Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reflections in the Past Year of (Not) Running

The year in review: This is a summary of my trials and tribulations and attempted comebacks in 2010. The year ended the same way it started, meaning - I’ve stopped again due to worsening ankle tendon problems. That makes a total of 4 times for 2010 that I had to quit my beloved recreational activity. What ended it this time was a lung busting, ankle breaking one hour fartlek workout just before Christmas.
I’m sure this tired topic has been heard or read by some of you so many times already if you have been following this blog for the past 2 years, and I’m sorry about that. At the start of 2010 during the winter, I was just recovering from another one of the episodes of overstretching my right ankle posterior tibialis tendon while trying to keep up with Cindy who was a much faster runner than I am. When it got a little better in the spring, I did the Wrigley River Run 10k. Two weeks after that, my left ankle tendon started to hurt so I took 6 weeks off, thinking that was the end of my running days. I even purchased a road bike to use as an exercise substitute to running. At the end of 6 weeks, this time in the summer, my left ankle felt a little better while the right side was status quo, so I tried running again. That lasted all of two weeks because I strained my right calf and had another lay off from my beloved sport, which made me miss the Long Beach Marathon. Finally at the end of summer going into fall, I restarted running gingerly. Disaster struck in the winter while doing the above mentioned fartlek workout, when my “good” left ankle finally gave in. That makes a total of 4 stoppages due to injuries just in one year, the most number of times I’ve had to quit. Have you noticed a pattern here? Every time I start running harder, or picking up the pace when I’m feeling good, that is when I start hurting my ankle tendons again. All that is a result of the original right ankle tendon injury which has caused numerous imbalances to my biomechanics and stride.
 The pain in my left ankle is now where my right ankle felt 6 or 7 years ago when that original injury just started. The pain is pretty constant nowadays on the left side which is not a good sign. The difference between then and now is that I was still running every day 7 years ago regardless of pain, and I was able to do so because I still had one leg to rely on to support most of my weight. Today however, I literally don’t have a leg to stand on, or at least to run on anymore. Thus the latest stoppage. This comes about 30 years and change after I ran my first marathon in 1980. After 30 years of running with less than ideal biomechanics, I’m surprised I even lasted that long, and it bears special mention again that 21 of those years, I managed to run every day. Will this finally be it for running, never to make another comeback? I’m going to take a few weeks off to find out if the left ankle can still recover and take it from there. Meanwhile, I consider 2010 the four seasons of my running discontent.

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