Injury Update – Don’t Panic

I have a major SweatySanDiego Hangover. Please excuse.

Up first on the weekend visitor/travel/run recap, a blanket statement to quickly cover a few important story-fillers :

Mix and match any sequence of the above photos and that’s pretty much the whole weekend.  #OpSD Success.  Please reference SweatOnceADay for further proof until I actually write about it.

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In the meantime, I’ll talk (selfishly) about ME and MY RUNNING and MY BODY and MY RACES AND GOALS AND QUEST TO BECOMING A REAL RUNNER AND HOW I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR INJURIES MESSING THAT UP!

Remember this?

I was pretty sure my Achilles Tendon was half a sliver from crippling me for life.

Walking was not painful.  Over-flexing and stretching was, but not in the whole stretching-should-hurt-a-little! way.  Running felt like every step was a 90% chance something in my ankle/heel was going to snap in half.

 A lot of you weighed in with advice and suggestions, which kept my mind busy thinking maybe there was hope for an easy fix, and maybe my life was officially over and I needed to start looking into new hobbies.

Oh and Dave?  I still haven’t decided whether you were joking or not?  Don’t play with my “I like to go fast” heart :

 If you run at maxOUaL speed, the aerobic pain will mask the achilles pain.

So the threat of Sweat-cation Derailment pretty much ruined my entire Friday.  Within 12 seconds of fetching Emily from the airport and we were dissecting the situation with doctor stubborn runner intellect and devising a “Save-The-Long-Run” strategy to put to action.

First up : beach path test run. precautionary calf sleeves and pain tolerance on high alert.

After a few minutes it (ankle/achilles/heel) loosened up a bit.  And then it tightened again.  And then it loosened.  And tightened.  And then I stopped.  And went again.  Slower.  Maybe faster.  Ok, faster is better.  Actually, fast feels good.  Ok.

I bet I spent .09% of the 5 miles thinking about anything other than how it felt.  Surprising, given Em’s prompts of “HOW DOES IT FEEL” ever 4 steps.  I didn’t know how to describe or pinpoint the pain.  Will running more loosen it up or keep hurting it?  Will stretching help or hurt?  What about ice?  Foam roll?  Pain killers?  QUIT RUNNING FOREVER AND TAKE UP A PAIN-FREE SPORT????  WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TALK TO ME, STUPID ANKLE THING?!

I hate not knowing what to do.

So I iced.  Took a few anti-inflammatories.  Continued sticking until my lower half looked like I got hit repeatedly with a baseball bat 17″ plastic roller torture device.

Ummm, timeout.  Where did that giant knot in my calf come from?

After a brief consult to a few trusted sources, it became clear that the source of my ankle/achilles/heel problems could very very VERY well be stemming from my obnoxiously tight calves and the giant lump on the inside middle of it.

Heh, guess I haven’t been stretching as much as I should’ve been…

So Long Run/Race-eve was dedicated to a very painful recon mission against said knot.  I said a lot of bad words.  And did lots of hydrating (the ‘proper’ kind, not the Emily-and-Sarah-to-AA kind) to flush out all the evil lactic acid that had taken residence in my legs and was being ruthlessly “massaged” away.

Guess what?  It worked.

I’ll talk about the run/race in detail later, but I will confirm that Sunday’s 20.7 miles were ankle/achilles/heel pain-free.  I’ve still got some work to do to get it back to 100%, but I am SO SO SO SO SO SO x518 RELIEVED that it’s managed and on the mend.

And that’s the story of Injury Scare #1 of the 2012 racing season.  Hopefully there isn’t a sequel.

Sarah OUaL

Somewhat random but related question : Do you like your feet touched/rubbed/massaged?  

I find it terrible and prefer to never have anyone near the things that I rely on getting me places and through life.  Especially runners – we do so much extra abuse (hello callouses, black toenails, blood blisters, etc) to them that I just don’t want myself or anyone else to be subjected to that nastiness.  Similar to detailing your car’s tire treads.  Why would you use a toothbrush and pepperminty soap when a simple spray with the powerhose will do?

