Friday, November 16, 2012

CIM Week 12 of 14: Two Steps Forward...

I am sitting on the couch right now (Friday evening) in a not insignificant amount of pain. Half an hour ago I was mentally drafting a post about the unreasonable, horrific, debilitating nature of my pain, but it has abated somewhat now so I will just say that I am very, very uncomfortable. It's nothing catastrophic--just some of the same old medial tibial shin splints that I've dealt with more or less my whole life. With a few days of rest I should be fine. Still, I'm powerful annoyed.

(In case it's not clear, those are ice packs stuffed under there.)

Here's how the week went down:

Last Sunday, I had a fantastic 21 miler except for 1) running it a little too fast, & 2) some cramping & tenderness in the outside edge of my left foot. I have a feeling that it's not completely unrelated to this and this. It got worse over the course of the course of the evening, & by Sunday night I could barely put weight on it, which was concerning. I limped around on it on Monday & took it easy at karate, but by Tuesday morning it felt pretty much normal. #winning

Tuesday: 2 wu + 1600m @ 7:00, 1:30 jog + 2 x (800m @ 6:45, 1:00 jog) + 1600m @ 7:00 + 1.5 cd. I figured I would jog a couple of warm-up miles, then decide based on how my foot felt how much I thought I could do & how fast. My legs felt tired, but my foot was pain-free so I did the whole thing, hit all my paces, & felt totally fine. Plus I had Kimra there to keep my spirits up, which was a great help. :) #winning

This is where medial tibial shin splints show up. The bizarro toe is not part of the condition.
Thursday: 4 "easy." I had six easy miles scheduled, but within a mile and a half I could tell it was going to be one of those runs. No matter how I tried to modify my gait (never a good sign), the medial tibial part of my shins were absolutely throbbing with pain. By 1.75 miles, it was really bad--like someone slicing the soft tissue away from the bone behind my tibias with a paring knife. Very briefly part of me went "Five, we are HARD CORE and we can make it to five!" (as in 2.5 out & back), but the rational part of me shut that down pretty quickly. "We're hard core, not stupid," it insisted. "Let's try not to confuse the two." Nope; I was turning around at two and that was all there was to it. Even so, I more or less hobbled through the last mile, sick at my stomach over the pain. Cue wrapping & icing. #notwinning

Friday: 2 wu + 4 @ 7:25 + 10 x (100m @ 6:00) + 1.5 cd. 2 "easy." My shins were still feeling tender Friday afternoon and I wasn't at all confident that I would be able to get much running done. Lately, though, when I'm not feeling so hot, I've been telling myself that I have to at least try. That it's okay if I can't do my whole workout or can't do it as fast, but what is not negotiable is putting on running clothes & going out there to at least confirm that I'm not up to whatever it is rather than just assuming (because 9 times out of 10 I'm wrong).

I went to the track to do this one because of the softer surface in case it helped (and also because there is no way in hell I'm doing 6:00 100's anywhere else), but I wasn't even one warm-up lap in before things started going downhill. At first it was just a mild achey-ness, but by 1.5 the slicey-stabby feeling from Thursday was back. Also, I just felt completely exhausted & out of gas. I experimented a little with how fast I could even run, but 7:45 was the best I could do, and after one or two hundred yards of that I felt like I was about to collapse. Nope; 7:25s were definitely off the table. I finished the 2 warm up miles, packed it in, & spent another hour on the couch wrapped & icing. #REALLYnotwinning

I also shot an email to Coach Tom, who I have been working with some this cycle, outlining all this. ("Coaching" is probably too strong a word, but he is responsible for my training plan & lets me email him questions from time to time.)

"Does this make any kind of sense to you? Is it possible that the long run was too fast enough to screw me up this badly for the rest of the week, or that the issue with my left foot is related to the shin splints?"

To which he responded in part:

"I think it is probably related to the LR but that wasn't such a crazy run that it is independently responsible. More likely it is the combination of all the training and you reaching the end of a tough cycle.

The MT stuff can get bad in a hurry. The best thing to do is take the weekend off. It is tough to do but the risk/reward proposition is much better (ie. If you run and get injured then you risk missing the 'thon). You're in very good shape and right now we have to focus on getting you to the line."

Done. If there is one thing I can do, it's follow instructions. No heroes up in here.

He also suggested that I try 20 minutes of easy running on Monday, & if that went well, another 40 minutes on Tuesday. I'll be out of town without anywhere to run until the Monday after Thanksgiving, so I'm trying to stay positive & look at that as a big chunk of rest / recovery time rather than big fat zeros in the training log.

I'm also trying to remind myself that nothing much of consequence happens during the last three weeks of marathon training fitness-wise -- that while you can't do a whole lot to get faster during that time, it's sure as hell PLENTY of time to get hurt or over-train or otherwise screw yourself over. So my plan is to do as Coach Tom has instructed and use this weekend to let my legs heal themselves.

Aaaaaaand, what does Angela do when she can't run for some reason?

Have a pumpkin spice muffin, darlings. By which I mean, go to this site & make them. Heaven, I tell you.

So...that's that. If anyone needs me, I'll be on the couch like a good girl, stuffing my face with seasonal baked goods. #nevertooearlytocarbload


  1. I am hoping that your weekend off was beneficial and that you are going to be able to run some easy miles tomorrow. I am glad that you are listening to your coach and your body. No point in risking a serious injury. Especially with CIM so close. Hang in there. In the meantime I am off to make those muffins. Is it weird that I have all the ingredients and I don't need to go to the store? I am usually missing at least one ingredient!

    1. Glad you enjoyed them!! I'm feeling better after a few days off, so hopefully after Thanksgiving I'll be good to go. :)

  2. Those muffins sound so good...

    Sorry to hear about the splints, but I'm glad you're heading Coach Tom's advice. Hope resting is the key to curing this thing!

    1. Thanks - it seems to be helping. Hope to see you at CIM!

  3. Not happy on your behalf about the shin splints. Hope you are considerably better than when you wrote this!! The rest period will do you good but it must be so hard psychologically. Hang in there!

  4. Bummer about your shin splint pain, I've never had shin splints since high school - I usually got them during the first few weeks of cross country practice when my body wasn't used to running a lot, or when I needed to replace my shoes. Your shoes aren't too old are they?

    Your coach also seems right, you have been running near peak shape for a while now it seems like, that might also take its toll. I guess you are also likely slowly tapering for CIM, so maybe these small aches and pains happened at the right time.

    1. Yep, shin splints is kind of a life-long thing for me. Inevitably it will pop up a few times a year no matter what I do. I've got 8 pairs of shoes in rotation now, & once they go over 200 miles I won't run more than 5-6 miles in them at a time, so I'm pretty sure that's not related. But yes, if it's going to happen, taper is a better time than most. :)