Despite my best intentions, my lower leg problems have not yet abated. I haven't run, or even tried, since Thursday. But I have walked - though much less than usual - which has been enough to worsen things.
This surprises me, to be honest. I had expected my dalliance with pain was merely that, not something legitimately damaged. I certainly didn't expect to fail the bear test, which I now do.
What's that, you ask?
The bear test. A thing I made up today at work today (I was editing a journal about bears, so my head was there), to decide whether you're hurt or injured. It is simply this: If chased by a bear, could you even attempt to run away? Right now, I couldn't. Walking is a chore, even.
So, stubborn though I am, I decided to use my fancy new health insurance, and go see a sports medicine doctor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He primarily works with soccer players and runners, so I figured he'd be familiar with my issue, whatever it might be.
He was. Sadistically so, almost. There are a lot of very specific points on the lower leg you can poke or prod, and a lot of ways you can twist around the foot. After a description of the symptoms, however, he chose a very specific few points to poke, and then two ways to manipulate my foot.
Clearly, he was looking more to confirm a suspicion than discover new information.
He then showed me a picture of this on his computer. (His was animated though, and not taken from google image search.)
You strained this, he said. We can do an MRI, to see if you tore it, but you'd probably know if that had happened. It's a common enough overuse injury (although I had never heard of it), and heals easily enough, provided you stay off it. I'd like to put you in a boot for three weeks, after watching you walk, or we can try an ankle brace. (Awesome doctor, by the way. Very familiar with gait mechanics, and running in general. He was happy to discuss why he settled on the diagnosis and treatment plan he had, and was never pedantic or a scold.)
I opted for the brace, and I have to say, the improvement was immediate. It feels... awkward. But it doesn't feel painful to walk, which is an improvement over the last few days. That's good news.
I get to cross train to my heart's content - so sayeth the doctor - so that's good too. If it is only a three week break, fitness should basically be maintained. Honestly, it may even be improved, considering the post-marathon hammering I foolishly gave myself.
I'm actually quite happy about this. Not just that it's only three weeks, but that it is three weeks. A break will probably do me some good, and I'd never take one if I wasn't forced. Someday I'll have to fix that.
On the subject of fixing, there is the matter of training. Of what I'll do in a month or so. Well, I'll get to that. There will be plenty of words spilled on planning, if only because I don't expect to find much inspiration for writing in stationary biking. (The rowing machine though... I do have an outsized fondness for it. Time to get acquainted.)
UPDATE: Rowing machine is hard. Did two sets of 1000 pretend meters on either side of my hour bike session, which was also difficult. A reminder, as always, that fitness is specific. I'm "in shape" already. But not in shape for these things, because I've never really done either. Still, my lungs and heart won't forget what effort feels like, even if certain muscle patterns will.