Running Again!

Today I ran at Rancho San Antonio from the horse trailer lot through the farm up the creek side of the Wildcat Loop to the fork for the lower Wildcat Loop and back, a total of about 4.5 miles. This is something of a milestone for me. It’s the longest run I’ve done since the Rock n Roll 10k I shouldn’t have done (but did) and since my surgery. I feel like I’m finally getting back to normal. It was a beautiful 70 degree day there, by the way.

I’ll back up. On 8/27/17 I signed up for the San Jose Rock n Roll 10K scheduled for Oct. 7. My son was running the half marathon and I saw it as a great father-son event. I’d been running well and thought I was in good shape for it. 10K was a distance I could handle. On Sept. 5 I was running at a nice slow jog and felt a sudden stab like a knife in my left upper Achilles tendon/lower calf. In any event, I couldn’t run. I limped back to my car. I couldn’t run for the next month. Two days after the injury I had a biopsy for something unrelated. It came back positive. The doctor prescribed Cipro (an antibiotic) for the biopsy, apparently unaware that a black box warning for that drug warned that Cipro can cause increased risk for Achilles tendinitis or rupture, especially in men over 65 who are physically active and have blood type O. I am all of the above. Sure enough, I got excruciating tendinitis in the right tendon two days later despite no physical activity. That lasted about 10 days, until the drug left my system. My left tendon, meanwhile, still hurt badly from the injury. Needless to say, I couldn’t run. I couldn’t even walk farther than from my easy chair to the bathroom. My doctor ordered me not to run the 10K. My entry fees were non-refundable, but the race was a month away, so I thought maybe I could walk it by then. The day before the race I picked up my race packet and had no trouble walking two miles, the longest I’d walked since the biopsy.

I did the race. I tried to walk it at first, but the crowd was so dense around me that I had to jog lightly to avoid collisions with people around me. I felt good and both tendons weren’t hurting so I couldn’t resist the urge to keep jogging. After about a third of the race I realized I’d made a mistake. My injured left tendon began to hurt pretty bad, so I started walking. It continued to get worse. After another third or so I was limping badly. I broke into a halting limp/jog just so I could get back to my car sooner. Somehow I finished first in my age group (70+). Everyone else must have crawled it. Anyway, my injury was exacerbated and I could barely walk for a month, much less run. By mid November I was just getting able to jog short distances again, although my tendon still hurt and I was out of shape. I did maybe two or three short runs.

On November 21 I had “minor” cancer surgery which turned out to be not so minor. Don’t worry, I’m not dying or anything. If you really want the grisly details you can search this blog and find them. It did require me not to run for a month. So my conditioning got even worse. When I did resume running weeks later, I couldn’t run more than a mile without becoming completely winded. There were other unpleasant side effects from my treatment, too, which limited my ability to run. Slowly over the last six weeks or so I have resumed running. It hasn’t been fun, but I knew that if I didn’t force myself to get back in shape, it never would be. I’m still a long way from where I want to be, and my left Achilles still hurts some, but today was the first day since Sept. 5 that I actually enjoyed running like I used to. I swear I’m not going to do any more races and not going to try to run fast. My goal now is just to avoid injury so I can continue to run regularly and appreciate the beautiful country and gorgeous weather we have here.

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