Late October, I fired off a tearful email to Coach Kurt which went something along the lines of “I don’t see this Achilles thing coming around, so let’s plan on me becoming an UBER Aqua-bike racer for 2016—my running is over sniff sniff waaaaaaa”. As most of you know, I’ve been dealing with an Achilles issue for most of the 2015 season. Short of surgery, I’ve tried most everything to fix it (PRP, stem cell magnate injections, ART, a ton of Kelly Starrett-esque mobility exercises, foam rolling, stick rolling, night splint, cupping, etc. However, the ONE thing that I wasn’t doing was Eccentric Heel Drops (EHDs) with any sort of weight.
After I fired off that email to Kurt, I sat back and thought—why not do weighted EHDs immediately before and after each run? After pondering this strategy for a couple hours, I finally said f*ck this, I can fix this—and so it went.
Two hours after my sniffle-y freakout outreach to Kurt , I did roughly 40 EHDs with a weighted backpack strapped to me. I didn’t own any weights at the time, so I used large cookbooks
What was holding back in me getting better? Calf Strength? When I first started EHDs sans any weight, my calves were MARATHON sore the next day. Gradually, I’ve added to the weight and clearly strengthened my calves. I’m up to about a 30 pound pack.
My achilles-slash-calf gets a little stiff during running. The nature of the EHDs lengthen and strengthen those calf muscles and tendon fibers. After my rounds of EHDs post-run, I don’t feel a thing. It has made perfect sense to add these weighted EHDs
Over the next four weeks, I jogged 3 days a week. EHDs two or three times a day, usually three sets of 3 x 15 on each leg and on running days immediately before and after run, are de rigeur. Most nights I sleep in a night splint (great for my achilles, bad for my marriage) as to hold my foot in dorsiflexion and passively lengthen the tendon (I tend to sleep on my stomach with one leg bent and head turned so my feet default to plantar flexion). The most my Achilles has bothered me is during the runs when I feel a little “thereness”.
Geoff and I were fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving week down in Mexico in Punta de Mita. We arrived at the St. Regis on Monday morning and got wind that they were hosting a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It made complete sense given the fact that about 90% of the guests staying that week were from the U.S.A. I turned to Geoff and said “let’s do it”. Geoff was mildly concerned about my Achilles but I told him that I’d be smart about the whole thing. We managed a shakeout run Tuesday morning. Shakeout run is a euphemism for “a run which we
We quickly learned that the St. Regis doesn’t miss any detail in making sure the guests’ experiences exceed expectation. The Turkey Trot rolled around Thursday morning and we arrived up to check in at the lobby area. A full Bloody Mary bar was bustling (courtesy of Patron). A DJ was there playing thumpy club music. Coffee, tea, 3 kinds of juice, fruit, granola bars and pastries were set up on the deck overlooking the resort. Kids and parents were milling around. The staff had made headbands and turkey patches for the kids to sport during the run. We were all given race numbers and T-shirts. There were
It’s been 6 days since that Turkey trot. I’m still feeling the last of the lactic acid build up in my quads. I think that I was spared any calf soreness due to the daily EHDs. I’ve been able to string together a few short, slow runs since we have been back. I don’t think that there is one magic remedy for Achilles Tendonosis, but this seems to be working.
Here is a recipe that mimics one of the drinks I enjoyed–a not-so-sugary Tequila drink
A Runner-Triathlete’s Cucumber-Mint Margarita
- 1.5 ounces Silver Tequila
- Juice of ½ Lime
- 4 slices of Cucumber
- 8 mint leaves
- Splash of Cointreau or Orange Juice
Place all ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour in tall glass rimmed with
electrolytes (heh heh had to throw that in) salt and enjoy.
Here’s to December and finally some consistent training on the horizon.