Sometimes you just don’t know when a tiny little bit of discomfort is the beginning of a real problem, and if you are me, you should know. Well, back in September of 2012, I began to feel a bit of discomfort in both or one of the other Achilles when I would start running.  It usually went away in a few minutes and just seemed to me to be a normal ache that comes with the territory of not being 25 anymore and in a sport where the body is always aching somewhere.  That minor ache continued to grow in length it took to dissipate through to the beginning of November where I realized that I was in discomfort for the entire run.  At that point, it finally became apparent that something was wrong and I needed to shut things down.  Of course, in hindsight, I knew something was wrong before that point, but the race in Maui blotted out any common sense at the time.

Fast forward to the end of December and both Achilles are so bad that walking down stairs and on uneven terrain causes significant discomfort, despite not running since the beginning of November.  It became obvious that they were not healing on their own, despite daily icing, rolling and ibuprophen.  After the New Year, I was as swim practice and catching up with a fellow triathlete who mentioned Dr. ‘Bob’ as a great resource for sorting this type of problem.  I was quite skeptical as hearing the name made me think of some quack who would more likely cause more harm than good.

Dismissing my concerns with the doctor, I made the appointment and within a week of the beginning of the 2013 year, getting treatment that was beyond pain that I had ever experienced. Dr. Bob’s plan was to introduce regular acute injuries to the Achilles and calves to increase blood flow while breaking down adhesions, scar tissue and other junk using Graston technique and other painful methods.  Usually when I am getting a painful treatment, I can find a happy place to lock out the pain, but with Dr. Bob, I just cannot and nearly have to ask for time-outs to pull myself together.

Within a few weeks, my Achilles discomfort was nearly gone while walking or using stairs and I gave running a shot (with Dr. Bob’s encouragement).  I began to run in the last week of February, and was able to run 20-30min very easily with no real issues.  In March, I continued to run with minor hiccups but a general improvement in the sensations all the while trying to add a bit of volume and frequency.  In the third week of March, I had my first XTERRA race and went into with a plan to only run VERY easy to ensure I did not go backward and do harm.

I specifically avoided fast stuff until the last week of March when I did a moderately hard mile and a week later did 3 harder miles and a long run of 90min.  That 90min run was the longest since late September.  Finishing that run with no real problems (my left Achilles still is not 100% and will continue to get treatment), I decided to give the Texas 70.3 a go.  That will be the final test before I can commit to racing in Coeur d’Alene in June.


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