So, I was hoping to head out on the trails today for a short run to see how life was treating my poor, sore leg. Unfortunately, trying to crawl across the floor last night to get a toy for my kid, I realized that I am still really favoring my left leg. So, it would appear life has other plans for me and no trails are in my future today.
I have not run since last Saturday - so six days. Instead I have done the elliptical twice and rested on the off days. I have been using heat on my shin twice a day instead of icing. The results? Well, instead of things feeling 80-percent crappy after exercise, I would say they are feeling more in the 35 to 45 percent range - so not miraculously better, but certainly not worse. In fact, I am hopefully optimistic that I am headed in the right direction. I only question now if I am doing enough. Thoughts still go through my head that I should just completely take time off from everything for a week or so, but so far I cannot bring myself to take that drastic step.
Boo Hoo ... Why Me?
Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the image I must make with my little injuries and dramas. I mean, the title of this blog is Tales from an Average Runner, not Tales from an Elite-Hoping-to-Get-to-Boston Runner. I keep thinking to myself, I should not be having these issues. I am not an elite runner packing on a zillion miles a week, nor am I a beginner or weekend warrior. To my mind, I should be in that sweet spot of running: just an average runner who runs enough to keep in shape but not so much that they are hurting themselves. I don't get it. I guess it just goes to show that the average runner can deal with injury, too. Who knows, maybe it is just bad genes or mechanics. Maybe I'll figure it out one day.
In the meantime, I am left with a lot of time to think about this, and it's hard to put into words the feelings and thoughts that I am experiencing right now. "Frustrated, anxious, impatient, annoyed" are just a few of them. And, you may notice not one of them is particularly positive. I have never been a very patient person, and I have an extremely hard time taking the long view of things - especially when it comes to running. It is KILLING me not to just head outside and do what I want to do right now, which today means a trail run (one of the first I would have done in a long time). I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't that bad.... some folks are sidelined for months with injuries (and how I don't want to be one of them).
The only positive thing - or maybe this is adding fuel to my frustration - is that I know I could go out and run if I wanted to. After all, my shin doesn't actually hurt while I run. It's after running that it gets ugly. It hurts when I press on it (I know, I know, so don't press on it), and when I kneel on the floor with my kids. That last one bothers me the most. When something like this gets in the way of everyday life activities, I start to get pissed off. That's what sent me to physical therapy (finally) with my hip earlier this year. I was having pain so bad it got in the way of everyday life. (It was fine while I ran.)
Doing yet another search for information on the all-knowing (sic) web last night, I came across a post that most closely sounded like what I have been experiencing: tender to the touch at the top outside of the tibia, hurts when kneeling. The "diagnosis?" Patellar tendonitis. Gee, that is what I was diagnosed with about four months ago, given exercises for, and never followed through on. In a way, I feel I could bang my head against the wall. Seriously? If that diagnosis is right, then I blew things in a big way. So, by not following through on the exercises I was given months ago, I may have made things worse. It's funny how that works. At the same time, in a weird, round-about way it is comforting to know that this is not a new injury but rather the same old, same old.
Alright, I know, I know. A self-diagnosis from the web is probably one of the worst things a person can do. And, I guess it probably seems like I am spending a lot of time worrying about this, when in fact I could just go to a doctor or physical therapist and get a true diagnosis. But, the problem I have with that, is that if they are just going to tell me I need to RICE it anyway, then I feel stupid if I haven't given that a try on my own yet. So, that's where I am at. I am giving it a try on my own ... trying VERY, VERY hard not to sabotage things by saying, "just one little run won't hurt..."
Meanwhile, my husband is out on the trails this morning for an easy, two-hour run, testing out some new shoes. Grrrrr. I think I need to head to the elliptical and work out some frustration.