Conundrum

I mentioned the other day that I had “pulled something” that made it difficult for me to stretch properly.  I wasn’t deliberately trying to be cryptic.  If you’ve read this blog very long than you know, I have no problem telling you that what I pulled was in my groin.  Heh, that sounds dirty.

Anyway, I was riding a stationary bike at the gym one day when I suddenly felt this sharp pain where my left leg meets up  with my pelvis, what I have learned is an abductor (?) muscle.  It only hurt for a second and didn’t prevent me from finishing my work out.  It doesn’t even hurt for the most part in my day-to-day activities, but I have found that certain movements, usually rotating outward, causes a twinge of pain and I am unable to do the classic stretching maneuver of sitting on the floor, placing the soles of my feet together and allowing my knees to naturally fall away from each other.

I wasn’t at all sure that this was contributing to my problems with Shin Splints, but when I realized it had been a good two months since the injury occurred and I was still having issues, it seemed wise to talk to a medical professional with the hopes of getting helpful advice how to speed things along in both the healing of this pain, and how to deal with (read: eliminate) the shin splints.  The Doctor didn’t really think there was much to be done for the groin thing, but agreed to send me to Physical Therapy anyway to make sure that there wasn’t anything they could do and to see if they can give me some advice about the shin splints.

I had the appointment with the physical therapist on Wednesday afternoon and after conducting a brief examination concurred with the doctor that there’s really nothing to be done.  She said, those kinds of pulls can take many months to heal and that I just have to wait it out.

She also showed me a couple stretches I can do that I haven’t been to help with my shins but her recommendation was to hold off the running for a while.  She asked me why I took up running and I told her: I know it’s good exercise, a good way to burn lots of calories and it’s something I’ve never been able to do before so I want to be able to.  She concurred that it is a good strategy, but she also suggested that I might want to wait until I’ve lost a bit more weight.  She wasn’t being unkind, as she acknowledged, I’m a big guy.  I’m 6’1″ and I have big bones, broad shoulders, and – in addition to being overweight – I have big muscles.  My calves are very big, my thighs are dense and tight.  Now if only those muscles were also lean, toned and defined.  *sigh*

Her feeling was that because I’m a big guy with a lot of bulk, that it may be too high impact for me at this point.  Interestingly, my knees do not hurt when I run, though they frequently hurt at other times.

She suggested that instead of running, I should try the elliptical machine, stating that it’s very similar to running as far as the movement and the calorie burn, but it is zero impact.  I told her, I can’t do the elliptical machine for very long and she said that I should just do what I can do (at most 5 minutes) and then build up.  She thinks that within three weeks I could do half an hour.  I have to admit, that’s hard for me to imagine at this moment, given that I know what it’s been like for me in the past, but then again, I never thought I’d be able to run for 3-5 minutes straight through either, and I was doing that at the beginning of this week.

But here’s my dilemma:  She did tell me that this was just a suggestion.  It’s up to me if I want to take her advice or not.  I’m not sure what to do.  I was into week four of the Couch to 5K (C25K) program and I don’t exactly want to throw that progress away.  On the other hand, she’s the expert; I am not.  I did, after all, go to see her for help with pain so I guess it would be dumb not to listen to her.  What she told me was that I should work on the elliptical machine and build up my endurance there and then when I get comfortable and can do half an hour or so on the elliptical machine then I can start adding back in some running.  It does seem like reasonable advice.  I’d follow it,no questions asked if I wasn’t nearly half way through the C25K thing but I hate to stop that after having made so much progress.

It seemed like a bit of a conundrum, but now that I’ve spelled it all out, I guess I know what I have to do.

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2 thoughts on “Conundrum

  1. I’m guessing if you don’t follow her advice, then you may never see an end to your shin splints. And I also would guess that if you’re building up endurance on the elliptical, it will help you transition back into running fairly easily. So maybe, don’t think of it as quitting the c25k program, but just taking a slight detour.

    • Yeah, that’s pretty much the conclusion I had come to as well.

      Truth is, the elliptical machine is also something I’ve never been able to do for long so it’s kind of a challenge in it’s own right. Plus the C25K thing was just for me, I wasn’t planning on running a 5K anytime soon. So it’s just a delay, not giving up.

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