I finally broke down and made an appointment with my orthopedist.
It's been exactly four weeks since I fell. My knee and hip are still popping all the time. I still get some knee pain on and off during runs. And my knee and hip keep swelling up after hard workouts, with stiff muscles the next day.
The positive: I'm not having, and haven't had, any major pain during a run. I've been able to go easy for 18-20 miles, I've even done some tempo runs at race pace without major pain, and aside from a few runs where my knee started bugging me with a very manageable ache, I've had no chronic pain. When I had the EPIC fracture, the pain would start within a mile and just get worse as I ran. Now, if I do get knee pain, it comes and then leaves as my leg loosens up. I can hop on my leg and it doesn't hurt.
BUT the "payback pain" is so similar to what I had when my stress fracture was undiagnosed, but healing. When I would run about two months into the healing process (and I never tried to go more than a couple of miles) it would feel okay but the next day my leg would lock up and I'd have an inflamed hip and knee, with snapping and popping in the joints. Exactly the same feeling as what I had all day today.
So I called and made an appointment. And I'm so, so scared.
I broke down crying this afternoon. I'm terrified of another stress fracture. I've been so good about not overdoing it, about taking easy days and rest days, and not running on anything that hurts. And then I fall.
I was going to make today a rest day, but my husband told me to go out and run with the kids in the jogger, and to stop if it hurt. They needed fresh air, and I needed that run. I took some Advil and ran about four and half miles on the Accotink Trail. I didn't go fast. It didn't hurt, and it still feels good.
Some days I have no doubt that I'll get to the starting line healthy, and other days (like today) I am convinced I have a major injury that is going to take months of rehab. I'm not willing to race Boston if it's going to put me out for another season, so I am getting this checked out.
But -- please excuse the sappiness here -- it's going to break my heart if I can't run this race. Jamie is running. My parents and children are coming to cheer us on. And.. it's Boston. I worked SO hard to qualify for this race.
Selfish? Maybe. It's just a race, right? Last year I put in the training cycle of my life, and got a stress fracture during the taper. This year I have trained through the winter that nearly killed me -- can we say FROZEN -- I'm talking miles and miles on the treadmill, long runs with negative wind chills, far too many numb fingers and toes and honestly, unpleasant runs that I could only do with this goal in my head.... I want to cross that starting line, and that finish line, more than I can put into words.
Anyone training for a spring marathon through this Polar Vortex deserves a medal just for the training...
Anyhow -- virtual hand holding appreciated at tomorrow's doctor's appointment. Fingers crossed that this is nothing major.