Step 1: Resume running. Carefully analyze every run for symptoms. The goal here is twofold: to identify pain and also to try to recreate my original issues.
|Resume running: check.
Step 3: If symptoms come back, go see a new doctor and request an actual test for compartment syndrome.
Step 4: If that test is positive, talk about treatment (that is, plan surgery for this summer).
|Pro tip: Do not look up actual photos of this surgery because they are terrifying.
The thing is, compartment syndrome athletes only manifests when the muscles are too swollen for their compartments, and with CECS (chronic exertion compartment syndrome, as opposed to acute) that really only happens during a run. So they can't test for it if you're not in the midst of experiencing it.
All my resting between February and April gave my legs time to temporarily recover, and it could be awhile before I'm feeling the kind of pain I had back then. Or, I could start experiencing it next week. Or never. There's no perfect timeline for this.
|Right now my discomfort during runs is about a level 3. In February my pain was at an 8...bad enough that I had to stop and walk. However, on these runs I've been using run/walk and so far I've avoided that level of pain.
So I'm hesitant to say I'm "back" to running. That suggests an end to the process and I'm not there yet. Right now my runs are all about data-gathering. I am trying to recreate the discomfort I had during winter while still kind of hoping that the discomfort doesn't return at all.
Still, my mind, body, and spirit feel lifted, and it feels good to run at all.
I appreciate the excitement you're all feeling for me! It does feel good to be out there, even if being "back" comes with fine print at this point.