Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hop-Along Runs Again

Old Hop-Along limped his way through Wednesday and Thursday with forced rest until the evening when I met with my physioterrorist. She performed a thorough examination of the ankle after discussing the symptoms. The good news – nothing ruptured or torn, I’d re-aggravated the Achilles insertion into the heel. She manipulated the subtalar joint a couple of different ways. After stripping the Achilles and giving it a good going over with the ultrasound machine it felt pretty good.

I asked a lot of questions about the ankle. My concern was how chronic this “injury” had become. What was the tenderness that never seems to go away in the heel? Could it be bursitis? Would “laser therapy” be something to consider?

Although I have a “pump bump” from running and playing hockey, the tenderness occurs where the Achilles tendon inserts in to the heel. To me, this is a classis symptom of chronic Achilles tendonitis.

My subtalar joint is still stiff. I need to continue with my exercise and stretching regime.

Friday morning I was walking somewhat better, but the ankle wasn’t feeling quite as good as it did after physio. I considered going to the gym but remembered that I booked by massage appointment on the assumption that Friday was a scheduled rest day.

I went for a walk along the plant mezzanine at work. This is something we normally do after lunch. I really wanted to determine the pain/mobility equation. Did I have less pain and more mobility or vice versa. I was more mobile the longer we walked. The pain was manageable but I had no clue if I was going to be able to run at all on the weekend.

I met my massage therapist at 7pm. We discussed my week, the circumstances of my ankle pain. He went right to work on the left calf and ankle. Gentle but steady pressure on the soleus and massage of the Achilles tendon. It felt good. No pain just pressure. I lost track of time as he worked through different groups of muscles. For the second week, he mentioned how tense I was as he moved my legs around.

We tried a visualization technique or two to try an get me to relax. The first attempt was an epic fail. The visualization was simple. Imagine yourself in a submarine floating through your body. Find the switch that controls the tension and turn it off. I tried, I imagined and searched and had a miserable time. I couldn’t find the switch, did someone steal the switch, no it was just hidden, look harder. I finally wound up in a dark room. I suppose the switch was in there but I couldn’t find it.

Take two: imagine a big electrical switch (easy enough I work in an auto plant I’ve seen lots of them). Turn it off. Simple enough, except in an auto plant there are safety procedure for lock out. I’m laughing at myself, but the safety process isn’t optional. Dammit, just turn off the switch fool. I had a heckuva time but I turned off the switch(ish).

The rest of the massage was uneventful. We also discussed laser therapy, this time I didn’t bring it up. My therapist had worked in a clinic where it was offered and has had it used on himself. His view is that laser therapy can be more effective than ultrasound on tendon related issues. Good news and a have the name of the clinic.

We booked another massage for two weeks out. Once again I walked out the door feeling good.

Saturday morning arrives far too early. The massage effect has worn off and I’m waffling on whether or not I should run 8 km. Although sunny its only 18F outside, I can go in to the gym and do some low impact training, either cycling of elliptical.

My conundrum is that if I go in to the gym I really don’t know if I can run. Our planned route has a loop in it. If I run I could do an abbreviated route should I have problems. Decision made, running it is. While getting ready I found my ankle tensor wrap. During my physiotherapy session we discussed using the tensor to help stabilize the subtalor joint and keep some warmth in the ankle. I wrapped some sport tape around my instep and calf to prevent chafing from the tensor. Tried to put on my sock and rolled the tape on my instep. Running out of time I ripped that bit of tape off and pulled on the tensor over my sock.

Right out of the gate we switched the route. No big deal, except maybe the hill about between kilometres 2 and 3. The pace was a bit quick but I stuck with the group until Shane and Victoria made haste. Marc, Bob, and I stayed together. Approaching the hill, Marc called another audible and we missed the hill by taking the scenic route through the ice fields in Mount Pleasant cemetery. We popped out just behind Shane and Victoria and ran down Oxford.

We were only at 5km at Wharncliffe. The next audible was south to Blackfriars and down Wilson to Queens Ave returning the opposite way we started . Following the revised route would give us our 8km and another hill. Only this time the hill is on Bob as there isn’t another cemetery in the vicinity that we could cut through.

I struggled up the hill at the Queens Ave bridge but was able to make up any distance I lost and followed tight on the heels of Marc and Bob as we turned up Richmond to finish. Marc and I got tangled with traffic at Dufferin and had to wait briefly for it to clear. I wasn’t able to get my stride back was quickly as Marc and fell off the pace finishing last in the group. Overall nothing to complain about except maybe the blister on the side of my heel from the tensor.

I’m not too sore and not too tight. Tomorrow is 26 km. I’m nervous. No wonder I’m so tense.

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