Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shin Splints, Ahhh!

MIA, that has been me.  I have been incredibly busy with running, school, PT observing, so I have been kind of neglecting the blog a bit.  Unfortunately, my brain has been distracted and thinking what to write hasn't been as easy as in the past.

Today was finally my first day of running on the Boston course with my new run club that I joined last month.  I wish I could say everything went great, but unfortunately, it didn't.  But I will back it up just a bit.

I had about 3 weeks of amazing training.  I was getting faster.  I was hitting speed work, tempos, marathon pace runs....Everything was going great until this past weekend.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that my big toe was hurting while I was running and it looks like I am getting a bunion on the joint of my big toe.  The bunion has been swelling a lot on runs and has been pretty painful.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to order new shoes right away.  I just kept thinking the pain would go away which sometimes it did.  But, I think when the pain would go away, it was because I was altering my gait.

#1 rule of running, do not alter your gait when you are feeling pain!!!  I should have just ordered new shoes and things would have been great, but I wasn't that smart.  So last weekend, I did 18 miles with 12 @ marathon pace.  I did this workout on the treadmill, again because of some crazy winds that we had.  I ran the 12 miles at 7:53 pace, which on my treadmill turns out to be around 7:35.  Mistake #1.  I got done with the workout and I had some calf tightness, but I figured it was from just the hard run.

I kept running the next few days and my calf would feel sore at the end of my run but nothing crazy.  Until Wednesday......Wednesday, I was on a 15 mile run (I ran a speed session the day before) and 8 miles into my run, I started having lower calf pain.  The pain was similar to the pain I had before I got my achilles tendonitis a few years ago, so I decided to cut my run short at 12 miles.  Yes, I ran on it for 4 miles, but again, I didn't think it was an injury, just tightness.  I decided to take two days off so that I would have a shot at making my long run today.

Thursday, I still felt the muscle tightness, but it was getting better.  Friday, I felt even better.  I did my PT observing that day, and the wonderful therapist I am observing massaged my calf and gave me some stretches.  I went home and the calf continued to feel better throughout the day and I woke up this morning with no tightness, yay!

I got ready for my long run and headed out for the slushiest, wettest long run that I have ever run.  But it was on the Boston course so I was in heaven!  We parked in Wellesley, so we hit the Newton hills within the first few miles.  I cruised up the hills.  I was feeling great and was maintaining a sub-8:50 pace even though I was trying to hold back.  I had no muscle pain so I thought the rest took care of everything.  My plan was to run 9 miles and turn around.  I got a little lost at Cleveland Circle but luckily our run club President was out on the course and saw me and got me back on track.  Right around mile 8.5 is when the muscle tightness returned.  UGH!

I turned around at 8.75 miles as I knew I needed to finish this run and my leg was not in the mood to be nice. Unfortunately, my run back was coming back down the Newton hills.  This would normally be a welcome break, but for some reason, my calf felt better going up, not going down.  So I toughed it out and still maintained my 8:50ish pace the whole way home.  We had a water stop set up at 4 miles to go and I considered stopping, but the pain wasn't TOO bad, so I figured I may as well finish my run because I knew this may be my last run for a while.

It was at this point that I started to convince myself that it it OK to throw out my Boston time goals.  I would rather know I can complete that race pain-free than to continue on this path I am on and not be able to run the whole race.  I passed so many people on the last 4 miles which mentally was even tougher as I was frustrated that I could run so strong but hurt so much.  I got back to the Wellesley Community Center, got changed, and that is when the calf totally seized up.
(Cold and wet but so happy to have completed my first Boston training run!)

Wow, my whole ankle was tight and so was my calf.  I ran an amazing 17.5 miles and had so much fun.  But now, it is time for me to rest.  The muscle on the inside of my shin is swollen, so I am guessing I have shin splints.  I am thinking since the pain has just started, and because it went away with rest that as of right now I have not fractured anything.  But, I refuse to let this get any worse, so I am going to rest my leg some more this week.  I ordered a new pair of shoes on Thursday, so when I do run again, I will hopefully correct the reason why this started in the first place.  I am so glad I already qualified for Boston again next year as mentally this decision was a lot easier to make then I thought it would be.  My time goal is getting thrown out as is my training schedule.  I will run when my body says it is ok and will make it to that starting line.  I will be wearing this on April 16th....
(I am not a fan of the orange, but I have told my husband I want to be buried in this jacket.)

So I sit here with ice on my leg and will concentrate on school for the next few days.  I am trying to avoid googling shin splints, because I never read anything good.  The most frustrating part is that was one of my fastest non-marathon pace long runs that I have ever run and I feel great minus my calf/shin. If it's not one thing, it is always another isn't it?

Do you find it hard to stop running when you know you should?  What would you do if you were 7 weeks out from a race you have been waiting 5 years to run and you suddenly injured yourself?


runportiarun said...

