There is one thing that I want to do more than I want to do anything else in the world. What is this wonderful thing? Why…running, of course! Last year, I tried to smartly and slowly work my way up to being able to jog a 5K without stopping to walk. I had been training for a few weeks, never more than a mile. I started off jogging 200 meters then walking 200 meters, back and forth for the whole mile. I eventually got it to where I could jog a full ¼ mile at a time.
15½ years ago, when I was going thru boot camp and job training for the Army I ran on a very regular basis, at least 3 times a week for at least 5 miles each go. I loved it. The problem came into play when the old shoes that I had brought with me crapped out on me. I had had the shoes for like 5 years, so they were just old, even if they were still good as far as support. But because they were old, they really weren’t that great for support because the sole material was all broken down and at least partially dry rotted. It just could no longer withstand that much running. They needed to be replaced. But, because I didn’t know anything about running, I didn’t realize this. So they never got replaced.
Boot camp was 9 weeks long, job training was 10. About week 6 of my job training is when the pain started. It was in my shins, mostly the right one. After a couple weeks, the pain gradually increased. It got so bad that I could barely make it through the post run cool downs they led us through without my legs giving out underneath me. I didn’t want to admit any kind of defeat. I’ve never been a complainer. I’ve always been someone who just sucks it up and drives on.
So, I finally got up the nerve to approach my Drill Sergeant about the pain. I came to him with tears in my eyes and told him that I needed to go to sick call and why. He thought for a moment, taking me in, before he answered. He told me that while he couldn’t keep me from going to sick call if I really wanted to, he would rather I toughed it out and didn’t go. He said he didn’t want me sitting behind the CQ desk, stuck at the training facility, until I could get a medical discharge, which could take 6 months or more. Instead, he suggested I switch to the slow running group and as soon as I got to my permanent duty station after graduation, go immediately to the podiatrist. Being someone that likes to just suck it up and drive on, I liked his suggestion.
I switched to the slow running group, who came to hate me because they put me as the pace runner and I kept trying to run at the median running group pace. The Drill Sergeant that led the slow running group kept trying to kick me out and would always question me as to why I had switched groups. I kept telling her that my platoon’s Drill Sergeant had told me I had to switch. She wasn’t happy with this, but she went along with it and the other girls in the group continued to hate me.
Finally, the time came for our final PT test in training. My run time for our first PT test in the job training had been 17:19 minutes (2-mile run). Drill Sergeant Travis, the Drill Sergeant I had gone crying to about going to sick call, informed me of his intention to chase me around the track. At about the last 100 meters, he was right on my heels telling me “You better not let me catch you Casey!” I kicked it into high gear, despite the pain, and stayed ahead of him. And, get this, managed to shave 10 seconds off my prior run time! And to think, it was to the point where I could barely walk and I accomplished that! I felt pretty proud of myself that I had succeeded in that.
Fast forward a little short of 15 years later and I’m trying to train to run again. After only a few weeks of my training, which when I told friends of mine that actually run frequently and regularly, they told me it was a very good plan to go by. It was a nice, gradual plan that should keep me from overdoing it and hurting myself. Or so I thought. I started getting the sharp pain in my shins again and was fearful that I had refractured my right shin. I went to the doctor and he told me that I hadn’t refractured it and that it was just shin splints. He also told me to stay off the treadmill. So there went my dream of running again, straight out the window.
I want to let you know that I have NOT given up hope. I keep coming back to the same sentiment. I keep returning to the desire to run. I really want to run a 5K. It’s only 3.1 miles. I should be able to do it. Eventually. I’m not hoping that I’ll be able to do it in a month or two, or six, or even this year. But I do not want to just give this up without a fight of some kind. I’m going to keep doing my workouts and keep doing things that will strengthen my shin muscles. I think if I can do that, then I can succeed in my goal to someday run a 5K and to run at least twice a week for fitness and for fun. I’m going to suck it up and drive on until I reach my goal!