Saturday was my first race of the year: the RUNSLC 5K. It was my first road 5 K ever and I was excited/nervous to see what I could do (my previous PR from a trail 5 K was 23:33). Packet pickup was at the Salt Lake Running Company on Friday and was super quick and easy. I registered for this series back in December and because I was one of the first 50 entrants I got a $20 gift certificate for the running store. We also got a stainless steel pint glass which was pretty sweet.
Saturday morning I got up at 6:50 am and was out the door by 7:15 am with a 5 minute drive to the store – there was plenty of free parking in the neighborhood nearby. I did a two mile warm-up at 9:47 pace – getting to the start line just in time to hand in my bag at the check-in (also super easy). Then it was time to race. I lined up near the start and just decided to go by feel.
I settled in to a comfortably-hard pace and fell in with another female runner (we actually ran the race together until she out-kicked me at the end). This course crosses one of our Tram lines and as we were coming up to the tracks, one of the race stewards starting waving his flag as a train approaching so we had to stop and let it pass. Oh well! Hazards of the race course. The first two miles were pretty even 7:08 (including our stop for the train) and 7:09, then a turn around and back to the finish. I like these out and back races – you can figure out who’s ahead of you! I was fifth woman at this point and finished that way (mile 3 was 7:14) with no train stop on the way back. Official time 22:10 (7:09 pace) and a new 5 K PR. 5th woman overall and 2nd in my age group. I won a $15 gift certificate for my finish and a cool hat in the raffle.
I finished with a 2 mile cool-down at 9:56 pace and was pretty happy for the rest of the day.
Then Sunday happened. I was out for my 4.5 mile recovery run and I just felt off. I had been having a couple of little aches and pains over the previous weeks but they had mostly resolved themselves – tights calves and glute medius. This was different. Shin pain that made me feel pretty awkward. Oh sh*t.
I rested on Monday and booked a doctors appointment for Tuesday morning. I am a totally paranoid hypochondriac (although is there another kind?). And the official diagnosis: medial tibial stress syndrome AKA shin splints or the precursor to a stress fracture. I got an x-ray taken which does not show a fracture but does show signs of a stress response.
I am a bit bummed out by this as you’d expect. A spring PR is looking pretty unlikely but on the bright side:
- I can do almost everything (all my strength exercises, elliptical and biking)
- My pain is pretty mild
- I caught it pretty early so the recovery time should be short
- It is not a stress fracture!
So the plan is to take some time off running (but switch over my training plan to the elliptical) and see how it feels in a couple of weeks. And there are plenty of other half marathons to get that new PR!