Thursday, September 23, 2010

Running: Injury

Runners get injured.  Marathoners, more so.  The constant pounding of the long runs magnifies the effect of our improper form and structural issues.  The marathon itself rarely fails to leave me without an issue that takes 3-6 weeks to heal.  Phil and Spencer both know this from hard experience.  Spencer started the Dublin Marathon injured.  Phil finished it that way.  None of us are as young as we used to be.  It's hard to know when to push through, and when wisdom is the better part of valor.  I've made both decisions in different years.  I skipped the 2001 NYC Marathon because of a last minute spasm in my ITB (or at least I think that's what it was).  I missed the 2005 NYC Marathon due to a bruised kneecap (don't train for a marathon and play squash).  On the other hand, I ran the 2002 NYC Marathon, even though my left calf went into spasm on the Verrazano Bridge, and ran both NYC (2007) and Dublin (2009) notwithstanding injuries during the taper (what's that about anyway)?

Anyway, I've hit an injury decision point again this year, and I think that the injury has won.  I don't know exactly what it is.  After the NYC Tri, I noticed what felt like a bruise at the top of my heel, near the Achilles insertion.  It didn't seem like much, and it seemed to come and go.  I decided to rest it for a week, limiting my training to hiking and biking.  It got tighter.  Now, it seems to have blossomed into a full blown case of (choose one: (1) a bone bruise; (2) achilles tendonitis; (3) a stress fracture in my heel).  I don't really know which one it is, but I've managed it since then with cross-training and ice.  It always feels better after a bike swim workout.  It always feels worse after a long run.  

I thought I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 21.  That's eight weeks away.  I've managed to do a few 15-16 milers, but if I'm serious, it's time to start running long, and racing half marathons.  That just doesn't look like it's going to happen, so there you have it.

Okay, so what to do next?  All of a sudden I don't know what my next goal is.  This is very disconcerting. My current thought is just to have fun with the swimming and biking while I wait for the darn thing to heel, but that seems too amorphous for a goal directed person like me.  Hmmm.  . 

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