I gave up on the chiropractor and his repeated promises that I'll feel better and then I DON'T feel better. I called a local sports medicine facility this morning. Wonder of wonders, they had a cancellation and got me in TODAY.
I hate going to doctors. I've had too many bad experiences and misdiagnoses (including an orthopedist who said my torn ligament was a "wobbly kneecap") and I have high deductible insurance, so I end up paying out of pocket (and out my a$$) for everything. But these days, I can't remember what it feels like to WALK pain-free, let alone run, so it was time.
My biggest disappointment is in not getting a definitive answer today. If you haven't caught on, I do NOT do well with not knowing. Tell me I can't run for a month, and I'll mark it on my calendar, count down the days, and deal. Not knowing when I can run again and when I won't hurt anymore...it's its own special kind of torture.
Anyway....it's very much not likely a stress fracture. Nothing on the xray, no pain I can pinpoint. Doc asked me to point to where it hurts. I tried and gave up. He looked at me a little like I was crazy.
The options: stress reaction or shin splints. I find out for sure next Wednesday, after I get an MRI and I see the doc again to discuss it. Stress reaction means absolutely no marathon (not on 5/1 anyway) and I'm pretty much restricted to swimming for cross training. Any walking, even, beyond what I normally do in a day would be forbidden. So basically, when spring FINALLY hits Ohio, I wouldn't be able to go outside except to sit there. UGH.
Shin splints means physical therapy, more choice of exercise (elliptical, bike, and anything in the water)...but no running until I've been pain free for 2 weeks, and after that it's a gradual return. So the absolute best case scenario means that I can start running again 4 weeks prior to the marathon, and in that amount of time, start slow and work up to 26.2.
He didn't say it's impossible, although his initial reaction when I asked about it was (and I do quote this): "If pigs come out of my a$$." He did rephrase it. He said, "The probability is low."
Oh, but if it's doable, I'll be the one to figure out how to do it. I'm going to replace every minute that I was spending running 30-ish miles a week with other cardio until I can run again. Keep my endurance up, at least, until I'm back in the game.
Regardless, during the long wait for the doc, I figured out plans B, C, and so on. So here goes.....
Plan A: I'll be able to run the full Pig. It will probably be a bit of a struggle, I may have to run/walk it, but I will survive it. Then I will do another full later this year (maybe the USAF full in September) so that I can get a marathon in when I'm up to my full potential.
Plan B: I'll be recovered, but without enough time to work up to the distance. I will run either the half, 10k or 5k version of the Pig, and then I will find another marathon within the next couple of months and run it. One of my goals was to run a full before my 30th birthday. I have until August.
Plan C: It's bad news and I'm not up to running by 5/1. I will pick the soonest marathon I can feasibly (safely) do, and do it - hopefully also before my birthday.
Alternate marathon options I've found:
Sunburst Marathon, South Bend IN, 6/4
Indiana/Celina Challenge, 6/11
Rock 'n Roll Seattle, 6/11 (bro-in-law and fam live in Tacoma)
Make it By Midnight Marathon, Macon GA, 7/16 - just because it's interesting. The goal is to get to the finish as close to midnight as possible. So if you're a 4-hour marathoner, you start at 8pm.
Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon, NV, 8/13 <--Technically two days after my birthday, which is close enough, considering I could spend my birthday in Vegas, the race sounds awesome, and heck - I'd be bumped into an older bracket so maybe I'd place better. :) (Wow, I might just do this one regardless!)
Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you're looking for me, you can find me in the pool, hopefully not dying of boredom.