January 20, 2010

A Case of the Shin Splints

Yes, I have shin splints. To be honest, until now I had no idea what they were, except a common occurrence amongst runners. I'd  been having some pain and lasting soreness in my lower legs both during and post-run the past couple weeks which culminated in my legs seizing up so badly on my 5k run Saturday night that I could barely finish, and afterward could barely walk. Yeah, ouch. I stretched out and tried to massage what I thought were just tight muscles, running along the inside of my shins. I massaged to the point of seeing stars, only to then feel like I had bruises all along my legs. I Googled my symptoms and sure enough, after reading a description of shin splints, I self-diagnosed. I can even take a stab at the cause: running at a much faster-than-usual pace for the past 3 weeks.

I know shin splints are common and not exactly a "real" injury, like a sprain or fracture, but I was nervous nonetheless. All the websites I went to all said the same thing about recovery: rest, rest, and rest. Well, in case anyone has forgot, I'm supposed to be running a marathon in 59 days! I had my long run planned for Sunday morning, and decided I would at least give it a shot before counting my losses. I met up with Tom and explained my predicament, and after agreeing that is sounded like shin splints, he reassured me that I could get through it with some exercises, ice, and meds. Before taking off on our run, I did 3 sets of the exercises he described. I had also popped a couple ibuprofen that morning and hoped those would help as well. We intended to do an easy 11 miler, and as we set out, to mu surprise, I was pain free! In fact for the entire run, not only were my shin splints not a problem, but we also kept up an awesome pace for us considering the distance - 10:15 min/mi : ) I was definitely in a better mood post-run considering I would no longer be sidelined from my training.

Now for a funny little story. Whenever we stop to stretch, take a Gu, wait for a light, etc. I usually stop my Garmin so it doesn't throw off my pace. But occasionally, I've been known to forget to start it again...oops! Well Sunday was one of those times, and I didn't even realize it until an entire mile had gone by! So when we finished, my watch said 10 miles...this was clearly false information, and I wasn't about to let our run be under-recorded, so I made up that mile...by driving circles around an empty parking lot! It's actually not that easy, either, to maintain 6mph for that long - it feels a lot slower when you're driving! But I wasn't about to short myself a mile : )

Right after we finished our run we were hit with the torrential storm we were promised, supposedly to last all week. As of today, it's been going strong, flooding streets and taking down streets. I actually enjoy storms, except when I have to go somewhere, like class : / I'm hoping if things keep up I'll get to run in the rain, one of my favorites! Tonight Jordan and I hit the pool for a quick workout of 250m normal, 250m legs, then 250m arms, followed by a much anticipated dip in the hot tub : )


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