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:
- 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.
- 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.