MRI Results Update—Officially Injured

Welp, I’m out for the count….

MRI results came back with Grade 4 Bilateral Tibial Stress Fractures. Yes, both legs.

To say I was completely blindsided is an understatement. I had been feeling zero pain and had not gone in to see my doctor for anything other than cramping. But, my buddy Runner Jenny is the sports doctor’s assistant and she had called for x-rays as a precautionary procedure–just to see.

I’m so glad she did.

She was there at the medic tent in San Diego. She saw me screaming in pain; I am not kidding when I said I was all sorts of miserable at the end of that race. Having worked with hundreds of athletes, Runner Jenny knew my situation had to be more than just cramping issues.

I mean, did I like hearing the news that for 6 weeks I could do nothing–no running, no biking, no elliptical? Of course not, but had I never gotten my legs checked, I would’ve kept on running along until I really did feel pain. And I’m pretty sure by then it would’ve been awful and an even longer recovery time.

The doc said while he definitely thinks I need to work on my sodium/electrolytes intake, my muscles could have also been overcompensating for my weak bones. Just a bad combo all around.

I know my personal diet sucks. You guys have heard me talk about it before. I know I need to improve my eating habits. I’ll be talking to my regular doctor about that and potentially adding vitamins as I def feel I’m lacking nutrients (since McDonald’s and In n Out don’t really provide me with any). Maybe even see a nutritionist. All I knows is I have to get myself figured out here if I want to continue running AND if I want to improve as a runner. I think for me, that’s my biggest decision. If I’m okay staying where I’m at, I’m sure I can manage. But if I want to get faster, I need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

That being said, another area of improvement where I think this 6 week hiatus from running will allow me to work on, is my upper body strength. Since that’s pretty much all I can do, I’m gonna work hard this winter so that when the sun’s out my guns are out.

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Yeaaahp, that’ll be me alright…

I’ll focus on my core as well — and this happened before the injury….

I SIGNED UP FOR MY FIRST TRI!!!

So that pretty much means I need to get in the pool. I feel like this injury is forcing me to work on the things I never did when I just ran. Do you believe in signs? Because I kinda think this is a big, fat, huge one right now.

Anyway, there’s the update. Six weeks of no running. I walked the Hot Chocolate 5k this past weekend (having downgraded from the 15k)

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With one of my walking buddies at mile 2 🙂

and I transferred my bib for the Fiesta Bowl 1/2 marathon I was supposed to run this Saturday. My next race is January 17th, Rock n Roll AZ and I’m hoping Runner Jenny my doc will let me do it. I figure I’ll be keeping myself in shape these next six weeks and my expectations for that race will be to simply finish.

I’ll go back for x-rays to assess progress in 4 weeks. In the meantime, gotta put in some work!

Thank you all for your support on Insta and Facebook! Once again, I’m grateful I have this outlet to “talk” about things and have people share their experiences with me. It really helps!

❤ , helly

–How do you stay motivated through injuries? 

–Best upper body exercises?

–Tips on learning to swim? (I don’t know how!)

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Stress Fracture?? Wha??!!

So Tuesday I went to see a sports doc to get answers about the crazy cramps I’ve been having. I don’t cramp all the time but it def has been happening more often. I cramped at mile 8 at Chicago Marathon (despite wearing compression sleeves, taking salt tabs, hydrating at every station, and fueling as practiced) and then ran a half marathon 3 weeks later with zero cramping (took zero salt tabs and one Gu). Two weeks later, I ran the USA Half Marathon where I experienced insane crampage that left me at the medic tent post race. I had carried Tailwind the entire race and drank water along the course as well–even took a Gu at mile 6 only to cramp up at mile 12 barely being able to cross the finish line.

It’s just so weird.

Anyway, the doc ordered x-rays which at first I thought was odd considering I was there for muscle related issue, but I was game. Soon after, the doctor came back into the room, sat down, and said, “It looks like you have two stress fractures. The one on the left looking worse than the one on the right.”

“Wait, what??”

I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what I said. I was there because of cramps. I had zero pain from my shins (where apparently there was a huge bump).

He walked me to the x-rays and there it was, what seemed to me a huge mountain on my shin bone. He also pointed to a thin little line across the bone that did not look good. The right shin was not as bad and we focused our attention on the thing growing on my left leg.

He rubbed his had along the bone and asked me what I felt.

