On the road again

Those that have been following my blog for a while, have seen the saga of the Achilles injury that happened shortly before my Marathon in October. Basically I had some small tears where the Achilles tendon attaches to my heel.

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As you can imagine, walking and running was painful. I made the decision to do the race anyway, for numerous reasons. I guess the strongest one was that I had wanted to do a marathon since I was 16 years old. I never got the chance when I was younger, then life and kids came along, and I found myself morbidly obese. After 25 years of doing nothing, I decided that it was time to take a shot at running again.

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Moving along in the story, when I was faced with the decision to run the race or not, I was afraid in my heart that if I didn’t do it then, I would never be able to. I had been training for months, and had invested all my extra time and energy into that training. Basically you would have had to tie me to a post with a chain to keep me from doing that race.  I did know that I wasnt going to be able to hit my goal of under 5 hours, and it actually took me 6 3/4 instead. I had a good friend Isaac, running with me, and we made a day of it. His constant prompting kept me on track when it needed to be done. We talked to the volunteers, shook a lot of hands and high-fived the kids along the way. I can honestly say that it was the most amazing event of my adulthood. There is no feeling like crossing that Marathon finish line for the very first time. I can’t even begin to put it into words.

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I have not been able to run since the race. I was in a boot for almost 3 months, and struggled both physically and emotionally. I was fighting two demons, the “after the race” letdown, and the “OMG I can’t run today, what am I going to do!!!!” mindset. Every single day all winter long I looked outside longingly, wanting to hit the road but full knowing that if I did, I would risk ever running again.  My doctor had told me that if I had surgery to repair the injury, there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be able to run anymore afterward. Needless to say, I wanted it fixed, right then and there, but that wasn’t meant to be. I have tried just about every option I could find for treatment. Some helped, some didn’t. I am currently still in Physical Therapy, and it is helping.

 

If you have an Achilles injury like mine, which is pain down onto the back of your heel, (not further up the leg) you need to be wise and wait it out. Inflammation takes a looooong time to subside and sometimes it just never feels the same. Currently I have new bump on the lateral side of my heel. I have calcifications (calcium deposits) that have worked their way up into the tendon. If you look at the first picture about, the arrow points at the calcifications on the xray. The whole area is tender but manageable. If you start to experience pain on the back of your heel when you get up in the morning, that is a sign that something is up. Do NOT ignore it! See a doctor asap to get it evaluated before it gets to the point where you cannot run again. I speak from experience.

I am starting to run now, just a little bit. I can do a minute at a time, with walking in-between. I go by feel for the most part. If it feels ok, I run. If it doesn’t, I don’t. I did invest in brand new shoes, so that I wasn’t starting out in old ones. I am currently wearing Skechers GOrun Rides(4’s). I have heel lifts in each shoe to take the pressure off my Achilles, and that seems to help. It will be a long process but I hope to be able to do the Beach to Beacon 10K in August. I am going to try to do the Miles for Mills 5K on Memorial Day, but will probably walk a good amount of it. This will be my second year doing this race, and I take part in honor of my father who was a WWII Veteran.

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Readers, I would like to know how you got through any injuries that you have had.  In sharing info with each other, it helps those of us who are struggling to know that there should be an end to the injury and running can be in the future again.   🙂

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31 responses to “On the road again”

  1. Samantha says:

    Louise,
    You continue to be such an inspiration! I’m proud of you for getting back out there..it’s not easy after an injury, but I have faith that you can do it and be successful!!

  2. Dale Violette says:

    Weezy, I hope this story of my injury helps you get back into running & training & maybe even others out there… you see, it happened almost 35 years ago… my hit & run accident. I was out in the middle of a nice sunny day doing a 12 miler with hopes of running Boston the next year for the first time. I was on my way back home on an out-and-back & WHAM! I was hit by a drunk driver & left there to… Anyway, after 22 days in the hospital, 6 months of crutches, & 9 months with a full-length leg cast, I finished college & dreamed of running again. Doc said probably not the best thing, so that just inspired me more. I ended up doing a 5K after lots of aches & problems a year later, But I did it & I was still hooked on running. Worked my way up thru the miles & did another marathon 2 years later, although an hour slower. Now, decades later, I can say, I’m still running, having finished the 50 states, & look forward to new goals… I pass this bit of advice on to you & others who care enough to have read this far… YOU can do it, and don’t forget: RUN FACING THE TRAFFIC! 🙂

  3. Jamie says:

    After running the half marathon in October I had bad pain in my calf. After going to the doctor they let me know I had a bulging disc. I went to physical therapy and my trainer tweaked my workouts to assist in the recovery. Within a few months my back was better. I ran some on the treadmill during the winter months and am now halfway through training for another half marathon in June. I am listening to my body and allowing more rest breaks as needed. You have been a great inspiration to me!

  4. Jen says:

    It’s so hard to listen to your body and give it the time to rest and heal. Yay for you for doing that! I’ve been there and it’s hard. See you in August!

  5. LindsayN22 says:

    You are so brave!! You’re doing awesome, and I’m excited that you’ve been able to get back out there recently! I always thought you were a little crazy… until I caught the running bug too. Haha.

    I’m looking forward to running with you someday!! 🙂

  6. Jason says:

    Participating in the Miles for Mills 5k is a great way to honor veterans such as your father.

    • Yes.. Travis Mills is an inspiration to all, and if Dad was still alive, he would be pleased, I’m sure. 🙂 Travis does a lot for the wounded warriors, it’s a great cause.

  7. Carrie says:

    So happy to hear that you are on the mend. Fingers crossed for August!

