Shin splints suck.
Sure, shin splints aren't nearly as bad as fractures or tendon tears, but they are still awful. After struggling through weeks of "training" with severe shin splints, I finally decided to take two weeks completely off from running. I haven't gone to the doctor for an official diagnosis, so I pray my shin splints are just that and not stress fractures, and that a few weeks of rest will get me to feeling comfortable again.
Before my self-imposed running hiatus, I ran two shorter races. Thing is, I haven't been able to do any hill or speed training since my marathon prep plan began 8 weeks ago, and so I was not prepared to run any PRs. I did, however, want to participate in the races I had paid for months ago, and so I decided to tough it out for two more weeks and then reevaluate my injuries.
First up was the Philly 10k. I ran the inaugural race last year, but for 2015, the course was altered so that it covered more of South Philly terrain. Like last year, the race was impeccably organized by local store Philadelphia Runner, and there was a fun block party/packet pickup during race weekend and ample port-a-potties at the race start (always an indicator of a good event).
|Cool merch at the Philly 10k packet pickup.|
|I bought this shirt!|
The weather, although not as bad as last year's, was still pretty hot and humid, and that, coupled with my leg conditions, encouraged me to run slow and steady.
I quite enjoyed our jaunt through the 215, but I overheated several times along the course and had to stop for walk breaks. My legs felt so-so, but I didn't try for any sprinting, afraid of causing a fracture or any worse soreness.
In the end, it was one of my slowest 10ks ever (59:35), but I was relieved that I was able to participate.
|Runners lining up for their free beers post-race.|
The following weekend, I traveled to Chicago to visit two of my best friends (more Chicago and Philly summer details to come in a future post). I also happened to run the Magnificent Mile 5k with my friend/former "coach" Diana. Once again, it was hot and humid, but I was more concerned with finishing than with nabbing an impressive time.
The course was unique in that part of it actually ran along Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile (gee, I wonder where they got the name for the race?), and I loved the change of scenery from my normal running route. Both 5k and half marathon runners shared the first 2.5 miles of the course, but I never felt claustrophobic. I also overheated in this race, once again being forced to take walk breaks (I really wanted to try to run the whole way through, even if that meant jogging). I finished in just under 28 minutes, making it another slow race, but I got a high five from Lauren Fleshman as I crossed the finish, so that was pretty baller.
|We somehow thought it was a good idea to line up right behind the elites.|
|After party entrance.|
The next day, I attempted a long run along Chicago's lakefront path, but my legs gave me the worst trouble I have had since my shin splints first flared up. I was bummed about cutting my run short (I only got through 6 very slow walk/run/jog miles rather than my hoped for 8-14), but since I had been so conflicted about taking time off, I realized this was my body's very forceful way of telling me to rest already.
I am hoping and praying that this hiatus gives me time to get back to normal. I have already lost so much fitness and speed, but all I want at this point is to be healed. At least this break gives me a valid excuse for sitting on the couch watching television and eating ice cream :)
I have a training schedule in mind for when I get back to running, but in reality, it is all going to depend on how I feel on my first run post-hiatus. I have another 5k planned for October 3, and I really hope that I will be able to shoot for a PR during that race. That event, the Conquer Run, benefits the Four Diamonds fund. If you'd like to join me in supporting the fund's pediatric cancer research efforts, please check out my fundraising page here.
Have a great week!