Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Running Post Stress Fracture

On Saturday, I did something that I haven’t done in 6 weeks. I man-scaped!  I ran! After receiving the thumbs up from my doctor to run, I finally felt comfortable to head out for a quick 4 mile test run.  It was everything that I hoped it would be (kind of)!  I ran in the heat of the day without a shirt on (per doctors orders – have to get 30 min of sun), I saw a few other runners, I blew snot out of my nose, and because I didn’t bring any water my mouth was dryer than the Sahara.

But, if I am being honest, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Far from it, in fact.  Here are my initial thoughts from my first run in 6 weeks...


My “internal pace” clock is totally out of wack
The overall pace of my run was 7:17/mile. I wanted to run around 7:45 – 8:00.  Before, I could lock in on 7:30ish pace pretty easily, let my mind wander to how much I miss Simon Cowell on American Idol, and hold that for miles and miles without looking too much at my Garmin.  However, having not run for quite some time, I no longer had my cruise control.  My pace looked somewhat like an EKG.  Up, down, up down.   It was all over the map.  I really hope it comes back soon because the jumpy pace was tough to push through

Running shoes felt...strange
Probably the most interesting / sad thing was that I hadn’t put on running shoes in FOREVER so they felt really strange. They felt snug and warm like a condom for my feet. Normally I’m in dress shoes for work or flip flops so it was really strange to be in running shoes again.

Cross training works!!  Sort of
Running requires two things: Spandex and watered down Gatorade Cardio-vascular endurance and muscle strength.  With the exception of a week where I moped around about having a stress fracture, since being hurt I’ve been pool running and biking as much as my body would allow – sometimes more so.  These have trained my cardio-vascular endurance.... my lungs and my heart.  However, for some reason, they did not work specific parts of my legs.  What this means is that two days after I ran my 4 miles (Monday) my legs were SORE. Post marathon sore.  Not just sore near my stress fracture, but my quads, IT bands, etc.  Pool running is supposed to avoid this to a certain extent, so I’m not sure if I was doing it wrong or what.

Recovery is not linear – it will have ups and downs
I certainly didn’t have expectations that I’d go out and blast 4 miles pain free and everything would be awesome.  But, I didn’t think that I’d have as much trouble as I’ve had over the last 3 days.  The reality is that the soreness that I’ve had is really troubling.  On Monday, my legs were sore enough that getting up off of the toilet was one of the hardest things I’d done all day. I had actually planned on running 6 miles that day but I had to push it to tonight. I keep having thoughts that are best summarized by “If I can’t run 4 miles without being a wreck, how am I going to run 26 miles in 20 days??” I honestly don’t have a good answer for that, I really don’t.

I Haz Sad
I’m trying to keep it all in perspective, but the soreness that I’ve seen has really taken a lot of wind out of my sails.  I’m putting in so much effort to get to the starting line and I’m not 100% certain that I’ll get there.  I feel like the frequent response that I get from people is to just not run this year and try to qualify again next year.  However, the reality is that it took nearly everything I had to qualify this time.... what if I’m not able to do it?

But, on THAT happy note I’m reminded of the very common saying: if it were easy, everyone would do it.   Another test run tonight!!

23 comments:

Karla said...

Aww. Well glad you are cleared to run! I know its hard to get back to, but I have always re-started with a mix of the cross training and lite running. Give my legs time to re-adapt! You'll get back soon enough!

Jen said...

It is bittersweet. I wouldn't get to nuts about the soreness - just ice after your run and consider taking your pace down a bit more for the next run or two. Maybe stretching a lot pre and post run. I get pain after I run hard for anything more than 6-8 miles and I have found that tons of stretching and foam rolling has helped tremendously. (I mean not that I know shit but that would be my advice based on my medical degree from Google and WebMD)

Good luck and happy to hear the wheels are back on. Visualize and keep positive about Boston. Stop the 'what if' game. What will be will be.

X-Country2 said...

(I'm staying late at work just to post this, so just know, I REALLY care!)

I'm thrilled you got to run again! YAY!! As far as the downsides, it sounds exactly like me when I came back from being pregnant. Even the internal clock part. The one thing I can tell you: it comes back. It comes back quick. Your body remembers how to run, I promise. Once you get past the initial soreness and weirdness, you'll be right back at it. You aren't starting from square one as a totally new runner. You're a very experienced, very GOOD runner who took some time off. Now you're back. Shake the cobwebs off and go get it.

Char said...

When I started running again after a long illness I just felt like I'd borrowed someone else's legs to run with. They were useless and uncoordinated. But luckily I whipped those stranger's legs into shape and they finally feel like they belong to me.

Thomas said...

Congrats on your first run back! That sucks about the soreness but I think you'll be able to shake that pretty quick. Best of luck!

ajh said...

