Shin Splint or Stress Fracture?

Severe shin fractures

Someone dear to me who shall remain nameless (Bobby G) has been struggling with what he called a “shin splint” for 3 weeks now. After some research, I think we have both come to the conclusion he has a stress fracture. He is obviously pretty bummed, but knows he needs to get better as soon as possible.

Shin Splint or Stress Fracture?

  • Is the pain in a large area down the outside/inside of your shin? Yes = Shin splint.
  • Is the pain just in a little area smaller than a quarter? Yes = Stress fracture.
  • Does the area have just a dull ache and does NOT hurt when pressed on? Yes = Shin splint.
  • Does the area hurt when you press on it, with a sharp pain? Yes = Stress fracture.
  • Stand on the affected foot and hop on it; does this hurt? Yes = Stress fracture.

Having my own experience with a possible stress fracture on the top of my foot (See “Das Boot“), there are several things I have learned:

  • A specialist (Orthopedist) will probably cost a little bit more co-pay if you have insurance.
  • If you decide to go to a doctor, realize that when in doubt, they will tell you not to run. This is good advice anyway.
  • X-rays are usually cheap/free if you have insurance.
  • Often, even if you have a stress fracture, the X-ray will not show it. This could be because by nature stress fractures are very small or because it hasn’t started healing yet (once healing began it would show a callus on the bone).
  • If they suggest an MRI, bone scan, fancy-pants ultrasound, etc, slap them in the face and hobble away! Even with insurance these can be $2,000+! Bobby got an MRI for his shoulder in 2009 we just finally paid it off a month ago.
  • You can get a boot (usually free with insurance) and wear if you want, but if walking doesn’t hurt I wouldn’t bother. Just wear comfy and supportive shoes.

Things you can do while recovering:

  • Don’t run.
  • Apply a baggie of ice water to the area daily.
  • Ride your bike as a pace bike or along side friends in races/group runs.
  • Don’t run.
  • Practice your swimming.
  • Go shopping at your favorite local running store and buy a perfect new pair of supportive running shoes; old shoes or non-supportive shoes (racing flats, Vibrams, etc) could have been the cause.
  • Don’t run.
  • Walk any races you had already signed up for. Sure, you may be almost DFL, but at least you won’t be a DNF.
  • When you are ready to gradually start running again, run with your slower friends in races/group runs.
  • Think about some triathlons you’d like to sign up for now that you have improved your biking and swimming.

Navy Nautical 10 Miler

I had not trained past 6 miles for the Navy Nautical 10 miler (over 11 civilian miles), and I’d heard more than enough tales of the vicious heat from last year by friends.

So imagine my joy when Keshia said she would be running the race too at a nice and easy pace – Yay! I had such a fun time. The race started at 7:00 (an hour earlier) which cooled things down from last year, I bet.  We went at a 10-11 minute pace then first half. When we realized we were having fun and weren’t going to die of heatstroke, we stepped it up to a 9-10 minute pace for the rest.

Race Favorites:

  • Great goody bag, tech shirt and “10 NM” decal
  • Herd of horses that ran with us at NM 3
  • Themed water stations (pirates, Hawaiian, etc)!
  • Spooky military bunkers at NM 4
  • Enthusiastic volunteers with water guns and water balloons
  • Shower at NM 6
  • Beer provided by MH3 friends at NM 9
  • Ice cold towels at the finish
  • Post race party with a wide variety of food
  • Bobby winning 3rd in his age group

Harbortown 5k

Celebrate Bobby’s first race in the 30-35 age group right on his 30th birthday at the Harbortown 5k. The course winds its way through Harbortown’s beautiful neighborhoods, now flood free. There was a debacle in 2008 when course monitors failed to point the way for front-runners, causing them to skip almost a mile of the course (how’s that for a PR?).  Support has been great since. Every spectator in Harbortown comes out with hoses, water, and even jello shots! You’ll be running through those hoses too, because in past years it has been warm.

