Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Shin splints. I’ve got ‘em. describes them as:
“…pain along the shinbone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg. 
Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines. The muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked by the increased activity.” tells the story of my life, (my shin’s lives) with the comment, “ Shin splints are very common. Runners might get them after ramping up their workout intensity…”

As readers might know, I achieved my pledge of March 9th L.A. Marathon, 1st Place, Females 70-74. Work-outs for weeks before L.A. included a string of 50-mile-weeks.

Expecting to come out of the experience sore, I paid no attention to the shin splints. 

Now I’m paying attention.

First, they’re not going away. 

Second, I’ve paid $128  for the OC  Half Marathon this Sunday, May 4th, 2014 


Last Saturday in what should have been my last long run before the half marathon I fell way behind other runners. Sweet Catherine waited for me. As we ran along together, I confessed, “I have shin splints. This 12-minute pace protects my shins.”

“Get off the trail,” Catherine commanded. “I raced with shin splints which led to a stress fracture which ended in a broken leg. We want you running with us for a long time. That means rest now. NO RACE.” 

I listened to her, turned and ran the grass around the Corona del Mar track where cushioning left me pain free.

Further reading of WebMd describes;

-“Irritated and swollen muscles, often from overuse. That’s me

-“Flat feet —when the impact of a step makes the foot’s arch collapse. That’s me. 

-AND both sites say: Rest, ice, arch supports, occasionally use of anti inflammatories, range of motion exercises, physical therapy. 

WebMD says,”You’re not recovered until you can exercise without pain.”

Wondering whether to run the OC Half, I looked for a compromise.
I told my Saturday Runners, “I will run the half marathon with my number but without my chip. Therefore, I won’t be tempted to race.

Murph, a former champ said, “Relax, take the slow time. I used to tell people that the day I ran a 4-hour-marathon, I’d quit. Then I had the car accident and broke my leg. Now I’m glad to be out running 4-hour-marathons.” 

My friend, Geoff, a doctor, said, “Do not race injured.” 

Annie, a hiker, biker, golfer, said, “Race the half marathon and then rest for a month.”

Returning home after all this advice, I found my husband at breakfast, and said, “I don’t know whether to run the O.C. Half next Sunday. I’m running so slowly protecting my shin-splints.” 

“Here’s what you should do, but you won’t like it,” he said. “Don’t hike Monday, don’t run all week, and don’t race.”

I know when I’m really injured. I postponed Boston for a year because I could hardly walk, I missed Marine Corps Marathon because I couldn’t straighten my leg. Both times, I took a few months off. Today, I can power hike, run slowly, walk without pain. 

I’d say this is a minor injury, one that will affect my time but not exclude me from the fun. So, who’s advice do I take? 

I’ll wait until Sunday morning to decide.  

Friday, April 25, 2014


I’ve paid my money—lots of, $110.00!—to run the Orange County Half Marathon next Sunday, May 4th.

Why did I do that?

My legs are still tired from the L.A. Marathon. I have shin splints. First time I’ve ever had sore shins for a whole month after a race. 

My top speed seems to be 11-minute-miles. Terrible pace for a half marathon. 
I’m in the habit of finishing half marathons at the two hour mark. That means I used to do nine-minute miles. 

My enthusiasm, after L.A. decreased with every week. At first, I kept my mileage up around 13 miles each run because I knew I had this half marathon coming up. My enthusiasm decreased with every week. Last week’s runs have been 8 miles, no more. Next week I’ll do less. 

Perhaps I’m having trouble recovering from L.A. due 50-mile-weeks I put in as I trained for the marathon. That’s a lot of mileage. 

Its true that the 85 degree heat at the L.A. Marathon killed me in the last few miles, but I don’t think the leg cramps I suffered weeks ago would be responsible for my present dead-legs.

AND HERE IS THE KICKER: Jake my coach, an engineer does exhaustive research on everything. A few weeks after L.A., he ran along beside me and went over the figures proving that people slow with age.

I can’t quote him exactly, but I remember too well the point of his statistics. There’s a downward curve for all runners past a 60 and even steeper tumble past 70. 

Another coach, John, fell apart at 70, saying he just couldn’t get his legs going any more. I ignored John’s pronouncements of doom because I thought he wore himself out racing  too much. I figured all those fast miles were responsible for his running demise. We never see him anymore.

In my case, one bad sign is the fact that I’m falling behind younger people whom I used to beat. Today I ran with Muffy and Jan who always out-ran me for the first two miles, but, in the final stretch I would pass them by half a block. 

I’d walk back to meet them. Now they walk back to retrieve me. 

Have you ever wondered if your head was playing tricks on you? Maybe I heard Jake’s and John’s comments on aging too clearly. Maybe my mind is slowing my legs.

However when my head commands me to move fast, my legs don’t respond. 

My time at the O. C. Half Marathon will tell the tale. I’m not looking forward to the finish.