Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not so fast

I know better than to make a statement like I did in my last blog entry about being done with my injury.  Those kinds of things always come back to bite you.

Last Sunday, I had a 14-15 mile long run that included 60 minutes at marathon effort plus The Rock Circuit.  I took off into the wind at marathon effort determined to stick to my new rules about not stopping during the quality in my workouts (R-WYCH = run what you can hold).  I started out at 6:33 pace for the first 20 minutes or so with my HR in my marathon zone.  I picked it up for the next 30 minutes to 6:25 pace and then even more to 6:22 pace for the last 10 minutes.  I loved this workout!  I was so happy to finish strong at a pace that was close to my goal marathon pace AND without stopping.  The interesting thing too was that my HR only appeared to go up, on average, one BPM with each increase in effort.  It amazes me sometimes how little difference I see in my HR for the various efforts I run.

I started my recovery jog and noticed a familiar little pinch in my achilles.  I hadn't felt that in a while and it made me nervous.  I thought that it might go away as I continued to jog and get ready for The Rock.  Then, it started to absolutely dump buckets of rain on me.  I was 2 miles from home and thought, "What the hell?  Let's just get this damn thing over with."  So, I did The Rock in the pouring rain, knocking out my crunches and supermans while laying in the mud, flopping around.  It was kind of fun in a Private Benjamin sort of way.  Unfortunately, my achilles did not feel better after The Rock.  It was sore on my 2-mile soggy jog home as I finished off my 16 miles.

Looking at what I've been doing, this was not unexpected.  I got to that point in the injury cycle where I truly believed I was home free.  I had stopped doing all of my regular maintenance like icing my calf after each run, stretching, rolling out the calf, massage.  I wasn't doing any of it.  How soon we forget.

Monday morning, I ran with my girlies and my achilles was still sore.  I was definitely disappointed, but I had a feeling that it was temporary.  I chose to believe it was just my body's way of reminding me that my calf/achilles is still slightly undercooked.  I resorted to this full-on treatment regimen:

  • icing my calf after running
  • doing my 60 minute yoga for athletes video 3 x per week
  • rolling my legs with the TP Massage system every day
  • massaging the achilles
  • massaging the calf
The good news is that it has worked.  I ran on land for 30 minutes Tuesday followed by 60 minutes of pool running and then only did yoga on Wednesday.  Thursday, I was expecting to jog an easy 6, but took a look at my scheduled workout before heading out the door just in case.  I'm glad I did because I was able to do the whole 9-mile workout without any pain.  I ran another easy 6 on Friday and felt some tightness in the achilles, but I was pretty sure it would pass.

This morning, I met some girlies who also had workouts that would be best done around a track.  That's right, I said TRACK!  I haven't done a track workout in an incredibly long time and was a little excited about it.  After a 5-mile warm up, I headed to the track to start my workout.  It was 5 x (1 mile repeats @ 10k effort with 1 minute rest, then 400m @ 5k effort with 3-5 minutes rest).  Here's how I did (pace for 1600m, pace for 400m):

  1. 5:59, 5:38
  2. 5:55, 5:32
  3. 5:59, 5:37
  4. 6:00, 5:41
  5. 6:04, 5:39
This was a good workout and ended up being my longest (16.7 miles) since being injured.  I felt strong the whole way in fairly warm and exposed conditions.  I was pleased to average just under 6:00 pace for the 10k effort and under 5:40 for the 5k effort.  But, the best news of the day was that I felt nothing whatsoever in my achilles and still feel nothing right now as I type this.      

So, I will refrain from making predictions about how over this injury I am.  I promise to be good and take care of the regular maintenance it requires so I can continue ramping up my mileage and intensity.

I'm still working on a clever way to reveal my newest gadget.  I love the speculation from my blogging peeps: Alter G, altitude tent.  What could it be?  I promise I'll reveal it soon.


  1. I knew you explained and showed what the rock workout was a year or so ago, can you show or explain it again? I could only guess your new gadget is your new ipad tracking your workpout or your new floating vest with attached gps for your pool running!

  2. Scary achilles revisit but it sounds like you've got yourself back under control. Was just saying to a friend how, when nothing hurts, you don't think about your body at all, but introduce injury and you can't help but make every single run a laser focus of "is it hurting, how much is it hurting, etc". Amazing paces as always, you're so damn fast! :-)

  3. Hi Odette, I just added the link in the blog. Just click on "The Rock Circuit" in the second paragraph, and you'll go right to the youtube video.

    GIM--We'll see how long I stay under control:) It is true that this stuff accumulates. A little bit of constant care seems to be the right answer. Slowly but surely, I'm getting back up to speed! Thanks for your speed affirmations!

  4. Alter G? Did you win the California Lottery? FYI: One of your Houston Hopeful cohorts is sleeping in an altitude tent these days.

  5. JT--I wish. An altitude tent is a whole lot of commitment to the goal.

  6. You might be able to get a second-hand altitude tent from the AIS ;) Actually, my second guess is a blood lactate meter. That would be useful.

    Nice track workout. Very consistent with the times. Glad the injury is under control. You know what they say -- a gram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure ;)

  7. Re altitude tents" NY Times recently had a story quoting scientists that the altitude tents don't help runners, cyclists, mountain climbers unless they spend AT LEAST 10 hours a day in the tent for an extended period. Who has the luxury of 10-hour snoozes?

  8. Sam, they actually have an altitude apartment at the AIS now. Better than spending 10 hours a day in a tent!

  9. Didn't see that one coming and had put off reading it when I saw the title. I was ready for a back-to-the-drawing-board entry when suddenly you're zipping around the track doing miles with 1 minute recovery to the 400s. Bet the final 100 of the final 400 was sweet.

    Good advice. I have to take it.