I’m not usually guilty of being labeled an optimist. In fact, those who know me well would probably guffaw at the accusation. But something happened this week that was negative – and downright scary (for a runner, that is) – that has made me wonder if I have a bit of optimism left in my generally pessimistic, sarcastic self.
What happened? I found myself facing one of the pains that runners don’t want to ever feel – pain in my Achilles tendon.
It started about 3.5 miles into my run on Monday morning. I had never had pain (soreness, tension, etc) in that area behind my heel and I didn’t initially think much of it. I stopped running a few times, tried some calf stretches swearing that I just must be tight – all while I finished my last 1.5 miles. But as my Monday wore on, I could tell this pain was here to stay. So I started searching the web, reading my books on injuries and found scary phrases such as:
One injury you can’t run through…
This injury might put you out for at least 12 weeks as the Achilles takes so long to heal…
And worst of all: Potentially career ending!
Come to find out – THANKFULLY! – it doesn’t appear that I have done any real damage. At least that’s the current thought after a thorough examination and massage of the area. But I was placed on active rest for a day with a short, easy run tomorrow (Thursday) to see how my Achilles feels with a followup visit on Friday. Let’s just say I breathed a slight sigh of relief when he gave me that prognosis. I know it could possibly be a long road ahead if my injury is truly more severe than that, but at this point I think I’m going to be alright.
So back to the subject at hand – why am I so glad (at least at this point) that this happened?
I discovered an amazing chiropractor
Call me weird – but I know that in training/running and especially at my age (err, over 40) that an injury is always right around the corner. I’ve struggled with shin splints, hip pain, shoulder pain, a sprained toe, and more just this year. But I’ve tried to listen to my body and slowly adapt my runs and training sessions to accommodate and work through those pains. But now I feel like I have an expert to go to when my body needs more – and one that as an athlete himself will give me the advice I need to keep competing, keep running and understands my craving and obsession with everything I do. I don’t know how to express it in full, but I know I have someone in my corner now that will help me stay the course – even while battling these continuous aches and pains.
I’ve found a new addition to my training
I’ve been telling myself that I needed to start swimming. But running four times a week, adding crossfit and attempting one total rest day kept me from starting. It was honestly from being forced to rest (active rest, that is) and having swimming so highly recommended that got me to the pool this morning. And after I was done I felt hooked – ready to add swimming (twice a week) to my training regimen on my off-days of running. This will allow me to continue to build my cardiovascular system while getting all those amazing benefits from swimming.
Did I mention all the benefits from swimming?
My muscles are tight – especially my hip flexors and my calves. And swimming is going to help me lengthen and work out some of that tightness. And its going to be that low-impact, aerobic activity that is going to continue to propel me to my next level in fitness.
I’ve now officially started training for my Olympic-length triathlon in July
I’m planning to run my first triathlon – the Spudman in Burley, ID – in July of next year. And although I knew I needed to start swimming sometime I just hadn’t done it yet. I can’t say that I’m a strong swimmer yet, but its going to be my continued training that will make me stronger, faster and leaner in the weeks and months to come.
So you see – although I was scared (and still a little nervous about how my Achilles is going to act over the next few weeks) I honestly can say that I’m glad all this has happened. Because in the end, a lot of great things have come out of this little injury. I can’t state that I’m always going to have this type of reaction when those aches and pains happen, but at least for now I’ll relish in the fact that so much good has come out of this one.
And to my dear friends, don’t worry – I’m still that oft grouchy, pessimistic and complaining self. Don’t want you to be worried that those parts of me were going away. 🙂
Running for Life…