After last Sunday’s good 10K, this past week was not the one that I expected – at all.
It has been pretty much a shitshow, as far as my running is concerned.
Before that run, I had a bit of discomfort in the back of my left lower leg/ankle area. I didn’t think a lot about it since it is a common area for me to have issues. However, it did get a little more noticeable during the run, and I commented about it in my blog that day.
In other words, I wasn’t paying attention to what my body was trying to tell me.
Luckily, the body knew I was up to no good and shut me down on Monday. It got my attention with an Achilles Tendon flare-up when I stepped out of bed. To the point where walking was not a fun activity, and running was out of the question.
I immediately thought that the old body would let me run again when the body feels I have learned my lesson.
Then I chuckled and told myself that it might be a while – heheehee.
I had to take Monday through Wednesday off, and it was my own damn fault, so I am not throwing things around or pouting in the corner like I usually do. 😩
Well, maybe I was pouting a little.
From experience, it usually takes about two weeks for the flare-up to go away completely. So, of course, I do my best to speed the recovery phase, which, of course, almost always makes things worse.
I tried taping the Achilles, that didn’t help at all. If anything, it made matters worse. Icing the area was not all that helpful. Using Blue Emu cream didn’t touch it. Trying a heating pad and/or soaking in hot water-just made it swell up more. Golf ball or self-massage made it hurt twice as much.
The only things that worked were leaving the damn thing alone and doing floor calf raises.
Once I left it alone, things calmed down like they were supposed to. Yes, my foot started to feel better. As a result, I ran a mile on Thursday and felt good. Acceptable levels of discomfort and the knowledge that I could run made me feel like Superman. However, I did behave myself for the rest of the day on Thursday.
Yeah, Kryptonite wasn’t far away.
On Friday, the foot/Achilles felt quite good, no discomfort while walking and no more than usual during the run, so Harold being Harold, of course, I wanted to run a little further than a mile. Even though the windchills were below zero, running needed to happen.
Hello Houston, we have a problem!
I felt a little too good for the first 2.5 miles.
Instead of stopping at the bottom of Stevens Hill as I had planned, I kept running to get three miles in. Running up that hill wasn’t the smartest thing I have done in a while. Yes, the Achilles/foot started to bother again while running uphill on a cold and windy day, and no, I didn’t stop when it began to complain. After all, I had to finish those 3.0 miles.
Harold, was getting 3.0 miles in THAT important?
At the time, I must have thought it was. I didn’t stop.
Another fun episode of Harold being Harold.
It turned out that by Bennie’s afternoon walk, the foot/Achilles area was talking nasty to me and telling me just how much I had screwed up again. Then when I woke up Saturday, before I even got out of bed, I could tell I was back to square one. Yep, the pain, discomfort, and swelling in the ankle/Achilles area were back.
Loads of fun, but I have no one to blame but me, myself, and I.
Yeah, I whined to TheWife and moped around the house all day Saturday and berated myself for being so stoopid. Oh well, like most things that happen to me running-injury-wise, this was self-inflicted.
When I have an injury, I go back through my running log to see where I messed up.
I quickly saw the reason for the flare-up.
I finished Benzie’s book “The Lost Art of Running” and made a few minor changes to my running form, lengthening my stride a little from 1.04m to 1.07-1.08m and purposely increasing my cadence to an average of 172 spm (up from 166-168 spm). As a result of these changes, I also dropped my average run’s pace from 9:14 to 8:42 in less than two weeks, with no increase in perceived effort.
These small changes had me running better, with less effort, which are all great things. However, I didn’t think about how that combination of changes would affect the rest of the kinetic chain. The body was not prepared for the extra bounce in the stride and my toe-off being a little more forceful, even though my landings were not quite as much on the heels.
The changes that I made to my running form added too much stress, to my Achilles and posterior tendons in the left ankle, in too short a time. If I want to maintain these changes, I have to strengthen the lower legs with calf raises, and once the discomfort goes away, stair dips/stretches. These exercises have worked for me previously, but I have neglected to do them over the past year.
I have enough experience as a runner to know that something serious would crop up sooner than later, with all those changes. Yet, I went blithely along, thinking everything was great until it wasn’t.
Yeah, this particular setback was due to my stoopidity and not paying attention to how I was training. My injury was 100% preventable and predictable.
That is my biggest problem. I will get to feeling great and know that I am making progress in my fitness/running. Then I do too much too soon, get injured, then lose all the progress that I had made to that point.
Yeah, the story of my running life is that I keep repeating this same thing over and over, never learning or running consistently for very long.
Today, at least I can walk again without undue discomfort, which is a good thing.
However, I know that I cannot keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. That is the definition of stoopidity, and I don’t believe that I am all THAT stoopid. I do need help in setting up a training plan that doesn’t wander willy-nilly, and having an external cue to follow to stay focused on what I am supposed to be doing, not doing what feels good all the time.
I started the wheels in motion on Wednesday of last week, and the more I have looked at how I end up doing things, I believe that it is the correct direction for me to be going.
I will be writing more on the trials and tribulations of an old wannabe this coming week. I know that I surprised myself when I did set those wheels in motion.
At least this time, I didn’t screw up too badly, and the body will be letting me get back on the road in relatively short order. Now to stay there and avoid the injury bug the rest of the year.
Do you suppose that is possible for an old fart like me?
One who attempts to do too much, too soon, too fast, all too often, and doesn’t learn from past mistakes all that well.
I have a feeling we will find out over the next few months.