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?