Blood, Sweat and Pain

For those of you who follow me on social media, you may have seen me post about the fact that I’ve been dealing with what I thought were anterior shin splints during my marathon training.  Over the past few weeks, I have seen my orthopedist for X-rays and an MRI.  The good news is I don’t have shin splints! Nor do I have any form of strain, sprain, or stress fracture. Woohoo! I can keep training.

So at this point, you are probably wondering what the heck is wrong with me then.  It appears that the bone marrow in my left leg has increased its production of red blood cells to increase my O2 max. The doctor says that this is normal as my body is trying to keep up with the oxygen being expended by the increase in my training.  Normally when this occurs, people feel pain in their arm and it’s not as severe.  However since I’m also using my leg to run (duh), I’m really feeling the pain. I don't know smile

My orthopedist compared me to athletes who blood dope illegally.  They withdraw oxygen rich blood and then inject it back into themselves before an intense athletic effort.  My body is naturally increasing the amount of oxygen rich blood that I have available when I train.  Pretty cool to know how adaptive my body is. Before my hysterectomy I was always anemic so it’s kind of cool to see my body producing red blood cells en masse instead of bleeding them out.

bone structure and function

Here’s a bit more information about the importance of bone marrow from Science Daily.

Bone marrow is the tissue that makes up the center of large bones and is the place where new blood cells are produced.  There are two types of bone marrow: red marrow (also known as myeloid tissue) and yellow marrow.  Red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells come from red marrow; some white blood cells develop in yellow marrow.

Red marrow is found mainly in the flat bones such as hip bone, breast bone, skull, ribs, vertebrae and shoulder blades, and in the "spongy" material at the ends of the long bones femur and humerus.

In cases of severe blood loss, the body can convert yellow marrow back to red marrow in order to increase blood cell production.

So basically, the yellow marrow in my tibia is being converted by my body back to red marrow.  As my body adapts to the increases in my training and O2 needs, the need for the increased blood cell production will subside and so will the pain.  In the meanwhile, I am taking a slow release long acting NSAID on an as needed basis to deal with the pain.  I am also able to KEEP TRAINING!!!

Have you ever had an injury during training? How do you stay focused as you heal or adapt to your body’s changes during training? How is your running going?

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!
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