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29 thoughts on “Injury Update – Don’t Panic

  1. I’ve been having some discomfort in my Achilles lately, not pain but enough of something that I think about it while running. Stretching would probably be good. I’m bad about doing enough of that. However I do like having my feet rubbed. I’m weird. Love the Sweat-cation! I need to plan one of those!

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  2. Hate having my feet massaged. Partly because I am extremely ticklish. Glad your feeling better and sounds like you had a great weekend!

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  3. Woot! Glad you figured out the source of your pain. About a month ago I started massaging the crap out of my right peroneal tendons and I am amazed as how much better it feels.

    I typically don’t let people touch my feet because it’s likely I will kick them in the face — I am that ticklish. The only person I’ve let touch them recently is my SIL (who is my podiatrist – we’re not that close). She had to take a mold of my feet for my orthotics. That wasn’t awkward at all.

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  4. That’s awesome! So I bought this ridiculous roller called TP Therapy it was 70 bucks and way better than the traditional roller. No joke. If you want more details check out my post about my therapsit. Ive been having shin issues but it works the same spot of the calf. Holy god it hurt. So glad your better. I bailed on my 20 this weekend. Meh

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  5. awesome!!! glad you’re on the mend!!!!! the best way to get your muscles loosened up is to foam roll/stick roll them and then immediately stretch them! you’ll get a better result from the stretch from the fascia being loosened, and the golgi tendon organ has a better chance of truly relaxing your muscles. again, glad to hear that you were able to take care of your body and you’re not on the disabled list anymore!

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  6. Yoga, OUaL, don’t you know this? Adho Mukha Svanasana is your pal. Love this post. Love the facial expressions. Love the boozing. I’ll even accept the recycled MSPaint art. Love that you ripped off more miles in one day than I did all week.

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  7. I’m sending you good healing thoughts your way Sarah! Hope your ankle gets better and I can’t wait to hear about your race.
    P.S. Have I ever told you how jealous I am of you that you live in California, it’s so beautiful there! I actually just told my sister last night…I said we should move to Cali…she was like okay lol

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  8. HEY TWINKIE, guess what. I learned that all my shin pain comes from my tight calves, too. WHADDYA KNOW?

    Actually, I got fixed up reaaalllll good by a calf-targeted massage. I tell ya, it works wonders.

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  9. Dave beat me to it. Down dog. Lately I do Down Dog and it’s clear that the more running I’m doing, the more down dog feels like a crazy good stretch (meaning things are tightening up).

    I’ve noticed (and I think read a few places) that the lower heel-to-toe ratio shoes can work the calf muscles more than regular trainers. Kinvaras might be part of your calf tightness. The more I run them the less enthused I am (I think I am a complete Brooks snob).

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  10. I do about 1.26 minutes of stretching everyday. At work when I’m tired. On the weekends I’ll add another 4 minutes when I attempt to do some sort of yoga. Glad you’re on the up and up though! My feet…well I limit them to myself because I don’t want to pay someone to do something I can do.

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  11. I’m glad that your legs/achilles are on the road to recovery! Your race season is going to be amazeballs.
    And I do not let ANYONE near my feet. Non-runners always think I’m exaggerating when I say I have gross feet and don’t want anyone to touch them. I think it’s just me looking out for all parties involved.

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  12. Congrats on the successful 20-miler!

    and YES. I have been suffering from plantar faciitis for a year now, so whenever I can convince my (amazing) boyfriend or the person doing my pedicure for a foot massage, I take full advantage.

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  13. Ah! I was worried about your achilles/ankle issue so I’m glad you “fixed” it. Debating the stick purchase. Do you have a foam roller? Which would you recommend?

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    • I do have a foam roller, but found I prefer the more targeted, pinpoint’y, painful approach with the stick more. Although I’d say foam is better for larger muscles, like quads hamstrings and your butt.

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  14. So glad you’re feeling better! I’m having some major hip pain, so I’m basically married to the foam roller, and every time someone walks in my office, I’m doing some sort of weird pretzel-like stretch. It’s glamorous around here.

    Love having my feet rubbed, & have no shame about my 4 black toenails. I use a dark purple polish to mask all of the loveliness. :-)

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