It was about ten months ago, around the sufferfest that my out-of-shape attempt at the Lake Tahoe Marathon and the ridiculous mess that was Tough Mudder, that I decided to buckle down and get myself back in running shape. Since the Lake Tahoe run was one that I felt I could focus on for the next year, I decided to make it my goal.
As an interim goal, I wanted to finally hit my long-time goal mark of running a sub-1:30 half marathon. Training plans were drawn up, intervals were run, hill repeats and long runs all done. I made that goal at the Reno Rock 'n' River Half Marathon in early May, then slightly bettered it a few weeks later at Avenue of the Vines in Lodi, CA.
After those races, I took about a month off of serious training and just did a few runs a week - longish on weekends, and some unstructured speedwork and easy runs midweek. Beginning in July, I started back in with specific training aimed at Tahoe.
My training plan for Tahoe was a slightly modified version of my half marathon training plan - the format seemed to work for me, and I liked the way it was structured. So I upped the long run mileage, progressively increasing to marathon distance. The intervals were left the same, and the easy runs and progression runs were stretched out slightly.
Everything was working great - I did a 22 mile long run on the Tahoe Marathon course about a week and a half ago, on 8/21. It felt fine - it was really good to see the hills, and know I could run up them just fine. That week was the first one where my mileage topped 50 miles.
The next week - last week - I got right back into my normal schedule. Intervals on Tuesday, easy run Wednesday, Hills on Thursday. In retrospect, I can maybe remember a few twinges from my left leg, but I shook them off. Saturday was the Big Blue 10K, a trail race up at Incline, and everything felt fine up there. But Sunday morning was a different story.
I'd been feeling kind of beat up, and realized that the thing that I didn't build into my schedule was a back-off week. So, instead of the planned long run I had for last Sunday - 10 miles easy, 10 miles at race tempo and 2 miles easy, for 22 total - I decided to do a shorter run. In my head I thought I'd make it 14 miles - 2 easy, 10 tempo and 2 easy.
A lot of my controlled-speed runs happen on the treadmill, and that's where I went to do this one. After the first mile, though, my left shin was starting to hurt. I finished the warm-up, and boosted the speed to race pace. Pain got worse. After 2 miles of tempo, I just couldn't do any more, and called it a day.
At home, I iced the leg, and alternated compressing and elevating it. Monday was a rest day, and I skipped my regular Tuesday intervals to give it an extra day of rest. Wednesday I decided to test it out with an easy run - instead of my scheduled 45 minutes I decided to do my old 3 mile loop.
The first mile was OK, but I started feeling some twinges at the one mile mark. After the second mile, it was hurting, and by the time the third mile was done, I could tell that I was altering my stride to favor it. Not good.
I made an appointment with my doctor for later in the day, assuming he'd send me off for an x-ray. In fact, that's what happened - and he also shared with me what I'd feared, that it sounded like a stress fracture. Currently, I'm waiting on a call from him with the results.
And trying to figure out what to do. I've got a bunch more races I'm registered for - none over Labor day weekend, but one a weekend for a month or so after that.