Nothing.

He was quizzical and said perhaps it was an old injury. I had been there two years before (almost to the date) for shin pain in that exact same leg. At the time though, another doctor had diagnosed severe shin splints. Interestingly, I was in pretty serious pain then and for sure thought I had a stress fracture.

But apparently now I did?

He said an MRI would tell us if the fracture was active or if it was from an old injury. But until then, no running.

I argued. I mean, I wasn’t in pain! I had a race on Sunday! And a half in two weeks!

Nope. No running at least until I got the MRI.

So, here it’s been 6 days since the last time I ran. Six long days, the longest I’ve gone since I don’t even remember when.

Everyone is doing a running streak and here I am starting a NO running streak.

tumblr_inline_numw0nHqOp1s55dye_500Anyway, I got the MRI done yesterday and now I sit and wait to hear back. I’ve got the Hot Chocolate 15k on Sunday that you better believe I’m running. Maybe slowly, but I’m doing it. Seriously, nothing hurts and I feel completely fine. Last Saturday I ran 6 uneventful, cramp free miles.

In other news, I’ve been pretty sick with a cough/cold/sinus thing along with a tooth that’s been hurting major, so this rest from running has helped me deal with these other health issues. I’m actually having my tooth (teeth actually, because there’s 2) pulled next week. Fun times in Helly Land lemme tell ya.

And Phoenix Marathon? I don’t even know what I’m going to do with that. I’ve done zero training for it and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to start something consistent any time soon. It’s been a tough week but I’m hoping things will turn out okay.

So that’s what’s new 😀 What’s going on in your lives? Any surprises like me lol! (I hope only good ones!)

–Ever had a surprise injury?

–Phoenix Marathon is the end of February. Think I still have time to train or should I drop down to the half?

EDIT: In my sleep deprived sick state, I failed to add that the doctor said my cramp issue and stress fracture are unrelated. (This is why I was so confused I was getting x-rays–why did he call for them in the beginning??) He diagnosed me a “salty” person and that I needed to really increase my salt/electroyte intake pre and during race. Even though I already take salt/electrolytes when I race, I need more. I’ll be experimenting with that in two weeks when I hopefully run Fiesta 1/2 Marathon. Thanks for all the love!! ❤ , helly

 

A Whole Lotta Jitters

It’s 5k Turkey Trot Eve and I’m having trouble getting myself to go to sleep. A lot of things have happened the last few days that have my mind going as fast as I’d like to run tomorrow.

On Tuesday I went to a sports medicine doctor to get my shins looked at. The pain in my left leg has increased so that when I walk up and down my stairs at home I can feel the deep ache with each step. It made me worry enough to set up an appointment.

I got a quick x-ray done and then waited to discuss the results with the doctor. He asked me a few questions then began to discuss the x-ray with me. He said that from what he could see and from what I had told him, it didn’t look like shin splints but more like a stress fracture. He suggested getting an MRI done and no running for 6-8 weeks so I can work with a physical therapist to recover. I did not take this news very well at all.

My first initial thought and question was what would happen if I still ran? He told me that I’d likely end up in a boot or crutches.

I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s that bad. I can still run and really want to keep training. My leg hurts when I start the run but then subsides to a tolerable ache the rest of the way. My husband asked, after I told him of my incredulity, what then was the purpose of the appointment if what I was going to do anyway was continue to run? Sometimes I hate when he’s so rational.

I discussed my feelings with my running buddies and with their knowledge and advice I’ve decided to get the MRI done and a second opinion. I think I’ll have more peace of mind then.

In the meantime, I guess because I don’t know how much time I have left to run, I plan on going along with the Runner’s World Running Streak of running at least 1 mile starting Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I love challenges like this. I love challenges period! Lol!

Tomorrow’s race starts my racing season. After the Turkey Trot, I have 2 races in December—a 15k and a 5k, a ½ marathon in January, a (virtual) ½ in February, and my first full marathon in March. It makes me incredibly sad to think I won’t be able to do any of this. This is what keeps going, keeps me motivated.

I’m hoping tomorrow’s race goes well. I’m hoping the MRI disproves the stress fracture diagnosis. I’m hoping my legs heal soon. I’m hoping I can continue to run.

I’ll fill you in with the Turkey Trot run tomorrow—Happy Thanksgiving!

–Are you running on Thanksgiving?