Sometimes, the internet is my worst enemy. Ah, Google. When I start something new, I’m eager to learn everything I can, as soon as I can. In all of my reading about running, I keep coming across cautions about injuries. Stress fractures, ITB issues, shin splints…where does it stop?
With that information floating around in my head, every little pain or ache is suddenly magnified. My shin hurts, and there’s pain when I press on the bone–do I have a stress fracture? Should I be running? Do I need to schedule a costly bone scan? I was feeling just fine last week before the fateful 7-mile day–could those extra two miles have caused a stress fracture? What does a stress fracture feel like, anyway? Can one week of higher mileage really make that big of a difference?
Or, more likely for a klutz like me, did I run into something, bang my shin, and forget about it? Luckily, I have a dear friend who is a nurse and listens patiently to all of my ramblings and “logical” symptoms and then calmly talks me down off of the MRI-scheduling ledge. 🙂
I wonder if it’s better to have a general awareness of what constitutes “bad” pain–from what I can gather, you shouldn’t run through a sharp pain but a dull muscle ache is okay–than to focus on every little ache. Because, for those of us on information overload, obsessing over an injury that probably doesn’t exist might actually bring it into existence (like “The Secret,” but in a negative way).
This is the reason I am hesitant to see doctors–because inevitably, you leave with a label for some kind of condition. And once it has a name, you internalize it, and, I’m convinced, make it worse…a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because if you’re thinking about something continually, how can you avoid it? Like driving, when you will unconsciously go toward the thing you’re looking at.
It’s amazing how far the mind can travel in a short period. This afternoon, after reading a Runner’s World article about injuries, I stopped to consider the fact that I might have a stress fracture in my shin…which made me think about how taking 6 weeks off to heal at this early stage of running would really set me back, and how I can’t really afford expensive hospital bills, and how I might have to skip the half marathon in May, and what kind of cross-training exercises I could do while I wasn’t running, and how much weight I’d gain when not running, and how I was going to manage with such a serious travel schedule, and how the marathon training would be extra difficult, and how I was going to be a failure at the marathon I just paid $135 to register for, and how all of my friends and family were going to see that I was a running failure.
And yes, I do realize how crazy that sounds. Welcome to my neuroses and overactive mind. 🙂 Oy. So much to learn. I’m going to think myself into an injury if I don’t watch out.
Where can I go to get answers to my questions? Are there running trainers or coaches that will do a “welcome to running” session to get me on the right track? If so, where does one find them?