals I could handle to get back! It was not fun and then having to drive home was not either!
    A funny time was when my friend and I didn’t calculate how far away we were running and ended up calling her grandpa and hey we got some dang good ice cream afterwards too! That time was worth it!

  3. So sorry you’ve been fighting calf issues, but super excited you are on the mend!! My most recent “walk of shame” came during the SuperiorMan Triathlon when I had a DNF (throwing up on the bike didn’t allow for running a 1/2 marathon…let alone walking the whole thing). Unfortunately it happens to everyone, but we can all hope it doesn’t happen often.

  4. Thankfully I’ve never experienced THAT walk of shame (HAHA), but I have indeed experienced the running walk of shame. I try to tell myself it’s for the best, and keep my head down so that the cars that I know don’t even see me don’t “judge me.” It’s really all in our head. Hang in there and keep trying, soon enough you’ll be back at it!

  5. There is no shame in walking. I sometimes wish I had a sign with me when I was walking so other athletes wouldn’t look at me and judge. Keep your chin up!

  6. I hope it gets better! I’ve been sick, so haven’t been running, and now I need to start marathon training…and suddenly I thought, “Wait! Am I still injured???” I have no idea!

    Last year when training for the marathon, I had a 20-miler scheduled (at the time, it was the longest run of my life). We were supposed to leave for vacation, but I wanted to get the run done first. I ran 10-miles-or-so, and then asked Saign to come pick me up…because I just didn’t feel like it. I wasn’t injured or anything! This made things a little tough because I then had to squeeze a 20-miler in while on vacation. I ran 20 miles in Zion National Park a week later.

  7. I’ve exprienced the walk of shame: I was running what would’ve been 6 miles but landed on a large rock, rolled my ankle quite badly, and fell to the ground, as someone drove past me. My ankle was sprained and although I ironically took my cellphone with me (for the first time ever), I couldn’t get a hold of Pat because he was vaccuming! I had to walk about a half mile home, in tears.

    Hope things get better with you soon! At least like me, you were close to home.

  8. I’m glad your calf is feeling better, and hope your tight hip and hamstring don’t cause you any problems. Here’ hoping you’ll be 100% by summer!

    I had to walk home after two different injures. Once when I had aggravated my IT Band and tried several different times to see if was ready to run on. It wasn’t, so I walked home. And the other time was when I’d hurt my back and it seized up while on a short run so I had to walk home.

  9. Oh man, I hope you feel better soon! I guess I’ve been lucky, I’ve only had to walk back from a run once – the other month when I fell and jacked up my knee. It was embarrassing to be walking down the side of the road all bloodied and dirty. As for the other walk of shame? You’d have to ask my college self that question. Haha!

  10. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    Oh yes. These are the worst. I had it happen during marathon training. I wanted to knock out 16 miles before a fun weekend with my friends and didn’t even get a mile from my apartment. I was even up at 5:00 am on a Saturday! Woof. I limped home, cried a bit and then sat on the couch and recovered with a movie. It resonated with me all weekend 😦 but i knew it was for the best. I hope your calf feels better! I’m in a similar boat with my left calf. BOO.

  11. It’s like we are totally on the same wavelength today. I’m so sorry you were hurting, but that’s great that you got in some positive treadmill miles! Last weekend was as close to a walk of shame (that kind) that I’ve ever gotten. There was definitely some real walking involved in the hobble-run that got me home.

    I hope you continue to feel better and better. Big hugs!

  12. Oh, the dreaded walk of shame! My worst was one day before the first marathon I ever trained for. I couldn’t even make it around the track one time and had to concede to an ITB injury. It was devastating!

    Glad that you’re on the mend. I’m going to test out my hip on an easy trail run tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

  13. June 2011 I was all trained up for the first Rev3 (Portland) half ironman. I got super sick(puking sick….maybe food poisoning…still to this day not sure what happened) on Friday and the race was Sunday. I felt better on Saturday…went and picked up my packet and dropped off my bike. I started to think about it later in the day and thought could I really pull this 6+ hour 70.3 miles off. I went back that morning, turned in my chip, took the DNS, got my bike, and cried all the way home! I was so sad!! I wasn’t happy about my decision but I was thinking more about my safety then a PR!! 🙂
    I am so glad that you are feeling better! Keep doing everything that you are doing. Hopefully you will be back on the trails in no time!!!

  14. Yes – it is horrible to have to limp home!!!
    So sorry that you have had so much pain from your calf – I hope you are on the mend for good. I’ve still been having problems – it is so weird because I can run OK (not fast) but the rest of the day my calf aches!

  15. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about this. 😦

    I did the walk of shame for a little bit when I sprained my ankle but I called Mike and he came at got me. It sucks!!! I’ve also done the other walk of shame, for the record, although not in many a year!

  16. Oh yes, I have experienced that walk of shame! The worst time was when I had NO good reason for it other than I was just too tired to run another step. I had to walk a mile home and that took ages! Another time I had my hubby come get me because I didn’t feel well.

    I’m so sorry you’re struggling w/ your injury still! Hopefully you are now moving forward & it’s behind you!

  17. I’ve had a few “walk of shame” experiences in the middle of runs before. Knee pain or foot pain has just stopped me from being able to go any further, and from that point forward there is a lot of walk/run intervals being done. I’m learning it happens to everyone!

  18. I’ve also been struggling with tight calves. While I haven’t had any “walks of shame” I’ve certainly had to cut back mileage. I’m glad to hear that things are feeling better – that is quite the arsenal of rolling tools you’ve got to help you.

  19. Oh, man… I’ve been close the walk of shame so many times, especially during my first round of marathon training years ago. Thankfully I was close to home (or someplace with a bathroom) each time! I hope you’re feeling better and that stretching and rolling have helped! Glad to hear you got outside for a ride and that it didn’t bother you! Is spring gonna stick around now?! Hope you had a great weekend 🙂

  20. Ugghh! I hate when I have to walk during a run. It always makes me sad and is usually do to my tummy troubles. Hope you are feeling better and back to running soon!

  21. runnerbydefault

    I hope you are feeling better!! Injuries are so frustrating!!

Leave some love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s