Running Update.

In retrospect, I probably should have had some sort of plan laid out to get back to running after taking two weeks off for the shin splints.  Perhaps something like only one run the first week, then maybe two runs the second week, three runs the third week… you get the idea.

Instead, I ran two days in a row, then took one day off and ran again, then took another day off and ran a 4th time.  All in the span of six days.

So, it’s probably not a surprise to anyone that halfway through the last run two days ago, my left posterior shin was starting to bother me.

Yep. It’s okay, you can say it…

When, when, when will I learn????

If it’s any consolation, I’m not in any pain now like I was before.  But I can feel the posterior shin, if you know what I mean. I know that little muscle is there and is annoyed. Dammit.

All I want to do is run.  I love being outside, I love the pounding of my heart, the sweat trickling off my skin. I love the stretching I get to do afterwards.  I love the changes I see in my body.  I love that I can still have dessert and not feel guilty about it, because I ran that day.

I’ve never liked exercising this much before.  In medical school and residency, I would go to the gym and work out, but it was always a hassle.  Getting in the car, driving to the gym, waiting for the machine I liked to be free …   With running, I just have to lace up my shoes and go.

All I want to do is go.

Injuries be damned.

 

Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

While we live, let us live.

I was woken up by a (not unexpected) phone call.  The patient I visited at home yesterday died this morning.

After the last 24 hours, I really needed to focus on something positive. I have really missed running. It’s been two weeks since I ran. My legs are rested, they’ve been massaged and I’ve cross-trained with biking to work.  I really needed to run.

With the older two kids away at my in-laws, I finally had an opportunity to go to my local running store and spend some time trying on shoes. I had to bring the baby but he was so good!! He smiled and cooed for the staff. I didn’t feel rushed and tried on four pairs of shoes and ran a bit in all of them.

I chose the Asics Gel-Cumulus 16.

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When I compared the Asics to my old Brooks Ravenna shoes, the difference was subtle but telling. In the Brooks I felt like I was running on a really hard surface. Not so with the Asics. I wouldn’t say it felt like I was running on a cloud (ha! Cumulus is a type of cloud) but it was definitely much more cushioned than what I was used to.  Even though the Brooks didn’t look worn out, I guess they really were.

I also picked up a few torture devices.

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The dreaded foam rollers. Every runner I know has one so I finally caved and put down the money for them. I want to continue running so I need to take care of my muscles and ligaments after a run.

So, although I have not gotten the “all clear” from my physiotherapist, I had to try out the new shoes. As I mentioned, after the sadness of the last 24 hours, I needed to feel something positive. I needed to feel life.

I planned only 2-3 km, but after the first kilometer I started to worry that it was too soon. The anterior shins felt tight and ached. I decided to slow down and took more 20 second walk breaks and eventually the ache subsided. Before I knew it, I had gone 3.5 km and was close enough to home that I knew I would finish at 4 km. For a split second I considered going for 5 km but knew this would be likely pushing my luck. The posterior shins were not hurting at all. The new shoes felt good, comfortable and my feet felt like they were well-cushioned.

After the run, I rolled the legs, stretched and applied an anti-inflammatory cream that my physiotherapist gave me.

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I might be back!!

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Injured. Am I really a Runner now?

I most definitely have a bad case of Posterior Shin Splints, and now, the Anterior Shin Splints are making themselves known.

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I had an x-ray and ultrasound of both my lower legs earlier in the week and not surprisingly, they tests were normal.  There is no obvious stress fracture, no periosteal reaction, the calf muscles looked pretty good (really good, actually) and there were no obvious tears seen.

Yet, I feel like I’m a mess.

The legs hurt more today than they did two days ago.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I started riding my bike to and from work.  I need to keep exercising, I need to keep moving.  The bike ride is 20 minutes. About 5-6 km each way. It’s a great way to start the day.

But it’s not the same as running.

I see my physiotherapist on Friday.

