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!