Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Five: My Plan

I realized this week that working running back into my routine has confused some people. Am I better? Am I back? I thought I'd use today's Friday Five to clarify what's going on.
I haven't run since February. That means my calves haven't been hurting, because they only hurt when I run. It also means whatever injury I have (or had) is back into a kind of dormant stage. Right now, I am trying to wake it back up so it can be properly diagnosed.

Step 1: Resume running. Carefully analyze every run for symptoms. The goal here is twofold: to identify pain and also to try to recreate my original issues.
Resume running: check.
Step 2: If no issues arise, keep running and pretend none of this ever happened and go on enjoying life.

Step 3: If symptoms come back, go see a new doctor and request an actual test for compartment syndrome.

Step 4: If that test is positive, talk about treatment (that is, plan surgery for this summer).
Pro tip: Do not look up actual photos of this surgery because they are terrifying.
Step 5: If the test is negative, seek out other explanations.

The thing is, compartment syndrome athletes only manifests when the muscles are too swollen for their compartments, and with CECS (chronic exertion compartment syndrome, as opposed to acute) that really only happens during a run. So they can't test for it if you're not in the midst of experiencing it.

All my resting between February and April gave my legs time to temporarily recover, and it could be awhile before I'm feeling the kind of pain I had back then. Or, I could start experiencing it next week. Or never. There's no perfect timeline for this.
Right now my discomfort during runs is about a level 3. In February my pain was at an 8...bad enough that I had to stop and walk. However, on these runs I've been using run/walk and so far I've avoided that level of pain.
But the bottom line is that I need to be able to experience the pain at the time I get the test done, so I need to keep running in order to trigger symptoms.

So I'm hesitant to say I'm "back" to running. That suggests an end to the process and I'm not there yet. Right now my runs are all about data-gathering. I am trying to recreate the discomfort I had during winter while still kind of hoping that the discomfort doesn't return at all.

Still, my mind, body, and spirit feel lifted, and it feels good to run at all.

I appreciate the excitement you're all feeling for me! It does feel good to be out there, even if being "back" comes with fine print at this point.

ABK

17 comments:

deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner said...

This is really interesting-I am hoping for you that taking time off of running for a few months gave your body time to heal and you won't need surgery

Fairytales and Fitness said...

I totally get this! It's like running right now for you is done for a different purpose. I hope you can find a solution where you don't need surgery. Thanks for linking up!

Janelle J said...

Sounds like a very smart strategy. Hoping that your issues don't return and you can get back to running! I didn't realize it was so long that you weren't running.

S Sharp said...

Thank you for explaining ... as you know, I thought you were "back" but your plan makes perfect sense! Hang in there, girl. I can tell you from experience that if you keep searching you will find your answers. I started my foot/ankle saga last August and didn't get a final diagnosis and treatment plan until April. You will find answers and know I am here sending good thoughts and energy to you! Happy weekend to you :)

Annie Crow said...

Wow, that's involved. I hope you get the answers you need quickly, one way or the other.

Ana L said...

I am glad to read that you are testing the waters, and easing into it.

I hope the pain stays away!

Megan @ Meg Go Run said...

Very good explanation of your plan! Does it feel good to have it all laid out like this and a focus?

Megan @ Meg Go Run said...

Also, I looked up the surgery pics! EEK! I would do it though if it meant I could run! They could cut my freaking face open...

Ali K. said...

This is exactly how I feel. I honestly am not worried about being disfigured. It seems a small price to pay.

It does feel good to have a plan all laid out! I feel like I have more control and momentum back.

Ali K. said...

Me too!!

Ali K. said...

Me, too. It's a pretty simple process/plan; I just have to be patient!

Ali K. said...

Even though your injury journey took so long to figure out, it gives me hope because I see that sometimes answers don't come right away, but that doesn't mean they'll NEVER come! I think my plan, paired with doggedness and stubbornness, will pan out ;)

Ali K. said...

Yeah, it's actually really sad when I think about it. I haven't taken that long off since I was a new runner back in 2009.

Ali K. said...

Yes, exactly! I'm still getting joy from it, but the main purpose right now is much more scientific than my runs used to be!

Ali K. said...

I hope so too!

Kimberly Hatting said...

Wow, what a complex situation! Trying to trigger the symptoms without doing any damage....I can only imagine the frustration you may be experiencing. I know when I've had injuries and get back to my "normal" routine, it's always a tricky cat & mouse game...trying to enjoy the non-injury status but also leery of over-doing it and having the injury return. Good luck...I hope all goes well!

Jennifer Kent said...

Ah, this makes total sense. Thanks for explaining. Whatever way it turns out, you have a good plan for being back to running permanently, which is awesome. Of course it would be great if the pain never comes back!