THE GOOD: I've been cleared medically to take part in the insanity that is BDM 102. Got my clearance a couple of days ago, and everything was perfectly normal with the exception of my cholesterol level. It sat on the borderline between normal and you-have-to-do-something-about-this. Blame it on my genes. But hey, I was cleared for BDM, so absolutely no fretting here.
More good news. I completed the second BDM 102 test run yesterday, from Km 50 in Abucay, Bataan to Km 102 in San Fernando, Pampanga. I covered 52 kilometers in seven hours and two seconds. Very good heat training. I was also able to try out my gear, as well as my nutrition and hydration plans. Now that I've done both halves of the BDM 102 route, I already have a clearer picture of what to expect on D-Day - the critical turns, the terrain, the climate, the over-all atmosphere of the race. For those interested (or just plain curious) in the statistics of my two BDM test runs, please click here and here.
I have trained hard, I have ran the actual route, I have medical clearance, I have completed the registration process. Only one more thing left to do before showtime, and this brings us to...
THE BAD: I have to heal and recover. I have shin splints - a very common running injury. I first felt some pain below my left shin and above the ankle after last weekend's Condura Skyway Marathon. Knowing that I will be doing the 52k test run this weekend, I rested all of last week and did not log a single kilometer. I guess it worked because the pain went away, only to return at Km 10 of yesterday's test run, while I was somewhere in the town of Hermosa in Bataan. At that point, the discomfort was still very bearable (almost negligible, actually), so I decided to push forward. I did notice though that I felt the discomfort when I walked, and not when I ran. This condition persisted until around Km 20, when, for some reason, the discomfort completely vanished. I thought all would be well until the pain (no longer just plain discomfort) came back at around Km 26. From that point on, it became a struggle for me just to put weight on my left leg. What made it worse was the fact that I was running on very uneven surface - the gravel-strewn shoulder of Roman Highway. During this stretch, wifey (who was in my support vehicle) and I had the following exchange as I was in for a pit stop:
Me: It hurts like hell every time I step on a large stone. The uneven surface is just killing me!
Wifey: So why don't you get off the shoulder and run on the edge of the road instead?
Me: Uhm... because it would hurt more if I get side-swiped by a bus.
By Km 35, the pain was almost debilitating. I was already hobbling badly when I ran and it was worse when I walked. I won't lie here - quitting did cross my mind. A lot of times. After all, it was just a test run, not a race. I seriously considered calling the troops back in. Obviously though, I did not quit, and I plowed on in this condition for the next 17 kilometers. Maybe it was courageous of me, or maybe it was downright stupid. I don't know. I guess it was a little of both, but perhaps it's bit more of the latter.
THE UGLY: I am hobbling right now and couldn't even walk straight. I had my injury checked by Dr. Gilbert Tan at the Pain and Rehab Care Clinic in Megamall, and he confirmed that I do have shin splints. Absolutely no running or jumping for the next two weeks. Therapy sessions everyday during the same period, which by the way started this morning. In all likelihood, I will still be able to do BDM 102 three weeks from today, but there is no assurance that the pain will not flare up during the course of the run. Fair enough. Good thing I already experienced running through the pain yesterday. At least I already have some practice on that. If pain flares up during BDM and I decide to run through it, would I expose myself to any risk of a more severe injury? Doc said no. I have all the assurance I need. Doc said a very extreme and highly improbable scenario would be, that I'd develop a stress fracture. He also said, however, that nobody develops a stress fracture overnight. So, if I began feeling pain only last week, it couldn't be a stress fracture. He went on and discussed medical terms that lawyers normally do not understand (unless the lawyer is also a doctor), but I had already heard enough. Sorry for having tuned out, doc.
So, it's settled. Absolutely no running and therapy sessions everyday (thank God for company-issued HMO cards) for the next two weeks. Doc says I also have to use orthotic arch supports because I am severely flat-footed, to help ease the stress on my calves when I run. You got it, doc.
Oh well. There goes tomorrow's recovery run...