Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shin Splints

So, back in high school, I don't remember which year, I succumbed to peer pressure.

Don't worry, mom. I didn't do drugs. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke. I didn't skip class. Much anyway.

I joined the track team.

All my friends were doing it. They lured me in by telling me how cool it was, how cool it would make me...well, I don't think they actually said that last part (they knew I was pretty much a lost cause in the coolness department) but I'm pretty sure it was implied and so I caved and became a member of the track team.

But, as it turned out, the track team involved running (I know, right?). And back in high school, I was cool with the concept of running but less interested in the actual running part itself.

My friends were big runners. They'd been on the track teams (indoor, outdoor and cross country) for years and the only running I did was either for the bus or the forced laps the PE teachers made us do around the gym every class. The best time ever was that time I broke my toe. The gym teachers were still going to make me run so I came to class the next day with a multi paged (yes, seriously) letter from my mother which memorably contained the line "My daughter does NOT need to be repeatedly slamming her broken toe against the hard gym floor!" Underline, underline. Needless to say, by the time the teachers finished reading my mother's dissertation, I didn't have to run. Ever again, if I wanted.

I heart my mom.

But I did run again. One of my friends also had special permission to not run on the hard gym floor. She ran outside on school grounds for ten to fifteen minutes and then came back to rejoin the rest of class. Occasionally, she brought another student with her. Once, she asked me. I think that day she was probably feeling particularly desperate because she had never asked me before (and never again, as it turned out). I was excited because I thought it meant we would run out of sight of the gym and then hang out for ten to fifteen minutes before returning to class.

We didn't.

This friend went on to kick ass and take names at the Air Force Academy and become a hard core board certified surgeon who is now on her way to Afghanistan (God Bless and Good Luck...Please, come home safe.). I went on to fold jeans for a living. Coincidence? I think not.

But yeah. Those bad influence friends of mine eventually got me on the track team. I ran sprints because they were fast and the race was over quickly. I usually only ran the 100 meter dash and maybe a relay because I was that Not. Into. It. And since I was a clueless awkward teenager (who grew into a clueless awkward adult...I've always liked symmetry.), I never learned to run properly. Thus, I developed shin splints.

Interesting side note: Joe has long been convinced that I am making up this medical condition. He's never heard of it and thus, despite compelling internet evidence (the internet thing is kind of a joke between us...it does not mean he believes everything he reads on the internet), it does not exist. He also is convinced I made up that story about how the southern states ceded from the Union during the 1800s. Just saying. It's interesting that we both went to Maine public schools and came out with such different educational experiences.

Anyway, now I'm older (that's right, Wal Mart. I said older) and every spring, I feel the deep urge to run. I'd like to be one of those serious (or semi serious) runners and so every spring I lace up my running shoes and try to run around the neighborhood. I then spent the next few days crying over how badly my shins hurt.

Have you ever had shin splints? They can really hurt.

The last time I was teaching (after I left the first time, I went back every now and then to fill in when they needed me), I tried running. The school was (and is) filled with hardcore outdoors men and women. They're the sort who run marathons for fun. I was the one who crapped out on the half mile loop around her neighborhood and then spent three days rolling around the school building in her rolling chair because her shins hurt too much to walk. Of course, I was also the one who had to contribute the chair thing to laziness because I didn't want to admit I had crapped out on the half mile loop around my neighborhood.

So instead of running, I walk. I hike. Sometimes, on the more challenging hikes, I feel the splints acting up, but that's pain with which I can deal. However, it's now March which means spring is here which means the urge to run is starting to take over. Plus, I bought that stupid Wii Fit which has the island lap option in it. You hold the remote or stick it in your pocket and you run in place while your Mii runs around a lovely island paradise, populated with other Miis and their little Mii dogs. So I've tried it, thinking that perhaps if I ran just a little bit with every workout then maybe, just maybe, someday I might be able to run outdoors.

Yeah. I don't see that happening any time soon. I am currently hiding from my Wii Fit because I'm afraid it'll send out some sort of tractor beam which will haul me in and make me run some more. And I just can't do it today.

My shins hurt too much. But maybe tomorrow...

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