So what's the deal? I'm not fully diagnosed yet, but it presents as hamstring and/or gastroc tendinitis in my right leg (the one with the Morton's Neuroma). I believe it arose due to the following factors:
- Decreasing my bike volume significantly in September while simultaneously
- Increasing my run/walk volume significantly in September
- Doing a 50k that I thought I could legitimately train for near home. I was wrong. No way I could do enough hill work in 6 weeks to be ready for what I faced, nor do I have access nearby to the level of rocky trail I ran on. Still, I'm glad I did it, and I had a blast. It was a real mental exercise!
- Doing a 5k 8 days after the 50k.
- Doing a hilly 25k 2 weeks after a hilly 50k. That was just plain stupid.
Did I see this coming? Well yes and no. I had an intermittent niggle in my right calf/knee in September, but it was so intermittent I didn't think much about it. I felt tightness in my calf when I would sit in the yoga child pose that got progressively worse, but I could still sit that way and ease into it pretty easily.
Things got slightly less intermittent before the 50k, and I did have some concern that I might just DNF, but I wasn't really in pain so much as I felt really tight. So I just kept up stretching and I never felt the tightness or anything limiting me during the 50k.
Then the plan was for me to not run for like 10-12 days, but then that Corn Maze 5k got rescheduled for 8 days after the 50k, and it was just for fun and I surely wasn't going to race it, so I went. My right calf was tight, but it still didn't feel painful, so I stretched right before the race, and I really didn't feel anything while I ran, albeit slowly. Still, I was super tight after it.
Then I started formal training with coach, and since I wasn't reporting in on any particular trouble, 2 days after the 5k I had a hill workout. That kinda sealed the deal. Now I recognized actual pain, but still not enough for me to consider modifying anything. I began a research, search and destroy mission to see if I could figure out what was going on and maybe fix it. I gave it my best shot, and I have a theory (which I will get to shortly), but I found myself needing medical help to figure it out.
So the day before Thanksgiving I got myself into an Immediate Care facility to get checked out. I said I was in level 9 out of 10 pain (really hurt going down stairs and sometimes just walking), but honestly I don't know. I have a very high pain tolerance for these sorts of things--I continued running for 3 years with pain from the Morton's Neuroma!
The doctor ordered an X-ray of my knee and an ultrasound. The X-ray showed I have very minor (negligible) arthritis. Yay!. The ultrasound was to check for a Baker's Cyst behind the knee--that was also negative. So the doctor gave me a prescription for 600mg Ibuprofen (not sure it helps but I'm taking it anyway), and we talked further. I asked her if she knows about Morton's Neuroma, and she said yes, so I laid my theory on her: For the 3 years I spent running on it, I had adjusted my leg's mechanics, notably the knee joint (and probably some in the hip, too), and since April of this year when I found a way to stop the pain and get my foot operating properly, my knee is rebelling and hence my issue. However, I believe that reducing biking played a factor in that biking puts my feet (and knees) into a rather locked, good ergonomic position, and that "protected" me from the ravages of running.
In fact, back in April, I had some trouble with my knee and resorted to a lot of water running for a few weeks, and I corrected it.
So the doctor buys my theory, and so now I get to see an ortho AND a podiatrist. I think my orthotics need to be rebuilt. I may actually have overstretched tendons, too, but I won't know that until Monday.
So in my customary fashion, I've been testing what I can do that DOESN'T HURT to substitute for running. Water running--CHECK. Elliptical (which I abhor but will do)--CHECK. So until I get a diagnosis on this, that's what I'll be doing. I don't want to try actual running for at least a week, but I can do more biking in the meantime, too.
So while I wanted to bawl my eyes out yesterday, I'm good with where things stand. And I'm actually happy that I scored a decent physician who understood that my foot may be the cause of all this.
So, Disney will be whatever it is--walking, running, standing around. Whatever I can do there is what I will do and be OK with it. If I don't have any actual muscle tears or severe tendinitis (which I don't think I do--nothing is swollen and I can use the muscles just fine they just feel super tight), I would guess I can get back to actual running in 3 weeks. But we shall see.
I'm keeping a daily log of activities, stretching, and so on, so on Monday I can tell the doctor how things are progressing. I also traced this guy's rear right leg so I can show the specific points where I experience pain while doing certain things. He lives on the door in my weight room.
I am nothing if not prepared when I walk into a physician's office!
So wish me luck that this is just stuff being readjusted, needing some time off from running (that I should have taken earlier LOL) and new orthotics.
Meanwhile, I'm thoroughly enjoying the swim workouts I'm doing, and even seeing flashes of getting faster. And I'm remembering what hard bike workouts are, and I'm progressing on my quest for handstand and pullups. So I really can't complain.
I'm just fortunate in that I live so close to my Y and can do the deep water running and whatever else I want to do there. Plus I'm really REALLY determined. But honestly, I can't wait to run pain-free again!