Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Status Quo

My running goes on, despite my lack of blogging about it. I think I might've exhausted all the interesting topics about marathon training the last go 'round because the more I try to come up with an entertaining blog entry, the more I realize running really is just about putting one foot in front of the other. One can only make that sound fascinating for so long.

Nevertheless, I'm plugging along... although I'm still enduring my share of speedbumps. Until I have reason otherwise, I'm choosing to believe the opinion of my physical therapist that the pain in my shin is NOT a stress fracture. It must be one mother of a shin splint, though, because there are mornings after a run when I feel like my entire lower leg is about to self-amputate any moment. I suppose that would make for an entertaining blog entry, so you might want to stay tuned.

I stuck to a week of rest last week, but then decided I needed to get back into the swing of things and ran a long 14 miles on Saturday morning. Energy-wise, I felt like I could go forever (meaning maybe another mile or two). But again, those nasty speedbumps in the form of an achy shin and some stubborn tendonitis in my knee crept up, casting that shadow of doubt over my ability to continue on with this silly goal of mine. I constantly remind myself if running a marathon were easy, everybody would be doing it. I don't necessarily want it to be easy because then where would be the sense of accomplishment, right? But couldn't we try for semi-easy? I'd even go for somewhat difficult.

Before this blog entry really plummets downhill, however, I'll employ my inherent optimistic attitude and make note of a few positive observations from my last month of training:

  • The only hard part about running early in the morning is initially forcing yourself into the vertical position it requires. Once overcoming that hurdle, running in the morning is positively divine. The air is fresh and cool, the sunrise is casting its glow over the fields and the roads are quiet and serene. There is something very satisfying about coming in from an hour long run before most people have even attempted to clean the sleep gunk out of their eyes.

  • Ice baths are only excruciatingly painful for the first 30 seconds. If you can get through that part, you're golden. I've learned to bring a book or magazine while ice bathing to take my mind off the discomfort... which although may not work entirely, it at least fills my mind with some useful knowledge instead of focusing on my desire to shoot my frozen legs off. And once your legs finally do go numb, the trick is to NOT MOVE AN INCH. If you do, you'll just have to go through the whole miserable process again. I think, were I to be presented with the choice, I'd almost always go for a warm bubble bath, but ice baths definitely have their place. Maybe next time I'll try it with a little soft music and candlelight, see if that helps.

  • Energy gels are an evil necessity for distance running, but I've finally discovered a flavor that doesn't actually taste like warmed snot. Ironically, it was the flavor I avoided all this time, thinking it would be second only in disgust factor to drinking the juice out of a jar of sweet pickles. The flavor is chocolate, of course. Of course! Is there anything chocolate-flavored that doesn't taste better? How foolish of me to ever think otherwise. When I tried my first chocolate GU, I had to look at the package again just to make sure it wasn't a melted Snickers candy bar. Okay... maybe it wasn't that good, but I can guarantee I won't be buying strawberry banana or mango tangerine energy gels again anytime soon. Kind of like I won't be choosing an apple over a chocolate chip cookie as a post-run snack anytime soon.

So, there's my status quo. Could be better, but could be a lot worse. I'm still running and as long as that's the case, life is good.

11 comments:

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Glad to hear that your training is going along quite well. And you're right, if doing a marathon were easy everyone would be doing it.

That's the best part, accomplishing something most people will never do in their lifetime!

If you do decide to amputate you're own leg, A535 helps to numb the outside skin...

And I LOVE the chocolate gu! They taste like chocolate icing to me! It's always the buildup of not wanting to eat it!!

Keep on keeping on!

Ovens2Betsy said...

No need to apologize for not writing; I think a lot of us are in the same boat. After all, it's summertime and we're active people. We're out actually exercising rather than cooped up writing about it!

As for gels, I'm partial to ClifShots (including the chocolate). However, my favorite is one they're no longer making: orange cream (think Creamsicle). Fortunately I snagged a case from Amazon, but once it's gone, it's gone :(

Justin said...

I developed a debilitating shin pain two summers ago when I was training for a half marathon. I thought it was a stress fracture, but the x-rays didn't show anything. I saw a doctor who did the tuning-fork test, but nothing seemed to be broken. It became so bad that I couldn't walk across the room and running was totally impossible.

