Tuesday, October 2, 2012

9/30/2012 The Morass.

The 12-mile Bruiser race was three weeks ago.

The Achilles has been problematic on a number of levels, ever since.  I hadn't dealt with this kind of nonsense before, and all I knew about tendon injuries is that, if they do heal, they'll do it slowly.

Badass pic.  (Not indicative of actual level of badassery.)
Actually, I did have a tendon injury in the shoulder from a BJJ mishap a few years ago though, and that responded well to physical therapy.  Thanks to google and youtube, I found an exercise that fixed it within a few weeks.  I didn't have the right weights though so I used a butternut squash.

Ah, the tame, yet engaging, Chimney at Otter Cliffs on MDI.
I am an eternally novice climber so this was the perfect spot, and the perfect day.
Sadly, my success with cucurbitas in the past was not enough.  Taking self-absorption to new heights, I sought resources online and in knowledgeable friends and teammates, one of which was the Middle Professor himself.  You-all remember him for the "racing shall not be fun" thing?  I didn't realize the irony until after.  (Middle has been dealing with Achilles stuff for a long time. His insight proved both affirming and helpful.)

Another shot of the Chimney.  Interestingly, and not complainingly, this didn't bug the Achilles at all.    
I caught it early and got the hell off it (mostly) fast (relatively), so although most tendon injuries get a beginner  healing budget of 6-8 weeks, I hoped that we could get this one over with in 3-4 weeks.  But, like training a horse to trailer, I decided to figuratively act like I had all day, in hopes that it would figuratively take 5 minutes.  Because if you like act you only have 5 minutes, you can guess how long that ends up taking.
And then it was time for a casual stroll along the rather quotidian  flanks of the fairly dull Precipice Trail.
Anyway, after three weeks of walking, attempted/failed running, yoga, mountain biking (trail biking?  mostly not on mountains), a little cautious rock climbing, some short hikes, a million eccentric heel drops, and boatloads of research and restlessness --  I finally ran enough today that it felt like a real run.

See what I mean?

It was extremely.  fucking.  difficult.  One of the hardest runs ever, maybe.  Not like Seven Sisters but was harder than my last (first) two ultras.  The pouring rain wasn't a problem, in fact it seemed the perfect re-welcome.  I think it was just a massive struggle to compose and maintain the level of technique that I hereby require to stay sound.  I don't know, or if I do, I'm not going to moan about it here.  It was just really hard, and I felt like I was on day 1 of a fucking couch-to-5k plan.  I walked a lot.  I had to.  My body kept wanting to walk, or forgetting to run.   But it was a run.  And I did all that I could do.

I stopped at least a billion times for pics and to make sure I wasn't tiring the calves/getting sloppy in motion.  Again no prob with Achilles...but at the end of the hike, along like half of mile of road, I tried to run.  Surely, thought I, after climbing and hiking with minimal discomfort, surely I can do a little flat road running.  Nope.  It immediately started whining.  I tried several times but finally gave up and walked, fearing reinjury.  Weird and frustrating.  But, everything that occurred guided me in some way toward the figuring out what was wrong, and what I needed to strengthen to fix it.

And in spite of all that, it felt so damn right, so sweet, so very, very good to be back, and feeling like I can run again.

And just maybe Big Brad 50k, which is in three weeks, is not out of the question.  If it's a matter of finishing dead last, or second to last, then I don't think that's relevant to my decision.

~53 minute run, or rather, run/walk
~4 miles
~Rain, to the ends of the Earth.  Maran trails.  Rolling hills.  To Donut Pond and back.  Shell, long sleeve shirt, long pants, winter smartwool socks


  1. :D :D :D I hope you're back, but it's made for some good writing

  2. That doesn't look like novice climbing to me....badassery!


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