Growing Old Is Not For Sissies
Workout enough and you’re eventually going to become injured. Once you do, the big question is what do you do to get better? Do you take a break and go a period of time with no activity. Do you dial back the amount and/or intensity? Do you keep going and hope to work through it? Of course, when things are broken or severely strained, no activity is necessary. However, what about aches and pain?
Over the winter, I did something to my feet that was probably tendonitis that come on after running on hard packed lumpy snow. For a week or so, it was bad enough that I usually had to wear sandals or shoes on all non-carpeted surfaces. I also made sure my running was on an artificial surface track or outside on the streets when snow wasn’t an issue. Even though I didn’t cut my mileage back, those two things allowed my feet to recover. At some point, my feet stopped aching and I could walk around barefoot again.
Then, heading into May, prior to starting the taper for my mid-May marathon, I was feeling a new round of tendonitis in both ankles and it was also reaching in tentacle-like fashion into the tops of my feet. Since I was doing my peak training followed by the normal pre-marathon taper, it eventually took care of itself. In fact, I was able to qualify for Boston at that race.
In the last week or so, my right knee has flared up with a new round of tendonitis. There also seems to be a muscle strand that is running from about that knee up the front of my leg (quad) and into my hip that’s tweaked. I’m not sure if one is the reason for the other. The good news with a self-diagnosed condition of tendonitis is that once you start to workout and the muscles get loosened up, the pain is greatly reduced or even gone. Then, once you’re done with the activity and things start to tighten back up, the pain creeps back in. The timing of this may be ideal. Weird, I know. It may actually help me focus on just going and running up a 14,000′ mountain for fun rather than actually trying to do it quickly (i.e. a sub 4:15:00 to qualify for Wave 1 in a future race) and possibly causing real damage.
There’s really two parts to this story. The first part is that with the normal aches and pain of working out and getting older, most activity can continue as it normally would and your condition should improve. The risk for me by taking the safer way out of not working out would be that I may fall into old bad habits (i.e. eat too much/not move enough) longer than necessary. The second part of the story that when these things flare up so close to race day (11 days from today), the negative chatter in your head increases. Insert the standard “what doesn’t kill you…” line here. So, here’s the data from the last couple workouts:
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:25:42 (8:34/mile)
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 35:39 (8:54 mile) + 90 minutes of men’s league soccer
Distance: 4-5 miles