It was difficult to diagnose because the pain was hard to reproduce. Eventually, the doctor had me lie down flat on my stomach and bend my knee 90 degrees. She pulled against my foot, trying to straighten out my leg, while I resisted and tried to keep my knee bent. That sent all kinds of pain shooting through my leg. It turned out to be Pes Bursitis.

Anti-inflamatories and hamstring stretches helped most, but it took me 6 months to get back on the treadmill. Good luck.

Tall Girl Running said...

Justin,

Thanks for piping in. If you read this again, would you mind telling me what symptoms you had in your shin? Was there concentrated pain in one particular spot when you pressed it with your fingers? Swelling that went down into your ankle and achilles? Pain that's at its worst first thing in the morning but tapers off thru the day?

I keep thinking even a bad shin splint ought to be reponding better to RICE than it has been. Thanks for any further insight you can offer!

Justin said...

Hi again.

My shin pain felt a lot like a fracture. It was a very intense and shooting pain which seemed to be centered somewhere around the top and sides of my tibia extending about 4 to 5 inches below my knee, but sometimes I would feel it above my knee and sometimes it would be closer to my ankle.

I couldn't make it hurt by pressing anywhere. The only way I could reproduce the pain was by bending my knee against some kind of weight or resistance.

The worst pain was in the morning when I got out of bed, and it also hurt whenever I stood up and started walking. I could always put weight on it without any pain at all, but at the end, I wasn't able to lift my foot off the floor or walk without pain shooting from my hip to my knee.

I never had any swelling, so we might not be talking about the same thing. My doctor prescribed Diclofenac, which is an anti-inflammatory. It started to help within a few days, but I couldn't run again for months. Physical therapist visits, some stretching, and weight training also helped. Good luck.

Jim said...

That's the attitude, girl! Embrace your fitness no matter where you're at and keep puting one foot in front of the other. I'm with ya on morning runs. Sometimes it's just so hard to get vertical, but once out there you feel you have the world all to yourself and the sun is coming up just for you.

Rosie said...

Hope the shins feel better. I could not do an ice bath. I think my body would go into complete shock and I'd probably just die. It hurts just thinking about it.

Why is it that we pick a sport that pretty much kicks the shizz out of our bodies?? :)

Hope your shins feel better! I think I am going to do a run tomorrow, it' been over a week and I'm so restless.

Steve Avery said...

Statsu Quo can be good. :)

Try the ice bath by getting in the tub before any water is in there....then turn it on...it makes it much more tolerable....MUCH! :)

(although any bath with icewater
just sucks) :D

Tom said...

Just found your blog site and enjoy reading it. I agree ice baths are so worthwhile, once you catch your breath the first few seconds. I must have missed it but what marathon are you training for? Seems like you get a lot from your running. Never had a stress fracture and I live in fear of that --would be like putting a dagger in me. Good luck getting ready for your marathon. I post with another running friend, Amy. We’re just ordinary runners discuss everything about running, just fun stuff. We’ll look forward to reading more of your site and following your progress. Keep up the good running and posting! Tom

http://blog.runnerslounge.com

Tall Girl Running said...

Hi Tom and Amy,

Thank you for stopping by! I'm training to run the Top of Utah marathon in Logan, Utah on September 15th (there's a link to the website on the sidebar at the right). It's my second marathon but I've had a string of minor injuries in the last year, so it's almost been like starting over again. I hit a long run of 16 miles over the weekend, though, and it's looking very promising.

Thanks again and please do come back!

Angie

See Zanne Run said...

chocolate GU, huh? I'm partial to orange burst ... you know, when i'm not gagging on it & having the dry heaves trying to get the damn shit to go down. must try the chocolate.

last year, it took me a solid 3 months to get used to getting up for those early morning runs ... before actauly training for the marathon, i had to train my body to get up & move that early. but now i am a regular morning runner (its' a must to beat the kentucky heat) and i do love it ... love that feeling of being done with a good workout & everyone is just getting up!

i thought my coach was kidding me last year when he told me to take an ice bath after my first 16 mile run ... he knows i'll do anything he says & i thought surely he'd get a big kick out of me filling up zip lock bags full of h20, freezing them & then dumping in bath of ice cold water ... all he had to say was "all the elite runners do it" & i signed up for the program ... i LOVE them now - they are KEY.