Achilles fix? Maybe!

93 miles in 2 weeks.

43 miles last week.

13 miles on Sunday.

That is a lot of miles for a 50 year old who has been running just over a year.

Many of you know that I have suffered with achilles issues for some time now.  I haven’t been writing about it because my ice baths for my foot after running has been keeping the problem in check, but it has still been difficult at times.  One bad moment was when I was getting up from sitting and hit my heal into the back of the chair I was in.  That sent me through the roof.  An hour later I was out running and the run was okay, but I had more pain.  That was Friday.

I had been thinking about the logic of stretching my calf to relieve the pain in my achilles. Everyone says to stretch by leaning forward with the foot on the ground.  Yes I can feel the stretch in my calf, but I also feel the pull on my achilles.  Then I thought, many people will tell you to take time off from running and let it rest to get past the issue.  So why am I stretching and pulling against it if it needs to rest?  Finally I got a foam roller to roll on my calf.  I am to roll until I feel a knot and then hold the knot until it releases.  This I did.  But it is hard for me to spend more than a few minutes doing this along with other stretching, running, family, work, dog, etc.

All that to say, I did something Saturday night that allowed me to begin my run on Sunday with NO pain in my achilles.  I ran 8 miles until I began to feel a little pulling.  It was amazing to me.  It is like when it is hot outside for weeks and one morning you go out and it is cool.  Wow, what a difference.  You notice it right away.  That was my run yesterday.  Zero pain.  Ahhh.

So what did I do?

I laid in bed while TJ and my Lovely Wife and I watched the first Spirit of the Marathon.  I put my left knee up with my foot on the bed.  I took my right leg and set my calf directly on top of my knee.  Then I dug in.  I could apply as much pressure or as little pressure as I wanted.  I finally found a spot on the outside of my calf that hurt a lot, so I worked that area for over an hour.  It hurt, but it was easy to continue.  I just watched a movie and did about 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of allowing my knee to massage and kneed my sore calf muscle.  That was it.

The next morning (Sunday), I got up out of bed for the first time in a long time with no pain.  I knew I did something right – finally.

I’m not saying that I am fixed.  After my run yesterday my achilles was pretty sore, so I did some more work on it last night, but not much.  I feel asleep too fast.  Still, I now know an answer that I hope will permanently fix my achilles.

Time will tell.

It was a good long run by the way.  I did well until the 12th mile and then stated to fade.  Much better than last week.  So I am making progress.

12 weeks until the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  I hope I’m ready.

A new experience for me; trail running!

What a great place to go for a run…

View of the lake right before our run - Beautiful!

View of the lake right before our run – Beautiful!

Yesterday I met Neill (@BigBigGeek) at Oak Mtn State park to run trails around the lake.  I haven’t been to that park in 10 years, I haven’t trail run much at all and I have never run with Neill.  So it was a day of new experiences and a lot of fun.

When I first got to the park, I drove to the lake and there was a triathlon going on. Swimmers were in the water and bikers were on their bikes. I have never seen a triathlon before, so it was pretty cool.  My late sister was training for a triathlon when she passed away in 2003.  I wonder if that might be something I would like to attempt one day.  Perhaps a future challenge?

I met up with Neill and we went for our trail run.  I was hesitant because with all the mileage I’ve put in the past week my achilles has been a bit tender and I was wearing some trail running shoes that I haven’t really used but a couple of miles.  It wasn’t a problem.  The trail was definitely a trail.  Rocks, roots, narrow and other runners and bikers.  We ran over 2 miles in one direction and then the same back.  Funny, it seemed like it was much more than just a couple of miles.  I guess it takes so much concentration not to trip (which I did once) that it just felt longer.  I had a great time talking with Neill as we ran and the lake and woods were beautiful.  I will be running this trail again.  It was fun.

Our path around the lake

Our path around the lake

After we got through with the trail, I ran with Neill back to his car and then I had to run another 1.5 miles to complete the 7 miles I planned the day.  I don’t know what it was, perhaps the trail run, the triathlon, or just all the people walking, biking and playing at the park, but I ran the best 1.5 miles I’ve run in a long time.  I felt like I could run as fast as I wanted and as far as I wanted.  I just felt free!!!  It was fantastic.

