…and the foot/ankle problems return.

While training for the 2013 Goofy Challenge, I develloped pain in my foot and ankle. It was diagnosed as Posterior Tibial Tendinosis. The tendon was inflamed and shreading inside a tendon sheath.

My podiatrist made a few things clear. 1) the tendon will not heal-the inflammation will go down, but the fraying is permanent. 2) the goal is to not make it any worse. 3) running will make it worse.

By some miracle, it got better, but only after being sidelined for months and almost losing the entire 2013 season. Part of me knows that I am running on borrowed time (that is part of the reason that I pushed myself so hard to complete Ironman Wisconsin in 2014 instead of waiting for 2015).

Last week, I felt some discomfort after a treadmill run. I felt it more during a 15k outdoor run on Saturday. It cut short my run yesterday. I am taking today off. It feels the same as 2013.

My first race of the year is next weekend…a half marathon (which I was looking to as a simple training run). Then I have a 15k in April, leading to a full marathon in early May, a half marathon late May followed by an Ultramarathon in June. After that, it is mostly sprint triathlons until October.

This may get ugly. The two shorter races should be fine. The marathon may not be (heck, training for it may be almost impossible). If I do the ultra (my only “A” race of the year), I think that I will have to stop at 50k.

That is assuming that I can do it at all. I won’t risk permanent ankle problems and surgery. But I am disappointed that this is flairing up right at the beginning of a busy running season (and I swore that this would be my last crazy season).

No matter what happens, at the end of this season, I will need to reassess what my body can do, and what it can’t do. I may be pushing my luck with marathons. I may need to cut them out altogether, and stick with shorter races (I am a much stronger runner at shorter distances). Shorter races are much easier to train for, and a lot less expensive to participate in. If I complete this season as scheduled, I will have 15 marathons in 10 states, one Ironman, five 70.3’s, and  one ultra. I think I have already accomplished far more then I thought possible 3 years ago. I will have nothing left to prove to myself.

But, dammit, I still want to have an ultra under my belt…

Next step: I will rest for a few days, rest and ice. Then I will swap out the old beat up shoes that I have been using during last weekend’s messy outdoor runs (the sole is worn down by about 1/2″ on the lateral half of the heal) with a newer pair, and hope that my body cooperates for one last season…




Filed under Random Musings

2 responses to “…and the foot/ankle problems return.

  1. I hope new shoes helps the problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, just a couple of comments – I’ve seen this in dozens of athletes. There is LOTS you can do about it. Did your podiatrist talk to you about evaluating your running mechanics and/or using orthotics (this kind of tendinosis is frequently a result of mechanics that look a lot like your running pics above – and the evidence is in the wear of your old running shoes. You appear to land on your heels, with your ankle in eversion, your knees rolling in a little (which can be corrected pretty easily with some weight work and form drills). “Running will make it worse” isn’t completely accurate – “running using the same form” is more accurate. Also, believe it or not (and it’s amazing that most people refuse to believe this), but diet has a huge impact on this kind of overuse injury. It’s because the inflammation is in large part related to the diet, not just to the irritation of the joint under distress mechanically. Just looking at your history and pics, I can see a number of things I’d try with you, to stabilize the joint around the affected tendons, reduce inflammation in the tendons, and perhaps most important to your long-term ability to continue running, pretty significantly change up your body comp, especially in your upper legs. I see so many athletes just accept that this kind of thing happens as we age – but it doesn’t have to. Long reply, but man, with your investment in the sport, I really hate seeing you say that you want “just one last season!” Let me know if you want to follow up with me on what I’ve seen work in others, would be glad to talk. -Jack


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