First of all, a little disclaimer: I am NOT at all an expert on running or running injuries. What I discuss here is purely through my own personal experience and knowledge. Take it or leave it but don’t leave ME!
We have all experienced pain while running. Whether it’s just those
Running is as much as a mental exercise as it is a physical exercise. Runners are often used to dealing with the pain and ‘learn’ to just run through it. But, how do you know when it is serious enough to STOP? Runners, especially long distance runners and beginning runners who are overtraining will run on serious injuries for months. Hoping the pain will go away… but it doesn’t. It slowly gets worse and the risk for a more permanent and serious injury that will require a MUCH greater rest time (NO runner wants to rest for more than a week! I can barely handle a day off). Stress fractures for example are a very common injury in long distance runners, female runners, and runners that are overtraining. Runners have been known to run on stress fractures for months through the pain before they get it looked at and often risk ending up with a full fracture.
In any case, there are MANY different kinds of running injuries. Each and every one of you have unique physiology and some are more prone to certain injuries than others. The trick is to know WHAT is going on, when and IF you need to stop training and what the solution is. It is not an easy task. Listen to your body. The first step is the ‘hop test’. If you cannot hop on the leg you are experiencing pain in, GET IT LOOKED AT. That is the #1 bad sign. Make sure you have range of motion in your ankle and knee. Is your leg visibly swollen, is it tender in certain areas to the touch? Does the pain start after you start running and does it increase? Does the pain go away when you run? Sounds crazy, but that is common. The pain I have goes away as the minutes go by. Are you healing? If you take a few rest days off from running and you are NOT feeling better, that is a warning sign. These are all things you need to be aware of.
I finally made my way to the orthopedic sports doctor at Boston Medical yesterday. I had my leg X-rayed and my leg examined by two doctors and an intern. The primary orthopedic doctor I saw is apparently known as the ‘Boss-Man’. I definitely felt like I was in good hands! It was actually a very cool experience. I learned that I DON’T have a visible stress fracture from the looks of the X-ray… but that can only truly be ruled out after getting an MRI that will definitely show if I have a stress fracture. Because my pain goes AWAY while I run, that is indicative that it is not compartment syndrome which is what I was so so so scared of so YAY!
As of now, it may be a stress fracture or shin splints which is really just ambiguous muscle tearing around the shin bone from overuse. I won’t know about the stress fracture until I get the MRI. But, in the meantime, here is the kicker:
He told me I should continue to run. He said there is no permanent damage being done and that if I could mentally deal with the pain that I should continue to train and that my brain will tell me if I should stop.
I had a difficult time wrapping my brain around this. Will I really know if I need to stop? Sure it hurts when I run but I CAN run. Will I always run with pain? I still feel like I do not have any answers. Maybe I overtrained in the beginning and was wearing the wrong sneakers and not stretching as much as I should have been and not allowing myself to recover. But the pain is here now. Will the new changes I have made now make a difference and will the pain slowly go away… or should I not run though the pain at all.
You may be asking now… what is WRONG with this girl!? Why does she continue to run?? If you are a runner, you will hopefully understand the urge and the NEED to run. The truth is my left leg has ALWAYS bothered me… on long walks, runs, you name it. I push through it and it dissipates, and now that I am running longer distances and loving it more and more the more I desire to push through it. Running is a major stress reliever in my life. No other exercise compares for me in terms of stress relief. I have asked myself, will it be possible now that I have new sneakers (not that my Mizunos were old… they were just too hard on my feet), I am stretching more, wearing a compression sleeve and so on… will these things allow my leg to get better WHILE I run if it is not doing damage? As the rest of my body and mind gets stronger… will my left leg not have a chance to catch up?
Honestly, I feel ridiculous saying that I want to and will continue to run. But if the doctor says it is okay… then why not just accept it for now?
I have a 5k, a 10k and two half marathons coming up within the next two months. I do not want to be in pain. Even if I CAN run, I don’t want this pain. Is my brain just too stubborn to make me stop? YES.
So I ran 4 mikes after work yesterday in my new sneakers. My feet loved them. I had so much energy and my right leg was a rockstar. Why is it only my left leg? Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? But honestly, it had been 9 days since my last run, and it never hurt so good.
As of now, ibuprofen has worked, icing it, stretching, rolling it and wearing a compression sleeve have all helped. But last night was the worst. It ached and burned deep in my mid-calf and kept me up last night. When I got up it wasn’t much better. But once I got going it very quickly started to lessen. It waxes and wanes. Even after seeing one of the best specialists for this kind of thing I still feel left in the dark. Was I not describing my symptoms accurately? Perhaps, despite what he says, I AM doing damage? But if not, should I just accept the pain as a part of me?
I have also been taking Glutamine and MSM …. can’t hurt right? I’ll try anything (natural and not harmful) that may help Lefty out a little :)
If the MRI comes back showing that I have a stress fracture, I need to stay off my leg for 8 weeks so that it definitely heals. I am already trying to mentally prepare myself for that. I am prepared to plan a training schedule and races for LATE this year early next year. Until I need to cross that bridge… I will continue to listen to my body and run if I can. Please don’t think I am crazy!
So on another crazy but quite hilarious note…. I also learned that it is probably not a good idea to eat GREEN overnight oats in a jar in a doctor’s office waiting room. It will look gross. Guaranteed. No matter how delicious those oats are, it is guaranteed to gross people out. Good thing I have no shame! HaHA!
This morning I got to eat my green oats in private! Last night I conjured up a batch of strawberry banana overnight oats to bring to work with me today. I had a nearly empty jar of crunchy 365 peanut butter in the fridge at work I knew would make the perfect little oat jar.
Strawberry Banana Green overnight Oats in a Jar
- 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
Mix it all up and store in the fridge until the AM! If you happen to have nearly empty nut butter jar you can soak the oats in the jar or add them the next morning.
last night I had a wine FAIL. I mean… okay, maybe it wasn’t a complete fail. I mean, I did drink the wine after all. But I will never buy it again. Just like the label AND the synthetic cork told me… it was FUNKY.
Sorry… I do generally like Argentinean wines across the board. AND I appreciate cute marketing techniques. And I DO like a little funk in my vino from time to time.. especially if it is from South Africa or Chile where the wines are sure to be smokey, gamey and kinda funky… but this really did TASTE like a $5.99 bottle of wine. It seemed cheap to me vs. inexpensive. It wasn’t crisp and fresh like Pinot Grigio should be… it was interpreted like an over-oaked Californian Chardonnay. Hard to explain and I’ve already talked your ears off enough… but don’t buy this wine. There are plenty of other Bottles for under $10 that are FAR FAR better choices :)
How do you feel about eating gross looking food in public?
have you ever had a running injury or dealt with chronic running pain?
What is your go-to wine if you drink the juice!?
Thanks for reading through all my craziness… this was a lengthy one! <3