Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My first Team meetup and The.Worst.Run.Ever.

Today was my first team run! It was cancelled due to a storm, but then everybody decided to go anyway! I was really excited to finally get to meet everybody! And the storm had cooled the weather a bit! Yay!

It was Remember those shin splints that showed back up a few days ago? Well, I was under the misconception that they were minor. After all, I ran pretty well Tuesday morning! I wore heels on Tuesday and that kind of sucked, but I wore flats today! To take care of my legs in anticipation of tonight's team run! I was okay! Let's do this thing!

I hadn't gone thirty yards before the pain set in and I started thinking I've made a huge mistake. Who the hell am I kidding, thinking I'm gonna run a half-marathon in November? That's November 2013 for Christ's sake! God, I'm an idiot. I can't do this. The thing about shin splints is, if they are so bad you want to die, then you HAVE to stop running. This isn't about toughness. It's about not keeping on until your calve muscles detach fully from your shin bones and crack the bones in the process.

Did you catch that? Shin splints are your muscles DETACHING from your bone and you can get a STRESS FRACTURE from it. Freaking A, man.

I basically walked the whole three miles with short bursts of running occasionally. I stopped to rub my calves A LOT. I held my Mentor back because she was determined not to go on without me (thanks Katie!). I flat out sucked. My legs hurt so bad I would have sat down and wept if I had been alone.

But I wasn't alone, and the Team made good and sure I know it.

First off, Katie the best Mentor ever, straight up refused to leave me. She was concerned that I was having a bad experience (I was), and was determined to help me get through it. Let's be clear: my bad experience had nothing to do with Katie. My shin splints are not her fault.

So I finally made it back, limping most of three miles, and the four (or maybe it was six) mile group was already back. Gawd, I suck. We walked limped up to the group and she promptly announces "We have shin splints!"

I don't think I've seen so many people move so quickly. They gave me so much good information, I had to take out my phone and take notes (another win for the Samsung Note 2 that I was able to do that so easily). I now have more stretches to do that I wasn't already doing, more exercises to do that I didn't know about, I found out that if you suddenly increase your distance and days running that you shouldn't be too shocked to suddenly be in godawful pain and that you SHOULD drink an electrolyte drink before a run on a hot day (not just water) and that losing sodium and electrolytes can add to muscle issues and create pain. I also got a great recommendation for a sports doctor in town, who I will be making an appointment with first thing in the morning.

The fact that I'm going to a sports doctor makes me feel very serious about this whole running project. Which I am. Because I CAN do this. I couldn't do it before, and I can now.

Do you want to know what made a difference?

Team in Training.

I'm a Noob and I'm not in great shape, and I should have known my body better than to go out there today. I should have known a lot of stuff, about electrolytes and special calve stretches, and "rolling" my shins and calve muscles. But I didn't before today, and there's a lot I still don't know.

But these folks are happy to share their knowledge with me. I didn't feel out of place and stupid. I felt like a beginner with an injury and I felt like that wasn't dumb, or my fault. I feel like shin splints can be overcome, with some medical attention and work, and like I can do this.

They weren't kidding when they said Team in Training will get you to the finish line. It was the worst run ever, and I was the weakest person out there, and it was okay. I feel cared for, like this is a safe place to admit that my shins hurt so badly I want to cry.

It was the worst run ever. But it was a wonderful experience.

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