Monday, November 26, 2007

What goes up…

I have been riding a high for the past month or so that was just unprecedented. I PR’d the half at Soma, had a great race as Silverman and PR’d my 10K on Thanksgiving. In addition to that my training was going very well and I was starting to settle into my winter running. This Saturday I went for a three hour mountain bike ride down along the Rio Grande and Sunday I went for an easy trail run with some friends and a mile and a half in BANG!

It felt like someone had thrown a rock and hit me hard on my left Achilles tendon and I was brought to an immediate stop as pain radiated up the inside of my leg all the way to my hip. It was a brief shot but the pain was nauseating and then everything went pretty numb. I hobbled back toward the car as my friends ran ahead to come back and pick me up. I was unable to push off my left foot and anytime I accidentally did there was a weird watery grinding feeling. I immediately took some anti-inflammatory meds and drove myself to the nearest gas station to get some ziplock bags and ice.

Since I was able to walk/hobble I decided to wait until this morning to make an appointment with my family doc, who I trust, and didn’t go to the ER. This morning I got in to see doc, he poked and prodded and said the tendon felt really strong and there was no pain. I then said, well, it hurts when I do this and I got off the exam table and stood up on my tip-toes and GASP, immediate pain. He grimaced and said, “Ok, there it is, about four inches up from the heal. I’m going to set you up for an MRI.”

I can’t claim to know what exactly is going on until the MRI results come back but I did some reading and apparently you can rupture or partially rupture your Achilles tendon and not immediately crumple into a heap writhing in pain. Apparently the sensation ranges from feeling like getting hit hard in the tendon to feeling like being shot. I would say mine felt like getting hit by a champion rock skipper…I have no idea what it feels like to get shot.

If indeed this is a rupture I and done for the winter and might be able to start coming back early spring, maybe March or April depending on how things go and what the treatment may be, either immobilization and physical therapy or surgery, immobilization and physical therapy. At a minimum I am unlikely to do a marathon this weekend. Best care scenario, I wrenched a muscle or the tendon really good and will only be out a couple weeks, doc said I heal surprisingly fast.

So here is a new challenge, being an invalid, not of my own choosing but one that I guess I do need to work on. I suck worse at being an invalid than I do at the iron distance but at least I love racing the iron, I REALLY REALLY HATE being an invalid.

So here I am in bed typing away between readings of a truly unusual but interesting book “C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America” determined to be a good patient. Of course I’ll keep folks updated as to my condition and start trying to figure out what I can do to stay in shape if I get bad news.

In the mean time I went ahead and registered for the new November Ironman Arizona, after all, this is only a temporary setback.


  1. Does that mean no Santa Pics either? NO!! Your fans need you!

    You can always go in with a wheelchair. Santa and Elvis on wheels!


    Take care of yourself. Don't push it for something silly when it could really set you back for a long time.

    Good luck on the prognosis.

  2. I feel your pain. Except, I don't feel that achilles thing right now, because that has never happened to me, but I know that would suck a lot.

    I do know how horrible it is to be laid up and injured, and I hate it more than anything. I sulk for a long time.

    I also know that it is only temporary. The races will still be there when you get back up.

  3. Best wishes for recuperating - *intensively* recuperating.

  4. Oh no, after reading your 2007 race review (3 Freakin IronMan distance races, 4 half IronMan's) - I just figured you had to be one of those Super Hero's of sort.

    So, I guess Super Hero's do get injuried.

    Hopefully nothing too bad...

  5. Best wishes - take care. You can always do lots of upper-body strength-training stuff while sitting down, also swimming with a pull buoy if you're careful! But really, give it the time it needs... and we will cross our fingers that it's something that will heal very quickly.

  6. Well, hell. That sucks. I hope the news is better than you expect.

    I've had enormous success with using Kinesio tape on my injuries. It sticks really well (swab the area with alcohol first) and it's used by physical therapists all over the world. It was even used by Lance Armstrong and his team in the Tour. They called it "magic tape" and with good reason!

    While I don't recommend you run through any injury (you're setting yourself up for bigger problems later), Kinesio tape will give you the support you need to cross-train and get around without pain and it'll help you keep from accidentally making your injury worse.

    I buy mine from There are books on how to use it, too, but if the books are a bit pricey for your taste I'll gladly look up the Achilles taping recommendation for you.

    Here's some more info on Kinesio tape:

  7. BUGGER!
    Take care mate

  8. Man, what a bummer for sure but I guess the timing is somewhat "optimal" considering... (if you can PUT a positive spin on it);-)

    Really very sorry to hear that you are hurting and facing a long term injury. I hope that there is good news from the MRI results. I can only imagine how tough it would be to NOT be able to get out and about. Especially with the active lifestyle that you guys live.

    Heal fast and you will be on my prayer list!

  9. {{Brian}}

    That is exactly what happened to Hartley at Soma. YOu guys can commiserate (sp?)

    Take care..

  10. Damn shame. Take it as easy, if not easier, than the doc tells you to.

  11. Two years ago I developed tendonitis in both ahcilles at the same time.

    It took 6 weeks of physical therapy before I could run again. I used the time to increase my swim volume.

    Good news is I went on to PR a 10k later that same summer.

    And... I sucked as a patient.

    Stay tuned...

  12. dang...dude, sorry to hear it. looks like your weight lifting/swimming programs are about to be ramped up...big time...

    Recover well!

  13. I will be hoping that this is merely a minor set back with no major structural damage.

    I will be looking forward to hearing about your miles of swimming.

  14. It must be frustrating. I'm sure you'll be up and running in no time. See it as a well deserved rest!

  15. Take care, make sure you rest up.

  16. Now that sucks.. Hopefully you will just be laid up for a little while...

    To bad about not being able to be santa and elvis one the same weekend.

    But I see you found like 2 IM's in '08 to keep you motivated.

  17. Oh bummer! Hope you get something closer to the best case scenario than the worst case. Being laid up is no fun. :(

  18. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Oh man, I'm sorry to hear that :(

    I've heard those Achilles tendon injuries are painful. My left Achilles is tight because that's how it healed after a broken foot. The PT said if it was too bad, they could go in and "scrape" it down to help it stretch. I decided against that! He gave me this weird contraption to help it stretch where I'd crank it (pulling my toes up) every few minutes. I had just started on a weight loss program, too, so was frustrated that I couldn't run. Swimming saved me! It's still not perfect, but it's much better than it was.

    Hope the MRI results are the best senario possible. Whatever happens, you will get through it!

  19. Yikes! Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the MRI produces a, less devastating...result. :-(

  20. That's terrible. I had my heart set on seeing you guys in your Elvis/Priscilla costumes. NOW what will I do for fun????

    Sending you some healing wishes and energy.

  21. The same thing happened to me at Soma.All of a sudden out of the clear blue "ZAP".Turned out I was fortunate in that my achilles is intact-just a bad muscle pull.Although I still cant run and wont be able to until end of December,I can bike and swim.Had I not tried to run a week after my injury(and the week after that)my injury would be close to healed by know.It will be hard for you to rest,but you must.Good luck on the diagnosis.

  22. Sh!t !!! That is BAD news. Really sorry to hear about it. I suppose the only consolation is that it is in your 'close' season and hopefully you'll recover quickly.

    I do like your optimism though ... still thinking that the marathon might still be a 'goer' ... take it easy, rest up and come back strong(er)