Saturday, August 6, 2011

To Run or Not To Run (or: My Glistening Achilles)

I have confidence in my massage therapist.

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?

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  1. I would be conservative. It may be best to take a week off to let it settle rather than aggravate it further. But that's just me.

  2. I'm not the best person to ask for gauging pain and running. First, I always ignored it with my irrational thinking then I learned the hard way that is a mistake. Yes. An injury was my teacher. Now, I'm almost overly cautious. Every little twinge gets my attention. Twinges that I might not have even noticed in the past. So if it were me I would not run for a few days and see if it gets better. Maybe cross training for few days?

  3. I'm not good when gauging pain...I tend to just keep going! That being said...if it is too much then rest would help. My running buddy is wrestling with her achilles too....not fun! I agree with Jill and cross training may help!

  4. That's a really good question. I have been having pains in my right foot, but it is not bugging me while I run. Because I'm so new to running, I'm not letting it stop me, which might be a really bad idea. But I'm sure the best thing to do is to follow Char's advice, no point in making it worse!

  5. Definitely take a rest. Do other workouts besides just running. Good Luck with it! Thanks for linking up to Fitness Friday too!

  6. Thanks for the advice. I did sit it out (swimming) a week. Hope to be up and running again this evening.