I’ve alluded to some pain in my left shin area in previous posts but I mostly glossed over it even though it’s been present to varying degrees during all of my runs over the past 2-3 weeks. I think that was partly because I wanted to avoid thinking it might be something serious. Icing was helping a bit, plus some aches and pains are a normal part of running…right? On Sunday night, while I was icing my left leg yet again, it really hit me that what I have probably isn’t a normal ache or pain. It’s very localized and none of my usual techniques for aches and pains–ice, foam rolling, rest–were working.
Time to see a doctor.
Today was the last day I could get a mandatory TB skin test for work (can you tell I like to procrastinate?). I was lucky enough to find a sports medicine clinic 2 blocks from where I needed to go for the TB test and I was able to get appointment this afternoon. Score.
Also, I’m pretty sure my skin test showed that I don’t have TB.
Anyway, the doctor and a student asked me questions about my running and general health and poked around both my shins. Poking a particular area near the left shin was definitely unpleasant. The doctor said I probably said I had a stress fracture and I said “Yeah, I kinda thought so”. They sent me down the hall for x-rays and the doctor said I definitely had a fracture but it’s healing and even though running 2 races on a stress fracture was pretty dumbass, at least I didn’t keep running and fracture the whole bone.
So what does this all mean?
- No running until further notice. If I’m feeling completely pain free I can give it a try but I have to back off immediately if the pain returns. Since my big goal for 2014–the Philadelphia Marathon–is still over 7 months away, it’s not out of the picture. But I don’t want to jeopardize that more than I may have already. So my plan is to play it safe and not run between now and my follow-up appointment in 3 weeks.
- I can cross-train. Suggested activities include swimming, biking, and the elliptical. It looks like my days of avoiding gym fees are over.
- If there’s no improvement in 3 weeks I may need to wear a boot. For some reason, this really freaks me out. I was really looking forward to some scenic runs by the water in Florida later this week, and it sucks that I won’t be able to do that. But I can still go enjoy the scenery on some short walks with my dad and maybe pay for a day pass at a gym. A boot would make things like this difficult.
After the appointment I drowned my sorrows in frozen yogurt.
I may have also had a very full glass of wine after dinner, which means I’m writing all of this while slightly buzzed.
Not being able to run for the foreseeable future is going to be frustrating but I’m trying to stay optimistic. I can spend a little more time with my dad in Florida because I won’t be out running by myself. Being in a temperature controlled gym during spring in central TX is probably a lot more pleasant than running outside. I
might will very likely have to miss 2 5Ks I was going to run in May but I can easily sign up for some other 5Ks if I decide I really want to run a bunch of 5Ks (spoiler: I probably don’t). The Philly Marathon and some other fall races that I’m looking forward to (like the Run for the Water) are still in the picture. So really, if I was going to be sidelined by an injury, this is probably the best time it could have happened. Best case scenario is that I take 4-6 weeks off, slowly build my mileage back up, and start marathon training a lot wiser than I was pre-stress fracture.
Worse case scenario: I’ll have a lot more time to eat ice cream and watch reality TV.