Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hope in a Jar

Last month I injured my right calf during the Avenue of the Vines. At the time, I thought it was just a bad cramp but it may have been a little worse. Regardless of what the injury was (no, I didn't go to a doctor) I was surprised that it was in my right leg...my left leg was the one that had been giving me problems.

Prior to the race, my left Achilles had been tender. I had been icing it and wearing compression socks. Honestly, it really wasn't any worse than it normally feels. Both of my Achilles seem to flare up every now and then so when one or both get sore, I don't think much of it...I just pop some Advil and ice the sore spot.

Looking back at the Avenue of the Vines, I think that I over compensated for my sore left Achilles with my right leg which ultimately caused the cramp (strain). Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! A little voice in the back of my head was telling me not to run, but I didn't listen.

Two weeks after Avenue of the Vines I completed the Tri for Real #1. My main goal was not to exacerbate my injury. I almost made it through the entire run without stopping, but a pain in my right calf at mile 5 put a little hitch in my giddy up and I had to walk up a hill. I probably should have just walked the entire last mile, but I don't know if I'm capable of doing that ;-)


Search for a Cure


Since the Tri for Real #1, I have limited my runs to very short and slow excursions that are close enough to my house that, should I have to walk, it won't take forever to get home. Each run is a little better than the last, but my Achilles are still achy...yes, both are sore now. Ugh!

Since I have a 70.3 race in about six weeks, I am desperate to speed up the healing so I can once again start logging some running miles that are out of the single digits. I have tried to learn everything I can about the Achilles and its associated problems. I have also read tons of info on what runners, physical therapists, and doctors recommend for treatment. I've boiled the data down to a few keys suggestions that I am trying...


Shoes


Pure Cadence 1 - Oct 2012
In June 2012 I bought my first pair of Brooks Pure Cadence. The shoes felt awesome right out of the box. I ran those shoes into the ground! I know I logged more miles than I should have in them, but they never felt bad and they didn't give me any problems.

One of the things I loved most about those shoes (besides the hot pink color) was the fact that the back of the shoe was nicely padded and didn't press into my Achilles (see, they were hurting back then). I could run in these shoes and they didn't make matters worse!

Pure Cadence 2 - Barb Race July 2013
I finally retired the shoes when I could see that I had worn the tread down to the soft inner foam. I then moved into the Pure Cadence 2. These shoes were not same as my first pair, but I still liked them.

However, since the Pure Cadence 2 didn't give me the same "wow factor" as my first pair, I ventured into other brands. I tried the Mizuno Sayonara (low & light), the On Cloud Surfer (chunky but comfy on long runs), and the Adidas Energy Boost (springy, expensive shoes last lost their magic after a month).

A lot of the data I read, suggested that my shoes could be part of the problem. So, over the last couple of weeks, I have been trying out my various running shoes to see how each made my Achilles feel. They all made them sore :-( 

On Monday, I ordered a pair of Pure Cadence 3. I found a pair of the originals on eBay, but they were USED and the person still wanted $60! I've got a used pair thank you very much. The new ones are pink with touches of navy, bright blue and yellow (should work with my tri kit). I put them on last night and they felt like the first ones! On top of that, the back part of the heel was low and nicely padded...it didn't rub or push on my Achilles.

Brooks calls this color "Beetroot Purple"...I say Hot Pink!

Massage & Stretching


All I can say is cross fiber friction work works!


Besides stretching before and after a run, I am now stretching while I sleep...I got a night splint to stretch my Achilles during the night.

Hopefully I won't kick HS during the night ;-)


Magic Potion


Ok, I've tried all sorts of creams and sprays to alleviate the pain and inflammation. If there is any relief, it is fleeting. Last night, that all changed. When I ordered my night splint, Amazon suggested a couple of other items commonly ordered with the brace. I skipped the heel cups but went ahead and ordered this anti-inflammatory cream called Penetrex. The stuff wasn't cheap...I think it was $18-$19 for a 2 oz jar. 

While HS and I were sitting on the couch catching up on some shows we had recorded, I started massaging the cream into my Achilles. I was shocked! Previously, I could barely touch my Achilles without significant pain. As I worked the cream in, the pain vanished. I still can't believe how well it worked.

I am going to continue doing what I'm doing and hopefully I can get back to normal in time for Barb's Race.

Hope in a jar
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