After a web search for my symptoms, I concluded I have a problem with my soleus muscle. The combined effect of some BIG training weeks and busy days at work were just too much for my lower leg. Here's an exact description of my symptoms from the podiatry channel.com:
The term shin-splints is often incorrectly used to describe any pain in the leg between the knee and the ankle. The lower leg consists of three compartments, and which muscles are injured and causing the pain determines the proper treatment.
Shin-splints occur a few inches below the knee on the medial (inner) side of the leg. The pain is located in the posterior tibial muscle/tendon. This muscle starts below the knee on the tibia, wraps around the inside of the ankle, and attaches to the underside of the foot. This route causes a pulley-like action that generates considerable force at either end. If a person runs too much, or if the feet are not working correctly, the muscle can become overstretched and pull excessively at the point where it attaches to the tibia.
Here's why: last Tuesday I ran for 1:45 and then worked a busy tower all day running up and down the beach chasing people out of dangerous water. I think the combination of big running weeks and working busy towers now that I'm a "Veteran Guard" strains my legs a lot. Sometimes I wish I had a cushy desk job, but I'm sure I'd be bored to TEARS. I think my soleus is the culprit, strained by a partially flattened right arch and standing/running in flip-flops:
As for the "Veteran Guard" thing, it's nice that my supervisors think I'm competent enough that they sandwich me between two Rookie Guards, but it's scary at the same time since I'm still learning. It's a seasonal position and we have a large turnover, however, so I'm the "experienced" guard, relatively speaking. *shrug*
So I'm treating my injury aggressively: foam roller, ibuprofen, ice, compression, stretching and it's getting better. The problem is that I can't rest it completely; though I skipped my long run yesterday, I worked a busy tower and was sore by 3PM. I popped 800mg of ibuprofen and it helped, but I could really use an entire day (or three!) of running inactivity and give my body a jump in the healing process.Rim Nordic #3 this Sunday (MTB Race). I'd like to go if I can scrape the cash together, but then there's Xterra Snow Valley the following week; probably a better idea to skip Rim Nordic in favor of a strong Xterra race.