I am two weeks into beginning a running practice. I am progressing slowly, now running eight intervals of one minute with two minutes walking in between. So much in my life could be improved with what running could teach me about inhabiting my body, about pushing through, about stamina.
Last week I was on holiday in Perthshire, and on the decline back to the cottage I was running towards Craig Rossie in the morning sunshine. With an April chill on my skin and the Coral Fang sinking in through my headphones, I caught a glimpse of runner’s high. It felt like a breakthrough in what I could achieve with my life.
And now I’ve got shin splints.
The advice is to completely rest for at least two weeks or until the pain has gone. This is not a pain to be endured and pushed through, as running through it can cause more damage. This inflammation in the connective tissue covering my shins is likely to have been caused by over compensation for weaker muscles, such as my quads, or weak core stability.
Why was I trying to rush ahead before my muscles were strong enough to carry me? Because that is part of who I am: demanding upon myself and impatient. This may be the first time running has caused me to suffer shin splints, but when I think about it I have caused my ‘writing muscle’ to splinter and inflame as well. So many times I have experienced ‘writer’s high’ in writing a poem or a blog post, and then tried to push it too far too soon by trying to add writing a novel into the mix.
For now, I will spend a couple of weeks strengthening my core, and lunging and squatting at home with Davina. I am eager to start running again but I will have to be patient and wait to bulid up the muscles that will support my ambiton. And the writing? Yes, I need to strengthen those muscles with poems and blog posts before I open a new file called ‘Novel – 2015’. I will support myself. I will splinter no more.