My first run

Twelve weeks and 6 days ago I suffered a complete rupture of my right Achilles, with a repair done 2 days later.  Such a strange experience…never being seriously hurt before it was quite an event in my life.  I was very active–running, playing basketball, lifting weights, walking/running dogs, and playing with a toddler.  I found this site in a drug induced stupor 2 days after my surgery, and it has been both a good friend and reassuring presence as I worked through each step of recovery.

Today was a big day.  For the first time in over 3 months, I laced up my running shoes (a new pair to celebrate the event :) ) and hit an indoor track.  (I was supposed to have a brand spanking new treadmill by now, don’t get me started on my dissatisfaction with Scheels All Sports!)  I stretched a little and then just started a slow jog and just did a mile with a couple of laps warmdown.  A far cry from 21 minute 5K’s or a sub-2 hour half marathon, but I’ll take it!!!!  Much like when I had to learn how to walk normal again, I also had to learn how to run normal…the natural roll of the foot and just relaxing and letting it happen.  By the end of the run my Achilles felt great and it was coming back to me.  I look forward to adding distance and then speeding up as well.  I can’t tell you all how great it is do something that a few months back was so simple.  One added benefit of the run was once again how great the AT feels…the run really loosened it up and walking after the run felt 100% normal, just as it did pre-ATR.  Some things I learned:

  • A lot of the recovery is in your head.  Getting your mind off the AT and relaxing does wonders to returning to normality.
  • I am very glad my surgeon was aggressive in my recovery and ecouraged early movement.  I just ran!!  When I first did this I thought it would be another 1-2 months before I was capable of that.
  • PT can do wonders.  Even if you cannot afford PT or a lot of it, research stretching, balance, and strength training post-ATR surgery and do it at home and start them when you hit the tendon recovery “safe zone” of 8-12 weeks.

I had a personal goal of 118 days to full recovery.  Based on the marathon tracker this gives me another 30 days to be “back to normal”, or very close to it.  I have every intention of being there.

7 Responses to “My first run”

  1. Big congrats! I am anxiously waiting for my doctor’s appt next week for clearance to start running. I wanted to ask you about your new shoes (swanky, btw). I went in to a runner’s store and they steered me to the Brooks Trance 8 (tried it but found it way too stiff) and the Asics Kayano 15 (didn’t like the Achilles rub). I went with the Brooks Adrenaline 8 and really like ‘em. To be honest, I didn’t know jack about running shoes until a few weeks ago. Holy cow there are a lot of options. I was thinking of trying the Asics 2140 as well. As I imagine you know, alll of these shoes are support style. Are you a Saucony fan? Any other advice from a runner AND ATRer? Thanks!

  2. Hey Dave, thank you! Running stores are a great place to look for your first good running shoes–the people there typically run a lot themselves and are very knowledgeable. I have had good luck with Saucony, and after trying on some others kept coming back to them…just good shoes. They have good support or stability models too, such as the ProGrid Omni 7, which are comparable to your Brooks. It’s funny, I have always wanted to try a pair of Brooks–you’ll have to let me know how you like them. Although many other lifelong runners swear by Asics the 2 pairs I have had just didn’t work for me. Really though I think it is all about trying out different brands until you find one you like, such as Saucony for myself. (One tip–I have found spending over $90-100 doesn’t necessarily give you a much other than making your wallet a little lighter.) As far as running tips and ATR…talk to me a few months from now. :) Seriously though, I think it is a great way to stay in shape/rehab with relatively little stress on your AT, as running is not inherently as explosive as say basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. Good luck as you start to run!

  3. Congrats! on your speedy recovery! It is certainly inspirational to read. I hope my achilles feesl the same way once I get out and run on it. I got a looooong way to go though.

  4. Hey Andy, I’ve been meaning to check back ever since the 13th when you said you were going to try running the next day. Great to hear that it went well. Any residual pain or tightness the day after? What’s your plan for the next 30 days in terms of your running schedule and physical therapy?

  5. Congrats on your speedy recovery. My PT told me to compare my recovery to others (I’m at 18 weeks, biking, walking far, but not running). I’ll stick to the elliptical trainers at the gym :)

    On shoes: I’m in a pair of Brooks that I love to death. I’m going to get a second identical pair. These are running shoes - but apparently running shoes give the best support, even for walking.

  6. I’m back with an early shoe report…I picked up a pair of Saucony ProGrid Omni 7 from amazon at a steep discount to compare with the Brooks Adrenalines. I love the Brooks–great support and feels great around the ankle and AT. The Saucony is very comfortable and has terrific cushioning while offering excellent support. The one downside is that I have gotten ankle swelling on my bad foot after running in them. The throat (the top opening that you put your foot into) is higher and tighter than the Brooks (which seems, on loose comparison, similar to the Asics and others).

    Guess I’m going to stick with the Brooks Adrenaline and can even go so far as to recommend them to other ATRers who are looking for a solid support running shoe. If anyone has anything else to add to this discussion, I’m all ears!

  7. Hey Dave–yup, it is best to go with whatever works best for you. There is certainly no perfect shoe for everybody. I might even have to give Brooks a try! What is funny is I seem to have had the best luck with shoes in the $60-80 range over the higher end ones…they inherently seem to be less rigid, and I like a flexible shoe. More expensive ones with more bells and whistles seem to be stiffer. Oh well, maybe someday I’ll find the perfect shoe. :)

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