The Off Season and Injury

After Chicago ended I was determined not to be a lazy bum for two months like I was after Publix. This time around, hobbling down the stairs and complaining of soreness only lasted a few days and ultimately I was ready to get back out there. I couldn't seem to motivate myself to go running again so I figured it was time to join the gym, enjoy some classes and take it easy for a while. I joined LA Fitness and started taking some cycling, step, and body works classes. It was amazing to just workout for an hour and have no official goals on my mind.

It was then time for me to start running again. With a weekend trip planned to Ohio State I realized what better way to explore the campus than by running a 5K. I signed up for the Race for Stephanie on Oct 28 and convinced my friend Rachel to run it with me. The weather that morning was rather cold but overall my body felt great running again! The first mile I took off around a 9 minute mile but after that I slowed up a bit to make sure I stayed with Rachel. I managed to finish in 29:34 and definitely still had a lot of gas in the tank. Knowing that felt so good I decided to register for the ATC Rock Around the Rock 5M the following weekend. This time around I was going to give it my all and see what happens....

Race morning came and I headed out by myself since Adam was going to be working that morning. I drove out to Cartersville which is about an hour northwest of Atlanta, picked up my bib and was ready for the challenge. Before the start I was scoping out other peoples bibs as the 5M had one bib color and the 10M another. The more I looked around the more I noticed everyone was wearing the 10M bib and I might actually have a chance to place top 5 in my AG in the 5M. One of the better parts about being in the 20-24 AG for these local races are there are so few people in the women's category that the odds of placing are high. I took off and honestly felt great!! I was pushing myself harder than I ever had as I wanted to leave it all on the course. It was a nice cool morning and as I hit the 1M marker I was quickly surprised when I glanced down at my watch as saw 8:11. I was going WAY faster than I normally would. The more important question was, can I keep this up for the next 4 miles! Of course a hill started to come in the next mile so I backed off some and averaged an 8:47 and 8:56 during the next two and realized this was about a sub 27 minute 5K which easily shattered anything I had previously done. Knowing that I was well ahead of my normal pace I just kept pushing myself. Why not try and get a high Peachtree Qualifier?! The next two miles flew by and I was able to finish with a record 44:03. Well according to my garmin it was less than that but ATC was having issues aligning the clock time w/the d-tag time so that was the official. Nevertheless, I had pushed myself like I had never done before and not only qualified myself for the D wave at Peachtree but also won my age group (please ignore the fact that I was the only racing in my AG haha)
Over the next two weeks I continued going to the gym, running, and working out with my personal trainer. All the while there was something in my left tibia that just didn't feel right. Reflecting back on it now, I really increased my times way too quickly without easing into it...After an easy five mile run that I was forced to run/walk, I realized something wasn't right and this was more than just a bruise. The more I looked into it the more I believed it was a stress fracture. I could hardly walk on it without pain, running was excruciating, and it was finally time to take a break. I didn't bother to go to the orthopedic as I figured the end result would be taking four to six weeks off then coming back to assess. No need to pay the copay when I could just take the time off and see if it heals. My health conscious husband was not going to let me take a whole month off without working out so it was down to low impact activities, cycling and swimming. Swimming was fun for the first week or so, then I quickly got bored of that and managed to stick with cycling. During the month of December I was cycling about 6 days a week for an hour at the gym.

My left tibia continued to hurt but the positive of that many spin classes was clip in shoes from Adam for Christmas! I feel like that's when you've earned the true status of cyclist at the gym when you get to clip in rather than using the cages.

After the holidays it had finally been about a month and the pain had not gone away. It was finally time to go see my doctor to make an assessment. I missed running (whoa, did I really just say that!) and was ready to figure out what was really wrong. I opted to visit my primary care doc as it's cheaper to go there than directly to my orthopedic, especially since the end result may just be take longer off. Upon looking at my leg, she opted to have an X-Ray done. Unfortunately this showed nothing, so the ortho who happened to be next door, suggested I go in for an MRI as stress fractures are hard to see on an x-ray but easy on an MRI. After laying in the creepy machine for an hour, the MRI results showed posterior tibial tendonitis but no stress fracture. That meant I was cleared to run again and I could manage the pain knowing I didn't actually have anything broken. Looks like it's time for me to get back out there running!!
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