My last blog post about running was way back in early November, when I ran the Manchester Half Marathon. While I was really pleased with finishing that run in a respectable time (with gas to spare), things went downhill from there.
By late November I had a nagging pain on the inside of my right shin. I started to have that "uh oh" feeling when I noticed the pain would get worse during my runs. It would feel great for mile 1, then start to bother me in mile 2, and then get worse and worse. By the second week of December I knew it wasn't good, and I actually took a week off to see if it would go away. No dice there, and December was a horrible month of running on and off, but mostly running in pain. By Christmas I knew I would not be able to run my favorite race of the year - the Hangover Classic 10K on New Years Day (is that a great name for a race or what?).
And then came an absolutely agonizing run on January 4th, and I knew I had to throw in the towel. A visit to the doctor followed by an X-ray confirmed what I had suspected for over a month - a stress fracture in my right tibia. This is a very common running injury, and my symptoms were text book - particularly the part where the pain gets worse during a run, not better (as with many muscle injuries, which feel better when the muscle warms up).
The cure? No running for 6 to 8 weeks. Ugh, there goes my stress management program!
I completely shut down (exercise-wise) for January and February. My orthopedist gave me the OK to start using my Precor elliptical trainer about four weeks ago. A follow up X-ray last week looked good, and so today was the first day I got to go out for an honest to goodness run.
It was a modest (and slow!) two and a half miles, but boy did it feel great be out there running again. The run wasn't without trepidation - will it start to hurt again? But I think I'm good, even though I am still "listening" to my tibia now several hours later - is it OK? Does it feel normal? That isn't a pain, is it? Funny how you get gun shy, and then start imagining the worst.
But for tonight I'm being optimistic, looking forward to getting my fitness level back up to snuff, and looking forward to my normal yearly pattern of events - the National MS Society Ride the Vineyard 100K bike ride in May, the Londonderry 5K (killer hill) in August, the Union Leader 8K in September. I need to find a new 10K for October, as I hear the beautiful Bridges 4 Friendship 10K won't be back this year. Then the Feaster Five Mile on Thanksgiving, and before you know it right back to the Hangover Classic for the first day of 2009. The year slips by, race to race.