I am training for longest race I have ever run. Last Sunday I thought that it was over as I was suffering from not only terrible shin splints (for the last 6 weeks) but also acute Plantar Fasciitis. This past Monday I went to see Dr. Martin Gallagher M.D. who gave me chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture to treat my shin splints and the plantar fasciitis. Later on that day I was able to run four 1-mile repeats!
Since I was now functional again (I will be receiving at least one more treatment) I have been training all week which leads me to today...what runners call the 'long run'. I (and my son who also ran 10 miles; but not with me because he is just too fast for me) went out to Oakland/Shadyside to run a 5 mile loop two times. It serves to build endurance and provide a good excuse to eat a hot dot at the 'O' (the 'Original' Hot Dog shop) in Oakland for our protein when the run is over.
The first three miles went fine. Then, a young couple crossed my path around Mellon Park and began to run in front of me. Their pace was about the same as mine and I didn't want to stay behind them (a big mistake as you'll see), so I passed them and was acting like a 'rabbit' (pace setter) for them.
At this point I was feeling quite confident and decided to pick up the pace. No sooner did I do that that a piece of the Shadyside sidewalk peeked up to see what was going on and grabbed my left foot. At least that's what it felt like.
I really, really hate seeing the sidewalk rising to greet my face. It is as if the world immediately starts running in slow motion. It's always the same, first the foot that trips is the first to hit, quickly followed by the right knee, left elbow and finally the right hand to stop my head from hitting the pavement. After hitting the ground, my pride immediately jumped up (as well as myself) and said 'I'm fine' when the young couple stopped to see if I was alright.
There was a strangely unsettling mix of cinders and fresh blood on a substantial areas of the left elbow. My right knee corresponded in harmonious agreement with the same amalgamation of ingredients and size. My right wrist was now quite sore. Most surprising of all was the feeling of strain on my side and chest. As I began running again to finish the first half of the run (where I could wash out my wounds) I questioned myself if I wasn't have a heart issue. What had happened is that when I stuck my left elbow out during the crash, I stretched muscles/connective tissue I didn't even know that I had throughout the entire left side of my sternum.
I did finish my 10 mile run today. The good news is that by the time I finished the 10 miles, I completely forgot about the shin splints and foot pain that was there earlier!
So what do you do when you're tripped up? I think that the best thing to do is make sure you are functional and keep on keeping on, even if you are hurting.
Sometimes you push through one (or two) problems and encounter another set of problems on your way to your goal. I guess that I am very blessed that I have the opportunity to struggle to cope through all the problems that runners have with long distances. Many of my special needs and disabled friends don't get the opportunity to endeavor to meet these types of goals, even though some really wish they could. At least we can always have hot dogs together (like my son and did at the 'O')!
P.S. Maybe getting tripped up in Shadyside will lead to a way for us to link running, hot dogs, Encouraging Angels and these friends together.