Running has been laborious lately.  The heat hasn’t been too bad, but it was really affected me in a negative way.  Everyday the past couple of weeks has been a difficult run other than last Monday with TJ.  Yesterday was such a blessing.  It was fun running with Neill; it was fun running the trail; it was fun watching the triathloners and it was fun running at the end.

It was fun and I am excited about running again.

No FEAR

After my recent achilles injury (the first of my short running career), I realized yesterday that I have been running in fear.  I think that I have known this all along, but it has gotten out of control.

Don’t get me wrong.  A certain amount of fear is good for a runner.  I know that I am not beyond getting a run ending injury, especially as I add speed and miles.  So when I say No FEAR, I don’t mean being stupid!  I mean that I’ve gotten to the point where I am so fearful of getting hurt that running isn’t fun anymore.  I spend much of my run literally doing mental checks of my body and making sure there isn’t something happening for which I need to stop my run.

So I am changing my attitude.  I will run and be careful, but not to the point of fear.  I will still soak my foot after my run and tape up, but I have decided to enjoy running again.  If I feel something that hurts, I’ll be careful, but if I stop at every ache and pain, I’ll never make my goal of a September marathon.

It is a new day!

Yesterday was hot.  TJ said real feel was 90, but I think with the heat radiating off the road, it must have “felt” hotter.  I use the Weather Bug app on my phone and as I saw storm clouds gathering, I kept checking the app for lightening.  It is really cool.  There is a part of the app called “Spark” that will tell you how far lightening is away from you.  It started 11 miles away and by the time I hit the 5 mile mark on my run lightening was 4 miles away.  I texted TJ to come home and I went inside.  5 minutes after TJ came in the door the storm hit.  I love technology.

Monday is a holiday so I am taking tomorrow off.  It is supposed to cool off and be a beautiful weekend.

I am going to enjoy running again!

No FEAR!

Final running workout before our 5K

One day left to workout before the Spring Scramble 5K.  It’s funny, TJ likes to run the day before a race and I don’t.  My best runs are usually the day after a rest day, so I’ll be running today and taking tomorrow off.

Yesterday I completed a hard workout (finally).  I feel it has been forever since I was able to do a workout.

I started out slowly and got in my 2 mile warmup with no problems.  I remembered my KT Tape this time and was able to use my new headset which was nice so that I could see how it did before the race.  I also wore my Asics Piranha shoes for the first time in a workout.  I did my sprints to get warmed up and then started my 1/4 mile repeats.

There were a lot of distractions and obstacles yesterday as I ran my repeats.  School was letting out and buses were all over the place.  Kids were riding bikes and playing.  In fact at one point, I was running up to a 4 way stop and a little girl was in front of me riding her bike.  She started to turn around and noticed me and got distracted.  Right then a car turned onto the street and she did not see it.  I yelled, “watch out” and the car honked its horn and she got quickly out of the way.  It was scary for me, but gave me some adrenaline to run on for a bit.

I completed all 8 repeats and averaged about a 6:30 pace which is what I wanted to do.  It was tough near the end.  Also, I didn’t tie my shoes tight enough and half way through the repeats the balls of my feet started killing me as they moved around in the shoe.  I could tell I was getting blisters.  Good to find this out before the race.  So I paused my workout and tightened my shoes and started up again.

Finally after I completed the workout I ran a mile cool down and headed home.  My achilles did great until the cool down.  For some reason (probably the workout) I could feel some pain, so I stopped after one mile cool down and just walked home.  I immediately put my foot into a bucket of ice water and let it soak for 15 minutes.

So all in all it was a good day.  I’ll be glad when this 5K is behind me.  There is another one in 2 weeks I am interested in.  I may run it – just for fun. 🙂

Running workout – Not yesterday!

The best laid plans…

I went out yesterday for my workout (1/4 mile repeats at 6:30/mile).  I was a bit hesitant since I had almost no sleep the night before and I was tired.  So I decided to set out for my 2 mile warmup and play it by ear.