I have to wonder how much of this is due to “too much too soon”, worn out shoes, the fact that I am almost 8 months postpartum and still carrying 15 lbs of extra weight.  Could the effects of those pregnancy hormones (to loosen ligaments) be making my legs weaker?

Am I just grasping at straws?

Do I need new shoes?  Do I need stability shoes or shoes with more cushion? Why do they make 500 kinds of shoes? Am I overpronating or supinating?

Why can’t this be easy?

Why can’t I just run without pain?

My girlfriend who runs told me I am likely going to need 6 weeks off running.

SIX WEEKS?????

She said I’m officially a runner now. Being injured is the badge of honor.

Great.

This sucks.

Injuries Can Suck It!

Last week, I ran almost 10km in two runs.  The first was just over 4km, the second was a run home from the office via a different route that took me to 6km.  That was on Thursday.  My legs ached a bit – that damn shin splint or soleus muscle strain or posterior tibialis stress syndrome – whatever it is, I don’t know for sure, but it ached the entire run.  I stretched and iced when I got home. Friday if felt okay, Saturday the same.  So, being the stubborn pain in the ass that I am, after I did 5km on the stationary bike, I decided to go out for a run.

I was forced to shut it down at 1.5km. Sharp, searing pain in the left calf/shin/whatever the fuck hurts.

Sorry for the curse words.

I am so, so frustrated with myself.  I have continued to run despite being injured.  I thought I was gaining some headway, taking rest days and icing even on days I didn’t run.

But no.  I have truly screwed myself this time.

It hurts now just to walk.  I carried the baby to the park in the Baby Bjorn and my lower legs are on fire now.  I don’t think I will be running again for quite some time.

I am the proverbial doctor who is a bad patient.

I am pretty sure I need either an x-ray to rule out bilateral stress fractures in the tibia, or an ultrasound to rule out tears in the soleus muscle. Or both. With my luck, both.

Is this what I get for running too soon after having a baby?  Are my ligaments and joints still in pregnancy mode?

What is going on????

I’m so defeated by this.  If I can’t run, I don’t know what I’ll do.  Sure, I can bike to and from work. I can get on the stationary bike at home and do my pilates and floor exercises to stay in shape. But that’s not the same as running. It’s just not.

Sorry for the debby downer post.  I am trying to look on the bright side here – but I’m not sure there is one.

Yesterday my husband, who is a fair-weather runner and hasn’t run in months, went out and ran 6km like it was nothing. Really?  I guess I just need to remember this:

Plagued.

Since February, I have been plagued by one sort of running injury after another.  I’m starting to get annoyed.

First it was the Achilles tendon issue which resulted from too much running in the snow and running hills.  Then, as I tried to address that and started running more on the midfoot strike, I developed a calf/shin/soleus issue on the opposite leg.  I call it a shin splint (or medial tibial stress syndrome) but it also involves the soleus muscle itself and from everything I’m reading, it’s likely caused from too much mid-foot striking when I run.

“X” marks the spot. I’ve had pain right there on both legs now. Ugh.

Great!  (insert sarcastic eye roll here)

So while the Achilles tendon feels much, much better, the left leg felt awful.  So I rested, stretched, ran short distances and thought I was over the hump when I went for a short run the day before I started back to work, on March 31.  I stuck to the most natural foot fall, the heel strike, and to my amazement, not an ache at all when I ran. And more importantly, no pain a few days later.

And then I ran home from the office for the first time since starting back to work and bam! The next day, the RIGHT shin/calf/soleus started acting up.  In the exact same spot as on the LEFT.  Seriously, WTF?????

Okay, so maybe I haven’t been resting as much as I should.  Dammit, I love running and I love how it makes me feel. I don’t want to stop!  Running with my girlfriend last week was amazing!  I took Advil before the run and the leg felt great, but it’s 5 days later and it feels awful.  I totally masked the inflammation by taking the Advil, I know this.  We are supposed to run this week, so today I tried a mini run to the grocery store but had to stop after 50 meters.  50 METERS!  God dammit!

