Wednesday, June 11, 2014

All runs bright and beautiful, all major muscles sore.

All runs bright and beautiful,
All major muscles sore.
Tennis balls and foam rollers,
My lounge room has them all.
Nurofen and frozen peas,
I'm stretching on the floor.
Running shoes gathering dust,
Forlornly at the door.
My friends are running marathons,
and I can't run at all.
My shins ache, my arches burn,
No runner's high at all.

To the tune of 'All Things Bright And Beautiful'. I know, I missed my calling as a jingle writer.

You may recall I 'came out' of the running closet and confessed that I was training for a half marathon, with plans to go to the Sydney Blackmores Running Festival with Sarah.

My BRFAABF (Best Running Friend All Around Best Friend) Louise and I were running 3-4 times per week and all was noodling along nicely. I mean, my shins hurt but if I wore my calf sleeves it seemed manageable. My chiropractor, GP and Physio all muttered about resting and stretching and icing and I was doing most of those things. They also mentioned cutting down mileage, and perhaps not doing a half marathon.

Say what?

Mummy needs endorphins.

I mentioned to my chiro (also a trail long distance runner) that my shins hurt a lot, a lot of the time. As in, I couldn't rest on my shins on the floor and if anyone touched them I felt punchy and stabby. This is apparently indicative of a bigger problem than basic shin splints.

I've had biomechanical issues for quite a few years, lots of iTB problems and hiking injuries. Mostly I put it down to a lack of basic fitness and kept on rolling. I fell in and out of love with regular exercise for years, but this time something clicked. It became important for me to be fit and healthy to keep up with two loose cannons moving toddlers in my life. I realised one day how important it was to me when I jumped up off a chair and sprinted to the top of a park up a steep hill to rescue M from a gigantic slide. It was a great feeling to be able to BE THERE, pronto. I can also chase them endlessly despite it being endlessly boring and bounce up off the floor when needed. I'm active, damnit.

The Mother's Day Classic arrived and despite having been 'on rest' for a week I ran it anyway. At 4km I had a mini-meltdown because it was SO hard, and I've run further than that before. It was a horrible feeling. Louise fed me jellybeans, we put some music on my phone and powered through the last 4km. We clocked in at 1:02 and I promptly came home after lunch and iced, rested, snoozed and took lots of ibuprofen.

My name is Amy and I have shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tight calves, tight iTB and in the words of my (female) chiro, a nasty ass. Read: tight glutes that don't 'fire' properly. I prefer nasty ass.

As of last week I had a good conversation with my chiro and made a decision about my running health.

There will be no half marathon this year, or next year. There will be no running until I can walk 16km per week with no shin pain.

I bought The Five Minute Shin Splint Cure which sounds like a total crock but has diagrams of how to foam roll your shins and legs properly, which was very useful. I also bought Tennis Ball Self Massage which was really quite amazing for me. My chiro looked at me like I was an idiot, but I truly didn't know anything about trigger points for major muscle groups, so for a few dollars these two Kindle books were eye opening for me.

At present my routine goes:

  1. Foam roll shins (front, right, left)
  2. Foam roll calves
  3. Foam roll hamstrings
  4. Foam roll iTB 
  5. Tennis ball anterior shin
  6. Tennis ball interior shin
  7. Tennis ball quads (helps with my knee pain)
  8. Tennis ball arches
  9. Tennis ball calves
  10. Tennis ball any other tight spots
  11. Stretch calves
  12. Stretch hip flexor
  13. Stretch glutes
It's so boring that I watch trashy television or text with Sarah whilst I'm doing it. It seems to be helping.

Once I can walk 16km without pain I'll begin with the Galloway run/walk/run program for tiny amounts, increasing my mileage slowly and steadily.

I'll work up to a 5km run, then a 7km run, then a 10km run. I'll continue that for 12 months so I have a solid running base together, then I'll think about other races. 

I've currently got a pair of these Asics GT-20002 running shoes, and I bought them when my knees were bad. They've got perhaps 100km of running on them, so I'm not looking to replace them any time soon. I know that replacing shoes is usually the first step in dealing with shin splints, but I really want to try everything else before laying down another $200 on shoes.

So there you have it. That's my plan at the moment.

Are you injured? How are you rehabilitating yourself?


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