Running injuries declared “no fun.”

Full disclosure, this is not my personal x-ray. However, I’ve totally requested. Hello Doc, I wanna see what my bones look like! Can you tell this was my first ever x-ray?  🙂

Two months ago I finished my first half-marathon, with a sub-eight minute final mile. I felt awesome.

I rested like instructed. Babied my body while it recovered. And took to the roads a week later for a nice recovery jog.


“It’s just muscle tenderness,” I thought.

Tried again the following week. And the week after. And the week after. The only thing changing being the degree of pain I experience during and after run, and how crippled I was for hours after finishing. I finally was done in by a 3-mile (puny) run in Savannah at the very beginning of June. And I had to throw in the towel.

Concentrated pain. Aching deep to the bone. Sensitivity to any weight pressure. I was a mess at stairs and any long-distance walking was uncomfortable. No more running temporarily. Maybe a week or two off was all I needed.

But the pain continued. So I went to a doctor.

That was no good, since the “only stress fractures she had ever seen were with women who had osteoporosis.” Of which, I was not.

To someone who typically logs around at least 25 miles running a week––to stop completely and not run for a month with a mystery, undiagnosed pain? Maddening.

I have literally been losing my mind. I tried swimming for exercise (that’s a joke). I tried biking. It’s just not the same.

As time passed and the pain subsided, there was still some swelling and tenderness. Occasional aching and feeling of discomfort while I’m sitting or trying to go to sleep.

So, finally I went to see an orthopaedic specialist today and all of my suspicions were verified. Almost completely confident there’s at minimum a stress reaction. The specialist was flabbergasted at my previous doctor’s treatment (and suggested I find someone else for regular primary care) and was even concerned of the possibility of a break. An x-ray later it was in the clear that there wasn’t a break (thank goodness, that would’ve meant surgery)––but it was still highly likely that I have a fracture.

In the coming weeks I may need to have a bone scan––but for now I at least have a timeline to count against for when I can maybe start training again. 20 weeks. 20. freaking. weeks. Luckily the first five that I’ve rested count. And I can start running two days at a time likely in September. But, until then? Biking and swimming.

Talk about a lesson in patience.

But I would far rather fly under the radar for five months than rush back and deal with this injury indefinitely (and potentially make it far worse than current).

The only other saving grace was that I don’t have to wear a boot. It was discussed. And as fashion-forward as that would be in July––I was grateful the doc seems confident that I can heal up as is.

There is so much to be said for a doctor who:
1) Spends time with patients

2) Listens to patients’ crazy “Well, I know I shouldn’t, but Google told me…” and is affirmative that you’re being a good self advocate

3) Gives you advice in a personal way. “If you were my daughter, I’d tell you…”

4) Acknowledges your personal goals and adjusts your treatment to be right for you as an individual. “You want to run marathons? We’ll fix you up. You want to switch to cycling? You’re good to go.”

Luckily, the doctor was incredibly encouraging about the prognosis. “You finished a half marathon just fine and this happened after? You’re golden. Just had a streak of bad luck is all.”

I put off going to the doctor for so long because I didn’t see the point if I was just supposed to rest. But now I have a clear action plan for healing and I have way more confidence that I’m going to get this right to not re-injure myself. It’s well worth the co-pay and test fees. (Maybe ask me again maybe if I have to have the bone scan though 🙂 )

Runner friends, any suggestions for keeping your sanity while being sidelined? I’m going to need to find better ways to entertain myself for the next 15 weeks!

5 thoughts on “Running injuries declared “no fun.”

  1. Awww good luck! Im glad that it FINALLY got diagnosed correctly and you can recover properly.

    Advice for being ‘patient’ while not running: Embrace it. Whole-heartedly. 15 more weeks is a very short period in the long, runner lifestyle you seem to embrace. Swimming and biking might be boring and not nearly as fullfilling as running, but it sure as heck beats sitting around. I have a tendency to try to do weights or ab tapes when I am not running. Little stress on the legs and I like to think my upper body appreciates it, as well as my core. I also try to pursue other hobbies that running makes me neglect- reading, writing, scrapbooking, attempting to sew (that doesn’t last long), writing letters, etc.

    I would totally request for my x rays too !!!!! hehe

  2. Glad you have a good doctor…that’s half the battle.

    The other half is staying active during your injury. Do crunches or arm workouts while you’re down. Keep the endorphins pumping and you won’t be as depressed about being sidelined.

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