Injury Update

This past week has been quite an emotional one, and I apologize to anyone who has been in my path. After the X-Ray didn’t show too much on my tibia, my doctor decided I should get a bone scan done. So Tuesday morning, I headed off to the hospital for part 1 of my scan. I had never done a bone scan before, so I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. But if it was a way to find out what was wrong, then I was on board.

Around 10am I was called back and injected with radioactive dye. I was scanned a few times, and then I was on my way. It was more uncomfortable than painful, but a lot easier than I expected. I was told to come back three hours later for part 2. Because of the inconvenience of the procedure, I ended up taking a vacation day, so with three hours to waste, I did a little shopping. If you’re going to spend a vacation day at the hospital, you should at least make part of it fun, right?

I got back to the hospital around 1:30 for scan number two. This one took longer, and they did a series of shots. I was told that over time, the dye went from my blood, and was now sticking to damaged parts of my bones. Interesting, and weird. I wasn’t given any results that day, but would have my follow up appointment that following Friday.

Surprisingly, the next two days I had very minimal pain, I was hoping that maybe I just needed an extended rest period, and I would be ready to go back to running. Unfortunately, the pain came back on Thursday, and was still present during my appointment Friday. And then, I got the news. My gut was right. Not only did I have a stress fracture in my right tibia, I had two. One in my upper tibia, and one in my lower, both points where I’ve had horrible pulsing pain. And they’re pretty deep too, which doesn’t help. To make matters worse, my left tibia was a bit weak as well. Had I continued to run, it would have been a matter of time before I had a stress fracture there as well. When it rains, it down right pours.

Not what you want to see.

Not what you want to see.

I held it together for the rest of the appointment, but I shed a few tears as I headed into work. Hearing the news of a stress fracture just tears me apart. I’m in new territory here, and can’t be certain how long I’ll be out. I do know that Coastal Delaware Marathon is out though. They still have a half and 9k 😉 Thankfully the doctor understands how much running means to me, and is helping me get back into running in a safe, yet slow timeline. Here’s the projected path of recovering, considering everything goes right.

Week of 1/25 and 2/1: No exercising. Do abs and lift. Check!

Week of 2/8 and 2/15: 15-20 minutes of bike or elliptical, every other day. Continue to do abs and lift.

Week of 2/22 and 2/29: 15-20 minutes of speed walking, every other day. Continue to do abs, lift and bike or elliptical.

Week of 3/7: Run 2 minutes slower than regular pace for 20 minutes, three times a week. Continue to do abs and lift.

Week of 3/14: Run 1 minute slower than regular pace for 20 minutes, three times a week. Continue to do abs and lift.

Week of 3/21: Run regular pace for 20 minutes, three times a week. Continue to do abs and lift.

Week of 3/28 and forward: Increase mileage by 10% only, three times a week. Continue to do abs and lift.

*Subject to change depending on pain.

I’m certainly devastated to be injured. I’ve had every emotion under the sun this week, and sunk down pretty far into a hole of despair Saturday. But I needed to hit bottom, to let my tears out so I can build myself back up. I’m definitely nervous and a little fearful I’ll slip back into injury, but I have to take things slow and learn not to push myself too hard. I’ve had about two years of running injury free, so my time was due. And after 16+ years of running, I can say that I’ve finally had a stress fracture, and I will beat it.

 

Any tips on recovering from a stress fracture?

 

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Coastal Delaware Marathon Training: Week Six

Well, what can I say about this week. I planned on running 32-25 miles, increasing my long run to 17-18 and spending some quality time with my running shoes. That didn’t quite happen, it was actually the exact opposite. I ended up with 0 miles for this week, and here’s why.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll have random shin pain that really only lasts a day and I try to take the next day off. No big deal, it wasn’t causing harm or making me miss multiple runs. It was just there, and then gone. So after taking a rest day Sunday, I figured by Monday afternoon, the pain would be gone, just like always. But the pain didn’t go away. In fact, it lingered. From a dull ache to a random burst of mild pain, I decided I’d take this past week day by day. Surely after two rest days it would be gone, right?

Nope. Things got worse. When my shin hurt during my entire commute Tuesday morning (45 minutes of driving), I decided to call a doctor. Hoping that since I made an appointment, the pain would go away. That’s typically how it works, fingers crossed.

I had my appointment on Wednesday morning, and the results weren’t great. With symptoms of a stress fracture, we did an X-Ray. Unfortunately, the results didn’t show much, just as expected, with the exception of a minor faint horizontal line near the base of the pain. With what I’m sure was an absolute pathetic look in my eyes, I asked the doctor what we should do. He replied with treat it as a stress fracture and we’ll get some more tests done.

