Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are you looking for a baby in my shins?

No posts for three days mean I have a lot to say! (I'm going to split it up in a few posts so they're not too long).

Let's start off with my shin splints! Today officially marks a full week of no running :(  They hurt so bad sometimes I just get random pains when I'm not even standing, let alone running...

I was really going to just try to tough it out and keep going but I talked to my friend Valeria who is a physical therapist (BTW - every runner should have a friend who is a physical therapist. Bonus points if he/she is a runner too [Valeria is]. She has helped me so much. She got rid of my IT band issues and a tendonitis thing I was dealing with during the summer).

She confirmed that for sure it's shin splints and strongly encouraged me to ease off a bit.  I've basically been doing the classic shin splint causing things: upping my mileage too quickly, running on hard surfaces (in my case, sidewalks) and not warming up properly.

So I've been a good patient and I haven't run and I've been icing and massaging every day.  Valeria said that shin splints are basically caused by tight calves.  It's important to massage out any tension in the calves as well as stretch them regularly. I have MASSIVE calves so I tend to ignore them since they didn't seem like a "problem" area. (And when I say massive I mean, the biggest size of women's compression socks cut off circulation).
Check out those bad boys

Valeria also brought her ultrasound machine to my work yesterday and performed ultrasound therapy on my shins during my lunch break (isn't she great??) We're going to try to do it a couple more times this week and hopefully that will help. 

When Valeria first offered her ultrasound machine I was like, "umm thanks, but how's looking for a baby going to help my shins??" But she patiently explained that the areas where the muscle is closer to bone don't get as much blood flow because there just aren't as many veins there. So these muscles tend to heal more slowly since they don't get that much blood.  Well, the waves from the ultrasound help increase the blood flow to to those areas thus speeding up recovery.  It's the the same concept as wearing compression or that tape stuff - but more powerful and localized.  The whole idea is to increase blood flow in injured areas to aid in recovery of the muscles.

Here's a Wikipedia article on ultrasound therapy (but I'm pretty sure my explanation was very clear and answered any questions you might have, so I don't even know why you'd need it.)

I taught 2 cycle classes and a bootcamp last week, plus the 2 times I ran on my shin splints so I still got 5 decent workouts in.

I teach cycle again tomorrow and will try to run on Thursday.  Valeria really wants me to start back on a rubber track so that's what I'll being trying.... we'll see how I feel...

Something that I'm working on and what's kind of the whole point of this blog is pursuing health in all aspects of my life - especially when the healthy choice isn't always the most obvious one.

Health isn't exercising all the time, never eating junk food and insisting on 8 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes the healthy choice is taking a week off, or eating that homemade cookie or staying up late for that important conversation. Not always - but sometimes.
Ordering every dessert on the menu our last night in Jamaica - definitely the right choice
It wouldn't be healthy for my body to go out and run 8 miles right now so I'm making the healthy choice and resting. I'm not saying I don't have weak moments where I start to panic about losing all my fitness and dying in my next race, but mostly, I'm proud that I'm doing the healthy thing for my body right now.

I feel sad when I read blogs or talk to girls who beat themselves up for struggling with maintaining their fitness and eating goals. It really is OK to take a break and cut yourself some slack sometimes. 

Just like it's not healthy to eat fast food every day and never exercise, it's also unhealthy to deprive yourself of joy or rest or company because you feel like you 'have' to do something.

Does this resonate with anyone? Anyone else sometimes struggle with making the "healthy" decision when it's not always the most obvious?

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