One week out from the beginning of my taper, while cruising through a ten-mile tempo run, I felt a terrible pain in my right shin at mile seven. I’m tough, I thought, and pushed through. After I completed the prescribed workout at 6:25 pace the pain got worse and I hobbled home. Subsequent days of frantic icing, stretching, icing, stretching, and PT sessions ensued. After numerous PT sessions, including (terribly painful) Graston and dry needling, I was still confident this was a bad case of shin splints and the taper would take care of it.
If you’ve ever felt a pain like that after training too aggressively or if you have weak bone density, you already know I was wrong. After hobbling around for a couple more weeks, I abandoned my hopes of running the Vermont City Marathon. A visit to the orthopedist confirmed my suspicions; my right tibia was showing a sizable fracture, visible to the naked and untrained eye. I was told to wear a walking boot until I could walk without pain. No running for six weeks minimum.
I worked so freaking hard to get my fitness to sub-3:00 marathon level! Could I even hope to maintain that fitness over that much time off?
Well, I decided to dive in and find out. Before my stress fracture, pool running was not a workout I’d ever considered, but when it becomes the only way to meet your goals, it is suddenly very attractive. Read more