I’ve been looking forward to changing the clocks back because it pushes sunrise early enough that I can fit in a morning run for a few more weeks. However, after some on-and-off calf pain became more severe Saturday, I did the smart thing and didn’t go on any more runs until I saw a sports medicine-minded orthopedist. Luckily, he had a cancellation on Tuesday so I was able to see him quickly. He confirmed what I suspected–a shin splint, only in the left leg. (Weird, right? More on that in a minute.) I need to stop running until the pain is gone, which is hard, hard, hard. It’s my form of active meditation. It’s been integral to my mental health. That’s why I quickly decided it was worth it to get myself to a doctor who’d assess me properly. He referred me to the running clinic at the office’s associated physical therapy center, where I’ll have my gait evaluated–I’m looking forward to that in a tech-y, science-y way too. I have to wait almost three weeks for that, though, because he doesn’t want me running on the treadmill until I’m free of pain. He did say I could walk, though, as long as it doesn’t hurt, so I’m back to sunrise walks. It’s not the same, but it gives me quiet, sort-of-active time alone before the demands of the day descend.

As for the one-leg-only phenomenon, the doctor double-checked that my right leg had no pain at all. “Do you run on the side of the road?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” I said. “Facing traffic.”

“Always?” I confirmed yes, pretty much always. The roads in our neighborhood have a very pronounced camber, and running facing traffic means my left leg is always on the downward angle. I’d love to see a digital recreation of that, with all the forces and angles shown, with equations of how the force is unevenly distributed and messing up my left leg. Interesting, no? In a physics kind of way? That might not be the reason–thus the gait evaluation–but it can’t be helping.

Anyway, I have a stack of books to read, I’m writing daily (following along with Amanda’s prompts), and Wednesday afternoon I spent some time printing onto Moleskine notebooks.

printed notebooks at

Some of these will be teacher gifts, but I think some will end up in the shop. It’s kind of an experiment. As for the running hiatus, I’m trying to keep perspective. The conundrum is that running is a big part of how I keep my perspective with everything else. May the shin heal quickly…

5 thoughts on “Grounded!

  1. dawn

    oh, goodness, those notebooks look delightful! i had to take dd shopping last night because she simply HAD to have more notebooks. she’s so deliberate in choosing them. they have to have the right feel and look and size to fit her purpose. cheery, whimsical designs make her want to grab them and write NOW.

    i think she and i will need to start a wishlist from your shop.

  2. carolyn

    Ouch, I hope the shin splint heals quickly. There’s nothing worse than not being able to do the thing that keeps you sane. Sadly, I understand, I haven’t quilted in at least two weeks! Take care…

    1. Ariana

      Hi Amy. I’m a physical therapist and wanted to add my take on “shin splints” – often a catch all term for generalized shin/lower leg pain. They can be caused by poor gait (sounds like you’ll be evaluating this soon), leg length discrepancy, and keeping outdoor runs on one side of the road (which you discussed). They can also be caused by striking the ground in a way that loads your tibia (shin bone) rather than absorbing shock through the knee/ankle/foot muscles (check out And they can be caused by activated trigger points within several muscles of the lower leg including the anterior tibialis muscle which flexes your foot. Its smart to take a little time off, but might be beneficial to see a physical therapist sooner for assistance with working through possible trigger points manually (with massage). Also, the therapist could evaluate your walking gait because its possible you may further aggravate your symptoms or prolong healing by continuing to walk unevenly. There’s a good discussion of “shin splints” here to get you started……

      Good luck with the healing process.

  3. donna lee

    I had shin splints in college when I was running. It took a while to heal and I never went back to it. But then, I didn’t enjoy it as you do. I am searching for a t’ai chi class I can get back into. It’s easier on my joints and so good for my sometimes frazzled mind.

  4. Karen

    serious bummer on the leg pain, but how interesting to have your gait evaluated. (geeking out with you about stuff like that.) sending all my healing thoughts your way.

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