I took the rest of the week off running and will be taking next week off as well. We’re hoping that with two weeks of rest, the pain will be less and I can slowly get back to normal. But here I am, a week later, and I’m still having a decent amount of pain. No biking, no elliptical, no doing anything that will add any more pressure to the leg. But thankfully, no walking boot, at least not yet.

I have a bone scan scheduled for Tuesday morning, which I’m sure will be a delight. And we’ll be following that up with another appointment on Friday to discuss results and what to do next.

I go through moments of no pain at all, thinking that maybe it’s just in my head, to a dull ache, to random bursts of sharp pain. It’s definitely worse after being on my feet for long periods of time and after driving. I’ve never had a stress fracture before, but in my gut, I believe that’s what it is. If it were typical aches and pains, it’d be gone after a few days, but here it is, still lingering, still preventing me from doing what I love. And what keeps me sane.

I’m not exactly sure where training will be going from here. I’m almost 100 percent certain that running the full will be out. Hopefully this is just a minor issue and I’ll be able to get back into training and run the half. This is definitely not where I saw my spring going, mostly because I felt so strong during my runs, and never felt that pain was limiting me. I’m trying to put a positive spin on everything, which has been hard. So for now, I’ll be taking it easy, working on my core, and counting down the days until I can run again.

Akron Marathon Traning: Week Eleven

Well, one week of no running is complete. I’m hoping that taking some time off will help to keep any more injury away, but not allow me to get too far behind in training. I’ve done a lot of thinking, and researching and I think I may have some idea of what happened to me, how it happened, and how this will change my training. So let’s start at the beginning.

I don’t have any medical degree what so ever, but from previous injuries and a few Google searches, my symptoms line up most with peroneal tendinitis. I’m pretty familiar with tendinitis, as it’s something that creeps up every year. With previous issues in my arch, and tendinitis in my knee last year, it makes sense that my left foot joined in. So how did I go from having strong runs to struggling so quickly? Easy, I *probably* put too many miles on my new shoes too quickly. Oops, but that 20 miler was amazing. I also may have been stepping differently to avoid injuring both my knee and arch, so something else had to take the weight and now the pain. My left leg has also felt a little tight lately, so tight muscles lead to possibly  injuries here. I can for sure cancel out over pronating, because I’m in the weird 10% that actually lands evenly on their shoes. You’d think it would  be the opposite for me.

After I pinpointed the possible problem, I had to figure out how to fix it. I knew I’d have to stretch, ice, foam roll and keep my foot elevated as much as possible. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done. I had a full week and barely had any time to relax. I also had a weekend filled with a close friend’s wedding, so my feet were confined to 4 inch heels and lots of dancing. Luckily, the only time I was in real pain, was the end of Saturday night.

So as of right now, the pain is pretty minimal. It’s usually worst in the mornings right after I get out of bed. It hurts a little bit off and on during the day, depending on which shoes I’m wearing, how often I get up and down, and how long I’ve been on my feet. But for the most part, I’d say I’m on the upswing of things. So where does this lead me with the rest of my training? Taking it day by day. With five weeks left, every run is crucial and if I’m in pain, I won’t risk it to hurt my chances of having a strong race.

I still plan on running three days a week to keep my cardio up. I’ll keep those shorter, and try to get to the track two more times. If I can, I’ll keep these runs a day apart so my body doesn’t get beat up running back to back. I also plan to get back into my yoga classes. Now that summer is winding down, and my schedule is almost clear again, I can take time to do some stretching and relaxing once a week. Hopefully this will help to keep me limber and keep the tight muscles to a minimum.

My long runs will be a bit more challenging. I essentially have two more long runs before I begin to taper. This next week is slated for 17 and it will  be followed by 20. I’m a little nervous for these. How I’m feeling on these runs will most likely be the same come race day. I’m hoping to run them with MCRR so I have some distraction from the miles and some support if I need to drop out. Other than that, I’m going to take each run as it’s own. I’m nervous coming back, hoping I gave myself enough time to do a slight recovery, but also concerned I’ve lost too much and will have to start over. I’ve run at least one 20 miler. I know I can do the distance, it just depends on how much pain I can handle. Most importantly, I still plan on being at the start line come September 28th. I’ve worked too hard to let a little set back take me out.

