My Achilles Heel

Do you ever totally jinx yourself?  Because I think I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a co-worker at the running store about how lucky I’ve been, injury-wise.  17 years of running and I’ve been pretty much injury-free, aside from a few weeks off for an IT band thingy in college, and a extra-long taper before the 2006 Tampa Gasparilla Marathon due to some plantar faciitis creeping in.

Knock on wood.

No sooner had the words left my mouth – I started getting some tightness in my calves.  No biggie, but it was persistent.  Then, I started to notice that first thing in the morning, my calves and heels groaned and ached right when I got out of bed.  And during the first few minutes of a run.  But still not such a big deal – the stiffness and soreness always went away once I was warmed up.

If it gets worse I will back off, I told myself firmly.

Today, it was worse.  Ugh.

Bastard little heel.

I met up with the CPTCers (plus a special appearance from Sarah!  Yay!) for our usual Thursday tempo workout.  As usual, the calves and heels were sore and stiff as we headed out on our warm-up.  But this time, instead of relenting, the pain intensified in my right heel.

Eh, I thought.  If it gets worse, I’ll back off.

On to the soft, sandy bridle path for the first of two 2.5-mile loops.  The upper section of the bridle path on the West side is like running on a freaking beach.  More pain, every time I pushed off.  I slowed down.  It almost felt like I was limping a bit.  Not good.

As I passed the mile mark, I gave myself a little talking-to.  Self, I said, you know better than to push through this.  This workout is not worth risking further injury.  You need to cut it short.

Our coach was stationed a bit up the course.  Reluctantly, I pulled off as I approached him.  I explained what was going on and got the answer I expected: rest.  Classic RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation.  But emphasis on the rest.

Truthfully, I get a lot of newer runners asking my advice about this or that, and I’m pretty good at giving advice.  But I’m horrible at following it when it applies to me.  If the tables were turned and I were giving advice to me, it would be a no brainer: You are having aches that are turning to sharper pain? And you ran 56 miles last week?  Time off.  A week.

However.  Sitting here thinking about a week off is just miserable.  Stupid Achilles tendon.  And even more ironic that I’m not sure which is actually my Achilles heel: the body part itself or my stupid stubborn psyche.

I’m holding out hope that I caught this early and a few days of rest will nip this in the bud.  So I’m taking the weekend off.  But I need y’all to help keep me accountable on this:

No running!  Not until…let’s say, Tuesday!

Whew.  It was actually kind of difficult to write that.  It’s like…putting it out there.  I guess blog is good for that – your goals are public and it’s easier to hold yourself accountable, right?  Whether the goal is running…or not running.

Aaaand that’s enough drama-queening about my itty-bitty injury.  I’m fully aware that many people out there have is much, much worse.  I’m grateful for every step I’ve been able to run, injury-free, for the last seventeen years.  And this little issue is small beans right now – I’m confident that a few days’ rest will get things back on track.

But it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. 🙂

Today’s EAT: Late dinner.  Open the freezer and throw some stuff together.  That often means a dressed-up frozen pizza around here!

Tonight was chicken sausage and a balsamic syrup, drizzled.  Hey, we officially have no veggies in the house!

Today’s DRINK: I was feeling cranky today when I got home from my truncated workout.  So naturally, I wanted a little something cathartic to sip on.

Not wine.  Not beer.  Nope, I wanted sweet tea vodka.

Oh bejeezus.  Have you had this stuff?  It’s kind of unreal.

The hubs and I picked some up this weekend – inspired by Rachel – and it’s been taunting me from the freezer all week.

I went 1/3 sweet tea vodka, 1/3 lemonade and 1/3 soda water.  So refreshing.  And delicious.  Wait – you mean there’s alcohol in here?  Seriously.

Today’s RUN: My poor abbreviated tempo run.  Sad face.

I did manage to jog around a bit after I pulled out of the workout, to the tune of a mile and a half.  (Jogging on the harder cinder of the reservoir actually felt fine.)  So with a 2 mile warm up, 1.5 mile tempo and 1.5 mile res jog, I still logged 5 today.

Bye, running, for a bit.  I’ll see you next week. 😦

Today’s QUESTION: What’s your Achilles Heel? Whether it’s an actual physical injury that nags you, or something that just always seems to get in your way.

