Saturday, May 28, 2016

One Year Later

So it is May 28th and not quite one year but close! Obviously, the Achilles issues have been a real thorn in my side. About a week after the 2 miler, I tried to force myself to run again with a series of unsuccessful short distances. After about a week of that nonsense, I laid off for 2 weeks and tried again without results and then repeated that cycle again until I went to an Ortho in August. After a 3 second assessment, he diagnosed me with "severe Achilles tendonitis, bilateral" and told me there was nothing I could do. I was old and maybe running wasn't for me. I grabbed my shit and got the hell out of there. I've heard stories like this before so I wasn't completely shocked but I was pissed that I had wasted my time and I cried the entire drive home out of sheer frustration. One thing he did suggest was to take a full 6-8 weeks off and I figured he was right about that. I also got a PT referral and hoped that would be at least a little helpful. I went for the initial assessment and knew I had made another mistake. I called the office back after I got home and canceled all the follow up appts. I then proceeded to eat my feelings and gain about 20 lbs. When I was injured the year before, I got a gym membership and did lap swimming. It was a huge pain in the ass though as there is no place to swim laps in my town so I had to commute 30 minutes. Since I needed to swim around 5 am, that meant getting up at 4:20 and heading out the door. It sucked. I knew I couldn't do it again. Sometimes I walked but that really doesn't burn a lot of calories. Life got really busy in August. My son started Kindergarten and shortly after that, my mom died of colon cancer. The next few months I stumbled through life and almost forgot what it was like to be a runner. I didn't even miss it anymore because I really didn't remember what it was like. I was sad sometimes when I thought about Boston and the amazing 12 weeks of training that lead up to it but that almost seemed like a far removed life even though it was only a few months in the past. Throughout those months, my ankles still bothered me. It was hard to walk when I woke up in the morning or sat for a long time. That did get better though but at a pace so slow, I almost didn't notice. Once the holidays came and went, I decided to try running again. On January 3rd, I went out and ran 1 mile. I did it in 8:52 and it was pain free but it was pretty hard. I'm always amazed at the amount of fitness one can build and being at the opposite end of that seems to bring it into focus. The next week I did 4, 2 mile runs all around 9 minute pace. The next week I did pretty much the same but did manage one 3 mile run. My fitness was very low and it was cold out. Motivation was not good but I kept plugging away. My ankles were sore sometimes but nothing terrible. I built up slowly and decided that I needed to get healthy. I got my diet in check and bought a spinning bike. I needed more time off after each run so another workout was going to be necessary. By the end of March, I got myself up over 20 miles per week which was pretty good since I was only running 4 days per week. My longest run had been 8 miles and felt great. I decided to shoot for a 5k in early May and figured it was time to add in some speed work. I went out with a goal of 3, 1 mile repeats. Early in the very first one, I felt my right ankle pop. I had to stop the workout. I limped through a 5 miler the next morning and then a 7 miler a few days later but knew I was in trouble again. I took the week off of running and only did spin workouts. For the next 3 weeks, I did maybe one run a week just to see how the ankle felt. It was never good so I'd take another week off and try again. At the end of April, things seemed better so I started building up again. I started with 16 miles per week. The third week I was able to run 28 miles and I did a 10 miler! The first since June of 2015! This past week I was able to run 5 days and got up over 30 miles per week. Hopefully, this trend will continue. I have learned that I am going to have to be very careful with speed work. Some of my miles on long runs have actually been fairly speedy. I did a 7:50 at mile 5 of my 10 miler today and several other miles were down around 8:00 so it isn't that I can't run fast at all. I think that morning speedwork may have been an issue. Shortly after starting it is when I got hurt last year. My ankles are worst in the morning but lately, most of my runs are done at 5 am due to logistics. I'm not going to push speed any time soon but when I do, I think I'll start with strides. If that works out, maybe tempo runs. If I do speedwork again, it will have to be in the middle or at the end of the day and I'll start out with nothing longer than quarters. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that above all else, I need running in my life, even if it is absolutely recreational. If racing is going to keep that from happening, then it has to go. I'm not giving up on it completely, but it is very low on my list of priorities right now. Running 5-7 miles 3-4 mornings per week and getting a good double digit long run in on the weekend has been great and I want to keep that going. I am down to 120 lbs which is a good weight for me. Being light is going to be important too I think. I'm pretty sure I'm less likely be be injured if I'm not carrying extra weight. I really wish I could swim laps at least once per week but the pool situation here is not good. I'm considering building an endless pool in my backyard but my husband is not too keen on the idea. I'm even considering triathlons again. My husband hates that idea but I know it would be a way for me to be able to compete again and I'd be less like to get an overuse injury if I was training 3 sports. All food for thought. Right now though, I'm am just happy to be running again!


2BlueMom said...

Just came across your blog again for the first time in a little while. Enjoyed reading your update; I'm so glad you've been able to incorporate running into your life again! Love your dedication.

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