Friday, April 15, 2011

I Found My Achilles Heel. Literally.

I gave myself acute Achilles tendonitis because I didn’t know when to quit. A sports massage therapist said, “What have we learned here?”

“That I have bad judgment?”

He was kind enough to say, “No, we’ve learned that your body is trying to tell you to slow down a bit, and you are learning how to listen.”

My body has always been here for me, and I’ve been grateful. I’m strong. I have a high pain threshold. Ask my dad. The day after he witnessed me give birth to my firstborn with no drugs, the nurse asked me what my pain level was. I said 4. Dad said, “Yes, but her 4 is a 10 for most people!” I’m proud of that.

I knew I needed to slow down when my Achilles felt like it was on fire. I rested and iced it for 4 days, then set off for a long run ~ 9 miles. I told myself repeatedly, “If it starts to hurt, I can turn back.” But I’m so freaking stubborn. It started hurting at mile three. I ran another three miles. Finally, at mile six, I couldn’t go any more and walked the rest of the way back. But it was too late. I should have turned back at mile three, but my stubbornness wouldn’t let me. I thought I could push through it.

Argh.  No amount of icing and resting worked this time. People saw me limping and told me horror stories of rupturing their tendons, or straining them so badly that they were in casts for weeks. It got so I was afraid of going up stairs for fear of rupturing my tendon.

I was really distressed that I had let my desire to finish a 9-mile run possibly put me out of commission for running the half marathon with Dayl. But even more than that, I started realizing that my body is getting older and I need to take better care of it. There are consequences to pushing myself too hard.

What if I hurt myself permanently and couldn’t every run seriously again? OK, there may have been a little melodrama going on in my head as I lay around not running.

I finally saw my doctor today and she reassured me that it’s “just” tendonitis, as opposed to a more chronic condition like tearing. However… I have to take it easy. Massage (not so bad), an ankle brace (ick), a lot of stretching and then… when I’m pain-free I can slowly start running again.

I really hope I can manage this so I can run the Hippie Chick. But at least if I’m not ready for that, I know can do the next one. My body is here for me, I just need to take a little more care with it.


  1. I'm so glad to know that it's nothing serious. So in awe of runners everywhere. I'm afraid my old body won't let me run anymore!

  2. Wow such a good lesson to learn and one that probably needs to be relearned (at least for me it is).
    So glad that you are not damaged.