I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been running for two weeks. Well, not running on land, anyway. I’ve been pool-running and, once, I even used the elliptical, as monotonous and dreadful as that was. So what did I do to myself, again? It’s so frustrating that I keep getting sidelined, but thankfully this latest episode is not like the previous one, in which I was unsure if I had a stress fracture or if it was just a soft tissue problem. I’m pretty sure I know what caused this latest problem, though that doesn’t mean it’s been resolved, or is in the process of being resolved, any quicker.
Several weeks ago, I did a few outdoor runs (well, they’re all outdoor runs) on snow, both loose and packed. And I know that at least once, my footing wasn’t very firm and so my feet slid and torqued. Shortly after that, I noticed some weird feelings in my lower leg, near the ankle, but also near my Achilles tendon. Thankfully it’s NOT any Achilles tendon issue, but my best self-diagnosis is that I strained my lower tibialis tendon. Well, in my typical smart behavior, I’d kept running, not wanting to believe that I’d been brought down again, and I even did a 21.25-mile run, even though my leg was aching even before the run. I remember feeling all sorts of pains running up and down along my calf, and I just knew it was going to hurt explosively afterwards, but stubborn ol’ me had to get this long run done.
Well, not surprisingly, I was in a world of pain afterwards, like so much I could barely drag my leg along. It was like fire. That intense pain has gone down, and I’d hoped that ice, heat, acupressure, compression, and stretching would make things feel better, but nope. I’ve still had this achiness that I can’t shake, and seeing as how I now have only two weeks till my marathon, I really need to get serious on fixing myself.
There’s physical therapy, but because it’s the start of a new year, I’ve got to start all over again with my health insurance deductible, and the practice I was going to previously would charge me $200 for this first visit. So that gives me pause… even though running is very important to my happiness and well-being, is it worth $200 for a single visit, where it’s very likely a single visit would not resolve my issue? And isn’t this minor enough that I should be able to take care of it myself?
Agh, so frustrating! Well, here’s hoping I just knock the inflammation down with ibuprofen, taken regularly, which I started today. Although I’ve also noticed that my tummy has been feeling a bit weird today, though that could be due to the food I’ve eaten.
I’m just going to stay hopeful that I can beat this, and beat it in time. At least the weather has worked in my favor by being consistently cold and miserable the past two weeks. The last time I ran outdoors, two Sundays ago, the weather was relatively mild. I ran in the morning, when it was still a on the chilly side, but people who ran later in the day were comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt. But these past two sidelined weeks have seen a few snowfalls and lots of awfully cold mornings. Although I’m glad to not have to get myself out there for runs, I also wish that I could, because I want the challenge of running in negative windchills, in single-digit actual temperatures, of using my balaclava again.
Maybe I’ll get to experience that fun next winter. For now, I’ve been trekking to the pool to do some hard-core pool running. Like today, for instance, I “ran” 22.5 pool-miles. The way I counted it is that 200 yards took my slightly longer than it would on land. So, given that I was working at a higher intensity in the pool and that I wasn’t dealing with hills or wind, I feel like it was fair to equate 200 yds in the pool with one mile on land. Though I did get faster as I went on, but I was working really hard. And it gets monotonous to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Still better than an elliptical machine, though! This mental and physical feat took over three hours today, and that’s not including the break I took every 300 yds.
Mind over matter. I’m going to make myself better, stronger. I’m going to enjoy this race. I’m going to enjoy the fantastic Britney Spears show afterwards. I’m going to have a great mini-vacation!