Saturday, November 1, 2014

2-in-1: My struggle with shin splints PLUS Help, I'm losing my motivation!

My struggle with shin splints

I mentioned this in my introduction blog, but here’s a little more detail about what I’ve been dealing with recently. Hopefully I can help prevent someone else from having the same issues!

Last spring I was really upping my game in the frequency and distance of my morning jog. I was doing 4 km Monday-Friday and 8 km on Saturday, with Sunday as my rest day. Around that time I had also bought new running shoes because my old ones were starting to fall apart. Because of my really wide feet, my options were limited and I ended up with a pair that did not have as much support as my old ones. So the intensity of my runs and the less than ideal shoes probably both contributed to me developing shin splints.

 Old, falling apart running shoes on the right,
new, less supportive running shoes on the left.

Shin splints are a sharp pain on the front lower part of your legs, and a common ailment for runners and other athletes that do a lot of high impact training. The cure is to stop whatever it is that caused them, let them heal, and then slowly start exercising again and building up strength. Also, good shoes are a must.

At first I didn’t know it was shin splints because I’ve never been much of a runner before. I thought I just had sore muscles, although it seemed like a weird place to get sore since as far as I could tell it was just bone. But I figured I’d keep stretching well and running, and it would get better, right? Wrong!

In July, my mom and step-dad came to visit, and by that time my legs were hurting almost constantly, even when just sitting. My step-dad is an experienced runner, able to do marathons, so I asked for his advice. And that’s when I learned about shin splints.

I did not run at all in August and September, and scaled down my at-home exercise as well. I focused on low impact strength training and cardio, and after I started feeling better I would occasionally go for a walk. I also saw a specialist who did electrical muscle stimulation, acupuncture, and massage – serious deep muscle massage, ouch! Seems like my legs hurt more for a day or two after that, but hopefully they were healing.

As recommended by another marathon runner I know, I bought Superfeet inserts for my shoes, so hopefully those give me the support I need. I gradually starting to run in October. During the week I jogged 2 km only once or twice. Once on the weekend if I had time I alternate jogging for 10 minutes and walking for 10 minutes, and it took 4 rounds of that, an hour and twenty minutes, to do 8 km. I also carried hand weights and did arm raises while walking. This month I'll continue this, but move up to 12 minutes of jogging and 8 minutes of walking with arm raises.

I still find that my left leg hurts a bit if I run too fast or too far, or if I run and also do high impact exercises within the same couple of days. I really like to push myself when I exercise, and it’s been hard to purposely hold back so that I don’t hurt myself again. What’s your favorite low impact workout? Let me know in the comments!

Help, I'm losing motivation!

On Wednesday I did well exercising, and did this super tough Jillian Michaels cardio workout in the evening even though I was feeling a bit lethargic. Those last few circuits, man! I ate well too, although I'm pretty sure the stew in school lunch had wheat flour and milk or cream in it to make it thicker and creamier.

On Thursday I started well with a short jog, and ate well too.

 A good Japanese school lunch - fish, a cabbage dish,
hearty miso soup, and rice with brown rice mixed in.

After work I called the dentist to make an appointment (in Japanese) and figured that this was both challenging and was related to taking care of my health, so I gave myself a break and didn't do an evening workout. I was really craving sugary foods or snacks, but since there wasn't anything in my apartment like that I survived without.

On Friday I had no excuse to skip my evening workout. NO EXCUSE! But I did.

I also skipped a Halloween party, but that's mainly because it was ¥3500 to get in plus all-you-can-drink, but no food. I didn't want to spend that much on what would probably be just a few glasses of juice that I felt like drinking.

Anyway, I was totally lazy and unmotivated to do anything, and was really really craving bad food. But I didn't have bad food in my apartment. This is when things turned ugly. Even though I had a full, healthy dinner, I was desperate for something more to snack on while watching TV.

See, I should have exercised. I'm not sure the mechanics behind it, but I usually don't crave snack foods as much after I exercise. I also should have washed dishes after dinner and done other productive things to distract myself. But on Friday nights it's the beginning of the weekend, so I have no motivation to be productive because I'll have time the next day to do stuff. Friday nights are dangerous times to stay home.

So, I was getting desperate, and before I knew it I was sitting in front of my computer with a bag of sesame seeds and a spoon. Yes, that's how sad and pathetic my night became. I probably ate over 50 grams of sesame seeds. The whole bag. Just plain. Because that's what I could find. And some chia seeds. And a whole bag of frozen blueberries. It gets even worse... The only sugary thing in my kitchen was some molasses. Let's not even talk about what happened next, it's too shameful.

You're completely disgusted in me, aren't you? I am. "Lame, Laura! Gross, Laura! I don't want to be your friend anymore! How could you do that? Nobody else could possibly be that pathetic. This is a dirty, ugly secret, it better not go in the blog!" These are the things I told myself.

I went to bed that night feeling terrible - ashamed, disappointed in myself, and kind of bloated.

I'm sorry, me. We'll try better next time.

I woke up on Saturday motivated to make up for the night before. I did a quick workout, ate a big healthy breakfast, went to see my electrical muscle stimulation/acupuncture/massage doctor again, ran some errands, had no time for lunch, went to the dentist, had a late afternoon snack, and then met some friends for dinner. We went to an Indian place, and because I'm avoiding dairy and wheat all I could eat was just curry. No naan, no tandoori or other side dishes (yogurt was used in the preparation), no lassi or ice cream. But I had some delicious lamb saag, and it was actually all I really needed since I had had that late afternoon snack (which honestly wasn't that healthy, but it didn't break any of my rules).

So far today I'm doing well too. But Friday night still haunts me... Haha, haunts! That's funny because Friday was Halloween. But seriously, Fridays are often really hard. I never want to exercise and eat well and be productive at the end of the week, and often end up just lying around and binge eating, and then hating myself for it. I could really use some support! Any ideas, advice, etc?

1 comment:

  1. Several things I know of could have set you up for that Friday. You probably know the mental and emotional ones, but you may not be aware of the physical cravings that foods you may be allergic to can cause. They can act like that first drink can for the alcoholic. I certainly know that is true for myself and I have seen it in both allergic children on my past caseloads and with friends who struggle with food problems.
    Swimming is a fantastic low impact exercise. Wish I could do it more. Unfortunately, I am allergic to chlorine. Rowing is also another good one.