Me: That's what I'm trying to figure out. I think I have a shin splint or stress fracture.
X-ray Tech: Runner?
X-ray Tech: See that's why I don't run, it's not good for you.
Me: I don't run cuz it's good for me, I run because I'm competitive.
Conclusion: Findings consistent with stress fracture of distal tibial diaphysis.
So, what went wrong?
As Runner's Connect puts it so well, "This issue of structure vs. metabolism simply means that a runner’s aerobic and anaerobic fitness develops at a faster rate than his or her tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones." Unfortunately, running in fast and straight lines does not make you athletic. I don't think that in training to be a good runner I am approaching any sort of well rounded fitness. I'm not delusional. The fitness I enjoyed as a soccer player was far better for my overall fitness.
When training for my marathon, I had great muscle soreness. Total muscle fatigue such as I have never experienced before. And yet, when training for my unrealized 50K, I experienced none of this muscle fatigue, my lungs seemed to be firing on all cylinders and my "high" weekly mileage seemed to be relatively easy for my body to handle. Alas, it seems that my bones had not successfully adapted to the new, higher levels of stress even if all of my other body systems had.
I have no regrets. To find your own limits and push them requires a certain amount of living at the edge of injury. I honestly don't know what else I could have done. I am self-coached, self-motivated and self-reliant, for better or worse. Furthermore, I have never been coached as a runner, and I doubt that I ever will be, not that I don't think it would be beneficial. In 2014, I experienced just enough success, and certainly enormous amounts of joy to want to dive into running head on in 2015. Not being able to run due to a stress fracture is daunting in its undefined impact on the beginning of my season and humbling in its reminder of the fragility of the human body.
As with any difficult experience, it can feel good to know that others go through similar pain, and struggle. What I have found about the prevalence of this injury is down right jaw dropping. "In any given year, more than one in five runners will sustain a stress fracture." I'm sorry. What!!? That is truly insane. If you are interested in learning more about this, feel free to delve in to the following articles. As for me, I have another doctor's appointment in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed that I can swim or engage in some type of heavy cross-training by then.
A plethora of articles and studies which I have recently uncovered.
The Ultimate Runner’s Guide to Stress Fractures: Causes, Risk Factors and How to Return to Training
Owner's Manual: Is it a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures in runners
Stress Fracture Depression in Runners
Treating and Preventing Stress Fractures In Runners