Monday, January 30, 2006

Doctor Z

Not feeling that great this morning, more congestion. Saw Dr. Z, sez it's bronchitis, but not too bad, should be better by mid week. Also blood work to check my iron levels. Not going to run, shin's a little tender now, after feeling fine after my treadmill 10 miler yesterday, but decided to go to the club to just walk, not even elliptical, too tired.

I walked 3 miles on treadmill, first one briskly (4.7 - 5.1 mph), then for the next 1.5 I did silly walks, alternating between walking on my heels, slow, at a very low incline, and then walking on my toes, at a very high incline. Also alternating between toes pointing straight ahead, inward, and outward. Supposedly this should help strengthen a bunch of shin/calf muscles. Must of looked like an idiot at any rate. Then walked another half.

Was going to try the rowing machine, 'cause someone I was chatting with at the club a few days ago said it was good actually for strengthening the front shin muscles, the way your feet pull back on the straps. But the machine was taken, I wanted to get home and sleep.

It's ridiculous I haven't got this shin thing licked yet, I'm constantly doing strengthening exercises, I changed shoes, soft run on surfaces, iced, cross train, NSAIDs, bromelain, saw doctor, xray, MRI (at least for the right, negative), all the standard stuff, I even finally slowed down.

The right shin was originally the problem, from spring 2004, when I started running consistently again, on/off through mid summer 2005, when it mysteriously disappeared, and was replaced by more vague occasional left shin tenderness, but both were good for Hood to Coast, then the left gradually become more chronically sore, a bit lower than the right, in fall 2005 through now.

Looking at some basic anatomy, I think the tenderness is in one or more of the following, all soft tissue next to or behind the inside of the left tibia, about two inches about the funny bone.
  • flexor digitorum longus (the muscle right behind the tibia)
  • long saphenous vein
  • saphenous nerve
  • posterior tibial vessels
  • tibial nerve

I'm pretty sure it's not a stress fracture, it's a similar situation to the right shin, which is okay now, and that wasn't a stress fracture. And this article says "when a stress fracture is present, tenderness is usually noted that extends horizontally across the front of the tibia." I definitely do not have this symptom.

At some point I'm just gonna bag it. The thing is, it never even hurts when I run, sometimes I can feel some sensations, tightness, a presence, but not pain; there's only pain if I start poking and prodding with my finger, I don't know if I'm being oversensitive, maybe I should just forget it, keep running until it actually hurts while running. I'm just afraid of the damage that may be done. Awe quitcher bellyachin' and get back to work.

I have tried most of the exercises described in this MTSS article; I need to be more vigilant.


At 12:15 PM, Blogger Chelle said...

It sounds like if you can keep the nebulous shin pain at bay, you should have plenty of time to train for a sub-3:30 run in Burlington. I've got the same shin thing going on myself, but it seems to be plateauing at a level I can bear, so I'm trying not to think too much about it. That's what Advil's for, right?

I did Vermont quite a few years ago already and I'm not positive that it's still the same course, but the parts along the lake were just beautiful. I'd lived there for a summer in college, so I really enjoyed going back up there to see old friends. I'd just run another marathon the month before, so it wasn't the smartest race I've ever run, but as long as you don't get an unseasonably warm day, it should be a good place to try for a Boston qualifier.

The only hesitation I'd have recommending it for a first timer is that there were long stretches without crowd support, which is something I enjoyed having in my first few marathons, but if you don't mind a little solitude, it's not a big thing.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I hope your congestion is better and that your shin pain subsides soon.

I see that you read the Paleo Diet . . . what are your thoughts on that? Have you applied it to your diet?

At 4:18 PM, Blogger David said...

Thanks much for the info, Chelle. Yes, it all depends di shin. I've got plenty of Advil. (Though my doc sez Aspirin is as good or better.) I don't think solitude should be a problem, I am afterall, a rock as well an island (sure, we'll see how that flies at mile 20). I do appreciate the crowds though. Take care.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger David said...

Hi Susan, thanks for the good wishes. I thought the Paleo Diet for Athletes (there's a couch potato version too) was interesting. I'm a big believer in evolution/natural-selection anyway, and think that human bodies probably run best on the kinds of foods which were available during the hundreds of thousands of years during which we developing - mostly plants, nuts, meat, etc. - not so much bread, soda, ice-cream, Doritos, etc.

So the authors advocate primarily this kind of (Atkins-ish) diet, with the important exception that before and after workouts, carbs should be eaten, since there is pretty definitive evidence that this is what best fuels muscles for longer endurance activities (and helps them recovery.)

I have applied it to my diet (though I'm not super strict), but I started it a year before I read the book. My wife was doing Atkins, and I learned about it and it made sense to me (for the same evolutionary reasons). I think it helped me lose weight, but my workouts possibly suffered, but that was more due to my own carelessness in eating. I was crazy, I'd go out running without having eaten a thing all day and wonder why I was tired.

After I learned more I was more careful to eat carbs before/after workouts, and I'm generally fine. For me, low carb-ish is the way to go. I feel generally better having stopped eating some of the stuff I used to eat lots of (bread, soda, ice-cream, Doritos, etc.) Take care.


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