yet another injured runner.

let's start tonight's post with a question: what are the top three most unfortunate things a doctor could say to you upon looking at an x-ray of one of your body parts?

for me, the top three are "uh-oh..."; "i don't know how to break this to you..."; and, "wow...".

well, all three of those things were said to me tonight at my appointment with my sports-injury-specialist-slash-holistic-chiropractor.

for those of you who care about my attempts at becoming a runner, you may have noticed through facebook, dailymile, etc., that i've been running a lot lately. i know! it's totally awesome, right?! i started running again this past march. i ran a 5k in may, signed up for another 5k in july, and in a moment of endorphin-induced-ambition, signed up to run my first half-marathon at the end august.

i have studied different training plans and landed on a little creation of my own that fits my life and physical capabilities. i have begun doing "long runs", and even taught myself how to eat prior to those runs so that i wouldn't vomit or pass out - runners call this learning how to "fuel a run" (side note: my preferred pre-run fuel is one piece of lightly toasted ezekiel bread smeared with a banana and some almond butter, a drizzle of honey, and a cup of black coffee, thank you very much). i have run seven miles without stopping. i have subscribed to the runner's bible, aka, runner's world. instead of buying clothes for dates with the badger or my dignified office job, i have purchased running shorts and sports bras in absurd colors and quantities. i have also come to call my three mile runs on tuesday evenings "just a quick three mile run". what? who am i?

i am awesome. that's what i am.

unfortunately, i am also an overly ambitious runner with a really big heart and a tibial stress fracture.

you see, i have been running with quite a bit of pain for about six weeks. at first blush, i thought it shin splints. my big worry was that it was a stress fracture. and when the pain became very localized and began spreading down to my ankle and my entire left leg was weaker than my right, i figured it was time to see someone wiser than myself in matters such as these (insert genius chiropractor who comes highly recommended by runners all over this town, stage right).

my first appointment was four weeks ago. they took an x-ray to rule out a stress fracture and couldn't really see anything. you see, stress fractures are hard to diagnose, but if discovered, they can really damper one's marathon training plans. typical recovery times are six-to-eight weeks of no running and then a slow return to running after that. well, after seeing a non-conclusive x-ray four weeks ago and hearing my symptoms, this expert sports injury chiropractor seemed puzzled - "it doesn't sound like shin splints..."; "it doesn't quite seem like a stress fracture..." "have you recently upped your mileage by more than 10% of your weekly total?"; "did you recently change your shoes?".

his advice was to keep running if the pain was somewhat manageable, but to stop of the pain was extreme.

i'm not going to keep this post going for a whole lot longer, as some of you are probably pretty bored by now. but the long and short of it is that although i've had some great runs (seven nonstop miles, thank you very much! have i mentioned how f*cking awesome i am?), i cannot get away from the pain in my leg. it has become the only thing i think about on my runs, as i have struggled for every step forward. i long for the runs when i think about how awesome lady gaga is for copying madonna in such a poetically unjustified way, or how i think about every step bring me closer to getting home and nibbling on zeke's ears, or how i love to imagine what's inspiring every other runner i am passing (more often, the ones that are passing me).

the two doctors who had to break this news to me after seeing the second x-ray tonight were awkwardly nervous and sort of pussy-footing around coming clean with it. they studied the x-ray for an uncomfortable length of time (which i could see from five feet away was an obvious stress fracture), whispered quietly to one another in hushed tones and then told me, prefaced with puppy dog eyes and glances to the floor, "i really hate to tell you this, but you have a stress fracture". but i really took it all in stride. in fact, they commented on how well i took the news!

seriously. i have been through way worse than this. sexual harassment in the workplace? survived, left the job, and came out stronger for it. first husband and inevitable divorce? survived, left the marriage, and came out stronger for it. rendered somewhat homeless with five-week-old twins by my abusive ex-partner who was cheating on me? survived, left the relationship, and came out stronger for it. stress fracture? bring it on.

yes, this is a set back. but that's all it is. i'm not giving up. i am still in this. i now have my sights set on running a half-marathon at the end of october. and honestly? it may be more my sort of gig anyways. first off, temperatures are infinitely cooler in october than august, and i've been a little concerned about the impending heat stroke that was sure to descend upon me during my first half-marathon in august (insert scenes of red-faced-terror-vomiting, wracking chills, hallucinations of fondant elephants, etc.). additionally, halloween is my favorite holiday, and i can run this half-marathon in a costume if i want. perfect! i've already got my costume picked out.

as i was leaving the chiropractor's office, i ran into a friend. we quickly embraced, swapped injury stories, and my parting words were "well, i guess i'll be spending my summer drinking instead of running..." to which she replied "yeah, that's more fun anyway!".

and so. this blog shall no longer be the place where i bitch about running, but where i bitch about everything else for the next four-to-six weeks. you're welcome.


  1. Wow, I think we might be twin - twinmamas. I just got over posterior tibial tendonitis, and I was out for 6 weeks... and am now rebuilding my mileage slowly. It SUCKED, and I totally second the giving your liver instead of your legs a workout. :) Bring on the summer beers, and know that you have company in the injury department. Try to stay sane mama.

  2. @MotherRunner - thanks for commenting and for the encouragement. we'll have to long-distance cheers across the wisco/minnesota border sometime.

  3. bummer! drinking is definitely more fun, but i know it can be frustrating when you are itching to run. i applaud your good attitude and hope for a complete recovery!


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