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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