It seems like a very long time ago that I posted anything about an actual workout. I have been extremely cautious about returning to running to quickly without letting my Achilles heal. Every day I could feel my heel feeling better, but read that many runners rush back thinking that everything has healed and end up aggravating the injury even more.
This morning was my first run since September 9. It was purposefully very slow and very short. Within the first 0.1 of a mile I thought I might need to turn around and go home. My Achilles was very tight, so much so that it effected my stride tremendously. It almost felt like my left leg was about two inches longer than my right leg, I think due to the right tendon not stretching as much as the left. I stopped, stretched, and walked in an attempt to loosen the tendon and make the run at least bearable.
After a series of these start and stop attempts, I could tell things were improving. I made it to a half mile and was able to run 0.2 of a mile without stopping and felt pretty good. At 0.7 miles, I decided to stop and not push my luck this morning any further. I worked with the sprinklers I set up in an attempt to keep the grass seed we planted last week moist. After about 10 minutes and not paying much attention to my heel, I noticed it felt very loose.
Taking advantage of this improvement, I decided to start the run again. My heel felt much better and I was able to finish the 1.1 mile run in 10:43. After stopping, my heel feel even better and I was tempted to keep running, but didn’t want to push my luck any further. It’s been about 20 minutes since my run and my heel continues to feel the best it has in perhaps months. I hope to continue trying this relaxed, easy and short running to see how my heel progresses. I will certainly keep you posted.
I’ve made several changes since my injury. I’ve switched back to a reliable pair of Saucony training shoes with an orthopedic insert to support both my arch and heel to help battle the effects of my over-pronation. I’ve also suspended a the use of a medicine that has been tied to Achilles injuries in marathon runners. And I have added more stretching to my routine. I need to avoid stretching the tendon too much to prevent the injury from healing, but I need to gradually gain the flexibility back.
This period away from running has certainly given me a different perspective on running, as well as life in general. This injury has taught me that running is a gift. Every day that I can run is a gift, not a given. The same is true of life. I probably appreciated this short and slow run much more than any other in this training period. I hope to continue running and still perform well in the upcoming Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita on October 14. This run was an encouraging step on the road back to recovery and I hope to be back near normal marathon training soon.