I've been debating on if/when to write about this. I don't like to borrow trouble; why worry about something that may not even be? But there has been enough to where I've become fairly certain that I have developed a stress fracture.
You may remember from a couple of weeks ago that I was having some calf pain after a run. It felt like a deep muscle strain. I happened to be at my doctor's office about three days after that started. Because I was flying on a plane the following day, she checked it out as she was concerned it could be deep vein thrombosis.
Another three days or so after that, that pain went away and I forgot about it. Until this week. Saturday I had a great long run, 14 miles. As I've mentioned, I have been working on my form so that my legs would have more even usage. This was because lately I was only having achy quads while my hamstrings and glutes felt absolutely fine. After Saturday's run, I had some aches in all three muscles groups, with the achiness being less in my quads.
Sunday my legs were tight, particularly the right. By Monday, the left leg was about the same, maybe a little better, but the right leg was much tighter -- particularly the inside of my right leg around the calf. Tuesday wasn't much of an improvement but I intended to run five miles, planning to stretch well beforehand and figuring that my legs would loosen up as I ran. And as I started to run that turned out to be true except for my right leg below the knee. There, the muscles felt a little looser but a deep, throbbing ache started up instead, focusing on a spot right below my calf muscle. I stopped several times to stretch and make sure it wasn't swollen or warm (it wasn't) but the ache never got any better. It seemed to reach a threshold where I could have kept running if I absolutely had to -- the ache was relentless though I thought if I had some more Advil (I'd taken two about two hours before that) that it would have helped it -- but I decided to cut the run short at three miles.
Walking back into the gym almost hurt more than when I'd been running. In the locker room, I put the leg up on the bench while I started gathering my stuff together to leave. I palpated my leg and from that angle the inside shin bone was very prominent -- I just about squealed when I pushed on the bone right underneath my calf muscle. By the time I left the gym, the ache had decreased a little bit but I still could feel it every time I put weight on that leg. Same after I got home and RICEd it.
Wednesday it continued to feel a little better, particularly after I switched to Aleve instead of Advil, but again it seems to have reached a certain threshold where it's not hurting more but it's not hurting less either. And still, even just when I'm walking. The longer I'm on that leg, the more it starts to ache. There's even a small achiness when I'm not on it at all.
So, after consulting Dr. Google and comparing it to every other muscle strain I've had before, I think my lack of base miles is finally catching up with me. As well it should. I know that increasing mileage too quickly is a recipe for injury. Yet I did it anyway.
I'm going to try to get into my doctor tomorrow to get her opinion (and she is also a runner, so she gets it) or at least talk with the advice nurse to see if I should skip my primary care physician and go straight to a specialist. And while I don't want anyone to say that I do have a stress fracture, I'm hoping that if they're gonna that they can skip the pricey scans and just stick me in a boot or whatever. This also means that I'm not going to be able to run my (extremely expensive) half marathon race this weekend, and probably that Vancouver is out too. Another reason I'd rather not make this any more expensive than it has to.
If you have them to spare, please send healthy leg/no stress fracture/win a small lottery prize vibes my way :) I'll be on the couch, icing my leg.