I’ve written previously
about my issue with spring and how it affects my routine here. My trip to the doctor this year was a little bit later in the spring but with the same diagnosis – – sinusitis, resulting from allergies. The prescription following the diagnosis, was something I’d never heard before and it went something like this:
Dr.: I’m prescribing <antibiotic>. You should take it twice a day for 10 days. Continue taking them even if you start to feel better before then.
Me: okay (I know all this already, boring…)
Dr.: as for that exercise, I advise you to stop while you’re taking the medication.
Me: no exercise?
Me: for 10 days?
Dr.: How can your body heal if you’re exercising? Doing so forces your body to concentrate on something else in lieu of healing the infection.
I was skeptical about his advice as every single year, I plod through, only taking two or three days at the most jump right back in. After Googling a bit I found that as long as illness was from the neck, exercise can be done but intensity should be scaled back. I knew that as well, however I was just beginning to get some asthma symptoms, which also unless really bad, I work through as well, with the help of inhalers. Mulling over research and what the doctor said for few hours, I decided to comply with his prescription and here’s why.
- Every year there is always a setback – as I thought about these annual trips to the doctor I realized that within a month there was always a relapse, resulting the extension of antibiotics and the addition of an oral steroid. Every single year. Maybe if I had halted the exercise, I could have avoided the additional trip and additional meds.
- I’ve had a lot injuries during the last year, achilles strain, shin splints, ongoing knee and shoulder pain with the latest injury being a literal pain in the ass. The pain was getting worse as I continued to push.
- It was time to end my paranoia. As a person who’s had weight issues for 30 years, stopping training for more than a few days always lead to my mind playing tricks on me in the form of “you know if you miss these days (not years) you are going to be that unhealthy person again.” Which is ridiculous. All my critical numbers have been good for about five years now. The blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol were on point but the muscles, tendons and joints had taken a beatdown. Resting sounded like the best prescription to keep going for the long haul.
What does it all mean?
Though I’m not a competitive runner I do compete with myself. I continue to test the limits of my body. Funny thing is this self competition is in conflict with the reason I run and do other exercise. Moving the body, especially running (for me) is a spiritual practice. It’s a space and time in which I honor my body for the magnificent piece of work that it is. Running time is that time that my brain gets a rest. The tipping point had been reached at which the spiritual became the competitive, bordering on the obsessive. So I yielded to spirit instead of mind this time, in order to heal the body.
What about you? Are you chasing PR’s, pushing the heavy weights to exhaustion, always looking for the competitive edge? If so and you have lost the joy of whatever sport/fitness activity you engage in, take a little down time before you’re forced to.
I’d like to hear about your downtime. Was it a force out or purposeful? Tell me about it in the comments and until next time see you on the road, I’ll be back outside in another week 🙂
The last two posts here were reviews of Peachtree Ridge Park
and Rock Springs Park
. Both of which were quite an experience, both of which had some hills. Peachtree Ridge had fewer hills but those hills were very steep. I ran Peachtree Ridge on a Saturday and two days later (Monday) I ran Rock Springs which is very hilly throughout the trail. Later in the afternoon following the Rock Springs fun I noticed some pain in the front of my lower legs. Though it had been at least 15 years maybe more, I felt the pain of shin splints coming on.
What are shin splints?
According to Webmd.com:
Shin splints aren’t really a single medical condition. Instead, they’re just a symptom of an underlying problem. They might be caused by:
- Irritated and swollen muscles, often caused by overuse
- Stress fractures, which are tiny, hairline breaks in the lower leg bones
- Overpronation or ”flat feet” — when the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons
For my case the condition was a result of overuse and flat feet. Though this bout was really just the onset, considering my age I didn’t want to take any chances by continuing to run and felt it best to also see my doctor. The doctor did concur with my self diagnosis and suggested ice, rest and anti-inflammatory medication. One of the trainers at the gym suggested an exercise to stretch the muscles surrounding the shin bone. I opted for a combination, continuing my exercise regimen substituting a stationary bike for cardio and including more stretching every day. I took the anti-inflammatories for a couple of days and skipped the ice (I loathe using ice and only do it when pain and swelling is significant). There was no running whatsoever for eight days (it sucked but it as necessary). The running return took place at Camp Creek Greenway, which is a flat fast trail and that run as good. However following the run I examined my shoes and knew that they they were toast and were no good for this flat-footed runner.
I haven’t been inside of an actual running store in forever, but this time wanted to get the fit right and get my running mechanics checked. The associate at Fleet Feet Sports in Decatur measured my feet in a neutral shoe and had me run on a treadmill and outside. His diagnosis, mild over-pronation that could be addressed with a stability shoe (which I had been wearing already, again though, they were toast) . I was thanking God almighty for this recommendation because motion control shoes, which are usually recommended for flat-footed runners are the most uncomfortable shoes (in my opinion of course) on earth.
Having run in Nike, Saucony, Asics, Brooks, Adidas and for the last several years New Balance, I ended up with these:
I broke them in with 5 miles at Bethesda Park on Saturday and they were fantastic. Also keeping in mind my form, I allowed the hill to carry me down instead of “putting on brakes” I recall specifically at Peachtree Ridge “braking hard” and letting my feet pound on the pavement, which was especially jarring to my legs and my lower back. I found a great post on active.com that addresses form for downhill running. A web search will provide video demos for downhill running form as well.
What I Learned
Ego is a dangerous thing at times and it can lead to all sorts of problems, in this case injury. The most important thing when it comes to any sort of physical exercise or even going about your daily existence is to listen to the body and give it what it needs. If you’re experiencing chronic pain or a brand new pain, go see your doctor and get a referral if you need to so that you can get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
Until next time, see you on the road.