Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thank You Achilles Tendonitis

I cannot remember the last time my feet touched the floor in the morning without feeling pain.  Every morning the stretch of the Achilles tendon would serve to either keep in bed a few minutes longer or jolt me awake without the need for coffee.  My training in 2012-2013 became sporadic and inconsistent.  I convinced myself to head for the hills or take it “easy” on a trail when in reality I needed an easy track workout or a rest day.

I ran because it made me feel good and allowed me to return to the desk with vigor and enthusiasm.  My training because my coping mechanism for stress.  The more stress, the more I ran.  I even listened to lectures on the run, thus serving both masters…studying and working out.  But, the balance shifted when I choose new benefits to running without taking stock of all the ones already in my possession.

Mid-October I went on a run after a particularly difficult day and had to limp home the last 2 miles.  It was a sobering reminder that skipping steps in the healing process is always a bad idea.  The doctor let me know it was just more of the same; my achilles tendon was inflamed and the only solution is stopping and letting it heal.

Now, I am reaching the depths of the “athlete depression.”  I have difficulty accepting any decision made for me.  Having some input and say in what happens in my own life is a really big deal to me.  Thus, this injury forcing me to stop regardless of my will to go is a huge punch to the ego.  I have gained a few pounds and don’t feel the strength and vitality I usually have.  Also I am jealous (in a good way) of all of my friends logging miles without me.  But, rather than sinking into my own head and ego I will thank this injury.

Thank you achilles tendonitis for allowing me more time to study for finals.  Thank you for reminding me that feeling something even if it's painful is better than feeling nothing at all.  Thank you for helping me re-connect with my mindfulness.  Thank you for forcing me to accept conditions I cannot control and deal with them in a positive way.  Thank you for giving me a warning before something really serious happened.  Thank you for not happening during Headlands 50, that would have ruined my proposal so definitely a fist bump on that one. 

Thank you for reminding me the goals I seek are not limited to the trails but also include the kitchen.  I am now starting to manage my caloric intake, i.e. dieting.  Admittedly, my excitement for dieting is at an all time low and particularly so near the end of the year.  Also not looking forward to getting back on the road or into the gym when everyone else plans their “New Years Resolutions.”  But, thank you for reminding me that running is a part of my life, not my whole life.  Running gives me pleasure, but so do other things (like cookies).

Thanks for reminding me of my running goals and the work I need to put in to get there.  Thanks for not letting me skip steps and reminding me that a runner is just as much body as he is heart.  I promise I will do my best to come back, healthier, happier and even if we never meet again...thank you from the bottom of my sole.