Friday, July 04, 2008

Third in the race...but at what cost?

Two weeks ago I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon and as you can see from the picture, finished 3rd in my group. It was an amazing experience and one that I was thrilled to share with my family. That was the obvious "good side" to the race, but what I failed to mention in my post titled "Olympic Triathlon: I made the Podium!!!"was the injury I sustained that day.

It started with mild pain in the area of my right shin at about the 5 km mark of the run course. It didn't hurt all that much at the time, so I continued to push the pace. By the 9 km mark it was hurting pretty bad and my foot had started to go numb. Not good, but with only one km remaining, I figured "Who cares...I have weeks to recover" and continued to increase my pace and did my best to ignore the pain.

With all the euphoria of finishing the race and excitement of talking to family and friends, I never gave my leg another thought until the drive home. I went to press on the brake pedal and had a shooting pain in the same shin. Man, that hurt and it now had my full attention. I just chalked it up to fatigue, took a couple of Motrin and drove home.

Over the next week I didn't train at all, as I was in Algonquin for most of it and had planned to take some time off. While away there were many times when I had that same shooting pain in my leg/shin and this is where I started to think there was something more serious going on. I returned home last Friday and decided to take the rest of the weekend off and resume my workouts on Monday. That should have been more then enough time to recover.

Well it all came to head when I returned from my planned 12 km run on the Monday. It was extremely painful to run and withing 2 hours of completing the run I could hardly walk on my right foot at all! There was no inflammation, but my shin was painful to touch. I was now officially worried and thinking stress fracture...which would be a season ending injury.

Now convinced that I was screwed, I made an appointment with Paul at the sports injury clinic. Paul is the guy you may remember that fixed my back problems and is an all round sports injury expert, so if there was anybody who could put me back together, it was him. He was amazing. Within minutes he had new exactly what the problem was and better yet, said he would have me back training 100% in less then 2 weeks. Ahhhhh....what a relief! It turns out that it was caused by overworking the small muscle that runs up the front of the shin, something that is very common among runners. The treatment involved "stripping the muscle", which boils down to pressing ridiculously hard on very painful parts of my leg....then repeat again and again. I'm not going to sugar coat this, it hurt so much my eyes watered ( AKA I cried) and I screamed. It wasn't pretty, but it's now been 2 days since I was worked on and not only is my limp gone, I virtually all the pain is too.

I will resume training when I get back from Algonquin with Lauren and will let you know how it goes, but for now I'm just happy that the injury won't interfere with our trip.


Anonymous said...

congrats on the placement! good to hear your injury won't keep you from training for very long

Jim said...

Thanks Anon! Training is one of those things I have always thought I both love and hate, but when it's taken away it becomes clear what a HUGE part of my life it is.

Thanks for reading and for your comments!