I am part of an online running group and a lot of the women there are having issues – one in particular has just been diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture after being plagued with shin splints for months.  Now, she’s a half-marathoner, so obviously running much longer distances than I am, but I fear if I keep going I may end up in the same boat.

So, I will try to listen to my body and rest up until this Wednesday.  Seven days off should be sufficient time to heal, right?  Right???

In the mean time, these will be close by.

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Injuries.

I think I’m injured.

No.

I know I am.

A few days ago, after a small snowfall and still stoked after my 6.6km run and despite having 5 days of migraines, I put on the cleats and went for a run.  I should have known after about 5 minutes that I didn’t need the cleats but I kept going.

Have you ever run on steel shoes?

Take it from me, don’t.

Most of my route had snow, but a lot didn’t.  The pounding of the pavement was brutal on my lower legs and ankles.  I should have stopped after a kilometer but I thought I could push through.  Most of the time, when there’s been a little soreness, once my muscles and tendons warm up, the soreness goes away.

Not this time.

I had to shut down the run at 3.76km, about 1/2 km away from home.  I took the cleats off and practically limped home.

Dejected.

Defeated.

In pain.

I took some Advil, iced what hurt and felt like shit for the rest of the day.  Oh, and my migraine headache came back.

The next morning, the sun was shining and the temperature was above zero for the first time in months.  My legs, surprisingly, didn’t feel all that bad.  I needed to get back out there.  I needed a psychological reset, if that makes any sense.  My husband could see how defeated I was, my running confidence shattered after just one run.  He encouraged me to go back out there, warned me to take it easy and walk a lot if I had to.

I had a good breakfast, drank a lot of water and took some Advil. I set out to run a slow, steady 5:1 interval run.  Within minutes I knew it would be a different kind of run.  My legs felt sore but I wasn’t in pain.  I successfully ran 4.1 km and my confidence returned.

But today I woke up with pain in my right ankle and terrible shin splints.  It’s not from yesterday’s run – it’s from the one the day before.  It always takes two days to feel the pain.  I suspect tomorrow will be worse.

I had planned on running another 6-7 km on the weekend.

I’m worried I’ve set myself back in my self-imposed 10K training.

Ankle injuries, specifically Achilles tendonitis, can be hard to come back from.

Did I just end my running before it even got started?

 

Pity Party.

I have been plagued by another running injury.  I mentioned in previous posts that I am climbing up the kilometer ladder and have made it to 8.2 km.  About 4 days after that run, I did a 5km run home from the office.  Then 2-3 days after that I ran again, only to be stopped at 3.6 km due to significant pain in the lower part of my legs.  That pain is now over a week old and not going away anytime soon.  Ugh.

Shin splints.

Bloody hell! Really?!   I am so frustrated.  I was getting into a great groove and now this.  It’s been 5 days since my last run.  I’ve been resting, I’ve been doing some stretching. Yet, every time I walk down a flight of stairs, I feel an electric-shock like pain running down the right lateral side of my lower leg.  Have I now irritated the fibular nerve?  The pain also seems to be creeping up just behind the knee so now I am also thinking it might be the right IT band.  $(%SK@!!

I have clearly done too much, too fast.  That’s the type-A personality in me, I suppose.  My girlfriends have all signed up for a 10km run in May.  I don’t think my body will let me run 10 km.  I think I’m destined to be a 5km runner.  Don’t misunderstand me – I didn’t have dreams of running a marathon (though the thought of walking/running the real Marathon route in Greece has been something I’ve been thinking about lately) – but I thought at least I could run 10 km.  It felt within my reach.  Now? Not so much.

I know what I should do — physio, stretching, ice and rest.  I’ll get through this injury.  Guess there’s no run for me today, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it is -10C today.  Bright side, right?