Training, April 9 - 15

Monday: 10 AM - 8 miles.
Achilles felt pretty jacked up.  Not good.  Did additional eccentric calves, balancing exercises, and heat/ice throughout the day.

Tuesday: Off from running; GS
Additional eccentric calves, balancing exercises, and heat/ice throughout the day.  

Wednesday: 5 PM - 5 miles easy; GS.
Additional eccentric calves, balancing exercises, and heat/ice throughout the day.  

Thursday: 8 AM - 6 miles easy; eccentric calves, balancing exercises, and heat.
4 PM - 25:00 on the elliptical machine.  
My first time on one of these.  Not terrible, but I'm not particularly fond of it either.  I feel the motion isn't as running-specific as I'd hoped.  I also have no idea what I'm doing in terms of the ramp angle (ranging from 1 to 20 on my machine) or resistance.  For most of the session, I left the ramp somewhere in the middle and kept the resistance low enough that my cadence would be in the 170-180 range (this being my approximate stride rate when I'm running a decent aerobic effort).  We'll see how it goes.  
6 PM - Massage work on the Achilles.  Then on the bike ride home, right in front of the newly-opened Lincoln Hotel, I got "doored" for the first time in my life.  I knew it was probably only a matter of time—being a regular biker in the city—before I would get into some sort of legitimate wreck.  Everyone I know who regularly bikes the city has something like this happen sooner or later (my roommate was recently run down by an unwitting driver merging right, for instance).  Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet.  I very nearly avoided the "dooring."  As door swung open, I veered hard left, but not in time to miss it.  Normally, I would try to leave a little more space between me and parked cars, but I was on a busy Clark Street headed south, two lanes of traffic and no separate bike lane.  Upon impact, the fork on my bike spread apart and my front wheel came off.  I went over the handlebars (and door?—hard to know) and landed more or less on my head and shoulder.  When I first stood up, I thought I was totally fine.  But then I noticed that my ear was bleeding quite a lot.  After I cleaned it a bit in the hotel bathroom, it was clear I'd need to make a trip to the ER.  The cartilage was cut open fairly deep, so I needed to get it stitched.  However, other than the ear, I don't have a single scratch or bruise on me.  Pretty remarkable, really.  The girl who opened the door felt terrible (so terrible, in fact, that it made me feel bad for her feeling so bad, as I was essentially fine); she was exceedingly nice, driving me to the ER, waiting with me at the hospital, and even driving me home after the whole ordeal.

Friday: 10 AM - 4 miles of walking. 
Went to go pick up my bike (at the hotel) and take it to a shop to get fixed.  Felt good to stretch the Achilles out a bit.  I probably could have run on it, as it felt pretty decent, but I figured a day off may be good for it.  And I wasn't sure how my ear would feel with all the jarring of running, as it was still pretty tender.  
1 PM - 45:00 on the elliptical; GS.
Additional eccentric calves, balancing exercises, and heat/ice throughout the day.  

Saturday: 8 AM - 5 miles easy.

Sunday: Noon - 6 miles easy; bicycles, balancing on half swiss ball, eccentric calves, ankle resistance band exercises, self-massage. 
Achilles felt good on the run, maybe 95%.  Still developing this creaking sensation in the Achilles by the end of the run.  And then afterwards, I can feel it "creak" every time I push off on that foot.  Through heating and massage, I can usually get that feeling to go away by the end of the day.  

Summary: 30 miles running, 1:10:00 on the elliptical

Haven't had a whole lot of luck on my bike the past month or so.  This week's accident actually isn't that big of a deal, as it doesn't keep me from running.  It's this ongoing Achilles issue that is the real problem of course.  It's extraordinarily frustrating for a few reasons.  One, it wasn't my own neglect of core strength or anything of that sort that led to the injury.  I'm one of the least injury prone runners I know (I haven't had an overuse injury since 1999—only freak things like a fall or bike wreck), which I have always seen as one of my greatest strengths as a runner.  So to be taken out by something so random is rough.  The other thing that makes this particularly frustrating is the timing.  My whole life is in a bit of flux right now, as I quit my job a month and a half ago.  I've finally got the time to train at the level I've always wanted to train, yet find myself unable to do so.  

Reading about American River and Lake Sonoma, I just wish I could be out there racing, mixing it up.  With the Ice Age 50 Mile less than four weeks away now, my ability to race there is also looking questionable.  If things are going OK, I think my litmus test will be a 20 miler a week prior to IA50.  If I can complete that run pain free, I'll race.  I'm not afraid to toe the line and try to compete with only a 20 mile long run under my belt.  But if there's an obvious risk of messing up my Achilles even more, I of course won't take it.

OCD on my general strength and cross training, which should help to make me very strong when I'm ready to train at a full running volume again.  As it seems the Achilles isn't going to clear up immediately, I'm now ready to commit to loads of time on the elliptical and bike.  My basic plan is to double every day along with doing some general strength work (more some days than others).  Ideally, I'll run in the morning and elliptical in the afternoon.  If the heel is giving me trouble, I'll bike in the morning and elliptical in the afternoon.  Each consecutive day I can run without an issue, I'll likely add another mile or two until I'm hopefully running 8 or 9 miles each morning, or about an hour.  I'm finding that I can't run very quickly (say 6:00 pace), because the ground impact forces end up being too great and I have setbacks with the Achilles.  So until I can run for a week or more completely pain free, I think everything needs to be 7:00 pace or slower to keep the pressure on my Achilles relatively low.