I hope things turn around for you and you go to Boston THIS year. I do think you'd qualify again but you deserve it now!

Gracie said...

You'll roll right through that soreness. Muscle memory is an awesome thing

Jose said...

You'll be back in the swing of things in no time....

Nelly said...

Man huge bummer about the possibility of missing Boston. I would just follow the doctors orders - if he says you can run Boston, then run it. If not, then I probably wouldn't - don't want to get re-injured and prolong your injury. I do think you can re-qualify if you can't do Boston this year.

I had a right ankle stress fracture in December, and it seemed like it took a while to heal - like 3 months or something to feel totally normal. And sometimes I would almost feel a sense that it doesn't feel 100% - which likely is not physical but mental. One change that I made after the stress fracture was to start taking calcium pill(contains vitamin D too) and zinc pill daily. My doctor said it might promote better bone density possibly. I already take a multivitamin daily too.

Good luck and hopefully you are able to do Boston this year.

Sue's Ramblings said...

I really need to bookmark this - dealing with a stress fracture too. Have been cross training eg elliptical, strength training (even the legs, although modified) and just this week, walking (slow walk, shuffle that even old ladies were passing me in the park!). Did you walk at all during the 6 weeks? And was it a run all the way or did you take walk breaks, wlak-run or jog etc? Tips. Tips. Tips. Anything would help.

Courtney said...

I wouldn't be as upset about your soreness as you are. Of course you are going to have DOMS. That will pass and you will be less and less sore as you increase your mileage and frequency of running....but you knew that, so turn your frown upside down and get your butt out there! You will run Boston this year! It might not be your dream run but you will do it. Have faith man!

The Banter said...

This post is hugely disappointing... Where are the picks of you topless?

Amanda RunToTheFinish said...

I feel like post injury or even after a few days off for any reason there is this weird hump to get over <> where a few runs just don't feel fluid and then suddenly it's like everything is back to normal. Hopefully a few more runs and you'll be smooth as butter

Kayla Moothart said...

So glad you ran again - but you are only one test run in right now! I'm hoping your next goes better for you!

Pat said...

Boston doesn't allow you to postpone for a year? I know you can do that for other races like NYC.

Even if you can make great progress over the next 20 days(when you should be resting anyway), would the experience at Boston be that worthwhile? You won't run at your best, you'll feel miserable all run.

Figure a way to get the race differed until next year. You deserve to have a great race day.

Robyn said...

Try run-walk intervals the first few runs out. 4 min-1 min, maybe. Keeps you from flaming out and it varies your biomechanics to prevent soreness.

Heck, if it works, do it at Boston. You'll feel like a total goof stopping to walk 4 min into a marathon, but you'll still be going at mile 24.

Kate Geisen said...

I think maybe Robyn's onto something.

Glad you're able to run again...I hope all the beginning again issues are short-lived and you're feeling like you again soon!

Missy said...

Yay you can run! Boooo that it's sucking so bad right now.
Don't make any rash decisions yet. See how you feel after a few more runs. It just might take a few to get the cobwebs out.
Hang in there.

OhMyLaughter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
inspiREDtorun13 said...

My initial thought when reading this post was "NOOO! You qualified for this year you have to go -- run, walk, or crawl!"
(Let's hope not on the crawl.)

I think whatever way you can most safely complete the race is worth it for the experience. I agree about there being a hump you have to get over when coming back from an injury, so who knows maybe running the entire thing is still a possibility. But if not, people complete the Boston Marathon for charity and completing the race with these folks seems like it would be a different kind of "once in a lifetime experience." You're so involved in the running community, I still think you'd enjoy yourself if you end up having to walk more than you like.

LK said...

I'm curious what your doc used/evaluated to decide you could try running again? Did you have an mri and/or x-ray that showed it was healed? I limped for days after a 17 miler March 9 but didn't get in a boot/diagnosed with a calcaneal stress fracture until May 21. I haven't run in almost 4 weeks... Any idea how the docs decide when to let people try running again? And on the aqua jogging note, I was convinced the clock had stopped yesterday, time was moving so slowly. Good luck getting to Boston and thanks for any insight you can provide!

Jaquelin Quirke said...

I know I am very late the the party on this post, but I am a runner currently recovering from a stress fracture a had a question. How did you know that your stress fracture was healed? My ortho says that I should be pain free for 2 weeks before running again, but it has been 8 weeks since I last ran ( my first marathon) and I still have a little pain in the stress fracture site. We're you pain free when you began to run again, and if so for how long?

The Boring Runner said...

Jaquelin - shoot me an email! theboringrunner - gmail. I'm more than happy to chat with you all about it!! (I might do a post as well)