Frustrated, I decided to take matters into my own hands and find out where I could get an MRI on the cheap. I found a place close to my house that charges $500 for uninsured patients including the radiologist report and could get me in at 1:45 that day, no doctor's referral needed. Music to my ears.
Couple all of this with the fact that I'm doing absolutely no exercise, my leg still hurts to stand on it, and I have taken the entire week off from work. I can't concentrate on anything but this pain in my leg and the consequences of that pain. If it is a stress fracture, should I wear a boot and still line up at the start of the race as some suggest? Wouldn't I feel like a complete idiot hobbling over the starting line only to quit the race in the first few feet? What if I just went for it anyway? I had heard many remarkable stories of people with worse pain than mine showing up at the start line and running completely pain free. Then I recalled the stories of those who didn't heed the warning signs, ran anyway and ended up with a nice full fracture. I didn't want that.
Thursday late afternoon, I finally received the report from the radiologist letting me know that there was nothing remarkable on my images. Nada. Soft tissue was even "unremarkable". I got this news after being fit for a walking cast (thanks Mike!).
I am clear to run. Well, there's the small matter of still having pain in my leg when I walk, but staying off of the leg has reduced that quite a bit. In celebration of the news, I rode my Elliptigo last night in the dark for an hour, pushing my heart rate up into the high 150s. I felt awesome and was so much happier. Exercise is indeed a great mood booster.
I could sit around and bemoan the last week of nothingness and whine about the fitness I've no doubt lost. That's not my style. My body was definitely telling me it needed a break. More than anything, this last week has given my immune system a chance to fight off whatever the hell infection I have going on. I'm 6 days into the antibiotics and just now starting to feel slightly better.
I learned one other thing that I think is worth noting for those of you who push yourselves as hard as I do. I had started regularly measuring my resting heart rate a couple of months ago and keeping record of it. I had never really done this before. It's just so easy to do now that there are iPhone apps available that can take a fairly accurate reading in a matter of seconds. And, they record the number for you too!
I was a little surprised when I started doing this that my heart rate when going to bed was about the same as when I woke in the morning. I was also surprised that my resting heart rate was in the low 50s consistently. I thought it was in the low 40s, but I thought maybe I was mistaken about that.
A couple of days ago, my resting heart rate plummeted: both the nighttime and morning readings and they've stayed there ever since. My resting HR is in the low to mid 40s. It has been elevated for the last 2-3 months. I had dismissed those who say that resting HR is a good measure of overtraining, but I have now learned the lesson for reals. The other lesson learned is that a baseline needs to be established during a time when you're rested and healthy!
What's next for me? Hopefully, I'll be back to running. I plan to start a very long and drawn out taper from here, listening to my body the whole way. Goal 1 is to cross both the start and finish lines at the Olympic Trials. If I can do that in a decent amount of time, then that's icing on the cake. Given the fact that I'm still in a fair amount of pain from this injury, whatever it is, my next few weeks will be about pain management. I'm going in for acupuncture today to see if that relieves it at all. I'm taking Tylenol for the pain and icing as needed. I will attempt to wrap the leg in various ways to see if that helps. And I will keep my fingers crossed that nothing else crops up these next few weeks!
Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me throughout this ordeal. I really appreciate all of the support and well wishes. You have reminded me that it is truly a privilege to be invited to this race. You inspire me to get past these setbacks and run my heart out on January 14th!
Oh, and I finally got that call from Kaiser, my HMO, yesterday afternoon to schedule my MRI. I'll be getting that on January 5th at 10 p.m. Great timing.
Merry Christmas, indeed!