Well I messed up.  I started way too fast.  About a half mile into my run I could feel my achilles again.  I got a bit overconfident and pushed to hard to soon.  By the time I got back home at the 2 mile mark, when I should have been putting on my racing flats, I decided the workout wasn’t going to happen.  My achilles wasn’t too bad, but I could feel a tug and I just don’t want to mess things up this close to the 5K.  I was wearing my Saucony Fastwitch shoes (which are becoming my favorite everyday shoe), so I changed into my Saucony Mirage since they have more support.

I did well for the next half mile – no pain and felt good.  Then I felt the tug again.  I threw in the towel.  I stopped at 3 miles, went inside, got a bucket of ice water and soaked my foot for 15 minutes.  TJ asked if I had used the KT Tape, which I hadn’t.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because I forgot.

So I will try my workout today if I feel up to it.  I did get better sleep last night, however my family is passing around a virus that I am desperately trying to avoid and I don’t want to wear myself down and take a chance at getting sick right before the race.  TJ has already gotten over his virus and RS just got it yesterday along with my Lovely Wife.  HM is still in the middle of his infection.  The bad thing is it gets into your chest, which isn’t good for running a 5K.

So I will try to stay healthy and not push too much.  After the 5K on Saturday I’ll probably take several days off and walk or (as Strive Balance suggested) ride a bike.

Small change to my running form – Huge payback!

I found a possible key to improve my running this weekend.  I was reading an article on Friday about runner’s knee.  The article talked about people who run with their foot slightly turned inward which also means that their whole leg is slightly turned.  By practicing keeping the leg turned out as you run, this takes the pressure off the knee and relieves the pain.

I do have some knee pain as do many runners, but as I thought about this I realized that my right foot in particular has always had an issue of toeing in.  If I sit and hold my legs up, my right foot turns in at a 45 degree angle and my left foot at about a 20 degree angle.

So starting with my run Friday, I tried running and concentrating on keeping my feet pointing forward, especially my right foot and knee.  The result was quite amazing!  First, by doing this I was putting pressure on a different part of my achilles.  So even though the pain had already gotten better, I no longer have to fear pulling it again.

Second, I ran fast!  My run Friday was in the 8:15 pace range and Sunday I was running sub 8:00 miles.  I did have to cut my run Sunday short because of a pain in my left thigh, but I’ve had that problem for several weeks, however this is the first time it bothered my running.  I stopped just to be safe.

I think the reason I ran faster was because by pointing my foot forward, I was actually pushing off with the ball of my foot rather than the right side.  Imagine your foot toeing in while running.  You would no longer have as much power to push you forward. For me, when I pointed my foot forward, I was finally involving my whole arch in giving me a push as I run rather than the weaker right side of the foot.

No mater what the reason, it made such a difference.  I ran faster with much smaller effort. My run went so well, I knew it had to be due to the way I was holding myself.

Time will tell, but these type of positive changes are really exciting after a year of running.

Last post… about my achilles.

I guess that ice bath for my foot really helped.  I had no pain all day. I didn’t have to ice my foot (mainly because I didn’t even think of doing it) and when I ran, I had no pain in my achilles.  It was really quite amazing.

Also my run went great.  After the 9:00 first mile, I averaged 8:17 for the last 4 miles.  I wasn’t trying to run that fast, but it was so nice to be able to run and not feel that twinge.  Also I felt great.  I wasn’t tired and my legs felt great.  I could have gone on for more miles, but I am really wanting to continue to cut back a bit before our 5K next week.  I  want to run it well and don’t want to take any chances with getting hurt again.

Today TJ, RS and I are going to run the 5K course to see what it is like.  We ran it last year but it has been a while and it is always nice to know the course before the race so you know how to run.

I hope this is my last post on my achilles.  I am still getting KT Tape today and going to use it as a preventative.  I’ll probably not have time to ice my foot after the run today since we will be far from home, but it should be fine since we are only running 3 miles.

Thanks to all who have been so helpful over the past week of my injury with suggestions and prayers.  It has made a difficult experience much easier.