The good - no, actually, the best news is that I do NOT have a stress fracture!
Finding this out was no easy feat, though. I scheduled my MRI for last Wednesday at 9am, only to arrive at 9am and find out that the appointment had mistakenly been scheduled for 9am at a different location.
Sensing that I was on the verge of tears (guess I was a little more stressed out about this than I thought), the receptionist was able to get me an appointment for later in the morning at the other location, about half an hour away.
Having an MRI is slightly torturous, in that you have to lie perfectly still for nearly an entire hour. Tell me I have to run a 7-minute pace for an hour, and I'm all for it. Tell me I have to lie perfectly still for an hour, and I cringe.
It was for a good reason, though, so I managed. And after two more torturous days of waiting, and several phone messages left at my doctor's office, I got the good news on Friday that there was no sign of a stress fracture.
I hadn't been feeling any pain, but still hadn't been running, and it had been a total of 4 weeks. So when I got the news that I was fracture-free, I figured I was ok to start back up running again, but also knew that I'd need to continue with PT for a while, too - even though I was feeling good, I knew I wasn't completely recovered from this injury.
However, instead of being smart and following the advice I'd give to anyone else who was just coming off an injury - starting back slowly and gradually - I went out and ran 5 miles.
It was fabulous. It was wonderful. I felt great. My shin felt fine. I had an amazing run, and I didn't feel like I had lost even an ounce of running fitness - I was not short of breath, and my legs weren't heavy. It felt just as if I had been running all along.
I felt so good, in fact, that I thought I could even go ahead and run the half marathon that I had been planning on running with my friends the next day (part of our weekend getaway to NH that we had been planning for months). I packed my running clothes and thought if I ran slow and easy, I'd be fine.
And this is right about where most of you are thinking "You did WHAT?? And you thought WHAT??!!!!"
So, um, yeah - don't do what I did.
I shouldn't have run 5 miles on my first run back, and I know better, and unfortunately sometimes even when we know better, we make bad decisions anyway. Even though I didn't feel any pain during that run or immediately after, I definitely started to feel some Saturday night.
And when I woke up Sunday (race morning), I knew I couldn't run. I knew that going out and running 13.1 miles was going to do nothing except put me right back at square one, and would mean several more weeks of no running. And I did not want to put myself through that.
So I redeemed myself from the 5-mile mistake and at least didn't make it any worse by running an additional 13.1.
I truly wasn't all that upset about it, either. I knew it was what I had to do, and I hadn't been expecting to be able to run this race anyway, so I had already made peace with not running, so it wasn't a stretch to get back to that place.
Being at the start was a little tough, but once I got past that, I was fine, and it was fun to cheer on my friends and hang out with them afterward and hear about how their races went. And of course we had the rest of the day and night to shop, eat, drink, and relax, so there was plenty of fun to be had even though I didn't run.
So the important things to take away from this are that I did get good news on the MRI, and although I made a bad choice going and running 5 miles, I followed that with a good choice to not run the half.
My shin is feeling ok, but I definitely aggravated it a bit, and I think I'm going to wait at least a few more days to run. And when I do run, it's going to be a very, very, very short run. I need to continue to be as patient with my comeback as I have tried to be these past 4 weeks.
When I dealt with a similar shin injury years ago, my return to running was painfully slow, but taking it so slow paid off. So that's what I'll be doing again - logging my runs in increments of minutes, rather than miles.
I'll be frustrating, but it's what needs to be done if I want to make sure this injury truly heals in time for me to hit the ground running in January, when Boston training will begin.
So do as I say, not as I do. I've learned my lesson, and won't make that same mistake again.
And luckily having to skip the race wasn't much of a disappointment, since I still got to go away and have a fabulously fun weekend with my friends. Not a bad tradeoff : )