 

 

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 5

A new week, a new opportunity for training. Last week was bad, but that was last week. I needed to get back into normal training mode. This included a 4 mile run to start the week. I felt great, I felt strong, I felt semi back to normal. It was the run I needed to pull  myself back up. Pity party over.

Tuesday was my doctor’s appointment, and after waiting for almost two hours I finally had a chance to see the doctor. After poking and stretching, she’d decided I have hamstring tendinitis. Most likely from overuse and not resting after it started. So how do I cure this? She suggested cross training, physical therapy and limit my running (ie. that 16 miler on Saturday isn’t happening). She also gave me a bunch of stretches to try and suggest that I scrap all junk miles and either my half in Maine or the full.

So I created a revised training plan,consisting of cross training and stretching for a week and see how the pain feels. Which means a full 7 days without running. After one day I became a little cranky. By the time next Tuesday rolls around, I’m sure I’m going to be very pleasant. Even though I ran less miles this week than last week, I know I’m doing the right thing by taking a small amount of time off. I’d rather be hurt now and overcome it, than be doing some hard damage the week  before the marathon.

Monday: 4 Miles

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Biked 6 Miles

Thursday: Biked 5 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 4 Miles Run, 11 Miles Biked

What’s my revised plan? I’m taking it day by day. This week I want to bike the amount of miles I was supposed to run, as long as I’m not in pain. Wednesday night I had my first ride on the stationary bike and dominated some Jeopardy as well. Thursday morning I got  up early and got some more miles in. Both rides were pain free and so tempting to go running. I’m hoping that by taking the weekend off and doing absolutely nothing to strain my knee, I should be able to get a few more miles in next week.

What does this do to my races I have scheduled? This was hard. I knew I had some smaller races coming up, like a 10k and a 5k, I hadn’t registered yet.  I decided that I should cross those off the list and focus on the important races, or at least races further into the fall. The hardest decision was MDI. I know the course will be challenging, including a mile of going straight uphill. As much as I love Maine, and love Mount Desert Island, I just don’t think this is the year I should be doing it.

What I learned this week:

  • Taking it easy is ok when you’re injured. Sometimes you need to sit back and let your body take care of itself. Just remember that no one likes a cranky runner, so keep your craziness to yourself.
  • Taking a DNS on a race isn’t always so bad. While I can’t defer my registration, I know in the end, that it’s better for me to sit this one out than hurt my body a month before the marathon.
  • If you have to pick races, pick the one that will mean the most to you. I’ve put in so much time and effort already this year, I don’t want to drop the marathon. If I’m still injured come race day, I can at least say I tried and gave it all I had.

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 4

This week was supposed to be about the base miles. With no long run for two weeks, I wanted to get in some decent runs, maybe even some speed work. This plan was tossed out on the first day. Monday I was still pretty sore from Sunday’s long run, wasn’t too out of the ordinary, as I’ve been running my long runs Saturday and taking the next day to recover. Tuesday I hoped to get a decent 5-6 mile run in after work. My body had a different idea, I started getting a migraine around 11:30, and knew my day would be down hill from there.

This was my body’s way of telling me that I need a few days off. I went from running 24 miles total in June, to averaging 24 miles each week. This was bound to happen eventually. So I tried to rest. And then I woke up early on Wednesday and went for a short jog before work. I loved it. I was in a little pain, and a little tired, but it felt good to be pounding the pavement before I had the stress of the day on my shoulders. This certainly isn’t something I’ll do everyday, because I was exhausted by 11:00 am, but I think it was a nice change to my normal runs. And I didn’t feel guilty for eating a 12oz steak that night.

I finally caved in and decided to call the doctor about my knee. After searching online and checking all of the symptoms, I think my medial meniscus is the issue. No bruising, no swelling, just pain when I move my knee certain ways. I’ve been putting this off for months, mostly because I didn’t want to hear the words “You’re done running” but I’ve come to the point, where I have to go now, or I’m sure I’ll screw up my knee bad enough I won’t be able to run in October.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Migraine

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 2.5 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 5.5 Miles

So needless to say, this week was more of a bust than anything. I know I needed the rest, but I felt bad that I wasn’t following my training. I was able to tape my knee before the weekend, and it seemed to help with some of the pain. But the pain is still there and it actually hurts worse not running than when I was running more miles. I’m just hoping this isn’t going to put a huge block in my training.
What I learned this week:

  • Your body will let you know when it needs a break. Even if you think you feel great, you may need a few days to let yourself recover. Don’t be stubborn, it can make things worse in the end.
  • Morning runs aren’t that bad during the week. You just need to give yourself enough time to get up and get the miles in before your regular morning schedule.