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Leaving the scab alone

21 January, 2010

Another 20ish minutes on the track. It felt really good until my calf muscle started to tighten up. at which point I backed off immediately. I was nearing a 4:00/km pace without even realizing it (another runner doing long intervals was running at this pace near me), and with a mild and dry evening this was pure running pleasure, while it lasted.

So far with this injury, I’ve had good discipline with not pushing it too much, which is uncharacteristic. I usually cede too soon to the temptation to push the limit, just to prove that everything is okay once more. At least the pace felt easy enough, so it seems my fitness hasn’t suffered yet. Looking back on my training over the last couple of months, I think it’s been quite well-balanced overall, so perhaps this calf tear is really just the tip of the iceberg, and something else would have soon had to give it hadn’t been for that.

I was commiserating today with a fellow runner suffering from achilles tendinosis. Commiserating is an overstatement, for he is a stoical type, and I respect that. If, like me until today, you think the pinch test is about subcutaneous fat, then read on, at least if you’re a runner too. Achilles tendinosis is not something you want to get, it’s a degenerative condition ranking somewhere between stress fracture and outright amputation. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. How to catch it in time, from Noakes’s Lore of Running:
A feeling of tenderness or discomfort, either when the Achilles tendon is pinched between the thumb and forefinger or when firm pressure is applied along the borders of the shin-bone (the tibia) or the knee-cap, indicates trouble. If this is allowed to go unchecked, the result may be a debilitating injury.

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