Saturday, January 7, 2012

Year end wrap-up & random musings

Well, I guess it's time to break radio...er...blog silence. After taking 13 weeks completely off running (including nearly 7 weeks in that infernal contraption they call a walking boot) I've been moving around on my own two feet for 9 weeks to end 2011. On one hand, there has been progress. I was pretty out of shape, cardiovascularly, after taking the boot off. I'd gained 12-13 pounds (& lost 3!), some of it muscle, but the legs (especially the left) and my core were pretty weak. I compensated by strengethening the other areas more than usual, and am now back to seeking balance.
One of the things I like about running is the purity of it. Numbers don't lie. I can tell to a nearly exact degree how much work needs to be done to get back in the shape I want to be in, because the clock is painfully honest. I've come a long way in that regard in 9 weeks, but, as far as actually being healthy and able to move forward, I'm right where I left off. My right heel is still swolen & a bit angry, but not enough to seriously hamper training & racing. The left (surgically repaired oh so many years ago) Achilles tendon, though, did not really respond at all to the 13 weeks off. I've been walking a very thin line between being able to run & being on the sideline for all of the two months since my return. I still don't know where to go from here, so it's hard to look forward to 2012 with any kind of clarity or long term goal-setting ability.
I usually end each year with a summary of the previous 12 months. This fall, I grew frustrated enough that I stopped keeping a training log, so my numbers are not exact. It was my goal to run 3,000+ miles & do 5,000+ sets of weights/strength exercises. I'm sure I made it over 2,000 in December, ending 2011 with a 50.2 mile week 52, but obviously taking nearly a third of the year off & buildign back up blew any chance of hitting 3k. I'd also guess I did about 6,000 sets of weights...easy to hit that goal when that's all your doin.
2011 only saw a brief glimpse (& by brief I mean two or three races) of fitness levels acheived in 2010, but it was a good year nonetheless. I absolutely LOVED the Steep Ravine run put on by Coastal Trail Runs. Top 2 course...ever! My best performances came in June (before I got sick) at the Fitch Mountain 3k, where I ran my fastest time in 3 years (9:09) and the Firecracker Mile on July 4th (the day before things started the downward spiral) where I somehow held off the field to run my fastest mile in over a decade at 4:25 & change. I ended up running 23 races, if you include the 3 I've done since Thanksgiving. I ran the Turkey Trot in Nevada City on that day, placing 7th. Then the Red Nosed (really - it was in the teens) 3 mile in south Reno (5th) & the Kaia Resolution Run 3-miler in Sac (1st) in 16:36.


Those were all either fun runs, though, or run as such by me, even though I went hard in each. That leaves me 11/23 for the year, with 3 CRs, 9 runner-up finishes, a 3rd, a 5th, & a 7th. I'm already signed up for runs on 1/22 & 2/5, & am hoping to do a lot more after that. Any bright ideas on how to get the Achilles to cooperate (without me breking the bank), please don't hesitate to comment below. Happy New Year!

4 comments:

SnowLeopard said...

I like the new look on your blog! I'm sorry you don't have any goals for 2012, but I guess taking life as it comes is pretty much how I roll too~ :) Looking forward to racing with ya this month at least!

Turi Becker said...

Wait, the year ended? Sheesh. Heal up man.

John Ring said...

Have you tried eccentric heel drops?

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/43/4/276.full

http://www.thiagovilelalemos.com.br/downloads/esportiva/Eccentric%20training%20Achilles%20tendon%20Lorentzon%202003.pdf

http://yaroslavvb.com/papers/alfredson-heavy.pdf

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=eccentric+calf+load&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

I had an achilles tendon injury in 2010, bad enough to prevent any runing at all, and used progressively heavier eccentric calf raises to rehabilitate the tendon. Once it was strong enough to complete the eccentric drops without pain, I went to standing and seated calf raises, using both phases of the exercise ie concentric and eccentric. The heavier the better on them, as long as you don't strain anything in the lower leg using the weights.

Even Gebreselassie has struggled with the achilles his whole career...if he stops doing seated calf raises for more than a few weeks the problems come right back.

slowrunner77 said...

Thanks John~that's one of the things I'm doing 2-3 times a week. They don't seem to be getting easier, though :(