Monday, December 15, 2008

I Need A Vacation

"Listen to your body."

That's what they always say. Of course, if we listened to our bodies, we would never run a lick, let alone race, because running and racing cannot be accomplished without ignoring discomfort. A certain amount of "mind over matter" is the cost of admission.

But yesterday, my body said, "enough with the running, already." Fatigue and aches that could be ignored suddenly turned into acute dysaesthesia of the distal tibialis anterior.

For all those readers who are not Iron Jane, M.D., the meaning, in plain English, roughly translates as follows:

The lower outside part of my shin hurt like a MoFo.

Suddenly, 18 miles in to a planned 20+ miler, the wheels came off: sharp pain associated with landing and toe-ing off. I walked, tried again, and again it happened. So, I walked it in.

It hurt all afternoon when I walked or flexed my foot, then without explanation it completely disappeared.

WTF? Anybody know an injury that hurts like a MoFo and then just evaporates? But for the "disappearing pain" it sounds like shin splints. But who gets shin splints after completing 4 marathons and two Ironmans? Honestly. Isn't that the injury you get as a beginner?

**Insert healthy dose of overinflated, fitter-than-thou ego here**

Could it be that I've run a bit too much on the horrible, hard, uneven surfaces of the marathon course?

Could it be that my program needed a bit more in the way of recovery for a "man my age?"

Could it be that I need some more padding and arch support for my freakishly high arches?

Could it be that when you switch from triathlon to marathon training, there's just SO MUCH MORE FREAKING RUNNING INVOLVED?

Could it be that I neglect my nutrition and recovery for simple running workouts in a way that I would never do while doing Ironman two-a-days?

Uhm. Yeah. Maybe.

Possibly.

Probably.

Well, OK, yeah. Guilty.

But now, we are where we are. 33 days to the big dance and still more peak training to try to put hay in the barn. What to do?

Now that I feel ok, I am tempted to run ez this week and pick up where I left off next week. At the same time, if this is really an injury or a near injuyr, maybe a week of cross training is in order? I won't lose so much fitness that my goal is in doubt. Right?

And while I am obsessing in my self-absorbed little corner of hydrochondurbia, I should be just enjoying the life I still have. It is guaranteed beyond doubt that my mother will cite this article as precedent that I should not be running at all.

I hate reading stuff like that (or worse yet knowing people about whom such stuff is written). You can't help reading an article about a death at a marathon and without asking, "why?" And even as you ask it, you know there is no answer coming. Indeed, there are no words at all, and any attempt at an answer sounds cheap, sacharine, and empty. Why? I don't know. I can't know. But I do know this. Me and my mother--we both hurt when we get up out of bed in the morning, but mine's the good kind of hurt.

So. This week? I'll experiment with some ez running on controlled surfaces. If it hurts, time for cross-training. Beginning next week I try to get back on track with the program, substituting this week's harder distances for next week's easier ones. That said, no more running on uneven concrete. From here on in, it's crushed gravel Memorial Park, round and round like a gerble. No more marathon course for you.

Until . . . the day.

10 comments:

CoachLiz said...

I had bad leg pain that left my peronial muscles swollen and I made an appointment with my sports doc. It seemed that my Tibia was locked up at the ankle AND the knee joint causing the peronial muscles to overwork and ache. I got the joints un-locked and thing are good again.

Ran the Jingle Bell Run in 41:17 and had no pain.

TriBoomer a.k.a. Brian said...

Rest up, young pup. Take it from me that nagging leg injuries can linger for a long, long time. A softer and even running surface is a good place to start.

Stay tuned...

Richard said...

Out of curiosity, do you do shin exercises? Ones where you actually curl weight up with your toes? I've known a few people with shin pain and they really seemed to help a ton.

Jane said...

1. It's marathon-induced-psychotic-phantom pain! (MIPPP) naaah, not really, just had to say. But it probably stopped hurting because you stopped running!
2. I don't know what it is, but probably listen to your body. I know you want to break a 23 minute marathon, but don't hurt yourself! Actually, now that I think about it, it could have swollen and impinged something, when you stopped running, it eventually went down and stopped hurting. Icing might help. I like cream cheese icing myself. ha
3. We know that woman from Austin. So sad. She was healthy and fit and had run marathons before; we are still awaiting to here what happened.

stronger said...

You need to roll the Stick or a rolling pin (from your pie making) up your leg...it will feel soooo good. And since you'r talking old...those marbles you've been losing? Pick them up with your toes.

21stCenturyMom said...

I had a wicked pain in my foot in the last few miles of the Nike Half. When I got done I sat down and when I stood up it hurt worse. The next day - no hurt. When I started running again it hurt once and then it didn't It's never come back. Nobody knows. If it hurts you stop, if it doesn't hurt you shrug your shoulders and move on.

Unexpected heart attacks are another matter. Should not happen - ever. Especially not to a young person. Too sad.

Steve Stenzel said...

Yep, play it smart. Hit that X-training if you can't be running. You'll be back soon!!

TRI TO BE FUNNY said...

Hope it's getting better. You've got some PRs to achieve!

tri-mama said...

I know of a nifty little way to ice that bad boy come New Year's Day ....you know, if you found yourself in the frozen tundra for any reason.... :-)

momo said...

hows this thing feeling now, because i am having the same pain! but its not when i run, only when i'm sitting around during the day.