Not the news I wanted to share.

Like life, running can flip in no time at all. My last blog post hinted at a sore calf and it’s blatantly obvious to me now that maybe that hint was a bit of subconscious foreshadowing on my part. Four weeks ago my soleus muscle was tender but not painful. There have been many a times I’ve had an achey this-or-that then days later, with proper care, the soreness is miraculously gone.  Unfortunately though, that little soreness turned into something greater.  

So it was three weeks ago that I decided I needed time off.  I took 3 days off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again and very sore to run on.  I took a week off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again.  You get the idea.  Finally last week the Mr. urged me to make a doctors appointment.  I have an amazing runner Doctor who was able to see me almost immediately and within days I had an x-ray that came back clear followed by a bone scan….that did not come back clear.  I am still in complete shock and denial while typing out- I have a stress fracture in my upper tibia.  mother trucker.  

The good news is that on a scale of shin splints to fracture its “barely a fracture”  We caught it quickly and it’s borderline “stress reaction.”  I can hop without pain (not that I’m doing that again), walk without pain, and I can rub the fracture spot without feeling anything at all. Still though, time off is needed.  The Chicago Marathon is out and any hopes of another fall marathon are out as well.  I will rest and cross train for 5 weeks  then slowly ease back into running and choose an early/mid Spring Marathon.

Why did this happen?  Honestly I have no idea.  I ran at a high/competitive level for 5 years with one injury that was entirely  explainable. When I ran a 50K that I was not properly trained for and barely drank a sip of water, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I tore my calf.  That was my only injury before this year! Last year I had such an amazing year, PRing in every event.  Then this year on the same exact training I suffer two stress fractures.  I have no explanation why this has happened.  I change shoes regularly, my bone density score is almost perfect, my calcium and vitamin D levels are great, and (tmi) I get my period every single month (no female athlete triad here).  I honestly am baffled by this injury.  Frustration would be an understatement.

So where do we go from here?  I am being referred to physical therapy.  We would like to figure out why, well, why this year sucked.  More specifically if I have any muscle imbalances that are putting undue stress on my right side (both fracture were on this side).  As far as coaching, we will move to a different training cycle. For the past two years I’ve been on a 7 day training cycle, by my choosing.  I LOVE a 7 day training cycle because it allows me to get all my hard days in while my children are in school.  Unfortunately it also give my body less rest than a traditional cycle does.  So we will adjust that and see if it helps.  So while I am very frustrated, we are being proactive about my situation.  I’m not just going to sit around and wallow about it.  I have had my fair share of wine & golden oreo cookies the last three days but that’s expected.  The Mr. has been an absolute champ at helping me feel better and not reminding me that I’m old and can’t do this stuff anymore.  

I am not one of those people who believe “Everything happens for a reason”  Honestly I think bad stuff happens all the time for no reason at all, but I will say my attitude is important and I can make the best of this situation.  I’m still in the initial shock stage and therefore feeling a bit helpless because I felt so close to my goal of 2:43 but just couldn’t seem to keep it together.  I’m not ready to let that goal go….at all.  Thank you so much for your support everyone.  Thanks for letting me vent on this little corner of the interwebs. Hopefully my ramblings make sense.  I’ll be reading all your running blogs, tweets, instagrams, etc. over the next 5 weeks to keep me run happy.  Thanks for any advice too!

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25 thoughts on “Not the news I wanted to share.

  1. Oh boo. I’m so sorry to hear that, Kris. Brian has a nagging hip injury that’s been hanging around for a while, so he hasn’t been running either. But I know both of you will heal up and come back stronger and hungrier for fast times than ever! I’m sending speedy recovery vibes your way!

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  2. Last summer when I got my 2nd metatarsal stress fracture the doctor told me three weeks no running. I was so happy he said three instead of four-six. Even when I told him three weeks later it still hurt, he said no problem you can still start running. Well after three weeks of running I couldn’t even walk. I went to a different doctor and ended up with another stress fracture in my medial cuneiform and first metatarsal. Then I had to take seven weeks off of running. I cross trained the entire time both times. So wait until your foot is completely pain free to start running!!

