Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My achilles & me

Today I ran 6 miles up the Sawcut wash in Monrovia at lunch;  had meant to walk but it started raining so I RAN...and the calves felt OK-  They are adapting!

I was reflecting on a paradox over the weekend while talking about training with an old running pal.  Back in 2003 I had injured my left achilles tendon ("overtraining")  badly enough that I ended up taking a full year off.  Nothing seemed to work to get the swelling and pain to settle down..massage, ice, rest, electro stim...  The achilles had a pronounced bulge - So I had thrown in the towel and taken up mountain biking.  I got back into running finally in 2004 after a few months of solid rest, and tried inserting some over the counter arch supports that raised my heels up about 1/4 inch.  When I occasionally took the heel lifts out of my old ASICs, the achilles pain returned, so I ended up just leaving them in. So the solution to the achilles problem at the time was:  increase the heel-to-toe drop even more than my traditional running shoes already had built in.  Even so in the fall mileage build up I was starting to have problems again with the achilles on BOTH sides.

When I started running in the Trailgloves in January-  short runs of 1-3 miles max...initially the left achilles bothered me, a mild discomfort while running.   Woops, this might prove to be the  achilles heel (har) of the zero-drop shoes.  But after a week or so, this discomfort went away.

Now I am running more significant miles, such as the Mt Wilson run the other day with 10 miles running down...achilles are still both 100%.  I mentioned in a previous post that the fasciculations I used to experience in my calf muscles post running  are completely gone.

So here's what appears to be a paradox:  Running in the zero drop shoes which stress the calves (and presumably the achilles) more than "traditional" heel striking in moon boots, causes no achilles pain....I think the experience must have as explanation that the calves & etc are just stressed differently in the minimalist forefoot striking technique.

Well, as my pal reminded me, its all theoretical until I run the Leona Divide 50 and get through it injury free, and get on to the AC100 in August.   But for what its worth, at this point, I am certain that without having made this change in my running to minimalist shoes, I would not stand much of a chance to get to the starting line of Leona Divide let alone the Angeles Crest.

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