In the past, work was always my Achilles Heel.  I would let my running fall to the wayside when I was traveling, or just working too many long hours.  I can’t complain about corporate life getting in the way these days, though!


22 responses to “My Achilles Heel

  1. YAY! So glad you went for it!

    Also, can I get some more details on that pizza? Because I’m going back to Texas next week and would REALLLLLLLLLY like to make it!

    • Well, it was just a frozen cheese pizza (thin crust) with some stuff tossed on it. Chopped chicken sausage (browned in a pan). And a balsamic syrup – just balsamic vinegar and honey, whisked together and simmered in a sauce pan (the same pan from the sausage, actually) until it was a syrupy texture. Sprinkled a little dried thyme over everything after it was done baking.

      Had I had goat cheese on hand? Or roasted red peppers? Now THAT would have been amazing.

      Have fun in TX next week! 🙂

  2. Rest up! Elevate and chill.

    My Achilles Heel is that I suck. Simple.

  3. From an old warrior…don’t mess with your Achilles. With this one, you must really test your patience, grasshopper.
    A torn one is one of the worst.
    Give it it’s time.

  4. oh no! sending lots of healing vibes your way 🙂

  5. So here’s the mantra I want you to try to remind yourself throughout the next few days. Actually, it’s not that catchy of a mantra, but you’ll get the drift of it: five days now will mean 15 days in a month you won’t have to take off when your heel is THAT MUCH WORSE BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T REST REST IT LIKE A GOOD RUNNER.

    Seriously. What’s that they say, an ounce of prevention blah blah blah blah cure something? Also, running with pain is not very fun.

    Regardless…it was really fun seeing you last night! Must repeat soon.

  6. thehungryscholar

    I realized too that I have no veggies in the house. Well, I do. BUT, it is for the dinner tonight. But when you don’t have any veggies around, doesn’t it not feel right? 🙂

    Hope you feel better.

  7. Sucks to hear about your injury, but it does sound like you’re doing the smart thing by not pushing it. Good luck with a speedy recovery! My achilles heel? Posterior shins splints. No one ever seems to get pain on the inside of their shins like I do. I’m starting to get a handle on it with intense stretching and foam rolling and being really conscious about the state of wear of my shoes.

  8. Rest up and take care of yourself!

  9. duuuude. be careful! IT’S NOT WORTH BEING INJURED. believe me. 🙂 goin’ on four months now… take the time off, your body will thank you for it!

    PS can you teach me how to be spendthrift like you? my lebron veggie pizza was delivered, not homemade. i used to rarely eat out, and now… i’ve spun outta control! time to get back on the trader joe’s wagon…

  10. Good luck with the achilles (your actual achilles tendon, that is:) Mine gave me problems on and off all last fall leading up to a half marathon. I ran the race, but then took 100% of November off from running to do cross training. It sucked (mostly because November is SUCH a great month to run outdoors) but it finally healed up. Sounds like you are smart enough to realize your trouble early and a few days rest will have you back running in no time. Now – make sure you actually take all weekend off!!:) Besides, you guys are still in a nasty heat wave, right? So, this time off will save you from running at the crack of dawn or on the TM. Speedy recovering!

  11. I’m sorry about your achilles, hopefully you’ll be able to enforce a few days off and be up and running pain free next week!

  12. Two words: arnica cream

    get on that girl 🙂

    Also, that sweet tea vodka looks amazing. It’s 11:47am and I want some!

  13. I actually injured my achilles a few years ago. It sucked! Running on the beach. 😦 I got tendinitis in my Achilles Heel and had to wear a big boot for two weeks.

    My other “achilles heel” seems to be my ankles period. They are weak and I need to strengthen them.

  14. I’m sorry to hear about your injury! I hope you DO stick to your plan and rest it out so it can heal!

    I’ve been meaning to try that Sweet Tea Vodka and you may have just pushed my need over the edge. I’m buying some TONIGHT. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!

    Also, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I love your idea of buying plain frozen cheese pizzas and doctoring them up yourself. BRILLIANT! The balsamic drizzle idea is making my mouth water!

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  16. Ugh on the achilles – I’ve got PF right now,using that same Arnica gel too. It sucks. 😦

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