On the shelf, part II

Well. Apparently my rest and recovery for the achilles pain was not enough. The pain came back. Now the pain was nothing like the first time it hit me, but I also haven’t run more than three miles since returning to the road. I spoke with a dear friend of mine, who conveniently happens to be a doctor, and he confirmed what I thought all along: overuse. My 40 year old tendons are struggling to keep up with the rest of my body. Here’s the good news: the pain I suffer is nowhere near my heel, which is where most ruptures occur, so he thinks that the chances for an achilles rupture are slim, given where the pain starts and ends (at the junction of the achilles, soleus and gastroc muscles–what you might call mid-calf–and ends some three inches at least above the heel). So I guess I got that going for me.

What now? Rest. One month cold turkey from running, and following low-stress exercises: cycle, swim, elliptical. And a lot of stretching and weights for the entire body.

If I lay off running for a month, could I still make the December 1st St. Jude’s half marathon, at least? I think the marathon is definitely out. But the half may be a possibility.

I guess we all have to deal with injuries and setbacks in our running, but I hate that I have to. I was really hitting my stride, so to speak. It felt great to be part of this community of runners. I felt IN and alive again. Now i feel OUT and damaged. My spirituality has to treat this as a lesson in not making any one thing a god to me. The irony is that some of my most poignant spiritual moments in the last 6 months have come on the road, as the sun rises and dogs bark, and a song on my iPod urges me to think of or pray for another. Working out on an elliptical trainer watching the early news somehow just doesn’t have the same feel.


  1. First off, I enjoy reading your blog. I, too, am a bit of a novice runner and working hard at trying to increase my endurance. I wonder if yoga might be beneficial for you? There is an excellent yoga center that I attend in Ruston — we have some attendees that drive in from Monroe. I drive in from Homer. Anyway, I think that the stretching may be very helpful as well as the meditative benefits. If you are interested, it is called The Yoga Room. They have early morning as well as evening classes. Wishing you best of luck with your recuperation!

  2. I do Yoga! But the summer has been so hectic that I haven’t been regularly since late June–about the same time I started hurting!!! I wonder if there is a slight relationship to the two.I go to Luna Blue Yoga in Monroe on Tower Drive–excellent instruction there. Now that school has started back I can have a more regular practice.

  3. It is tough to quit running cold turkey. I had to take a month off in February with my plantar fasciitis and I was so happy to run again. I still have to watch it, but I have learned how to work with it.The elliptical can be your friend during this time. Hang in there and know that if you take care of it now, you will definitely be back on the road stronger than ever.

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