Being honest with yourself is one of the most challenging parts of running; perhaps more so than an 11-mile training run sans water fountains and shade.
But that’s where I found myself yesterday as I posted a blog on hope, when all I could think about was I really hope my lower leg stops throbbing so I can put on my glittery headband and go running in Central Park.
I have no idea what to label my “condition” or how to identify exactly what part of my leg is being affected. The only way I can describe the sensation is that — and bear with me on this one — it feels like there’s a galaxy of shooting stars streaming back and forth up and down the side of my lower leg. (Note: It’s not tingling, and it’s not the shin.) (Also note: I am not currently on hallucinogens.)
The first time this happened, about a week ago, I kind of laughed it off as a freak occurrence. Oh, that was a weird shooting star-like thing that I just felt in my leg, I thought to myself. And then, I kept on trucking along.
The second time it happened, it came up twice, the pain returning double time over the course of my run. Again, because it was an indescribable sensation that I couldn’t even begin to define, I brushed it off and continued on my merry way. After all, it can be easy to forget these things when staring off into beautiful morning sunrises.
This week, the pain returned in full force. On Monday, it stuck with me — despite how awesome, strong and light I was feeling — all the way from the bottom of Central Park, down 5th Avenue, and back to my apartment. At one point, it struck as I was mid-air, so that when I landed, I lost control over my balance and wound up stumbling over my unstable, wobbly knee.
Tuesday was more of the same, except this time, I was seeing shooting stars at just the start of my run. While Tuesday morning’s run turned out to be okay — good, even — the entire ordeal served as a serious wake-up call. For the first time, the pain decided to stick with me beyond my morning run, into the day, night, and with me as I woke up on Wednesday morning.
Noah made me promise on Tuesday night that I wouldn’t run on Wednesday. Of course, I told him there was a better chance of me doing laundry than skipping my morning run. As fate would have it though, Noah got his way, because upon opening my eyes on Wednesday morning, I was greeted with the sun, my comfy bed, and shooting pains racing up and down my leg — which is weird, because my leg looks totally fine. I’m pretty sure it’s faking it just to get out of going to school.
No, I wouldn’t run on Wednesday.
I had really, really hoped to conquer 30 or more miles this week, something which I’m not so sure — no, I know — is a bad idea. I’m bummed. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. Because not only can I not pinpoint exactly where the pain is coming from (except, of course, by describing it as a galaxy — medically speaking), but I don’t know how to address the unease. Is strength training okay? Is yoga okay? Is walking to work okay? Will ice help? Will Advil help?
In doing a little research, Noah and I determined that the pain could interestingly enough have no relation to running, rather, sitting cross-legged at my desk for the last 3 years. Then again, I can’t imagine that running has absolutely nothing to do with a mysterious pain in my leg and, quite the contrary, might be due to sitting. The irony of that alone would be too much to bear.
For now, I feel like I’m in a glass case of emotion. Anyone who reads this blog knows, and anyone who spends time around me can attest, that a Stacy who hasn’t run is not a Stacy you want to be around.
Short, irritable and generally cranky, I spent the rest of my Wednesday contemplating what went wrong and how I made the rookie mistake of running through that odd pain radiating from my leg just because it didn’t feel that bad. After 6 years of running on a very consistent basis, you’d think that I’d be at least intelligent enough to know when to scale back.
But so is life. You live, and you learn. You also rest, if you want to run half marathons without completely obliterating your body — which I do, on September 16th during the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half.
As for now, I’ve already incorporated a heavy dose of I-must-get-better-now into my routine, hitting up an overcrowded class at Yoga Vida last night with the hilarious Ashley of Running Bun and feeding my body delicious spoonfuls of brilliant Chobani yogurt concoctions (much more to come on their new Soho Flagship store in tomorrow’s write-up).
Stay classy, San Diago.
- I’m not looking for would-be diagnoses, but if you’ve ever experienced this leg pain before, please enlighten me!
- What’s the strangest pain or injury you’ve ever dealt with?
- Will a 3-day break be enough?