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  3. Hi Kris. I’m so, so sorry to hear this news. I’m also in the midst of a calf/soleus muscle soreness issue. I’ve had similar symptoms as you have described, took a week off and the muscle is still cranky and I still have some pain. Sports doc thought it might have been an irritated posterior tib when I saw her last week, but now I am sitting here debating on whether to ask for a bone scan when I follow up with her in a week. I don’t know why this happened either – I can’t pinpoint anything I’ve really done too differently. And, like you, my lovely 70-mile weeks to build up for my fall marathon may now be all for naught. But I’m trying to stay positive as well and look at this as a time to build on my core strength and do other stuff. I may try to get my group exercise certification to take my mind off not being able to run! Maybe you can use your time to delve into some other stuff, or read a great book or two. (I enjoyed reading “The Night Circus” recently, and “This is Where I Leave You” was also good!) Since I haven’t been running super early in the morning and had to cross train instead, I’ve also been trying to enjoy staying up a bit later at night. And tonight (since I’m unfortunately unable to run long tomorrow morning), I’m going to have a rare date night out with the hubs and will have a second glass of wine. 🙂 Trying hard to see the positives in this unscheduled layoff. While I’d definitely rather be running, I know this is temporary and I’ll be back out there soon enough. And it’ll be all the sweeter for the struggle, right? Hang in there.

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  4. K-Law, this absolutely sucks. Anyway you look at it… this is just not a fun situation. You put in so much hard work and were so patient with your last fracture. I am sorry this happened, you did not deserve this outcome. I know you are one tuff cookie, and fortunately you are also a wonderful friend, mother, etc. in addition to an amazing athlete, and since you are not one dimensional at all, so you have lots of other things that you can choose to fill your time and energy with when running is not an option, but I have no doubt that you will be back and you will smash that 2:43 during the next round. Love you!

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  5. I feel your pain! You and I both seem to have these pesky calf issues. Funny because the other day after you commented on my post I was thinking I would ask you how you’ve kept the calf healthy while I keep ping-ponging back to it…ugh. Maybe I should get a bone scan…haven’t tried that. My calf issues also bounce around from one leg to the other; the tear was my right calf but the soreness now is in the other.

    BUT…you will recover and you are NOT too old and you will run PRs again. Because you are resilient and persistent and won’t let this stop you. I think there are so many lessons to learn from these setbacks, and while I seem to be a slow learner (!), I have a feeling you are faster in that department!

    Heal up, speedy!

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  6. Dang it!!! My heart breaks for both Hollie and now you Kris. Two amazing runners both on the shelf for now. But the other thing that makes you both amazing is how you both are coping with your injuries and being proactive. This a good example for me to follow and remember. I guess I’ll be dedicating some of my fall race mileage to you both. On the positive side I’m so happy you caught it early before it became a MAJOR fracture. You’ll reach that goal of 2:43 or better for sure. And you are so not old we are just getting better … MEB showed us both that 🙂 Keep your head up and you still inspire me bunches!!! Sending get well wishes!!!

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  7. Hey girl. I’ve never had experience with this so I really don’t have any advice. Just here to say I’m thinking of you from afar and wishing you a fast recovery! Sounds like you’re already on your way with your outlook.

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  8. Kris, no!! I’m incredibly sad about this! Like you, I am confused, but you are being proactive, which is good. I think extending the training cycle like you said could really help. Because, even though we may be doing all the right things, if we are stressing the body too much, it eventually gives in. My second thought is regarding hip/glute strength. I had soleus issues earlier this year and I was baffled it was all related to my weak hips/core/glutes. While you are not able to run, get on a good hip strengthening and stretching program. Besides that, i wish you the speediest recovery! Cheering for your comeback already!!

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  9. HI Kris,
    This makes me so sad!! i KNOW how much injury sucks (I am still feeling grateful to run without pain since my cast came off in March). You are one of the most inspiring runners I know and I truly look up to you… I am so so sorry you are going through this. I have NO doubt though that you will come back from this more determined and hungrier than ever and that you will get that 2:42:xx or better. My favorite book about the mental side of sport “The Champion’s Mind” says that when you are dealing with injury you have to make “recovery and rehab your new sport”. Hang in there and big hugs! – E

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  10. Pingback: Training week in Review - 9 & 8 Weeks out from Harrisburg (9/1/14 - 9/14/14) - Fox Runs Fast

  11. So Sorry to read this, I can’t even imagine the shock and emotions you must be going through right now. I hope that the next few weeks of cross training and healing go quickly and that you are able to find some answers. Don’t let go of that goal of yours, you WILL get there.

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