I am so sorry to hear about your calf. But I think you are absolutely doing the right thing to rest it. Maybe go back to the PT you observed? I know I have a tendency to suffer alone and it's always better when you have someone helping you and telling you what to do. I would only have rested half as long on my last injury without my PT. And I am completely healed now. I hope you feel better soon because I want to see you flying by me at the 20k mark (I'm a clock watcher this year).

Suzanne Westenhofer said...

Sorry to hear about your calf. Hopefully the rest will help. The orange is pretty bright but the jacket looks great otherwise!

RunTheLongRoad said...

I would keep the big picture in mind. Best to nip it in the bud NOW so it doesn't turn into anything devastating (i.e., you can't run Boston at all). You qualified for 2013, so you always have that.

I have the Tiger Tail and it works wonders for shin splits.

Rest up and get better. Don't throw in the towel just yet either.

My (ugly orange) Boston jacket is hanging in my closet waiting until April 16th. I CANNOT wait to wear it.

AmyC said...

I think I would totally stress myself out...but you should not do that! It sounds like you are being smart. It is hard to rest when you've been on such a roll, but you don't want to end up unable to run Boston at all. Take it easy and take care of yourself. And please share any tips/tricks/advice you learn along the way. I ran my first HM last August with a terrible shin started about 3 weeks from race day =)

See Mom Run Far said...

Bummer Robin!!!! Hang in there - I hurt my Achilles 4-5 weeks before I had two marathons in September and I was sure I was DONE (as were my goals to BQ) but I took a week off, then a week easy, and I was back better than ever after those two weeks. Make sure you ice, stretch, roll, (use a "stick" on your calf a lot if you have one) and baby it as much as you can. I have had similar issues before - Warming up well helps, and then only run if it doesn't get tighter/more painful as you go (if it does, stop asap). We still have a lot of time until Boston and your training has been going SO well. Don't give up yet my friend. Hugs!

Michelle said...

This is SO where I am at. I've been sidelined for almost 3 weeks. I've taken some runs here and there, but end up worse than before. Lots of swimming, lots of stretching and tons of ice & ibuprofen. I have thrown out my original plan and have a new one....finish Boston. Thanks for sharing your makes me feel not so alone.

Laura said...

Oh, no Robin! You're my high-mileage-invincible-blogging buddy! You can't get hurt! I hope it's an easy fix with a little rest. I'm battling a twisted ankle and am forced to rest as well. Booo :( So great that you know you can count on Boston next year! (Btw, I dropped the wordpress part of my blog url, new link is just

Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs said...

I completely commiserate - even though you are much, much faster than me! I also have a bunion - and it's on the same foot/leg that I have my tendonitis (I never put 2 and 2 together before, but I don't doubt that it's a contributing factor!). I have to lace my shoe differently (I skip the bottom loop on my right shoe to accomodate). You are in such a sticky situation though! I think it's better to rest now than risk injury. Boston is going to be AWESOME for you regardless -- even better if you can run it healthy.

Lisa Rini said...

Oh my goodness!! Hope your calf is feeling better. This is like deja vu all over again. I was 6 weeks out last spring from Boston when i had my calf/IT Band "thing" happen. DO NOT RUN ON IT AS LONG AS IT HURTS!!! I ended up not running for the entire 6 weeks prior to the race (did spinning instead). I doubt you'll have to take that much time off, but, better to make sure that it's okay. :) Sending healing thoughts your way. Keep me posted. :) :)

Michele @ said...

Robin...I've been in a writing funk lately too if that makes you feel any better! I feel like I don't want to force writing anything that my heart is not I'm not writing =)
I'm SO SO SO sorry to hear that you are not feeling 100%...I know what a kick in the stomach that can be - especially when you were seeing fantastic results so quickly. I've been injured once in my life - it was from taking a hard fall during a trail half marathon. I knew I was injured but tried to run...each time I tried, my knee would be in so much pain. I would take a few days off and at the first sign of it feeling okay, I would try to run. Not the smartest thing. I ended up deciding to just "x" off an entire month on the calendar and I signed up for a 65 mile bike ride instead. For the next month, all I did was bike and train for the race. It kept my mind off of running and I felt like I was staying in good cardiovascular shape. When the bike ride was complete, I started running again - and have injury free since (Oct 2009).
Listen to your body and then when you feel good...take another few days or so off. You will qualify for Boston again. You will run Boston again. Don't push it for one race.

runningforthekitchen said...

oh no!! Im so sorry youre hurting!! I hope you heal quicky, and can enjoy Boston pain free

Rebbie_welch said...

Robin it was such a treat to meet you today! I hope the remainder of your run was a success! I am so impressed with your determination and all that you have already accomplished. You have inspired me to get started on my own blog. Hope to see you next week.