Mind Over Injury

So I guess you could say I’m getting a little frustrated lately.  I’ve always said that a huge chunk of this sport is mental, but I guess I’m a little confused how I’m mentally supposed to approach this.  I’ve been plagued with shin splints since 8th grade, when I ran the mile in gym class in sandals (whoops, forgot my sneakers) and a month later went to the doctor and told him I had bruises on my legs but I couldn’t see them.  That’s when I learned about shin splints.  They’re really annoying more than anything.  So why am I all distressed?  The lower part of my left leg (inner) has been giving me a hard time for about a month now.  I ice, I’ve laid off the running for the most part (a few miles here and there, but nothing the past 7 days), I’ve got a compression sleeve, do all my stretches, ect. But it’s still there.  Sometimes it’s fine, other times it’s annoying.  But here’s why I’m split:

  1. I’m still shaken up by my stress fractures last summer.  As an athlete all my life, who has taken more falls from a horse than I can even count (and some of them pretty harsh), I’ve never been injured like that.  What’s more, it took about 4 months to heal, and to be honest I still haven’t fully come back from it.  I just haven’t been given a chance.  This thing popped up.  And I’m worried about something bad happening again.
  2. I’ve always thought of myself as having a high tolerance for pain.  Or at least being tough.  And I believe I’m being very careful in this particular situation.  But am I being too careful?  Am I being head shy?  Am I unnecessarily coddling my body when in all actuality I’m experiencing the exact same shin splints I’ve had for over 10 years?  Am I holding myself back when I’m fully able to buck up and deal with some slight pain (when I’m running I rarely even feel it)?

I obviously have no answers to these questions.  When my recovery from the stress fractures went on for so long my doctor uttered the worst possible words to me: “You know, some people’s bodies just aren’t cut out for running like this.”  I am trying very hard not to believe it.  After all, a year ago at this time I had never experienced any pain whatsoever while running.

I’m faced with a dilemma today, it being Tuesday and having a group run tonight.  I could not go, stick to the stationary bike I’m so bored of or go swim laps.  Or I can show up and only do 3 miles instead of the usual 6, and just see how everything is feeling.  I probably won’t decide until right before.  I’ll do the jump test and all.  I just wish someone could tell me if I’m blowing my pain out of proportion or if it’s real.

 I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.  Until then, I’ll be at my desk tracing the alphabet in the air with my big toe…it’s all about the ankle flexibility.

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2 Comments

Filed under running

2 responses to “Mind Over Injury

  1. When I got shin splints in high school I had to get orthotics. It’s incredibly expensive, but have you tried those? I am also frustrated as well…I have to get an MRI on my ankle tonight! I couldn’t be more aggravated at the whole situation.

    • Yeah I considered that back when I had the stress fractures. but you’re right, WAY too expensive. Let me know how the MRI goes. Does that mean you’re looking at some sort of ligament tear instead of a bone problem? Not your achilles I hope. Good luck!

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