Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stop yelling at me!

Particularly muddy trail run, The Catlins, NZ

So, injury! I've developed shin splints in the last few weeks. Oddly enough, it is just in my left leg (the one I had surgery on). I'm frustrated because I don't know exactly why.

I've got a feeling it is a combination of:
- Transitioning shoes from Saucony ProGrid Ride to Saucony Fasttwitch over the last 3-4 months
- Spending 2.5 weeks in New Zealand running-focused (80-100k weeks) - the total volume was low (~13 hours/wk), but primarily running and some swimming rather than balanced s/b/r.
- The running in NZ was strictly trail running, very hilly and the terrain was very uneven. Muscularly, I was recovering better than ever. But that's trails for ya, they're effortless muscularly. The tendons and ligaments were taking a pounding that I suppose they were just not used to.

I saw a doctor in New Zealand who suggested I might have the beginnings of shin splints, but I was focusing on 2 acute injuries at the time (a sprained ankle and a very bruised bone at the top of my left foot from 2 separate accidents). So when I returned to Melbourne and the pain worsened, I saw a physiotherapist. No running for 2 weeks, minimum. It's been 1 week and I think I'm going crazy!! I've had two 5' runs at the end of a cycling w/u before strength training and... there isn't a sharp pain but rather a dull ache that lingers a bit.

I'm frustrated because... well, I'm not supposed to get these overuse injuries. You know what athletes are like (or just Type A individuals in general), they hold themselves up to such a ridiculously high standard. I'm supposed to be striving for perfection. Overuse injuries do NOT fit into this equation. It's unacceptable for me to have them, and I am upset with myself for getting them. I need to heal myself, I need to pinpoint what gave me shin splints so that it can never happen again.

Anyway, this blog post by a triathlete I admire greatly (Terenzo Bozzone) sort of screamed at me. Although, not to disregard my own athletic strivings, I feel more for him and his injury than myself and my own. I imagine, as a professional triathlete, not only would I feel my athletic endeavors falling apart should I incur an injury, but my professional career at risk as well. It's a frightening position to be in, no matter what the extent of the injury.


  1. Dude,
    take the time off and you'll be much happier in the long run.
    And I'm no expert of course but I'd definitely agree and say it has a big chunk to do with the shoe transition.
    Shin splints in my experience are also usually not necessarily a bad thing. They are telling you to maybe back off a bit, take it easy.
    And I actually think the trails would be doing the opposite since they're generally softer terrain. I often tell my runners to run on softer ground (like trails, a track or the treadmill) when they are feeling the start of shin splints. They say it usually helps. Though of course it's not a cure. There's usually something else going on. Too much too soon, shoe issues, form issues...
    I'll shut up. But take care of yourself girl!!!
    And whatever you do don't ever think you're some kind of failure. Far from it.
    And it's better to have shin splints than a stress fracture so listen to your body girl.

  2. Hey so, I found some good hotel/flight package deals to AZ. And I'm thinking of booking soon to make it final and sure that I go.
    Would you want to come to the hotel and stay a few days and do a bunch of things together? My room would be paid for so no need to pay for anything (except for possible activities like museums or entries to parks etc.)
    It would likely be around the Scotsdale area. We could even do a daytrip together to the grand canyon. And a lot of the places I'm looking at are smack dab in the middle of the desert with their own entrances to park and trails.

  3. Steph - thanks for your comments! As for Arizona, I'm uncertain when in July I will be there but I do know that I have a place to stay at for free in both Tucson and Phoenix (I have 2 friends from Arizona). Everything is up in the air at the moment, all I know is I am leaving Canada in my car before July begins, hit Kentucky, Colorado, Utah, Arizona etc before I have to make it back to Kentucky at the end of August. I think you can either make your plans on your own and I'll try to make it work on my end, or if you can hold off a bit, I'll let you know as soon as I know when I enter AZ.

  4. Okie dokes, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to book all my stuff sometime soon and we will figure things out if you are in the area at the time I go.
    I'll probably be there from the 18th until the thursday or friday. It will be closer to Phoenix since that's where I'll be flying in (and then transporting to the hotel). I booked the 16th-23rd off of work already so I kind of have to stick with those dates.
    But maybe we will be around there at the same time!

  5. I think the first time I got injured I was in the same boat as you with regards to my mental state. However I had a fellow blogger who gave it to me and really put my injury in perspective. You will be just fine with the two weeks off, and if it messes up a race you have coming up, so be it. We are young and there are many more races coming up for us. Have some fun with your time off :) Have a great weekend!

  6. @Andy, ack! I just found your comment! Injuries are temporary setbacks, definitely... and I like that, rather than bitch and moan, I took my injury as an excellent opportunity to really build on the cycling volume. It's been great, actually, although I am a little nervous about returning to running. What if I've forgotten how to run??