Saturday, June 21, 2014

100k Follow-up and a fight with Tendinopathy

[TL;DR version: I did it, I hurt myself, but I'm fine.]

Today is the summer solstice, yay!  Or, "June" solstice for those of you not in the Northern Hemisphere.  That gets capitalized, right?  Anyway, I've talked about my mixed feelings about the first day of summer before... A holy-crap-long-time-ago, actually.  They're still basically the same, just less Emo.

Being the summer solstice, it's also nearly my birthday!  Which also means that it's been almost a month since I said I was going to try to up my running game a bit and set a goal of running 100 km in 30 days.

I'm pleased to say that I met and even exceeded that goal by just a little bit, and that I even worked through my first real running-related injury doing it!  After a long-ish run on June 7th I developed some pretty good pain in my left Achilles area and I immediately started nervously Googling for a diagnosis and treatment ideas.  (What, you think I'm actually going to go to a doctor?!  Bah!)

Apparently Achilles tendinitis isn't a real thing, because the tendon itself is incapable of swelling.  It's actually tendinopathy, because the tendon is actually frayed slightly.  That made my stomach do a back flip.  I wasn't only afraid that I would need a surgery that I couldn't afford, but that I wouldn't be able to keep running and meet my 100 km goal!

Luckily, what I had (have?) was/is pretty mild, and there have been some pretty good studies on non-surgical, strength based treatments for Achilles tendinopathy, including those mentioned in this long, un-dated, poorly titled, but otherwise very good article.  I have stuck pretty closely to that program for the past week and can happily report that I ran over 20 miles this week with only minimal discomfort.  I'm obviously going to keep up the calf strengthening work for at least another couple of weeks and see how the pain is, because honestly, your calves can never be too strong.

Ever had anything come between you and your goals?  Maybe just a running injury story you want to share?  Let me know!

Also, if you're interested in running (and not just racing), I highly recommend checking out Jason Fitzgerald's Strength Running website.  Run happy!