About ten years ago I fell down a flight of stairs and damaged a muscle in my back. I had spasms for weeks whenever I lay flat on my back. For a decade I have felt vulnerable, like a creature with an open wound.
A creeping - of what the doctor called bursitis - burned just around the edges of the wound, up over my shoulder and down my arm. Weekends of 18-hour stretches at my desk finally gave way to 5 am runs, and I finally gave in and let the massage therapist stick his needles into my wounded back.
There is no more creeping or burning. I no longer feel like a slug with an open hole.
I have confidence in my massage therapist... But.
Why is it that my Achilles tendons, that don't make much of themselves normally, always feel bizarre for a few days after he massages them?
On Wednesday he ran his finger and thumb along my tendon and asked if it didn't hurt: "Yeah, well, when you do that." He told me to be careful that it doesn't become a chronic problem.
I had scheduled a long run (29K) on Thursday, but put it off because my Achilles just felt "weird". A little odd and almost painful. Rest.
I didn't run on Friday either, because the Achilles of my right leg keeps making an awkward little spectacle of itself: not like an injury, but like a spoiled toddler who feels a need for attention. Like a toddler who got a lollipop from a stranger and now demands one at home.
I am looking at my training schedule this morning and wondering how hard to push. I am reading about how to diagnosis tendinitis, and something about the "glistening appearance" of the tendon - which isn't much help since I am not about to peel back the skin to expose the poor thing.
How high is my pain tolerance? Is this dull ache a sign that the toddler is about to snap, or just a little bit of theatrics? Would it help to run with an ankle bandage for support?
Advice requested... How do you gauge your pain and push quotients?