Swag: The Phoenix Club (sponsors of the race) must have an in with the Nike factory here in town, because there has been some fantastic Nike goodies at the Harbortown 5k the last two years. Without fail we have gotten a drawstring Nike bag and a Nike hat or visor (both with $20 tags still on). Also the required white 5k t-shirt.

Food/Beer: I can’t recall if there is spread afterwards or not. Bobby swears there is free beer, but I don’t remember that…

Benefits: Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis

Event website:

Zoom through the Zoo 4 Miler

Zoom through the Zoo 4 Miler 2011
Breakaway neon shirts blind us all!

Celebrate the its-almost-our-anniversary of the Gallaghers again by running through the Zoo. Yes, we were married in the China exhibit. No, whatever Bobby tells you the pandas did not perform the ceremony.

I was looking forward to this last year, due to tales of delicious BBQ and 2 free beers per runner. The BBQ, beans, brownies, etc were fantastic! However, you can imagine all our disappointment when we finished the race (on a very hot evening) to find the Zoo was charging for the many cups of beer they had tantalizingly set out on a table.

Race rule #1: Don’t offer something for free one year and then take it away the next.

Swag will be the awesome buffet of food and t-shirt; don’t count on beer. Two free beers with attached coupons on your bib this year! One mile fun run available as well. 1,000+ people did this race last year and the times were quite competitive. Can’t beat this race fantastic views! You can register the day of for $5 more.

Event website:

Great Urban Race

Not ready to participate in the Memphis May Sprint Triathlon on May 21st? Maybe you haven’t had time to practice or can’t afford one of those fancy road bikes?

Have fun and work your brain instead with the Great Urban Race, Saturday, May 21 at noon.

Former participants of this compare it to the popular “The Amazing Race” TV show: contestants have puzzles they must figure out, which lead them to locations (almost like a scavenger hunt). The goal is to finish as quickly as possible. I’ve been told the key is to solve out all your clues first, then figure the most efficient route to travel.

You can travel by foot, trolley or bus. No bikes, skateboards or skates! Once you get to your locations, you might have to complete a silly challenge (make a balloon animal) or simply get a scavenger item. The Great Urban Race FAQs page has lots of tips.

Cost is steep at $50 per person ($60 day of race), but proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Also, you must sign up in teams of two (except for the family division). Register earlier next year for a mere $35 fee instead.

Bike to Work Day

Ever thought about riding your bike to work? The perfect day to try it out is Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20th.

Energizer stations will be placed in four spots throughout Downtown, Midtown and East Memphis. Be sure to register on the Bike to Work website so that you can claim your goodie bags at the stations. The Bike to Work Google Map shows the best route to follow.

There will be prizes for the workplaces with the most employees riding to work that day and a special prize for the cyclist who travels the farthest that day. (Do we have anyone riding from Oakland to Downtown? You’re a shoe-in!)

Bobby has been scheming of riding to work for awhile, but he has some hurdles:

  • It will be far (East Memphis to Frayser)
  • He will have to ride his bike alone through Frayser

If you look at the Bike to Work Google Map, he is thinking of following the Eastgate Route and then splitting off in Midtown and taking McLean into Frayser.

Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k

Bethany at the Coca-Cola 10k 2011
Me and my medal

Time again for the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k presented by…Pepsi! No wait, that doesn’t sound right…

The 30th annual Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k was held in the small town of Corinth, Mississippi (population 14,000) on May 7th at 8:30am. Corinth is just 30 minutes from my hometown of Selmer, Tennessee. Bobby and I signed up again for this race back in March for the early registration price of $16 each. If you waited until the day of the race it would jump to $25.

So what did Bobby and I get for our mere $16?

