Mad (about) running

I don’t consider myself a beginner runner anymore. Not really. I have been running pretty much solidly for a year now. Ok, so it’s not that long but this year alone I have run  a total of 1236.73km / 125:41:18 h. That’s even with the 6 weeks I took off after my hysterectomy. So no – I don’t consider myself a beginner.

So when I finally dragged my sore self to the doctor yesterday to see what he made of my messed up leg, I couldn’t help but feel irritated by his flippant diagnosis of shin splints. Really, shin splints? I used to suffer from this when I ran on the treadmill years ago. That pain felt very different to what I am experiencing now – it was less defined in one spot.. And anyway shin splints in my book are a problem you get when you start running or suddenly up your distance or do something very different to what you are used to.  I have added more hill training into my running but my gut still disagrees with the diagnosis.

I should have been relieved as I was really worried I was running towards a stress fracture but how do I know this doctor knows his stuff? Running injuries can be very complex to diagnose. He told me he himself “often gets shin splints, not that he runs outside – just on the treadmill every now and again”. Hmmm.. That is a little different… (.. aaaand I sound very arrogant…)

The facts are:

– the pain has gone from only being there during a run to being there even at rest or when walking

– the intensity of the pain varies; sometimes it just hurts more without any reason that I can gather

– any sudden jumps or impact on the leg hurt (like running for the bus)

– putting weight on it and then shifting it off hurts

– ibuprofen helps; in fact I would not be able to run without it

– the pain is felt at a pretty precise point, it is not hot or red or lumpy

I was sent off with advise to rest. Yes, advise that I know to be good no matter what the cause of the pain is. However, if I was a smoker and had seen the doctor about a cough – he would understand why I could not just stop smoking. That is how I feel about running. I NEED my fix – I am not a pleasant person if I am not running. Have you seen those grey faced people outside hospitals, smoking in their gown flapping open at the back whilst hanging onto their drip. Yep – I am the running equivalent of that. Sad but true. I may have reached a point where I stopped defining my running and my running started defining me.

Has the thing that made me feel sane actually made me crazy?

not running

8 thoughts on “Mad (about) running

  1. there are some very precise stretches for shin splints that might help. i got them a bit from ramping up for my first marathon, even after being a runner for some extended time. they also went away….. after a bit of rest. sorry, but it helped. the stretching did help. a lot. glad you enjoyed your trip stateside! running in the heat of the south is no fun!! so much harder work. xx

    1. I really need to get off my arse and look up those stretches. I feel so lethargic after the trip, just completely drained of energy and of any desire to “take action”. I was really shocked at how hard running in Florida was! It did knock my confidence back a bit but I think that was a good thing – can’t be getting too arrogant. 🙂

  2. That’s good news that you’re not seriously injured, but you do seriously need to find a doctor that runs! I once had a doctor compare my running injury to her little bouts with tennis elbow and I nearly clobbered her (granted, I had not been able to run for several weeks at that point and was feeling pretty stressed out). Needless to say, she is not my doctor anymore.
    Though it’s odd to think how long it’s been since I found a new doctor – it’s been years since that day in her office, and I had been running for years when I limped in to see her. Yet I still DO think of myself as a beginner… though I still frown when someone says they “run” because they do a mile around the track or a few minutes on the treadmill. I think you’ve definitely earned your bit of arrogance there. 🙂

    1. Well, I thought I wasn’t seriously injured.. I did a morning run on Tuesday and by the time I was heading back home my foot was hurting like hell. I still decided to keep running as I knew it would get worse if I stopped. There is no way I am going to be running on this.. (cries). You are absolutely right about finding a doctor that runs – but it is hard! That’s why I have been so tempted to just to go my physio to be diagnosed but I know she would just tell me to go see my GP. It’s funny that thing about always feeling like a beginner runner despite having been running for years or done long distance. I wonder when the head allows that “ok, you are a REAL runner now”.. But yes, a few minutes on the treadmill do not a runner make in my books..

  3. Have you had a GOOD shoe fitting (or re-fitting) lately? Sometimes the shoe manufacturers change a shoe model….sometimes for absolutely no reason under the sun a shoe just doesn’t work for you anymore….sometimes the stars and planets don’t line up….lol. I had horrendous shin splints when I started running in my first life (30 years gone now). To the point of thinking I had broken my leg….seriously. My PT showed me to make a sling with a weight in it (a can of soup is good) (or a few ounces of beans) (you get the picture), hang that off the end of my foot so it dangled under my toes, sit or stand with the foot extended and do toe raises (just the toes and front of the foot). He also told me to go get different shoes, ones that were good for controlling pronation. Between the rest he also recommended, the exercises, and the new shoes the shin splints went away and I’ve never had them since. Still run in the same brand, Asics.

    1. I think you may be onto something. I run in my Nikes which I find are the only shoes wide enough to accommodate my duck feet. But I have run a looooot of miles in those shoes. It might be time to get new ones. When I had my fitting at a running shop, the guy ended up matching me with Asics as well but I’m just not feeling them. Not sure why but they just don’t feel right. Maybe I should give them another go (when my new injury, the foot, allows me).
      I like that sling tip – will give that a go tonight. Thanks! I have been also doing alphabets with my feet (just trace the letters with your toes) to try and work my feet and ankles but the sling sounds more effective.

      1. I was running in Nikes at that time, too. Give the Asics a go….they will feel strange after running in old shoes, also. I know I don’t have to remind you to not go out and do a long run right off the start line in new shoes, do I?

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