October 28, 2011

Friday Favorites: The Shin Splint Edition

Yesterday after work, I headed out for what should have been the perfect short run. The weather was ideal and the fall leaves are absolutely gorgeous right now. I was excited to head over to my favorite running neighborhood, because it had been over a week since I'd been there last, and I was looking forward to enjoying the trees and some super enthusiastic Halloween decorations. I was pumped up to be feeling good after a great race this weekend (that I really will write a recap for sometime) and 8.5 good miles on Wednesday evening. Finally, I was feeling great about getting in a little speedwork as I start gearing up for my next half marathon in (gulp) less than 20 days. Everything necessary to make for a fantastic run, no?
No. Sadly, not even close. As soon as I hit the pavement, I felt the now-familiar pain and tightness in my shins. This was normal and not-so-worrisome, as said pain has been present but bearable during the first mile or so of my recent runs, but then disappeared almost completely as my legs warmed up. So yesterday I kept going without much concern, waiting for the magical moment when things started to feel good.... but that moment never came. By mile 2, I couldn't keep it up and slowed to a walk. Several times I tried to speed back up, but after 50 yards was forced to walk again, and by the time I made it back to my apartment even walking was a challenge. I was in more pain than I had felt in a long time -- even worse than a few weeks ago, when all of this forced me to take several days off.
To say that I was depressed by the time those agonizing 3-ish miles were over would be a dramatic understatement. I was angry that I was wasting such a perfect day on walking, knowing that I could be enjoying a beautiful run. I was terrified about what this meant for the next few weeks leading up to my half -- what about the long run I had planned for this weekend? What about the mileage buildup that I need to do now so that I can taper? Even though my unique backwards taper (aka no taper at all) worked fine for a 10k, there's no way such terrible training methods would serve me well for what is still a rather long race to me. And the worst question of all: what if all of this horribleness wasn't better by the time of the race? Could I make it through 13.1 miles of pain? Would I be able to live with myself if I couldn't run the race? Needless to say, my head was not in a good place when I finally slammed through the front door last night.
After some serious icing, a dose of advil, and a heart-to-heart with my training calendar, I felt a little better. Unfortunately, I know that the only way to get rid of this awful pain is to rest my legs and let them heal. As impossible as it is mentally, I know that if I don't take the next few days off, there is no way that I will be able to even walk 13 miles on Nov. 13th. So my plan for the weekend includes postponing the long run (hopefully until mid-week next week) lots more ice, lots more advil, quality time with the elliptical, and (perhaps most importantly) trying not to let myself go insane.
So in a desperate attempt to infuse some positive into my dangerously discouraged life right now, here are a few of the things that I'm counting on to keep me going this weekend:

Oh. my. goodness. When I read about these in an article about how bad they are for you, I couldn't believe I that I had let such an incredible looking fall treat slip by in my fervent-love-of-all-things-pumpkin. In the few minutes it took me to inhale my first one, I fell in love. My plans tonight include another one of these, in an attempt to lift my spirits out of shin-splint hell. What's that you say? High calorie desserts paired with days of no running might be problematic? Shhh... didn't you know pumpkin is a vegetable??

As if ice cream wasn't enough, I'm also planning to spend the hours I won't be running this weekend baking instead. I will be attempting to recreate some of the adorable creations above for our office Halloween party on Monday, and my list also includes pumpkin muffins and my favorite sweet-potato-meets-apple-crisp recipe. This may prove to be a dangerous weekend for my scale.

Since I'll be spending lots of time on the couch this weekend while my legs swim in bags of frozen peas, I'm lucky to have this little app to keep me busy. Also, I've been stuck on one level of the Halloween Angry Birds for three days, so there's that.

Although none of these fuzzy phone pics do it any justice, this week has been absolutely spectacular: the leaves are peaking, the sunsets have been incredible, and I've been taking the scenic route as much as possible. On a whim Monday night, I took a back road on my way home and turned into the parking lot of an old church where Dan and I used to park and watch the sunset back when we were first dating. I got there just as the sun slid below the mountains, and was rewarded with an amazing light show (viewed through just a few tears for my absent husband... I missed him more than ever that night, I think).

And finally... the best for last. Over the weekend, I was a lucky duck and received a super early birthday present from the hubs -- something I had been positively yearning for over the past year. Since I have absolutely no self-restraint (hey, the name was on the box, so there was no way I could just let it sit there for a month), I have been enjoying loving obsessed with this baby for the past week:
Ahhhh... truly everything I dreamed of. I am currently loving the pumpkin spice and cafe mocha... neither of which taste like plastic. Amazing.
So despite the fact that it looks like another loooong few days of no running, I am certainly lucky to have these joys in my life. Hopefully I'll be back on the road before too long, my recovery powered by ice cream, cake balls, and an insane amount of coffee. 
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!



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