  8. So, you have REALLY struck home with me on this post for more than one reason. My goal last May was to run my 1st Marathon. To hit the midway point there is a “3 1/2 hour” cutoff. Now that is from the initial gun time. So, by the time that my wave went I had maybe 2 1/2 hours. Which I knew I could do. However, with cramping at mile 8 it slowed me down and by mile 10-11 I knew I wouldn’t make it and had to do “only” the half. So, I ran the same one this year. This was going to be redemption year. I had a couple of friends to run that would help with pacing. Nope. Got a side stitch at 1.5 miles that came back every 1/2 mile. Oh, and the mile 8 cramps came back this year and stopped me from even running once I hit mile 10. I had to walk the last 3 miles to avoid severe pain in my right calf. And this past (over a) week, my right knee randomly started hurting and I have not ran at all. It was hurting to even go up and down stairs normally.

    Heal well and get out when and how you can.

    • You can do this. If I can, you can! There are a lot of things that have to fall into place seamlessly to be able to pull off running a marathon. You will get there, don’t rush it. 🙂

  9. Mark Bonderud says:

    To comment on injuries, I had a tear/strain back in 2005 1 month before my first Boston Qualifier. Was running in NH. The Chiropractor I see got it healed enough that I qualified by better than 9 minutes.. There is a lot to be said for “non traditional” IE white coat folks. Its not all about pills and surgery.. Preventive is better. And second opinions should be looked at when something does happen, but Don’t ignore the problem..

  10. Mark Bonderud says:

    If you have to walk B2B than so be it.. Don’t re-injure. Tendons take a long time to heal.. You will need to strengthen it slowly. Good to see you back..Keep the faith and that E-go should help once you get it figured out..

  11. Beryle Martin says:

    I can SO relate to this!!! I have been hurt since Jan 18th (hamstring pull at attachment to pelvis). I have been unable to do ANYTHING! That includes walking. Don’t get me wrong, I CAN walk as needed for my daily life – but I am not to go out and walk for exercise. No biking, no running, nothing that causes ANY pain at all. The only thing that I found I could do was swim. I hate swimming. I went to the pool one day, just to confirm that my feelings hadn’t changed. I have done a lot of sitting on the couch.

    Depressing. Eating. A lot. I scoured the internet for solutions to my injury, thinking there would be a quick fix. There wasn’t. Time. I suddenly had a lot of time. Time I didn’t want.

    Physical Therapy helped (although there was a few weeks that I thought it was hurting my recovery). PT is what is keeping me sane and what is going to keep me from getting reinjured (because that is the real goal).

    It has been 5 months, and I am now able to run every other day for a maximum of 3 miles – no faster than 9 minute pace. It’s tough. My fitness has disappeared, but at least I’m doing something!

    I wish that there was a gym/rehab center for people who are hurt to go to and do SOMETHING. Support others in the same situation and maybe not get so depressed about an injury that sees to take forever to heal.

    As I’m starting to heal, I wish you all the best in your journey. I know how hopeless it seems at times, but it WILL heal. Hopefully soon!

    • Sounds like yours has been rough! I didnt realize you were going through all of that. I’m glad to hear that you are now able to get out and run for a little bit. I know I’m only at 1-2 mins at a time right now, but hoping I can increase that slowly and safely so I dont get injured again. We need to catch up this summer somewhere!!

  12. Barbara Powell says:

    You have always been a beacon of inspiring and motivational light in the running world! Your journey is always ongoing, as all good journeys are, and this is only a small piece of it. You’ll come out of this stronger and more determined than ever! I ant wait to see 🙂

    I have always battled with bad knees (ugh, the runner’s curse!). I fractured my patella in college and since then I have always needed to take a 1 week to 1 month break every time I get back into the mojo of amping up mileage and speed. So frustrating! But it forced me to learn more about my body and to get creative with my work outs. I’m nowhere near fully healthy and perfect, but I aim every week to get the most out of my body in a healthy and productive way. Some days, all I do is stretch and strength train. And others, cross train on the bike. And when I can run, I thank my lucky stars 🙂

  13. Dennis says:

    Ugh. I have to admit! Just sprained my ankle again. I had a very bad sprain last August, rested it for 2 weeks, then ran a challenging trail 25k. I took it slowly and made it through and did pretty good, but think I never rehabbed it right. I rolled it pretty easy this weekend and unfortunately, I have had great fitness until now. I sit here with an oranged-sized lateral malleolus, and I have my first of 3 goal races of this season in MA this coming weekend. I’m going to have to swallow my medicine and really focus on ankle PT with minimal running, though I still have full intentions on running this race Saturday on my great fitness base if it feels any better. If not, I won’t run. We all have hard times focusing on the moment and enjoyment of the run over the draw of the goal, the result, to our own detriment.

  14. Mandy says:

    Injuries just stink!!! When I had a major calf tear that took me out of running for almost a year, I moved to swimming and biking. Not sure biking would work with an AT injury like yours. But it kept me active, and kept my cardio up too. But I missed running so so much. And when I came back, I came back painfully slow and carefully, and really learned to listen to my body, and back off if I need to. Good luck!!!!

    • Many thanks Mandy. It’s been a long winter, but now it’s getting a bit easier each time I get out there. The hardest thing is to listen to my body and not push too far, too soon!

  15. Isaac says:

    Great to see you on the road back to awesomeness!!! You are amazing inspiration to myself and others!

  16. Tanya says:

    Excellent advice to not ignore ongoing pain! Yes get it checked out and get treatment if indicated sooner than later!

  17. Melissa Ossanna says:

    I’m so glad to hear you are getting back out there, Louise!! I can’t wait to see you at Beach to Beacon. If I don’t get injured before then from my long distance foolishness. 🙂