Phew, is all I can say!
I visited the doc on Monday regarding my leg/knee pain and luckily there's nothing major happening. He sent me for an X-ray just to make sure there was no stress fracture or bone TUMOR (why do doctors throw out these words as if they are nothing?) and there was neither. Well, he said a fracture cannot always be seen, but I honestly don't think there is one.
What he says is that I pronate (foot turns in when I run). This causes twisting of the bone which bones do not like, and that is what is causing the strain. The more strain, the more pain, and that is why it's travelled into my knee. And it also could be the squats from the Shred, too. Bad form and what not (Katie, you're probably right).
The pronation issue is not something new to me. Google actually diagnosed this for me already, but better to pay a professional for their opinion. Months ago, when I first experienced the pain, I thought I was a supinator (foot turns out), but the more reading I've done led me to the opposite diagnosis. Pronation can be corrected with stability shoes or by using orthotics. Since I went down the road with the shoes already much to my splinting shins dismay, I decided to get some orthotics. I'm starting with some I found at Lady Foot Locker. If these don't help, the doc recommends custom orthotics--much more expensive so let's hope these OTC versions do the trick.
I purchased the orthotics straightaway and used them for my Monday evening run. I can say that they seemed to help during the run, at least to make my leg feel more supported and reduce the strain I've been feeling in my knee. That is a great thing! I used them again last night when I ran on the treadmill and around 4.75K of my 5K, the shins started splinting! I think the orthotics might be something I need to ease into instead of just switching to full time right off the bat. After all, it's a complete change for my feet and legs. Therefore, on tomorrow's long run, I think I will leave them behind. The doc said to call in a few weeks if there's no improvement, but most importantly, I can continue running. That is all I needed to hear.
I'm struggling a bit with where to take this running thing and what I'll do over the winter. Treadmill running is not something I enjoy wholly like I do a run outside. That is so weird to say because when I first started, I loved the treadmill and hated being outside. Funny how things change. Right now I'm still trying to get outside as much as possible. I bought myself a nice long sleeve running shirt and pants, and I have gloves; I just need to get something for my ears. On work days, when I can't get my arse out of bed in the morning, and it would be too cold anyway, I'll have to run on the treadmill after work because by the time I get home it will be too dark. Darkness makes it colder and is a bit dangerous with potholes, rocks and other stumbling possibilities. So Monday and Wednesdays I'll probably be on the treadmill. But Fridays and weekends I can run outside more towards the middle of the day when it's light out and not quite as cold.
As far as winter mileage goes, I think I'll hold steady where I'm at, getting in at least 15 miles a week in 4 runs. By keeping the mileage the same over the winter, I can sort of focus more on speed while enduring a winter on the treadmill. I definitely need to focus positivity into those runs because as we know, a lot of running is mental. If I tell myself I'll hate the treadmill, chances are I'll hate the treadmill. Being grateful that I can run at all, being thankful that I have a treadmill to run on, that's where my focus should be. And adding up those miles!
The next distance I plan to tackle is a 12K event here in Spokane on May 1st. After that, I don't know. I'm not sure about what events I'll register for next year, but I'm really leaning towards planning a half marathon. I thought I was over that idea, but the more I read about other bloggers' recent marathon experiences, I'm getting the bug to try one myself. That's always been a bucket list item for me anyway. I was pulling away from the idea for fairly, well, I'll admit it, dumb reasons. I have been too concerned with finish times and running speed. While I would like to be faster, I will never be the fastest and "first or last, the finish line is the same". Just because my coworker just logged a sub 2hr half doesn't mean I need to also, and doesn't mean I should avoid running one altogether. Finishing is the important thing, but I find myself getting caught up in the comparisons. I'm me and my running pace is mine and mine alone. When I go out for a long run with the notion that I'm going to run easy and run steady, I usually come home feeling awesome. When I go out for any run focusing too much on my speed, I usually end up feeling defeated and blah. I run first for my health and weight loss, but I also run because I think it's fun. I like to push myself, but I don't enjoy sprinting. I want to run a 10 minute mile, but not if getting there isn't fun. I have slowly gained speed over the past 8 months and I am happy with my progress. Running is hard work, but it's fun. As soon as it feels un-fun, I won't want to do it anymore. Sprinting feels un-fun. On days in which I do speed work (intervals), those are fun times to see how I can push myself. I will continue those days as long as they are fun and I feel like it on the scheduled day. But for regular, everyday runs, I don't want to worry about speed too much. If it feels good, I'll go faster; if not, I won't. Sometimes I surprise myself , logging my fastest runs without even knowing it until I'm done. Those runs are exhilarating! Mostly, though, the miles are more important to me, and the longer I can run, the more excited I get. With that attitude, I think I can take on a half marathon and have fun with both the training and the event itself. I'm sure I'll have a time goal, but running the entire thing will be the ultimate goal. That's been the goal for every event I've done.
With all that said, I'm not positive of my plans for a half. Good thing I don't have to figure it out right now. The only solid plan I have is to continue running, continue having fun, and lose these last 28 pounds. I cannot wait to reach my goal!
I do wonder: do you still get to be called a marathoner if you only complete a half marathon? I'll be posting about only half marathons soon.