  • Short sleeve tech shirt.
  • Great crowd and race support for a small town race (clocks almost every mile, water stops every mile, lots of people out cheering for such a rural area).
  • Nice medal (this year’s was even better than last’s).
  • Commemorative plastic “30th Annual Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k” chip timer that you get to keep.
  • They use the chip timer to announce your name at the finish line (love it when they do that!).
  • So many different kinds of snacks and drinks at the finish line you you’d think they were feeding the whole town.
  • Massive amounts of freebies (shirts, koozies, lanyards, water bottles, etc) the Air Force and Coca-Cola throws out from the stage before awards.
  • Trophies 5 deep.
  • Cash prizes for those 25+ (backpacks for the kiddies).
Bobby at the Coca-Cola 10k
Bobby wins 1st in 25-29

Bobby finished at 39:53 (broke 40 for the first time) and 1st in his age group, winning $50 cash! I finished at 57:07 and 12th in my age group (much better than my time last year when I had to walk some!).

A few words of advice:

  • The course is a lot of rolling hills – very little flatness.
  • The first and last miles are of downtown Corinth with lovely old homes, but the rest is suburbia and country roads. Not bad to look at, but a little boring.

Dad and Bethany at the Coca-Cola 10k
Dad and I at the Coca-Cola 10k

Finally, no visit to Corinth is complete with a slugburger. If you get done with the race around an hour or less, walk over to Borroum’s Drug Store just blocks from the start and grab one or two for $1.25 each for an early lunch. You can eat and have plenty of time to walk back before awards start. The key is to get there before the race crowd comes in and there is no where to sit (that happened to us last year). Milkshakes and other delicious food is served there as well.

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Registration Open

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon has already opened registration for this year’s race on Saturday, December 3, 2011!

The half marathon sold out way ahead of time last year (some time in the summer, I think?). Then the marathon sold out in the fall. Even the 5k sold out in November! So register now.

Fees until August 1 (note they have not increased, but last year these prices were good until September 1):

  • Marathon: $85
  • Half: $60
  • 5k: $30
  • Family Race (Parent): $15
  • Family Race (Child): $10

Bunny Run 5k

I griped about the Bunny Run 5k for Special Kids and Families last year for running out of small t-shirts. This year they made up for it by even having ladies sized t-shirts available! Bobby and I even got there a little late and they still had a shirt for me (they did run out of larges, but that is the first or second time ever for Bobby).

I do worry about the Bunny Run getting taken advantage of – They don’t use chips or even bibs. I understand not using chips to save money, but by not using bibs people could easily bandit the race. Bobby and I just hopped out of cars and got on the start line – No indication that we had actually paid to run in this race.

The Bunny Run did not fail in their delicious breakfast. While not quite as good as last year’s pancake and sausage on a stick, Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits were offered and they were good! Food ran out for before some of the walkers finished, unfortunately.

There were some fast runners out at this race (Perhaps home on Easter break?). There were 705 runners in this race (Youth Villages had over 750 finishers). With a time of 25:04 I only got 9th place compared to 4th at Youth Villages.

Bobby and I both liked the medals better than last year’s tiles, but our friend Nathan enjoyed the colorful tiles. I never know what to do with tile awards: use them as coasters? You can’t hang them up on your medal rack (Bobby) or bureau (me) like medals, so they tend to take up space.

The funniest thing about the medals was Nathan got second in his age group, or rather I should say “SECOUND” according to his medal. This stresses the importance of spell check! Luckily, Bobby’s first place age group medal did NOT say “FRIST”. Not sure about third though…

Youth Villages

Youth Villages 5k 2011
Youth Villages 5k 2011

Youth Villages has continued to be one of my favorite 5ks. Reasons?

  • It was my first ever 5k (2006)
  • Free beer (Bud Light)
  • Free hot food (Hot dogs)
  • Free delicious snacks (Chips, cotton candy, and the most amazing variety of ice cream bars *drool*)
  • Great charity
  • Overall awards that go 5 deep (instead of the usual 3)
  • Live music
  • Fun for the kids (Costumed characters, balloons, etc)

Bobby got 4th overall with a time of 19:31 – Wow! Brother Danny got first in his age group with a time of 20:20. 3 of us got 4th in our age group (Argh, so close to placing): Emily (30:27), Nathan (21:56) and me (25:53).