This blog recounts my fitness journey into the sport of triathlon and the gifts God has blessed me with while on it! May the movements of my life boldly proclaim that the sparks we encounter in scripture will kindle hope in our lives!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Darn My Left Leg!!

 My fave kicks. Saucony Hurricanes - They just plain LOOK fast!

I mentioned my leg injury in the last post.

I had been running for almost a year and a half. For more than six months I'd been running six days a week. My trainer, Mark, in particular, found this pretty astounding. To be running, at my size, ramping up my miles, with no resulting knee or back problems WAS pretty amazing.

Then, in May, I purchased my first pair of running shoes.

When I went in to the running store to be fitted, the owner of the store waited on me. She knew what she was doing. She watched me stand. She watched me run - without shoes. Then she asked about my orthotics.

I hadn't given much thought to my orthotics. Dr. Joe told me orthotics would be beneficial for my back health. He explained why. At this point in our relationship, if Dr. Joe suggested something, I just did it! The guy had eliminated so many ongoing health issues with chiropractic adjustments I simply trust him!

She asked me why I had them. I couldn't put my finger on why. It caught me off gaurd. It didn't occur to me that I would need to explain why. I told her comfort. Big mistake.

She told me I didn't need them with proper shoes. I believed her.

I bought the shoes. Began running without my orthotics and didn't give it another thought. That was my first mistake.

The second mistake was not listening to my body when I began to experience discomfort in my shins that I hadn't experienced before. Much more in the left leg, but a little in the right. I began doing some preventative exercise for shin splints, but it quickly became apparent that shin splints were not the issue. I would rest my leg for a day or two and then it would be o.k. and I would run again. Mark began putting together a corrective exercise routine as it became very apparent that there was a serious imbalance on my left side.

One day after about 4 weeks I got on the treadmill and I was running along when a piercing pain shot up my left leg. It was done. My trainer told me to stop running until we knew what the problem was. He encouraged me to work with Dr. Joe, but if I couldn't get it figured out I should see a sports medicine specialist.

I had been in to see Dr. Joe and we were really digging for answers. I began to work with Josh, a massage therapist at Dr. Joe's office. Josh and Dr. Joe would both listen to me describe exactly what I could feel happening and how. Josh was able to "feel" what was happening in my leg. Where the insufficiency was. We began talking about orthotics again and I realized I hadn't been wearing mine!

They scanned my feet and I put in an order for an athletic specialty pair of new custom orthotics. At that point I hadn't been able to run for more than two weeks. I had about 3 weeks until my first triathlon. It would take at least a week for the orthotics to arrive.

I kept doing everything I could do. I swam. Probably more than I would have if I could have been running! I could bike and the leg wouldn't bother me at all. So, I worked on swim/bike bricks too! I would complete a swim workout, gear up as fast as I could and head out on the bike.

Was I discouraged? Yes.

I kept wondering if I was doing what I should be doing for my leg. What if it was a stress fracture? The reading I'd done didn't really help. I could go and see someone for it, but that wouldn't necessarily give me a definitive answer either.

I began facing the fact that I may have to walk the run leg of my first triathlon. That hit hard.

Really, God? Really? I've worked so hard! You led me into this! Are you telling me no? Did I do something wrong? Have I really come this far to not be able to really do the race?

The following is what He gave me. From my journal...

Your leg is a tiny part of My plan. It’s just a small token to remind you of my faithfulness. Look at what beauty I have worked in you. I continue to lavish upon you the desires of your heart. You can run with the strength and drive and power I’ve crafted in you. You can swim, without fear, like you’ve always wanted. You’re venturing into new groups of people and activities that you never thought were accessible to you. I’ve given you peace to sleep well in the dark. You can enjoy a day now without having to plan it. You know now that you are not weak. You know you can make it alone-with me none but Me by your side. Not a day passes when you don’t enjoy the fellowship of many friends that I’ve sewn into the fabric of your life. I’ve blessed your life with provision to travel and adventure. I’ve redeemed your health though the enemy tenaciously tried to destroy it. You speak with the authority of My redemption and people listen. When I look upon you, blessed one, through the blood of my Son, I see only your faithfulness. Have patience, be courageous, remember that My time is not the same as your time and it is perfect. I love you. I love you. I’ve returned you again to the desert. Do not forget the Oasis that is My Word and the comfort of My Holy Spirit. Take refuge there and abide in Me.

And I did. I pressed into Him hard, recognizing, once again, during this time just how much of my journey was about His faithfulness. I was working hard, but He was transforming me!

The orthotics arrived about a week before the triathlon. I wore my shoes with the orthotics in them every moment I was awake. Thank goodness for Smartwool socks!! During the weeks I couldn't run I walked at incline on the treadmill for at least an hour a day. As soon as I got the orthotics broken in I began running for up to 2 minutes. Then up to 5 minutes.

Two days before we left for the race I ran for more than 20 minutes with no pain. I got off the treadmill and wept.

I was going to be able to run the race after all.

(I am currently working more diligently on form/stride/footstrike while running. I'm hopeful that it will lend additional support in injury prevention for the future so I can enjoy running for many years to come! Not to mention improving my efficiency as a runner.)