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.



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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