Saturday, November 13, 2010

Build the fire

Injuries. I guess they happen to everyone right? Overuse, improper form, doing too much too soon, not enough sleep, poor nutrition. The list could really keep going. You've heard the schpeel.

Well that's where I am right now. However, my orthopedist isn't yet sure what the problem is. We need an MRI, so were waiting on insurance approval. My left leg is the issue, more specifically my tibia. Its possible I have a stress fracture or I have tendinitis. I'm hoping for the lesser of two evils and its tendinitis.

It all started about a week before my half marathon on October 12th. My leg just felt weird, "not right" but I didn't think too much about it. Two days before the race I was supposed to do a 4 mile easy run but I didn't go. My leg was bothering me so I just decided to skip it. I mean I didn't want to hurt myself two days before my race, and "easy" is relative. To me there is nothing "easy" about running.

You know how some people go for a run to "loosen up"? Yeah. That's not me. Nothing "loosens up" when I run. Sure I might feel better after a hard run but that's because I did something that is hard. I tackled it. I did it when I didn't really want to. Sometimes though, when I run, for a few moments I get a feeling like I'm barely touching the ground with my feet. Everything gets quiet and I'm "in the zone", it lasts for such a short time though (lucky if its 5min) maybe that's the runners high I've heard about. In either case, in the year and a half since I've started running I've experienced it a handful of times.

I digress.

Back to the weekend of my half marathon. So I didn't run that Friday, Saturday I got a sports massage to loosen my legs up, Sunday race day. As soon as I started the race I had sharp shooting pains (same pains from earlier in the week when I wasn't running), it lasted about 3-4 miles then went away. Either it really did go away or I somehow compartmentalized it away. It was a really great race for me. I PR'd (personal record) and aside from walking the aid stations I ran the entire thing. That was a big deal for me. I was very happy with my time and my performance. However, that half marathon seemed so much harder than my half ironman a month earlier. To top it off I was much more sore (3-4 days) after the half marathon than the half ironman. I've been told by several experienced triathletes including my coach that you will almost always feel worse after a half marathon or marathon race than from a half ironman or ironman. Running is harder on your body plus your racing faster and harder. And ya know what? They were right!

So because I was so sore I didn't run, and I hadn't been cycling that much because there just aren't enough daylight hours unless its the weekend. However, running for the bus sure brought that sharp shooting pain right into focus again. It hadn't gone away and it hurt just to walk or stand still. So I iced, stretched and took ibuprofen for a week. Felt like the leg was getting a little better. I had continued to swim since I had no pain in the water. I tested the leg out on a track. As soon as I started to run I had pain. So I laid off it for another week. It even started to hurt when I would climb hills on my bike. Not a good thing. I'm not sure why I didn't go see a doc sooner. I thought it was getting better. But all I had really done was stop doing the things that hurt. So now almost 4 weeks later I went to my PT and she sent me to the doc. She thought it was a fracture. So now I wait for the MRI and the results.

Not sure what's been going on with me lately but I've been eating like crap, not sleeping well, and having bursts of claustrophobia. Maybe I'm not using the right word when I say claustrophobia but its kinda how I feel. A feeling of being trapped. That feeling has been around for a few months. Plus it doesn't help at all that there is not much daylight. I feel starved for it.  The poor sleeping and eating like crap has been going on for about 1-2months. I feel like I'm in a bit of a vicious cycle. Maybe that's why this happened with my leg. Is it burnout? I definitely know I need a vacation. Everyone says I need to make sure I take a break from training but the thing is I haven't felt like I've been doing that much. I need to get back to being consistent. I was doing so well when I was being structured and consistent.

I'm anxious to get the results of the MRI back because then I will know and I can treat my leg properly so I have full recovery. Not being able to have full mobility takes a toll, especially when I wanted to really improve my running this winter. My coach told me to take this time to "build the fire deep, deep, deep in my belly for all the things I want to accomplish in life". Very good words, so I am taking the time to reflect, and build my fire one log at a time. I recently switched to part time status at work; I'm hoping that in making that change I am able to organize myself a little better and create a more efficient way of spending my days and continue pursuing the things that are important to me. Plus I'll get to be out in the daylight more rather than being stuck in a building.
My kindergarten drawing: visual reminder to build the fire

Next week I'm flying out to Tucson AZ to take part in JDRF's Ride to Cure, it could not come at a more perfect time.

Signing off to go build my fire.

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