See that little vertical line and bump the arrow is pointing to (I know the pic is crappy - I took a pic of the computer screen with my phone)? That would be a stress fracture in my left tibia (confirmed by radiology this morning). In all likelihood, I've had this for at least a few weeks to a couple months (probably shortly after running the Tinker Bell Half at the end of January) and running the Knoxville Half Marathon on April 1st was the nail broke the camel's back, or in my case continued to break my left tibia.
I'm sad. I spent a lot of time crying yesterday once I got home from the usual business that is my life. (BTW: Standing for a couple hours at a HS track meet in the freezing cold does NOTHING to make a stress fracture feel better.) I started crying on the drive home from my girl's track meet as I was reading all the supportive tweets from my friends (shut up, I wasn't technically tweeting and driving - well, I was but whatever). I pretty much didn't stop crying until I fell asleep last night. I'm crying again now.
It's stupid, really. Why am I so upset about this? It's not the end of the world. It's certainly not a death sentence. It's not like I'm ever going to be the type of runner who wins a race or makes money at this. So why would I be so upset about missing one (or 3 as that's how many I've paid for/registered for in May) races? Because this is MY THING. It's the one thing I do for me. I've been seeing real improvements in my endurance and my speed. I thrive on the race atmosphere and I'm a self-proclaimed Bling Whore. I need it for stress relief. It's become my drug. I'm absolutely horrified at the thought of continuing to get fatter until I've gained back all the weight I managed to lose. I'm terrified of losing all the fitness I've gained. It makes me sick to think I'm going to have to start back at square one. I'm scared I will always have pain when I run and it will make me want to quit. I don't want to be a quitter (as evidenced by the fact that I ran a fucking half marathon on a fucking stress fracture).
I have an appointment on Monday with a sports medicine doctor. He must be good because he's the sports med doc affiliated with several of the huge races around here. My doctor has also recommended physical therapy but I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't get scheduled until after my appointment with Dr. K. I want to get this moving. Monday seems so far away.
I really don't know where to go from here. I spent a lot of time chatting with Kirsten last night (luff you so much, girl) and she knows how I feel (badass ToughMudder on a broken ankle). I need to dust off NTC and focus on arms and abs. Bike and swim when I can. Eat EXTREMELY well. Not sink into the abyss. Maintain as much strength and cardio fitness as I can so when I'm given the go-ahead to start running again, I don't fucking die.
I still have high hopes (probably foolish ones) of being able to at least walk the River Bank Run 5k on 5/12 (since the 25k is most certainly gone for me at this point and running the 10k or 5k isn't likely either). Even more foolish hopes of being able to finish the Down and Dirty Mud Run 10k with Erin and Ali on 5/20 (there are no time limits & you can skip all but the last mud obstacle if need be). I had goals of a kick-ass Shrinking Jeans 10k on 5/28. How the fuck am I supposed to run these races if I've been told "no running until 100% pain free?" I'm not. I just know I have to be healthy for Disney's Wine and Dine in November. I just hope I can maintain some decent level of fitness in the meantime.
The moral of the story? If something doesn't feel right - please get it checked out. If the recommendations from one doctor aren't working - get a second opinion. Please don't be me.