Friday, July 9, 2010

Because my hourlong ESPN special was pre-empted by that basketball guy...

...I'll tell you now where I've been: Limpville.

But first the marathon recap: you know by now that I ran a 10+ minute PR at the Cleveland Marathon in May. It was meant to be a training run in prep for a shot at a Boston-worthy 3:40 at some June race. We dance, dance, danced the night away at Neil's BFF's wedding (talk about a guy who gives a great speech!). I got to sleep around 1 a.m., woke up before 5 a.m. and started running by 7 a.m.

It wasn't even 7:30 a.m., however, by the time I stopped running. Shin splints kicked in around 1.5 miles. By two, I was in tears limping on the side before I stopped. Some massaging and ego-kicking later, I ran with the promise that if things didn't loosen by mile ten I was out. Mile five came around, and I started feeling a little better. Around mile seven I realized that my mom and dad were coming out to cheer, and I didn't want to let them down. So, I ran the whole darned thing.

The plus side to stopping and then wobbling in tears for 15 minutes in a marathon is that once you get running again, no one passes you for the last 23 miles. At least that's how it worked out for me. I didn't push myself; I just took in the scenery, really enjoyed Cleveland's outpouring of support (big high-fives to the Shaker Heights cheerleaders!) and had a pleasant Sunday-morning long run with water stations and cheering crowds. That's your typical Sunday, right?

I felt so great, in fact, I was able to run mid-8's the last several miles, race my dad down St. Clair (around 22-23) and finish with a smile on my face. Things swelled, and I limped to my much-deserved mole-chicken pizza at the Beach Club Bistro, but it was all to be expected. I had run a marathon. My best one yet.

Well, it might be the last one. The shin splints, as it turned out, weren't shin splints after all. They were this:
dem bonesWhat you're seeing is shots from my MRI. The x-rays, which I don't have, show it better. One fracture all the way down my right tibia, a small crack around it, and stress syndrome occurring on my left.

It took me so long to tune out pain of training in my fitness life that I managed to miss distress signals when my body was actually hurt. Poop.

I waited about 3-4 weeks before I saw a doctor (not because I was stubborn -- I had run a marathon, of course things were going to feel funky!). There were x-rays, follow-ups, errant radiologists, denied MRI claims and then the final MRI. The pics were so concerning to the radiologist at Clinic Sports Health that he called Dr. T the minute I left the room. Yet, after six weeks of walking on this stuff, I barely notice my leg is ready to crumble.

So, you can imagine how rough the first couple days were of being on crutches. Not the actual crutching, but the remembering. Because I walked on them for six weeks, I don't feel the pain of fractured bones. My brain has discontinued its subscription that feeling. It's just some aching.

When my leg bares weight, I don't get a pang. I just remember, "shoot... Neil's going to catch me walking and I'm going to be busted!" Horrible, I know. But it helps. By Monday I should be totally trained to not walk like a normal human being.

Good thing is I'm OK to crutch around. I crutched about a mile my first night, and it felt amazing to be out, moving and getting in some form of new cardio. Because my left leg has some stress going on, I still need to be careful. So far my crutching isn't quite aggressive enough to yield more injury. Unless, of course you know of any crutch races this weekend....?

I'm just thanking my lucky stars Dr. T pushed for more info when radiology told him my leg was fine and that playing tennis last weekend didn't actually crumble my leg. Then I would have had to go through all of that change-of-address stuff again. I don't think I'd be a happy resident of Limpville for long.