Monday, October 7, 2013


I Am a Runner

In my about me for this blog, I didn't describe myself as a runner. But the truth is, that's the one thing I'm most likely to call myself. Back in high school, it was one of the only things on my mind. I made my best friends through running and I thought obsessed about running constantly. I ran 5Ks outside of cross country season and worked up to running 8 miles, one of my biggest accomplishments. I even had a goal to run a marathon someday (still do!).

Unfortunately, running didn't come without it's set of pains. And I don't mean the normal kind of soreness you get from a hard workout. I LOVE that soreness. It means I got to run. Starting in my sophomore year of track I felt a pain in my shin. I went to the ER and several doctors and kept being told to take three days off and ice my shin splints. Fearful of a stress fracture, I did just that. But the pain didn't go away. Some days were good, others were bad. The better the shape I was in the less it hurt. So, I ran as hard and fast as I could and by the end of my junior cross country season I had a great new PR and tolerable-to-no pain.

I kept running after the season and a week after reaching 8 miles, I sprained my ankle. I was going to have to take six weeks off and then work my way back up. It was heartbreaking, but not a death sentence. My ankle healed up and I began training again during track conditioning. The pain in my shin was back with a vengeance. As I said, it stopped hurting when I got into better shape, but I was a horrid runner at this time and being told to run much farther than I should have had to start over with. The season didn't go well but I was never a fan of track so I didn't think much of it. Truth be told, track was only a way for me to get in better shape for my true love, cross country. Running in circles isn't very appealing when you get to run beautiful courses through the woods and by the lake. It doesn't even compare.

My senior cross country year wasn't bad, but I was never able to get back to what I reached my junior year and the pain kept getting worse. It was like a knife being stabbed into my shins with every step I took. I did some research and I knew I didn't have shin splints. My pain always ended as soon as I started running. Shin splints hurts continually afterwards. So, I went to another doctor and gave him my idea. In my research, I came across a condition called chronic exertion compartment disorder, commonly mistaken for shin splints due to its rarity. He explained that the test to check for this was long and painful and the only option to fix the issue was surgery; however, he said if I could tolerate it I could continue to run.  Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory, could help with the pain (I was already regularly taking four at a time at this point). Coupled with this and the herniated muscle on my shin, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. So, I finished out my senior year but haven't been able to tolerate the pain since.

This has weighed heavily on me for nearly five years now. I feel as if I've lost myself. Certainly I have other interests, but running was my life. And I can't be without it any longer. Yesterday, my fiancé ran his first 5K. He has been training for several months and I've jealously stood by and watched. Of course, I am insanely proud of him, but it is no replacement for running myself. Watching him run yesterday, well from what I could see of the course, I became inspired to start again. Yesterday I bought myself a pair of good supportive aasics (my favorite!) and ran a mile and a half. I'm feeling fantastically sore today, but my shins didn't hurt! Yesterday was only the beginning. No amount of pain will stop me this time. I want to be myself again. I will be me again. I am a runner.