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.