one year anniversary

Today marks one year since my debridement and repair surgery. In some ways it went really quickly. Before the surgery it was a gradual decline of running "a-lot" to not being able to run "at-all". Then there were the months of recovery post surgery.  But once I was able to start running again post-op, I think I made really quick progress! I ran a 50K just 6 months after the surgery (slow, but I still did it.) I’ve run several more since, and have built my weekly mileage back up to where it was before the injury took hold.

I’ve been training through a snowy winter for a 100 mile trail race coming up in June. Winter running has proven to be a challenge for me as running (or even snow shoeing) on snow has been the one thing that really makes my foot hurt more than anything. That being said, I ran a 6 hour trail race on trails covered in snow and mud 2 weeks ago. It was the same race that I ran last year when I realized I COULDN’T run on my Achilles any more. I HAD to run it this year! I was happy enough with my finish at the race this year–not as many miles as I would have liked, but considering that the trails were really slippery, I did well.

I would not say that I am 100% recovered. My dorsi flexion is still terrible in my AT foot. My foot still hurts for a few minutes each morning until I work the "kinks" out. My scar still itches sometimes–and it now has a big, purple "slug" where I once had the pretty little inscision line. There is still an adhesion at the very bottom of the scar that I doubt will ever "let go".  My ankle bone on the inside hurts for no reason. My soleus muscle is still skinny and very tight (which I believe is pulling at that medial anklebone) Perhaps most scary of all– I can feel the boney growth building up on my OTHER Achilles insertion. I suppose it is just a matter of time until the left side will have to be done as well. (although it doesn’t hurt and has not affected my running.) I don’t think any of these things are preventing me from participating in my sport, they are just a reminder that I still have a ways to go.

I hope that other runners who are going through AT recovery right now might benefit from knowing that you CAN get back to running! It’s not easy going through the recovery process, and there will be days where it feels like you will never be "whole" again. But then there will be days when you make a huge jump in progress. Once you start to progress, it builds from there and you will feel stronger and more confident with each passing week.

7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    debvn said,

    April 3, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    Hi eastcoastrunner,

    Great to read about your 1 year anniversary, congratulations!

    I’m super impressed that you are back to running and even running ultra distance races.

    I’m currently at 23 weeks. I do deep water running and just recently added running motions and hopping on the bottom of the pool in the shallow end. Any advice you want to give would be welcome!

    Nice to read about your success and it does give us runners hope for the future, so happy for you!

  2. 2

    HSB said,

    April 3, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    hi ECR. i am a marathoner and it’s been 8 months since i’ve run because of tendonosis. done all the treatments — PT, boot for 3 weeks, ART, graston, dry needling, acupuncture, two PRP injections all to no avail. my MRI shows tendonosis but mild but the pain persists. i take spin classes and swim now. went to a surgeon and he said that the surgery has a very LONG recovery and not always successful. i am not doing any treatments now because i hate to start all over again plus it is expensive. how long did you not run before you had surgery? was your tendonosis bad or mild? i am at my wit’s end without knowing what to do. any advice? thanks

  3. 3

    Skutr said,

    April 3, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    Hey ECR - I just posted my 364 day update and I was thinking about how we seemed to motivate each other from 1/2 way across the US. I remember being inspired by your courage to persevere and overcome. Stay in touch and check in every now and I look forward to your 100 mile race report.

    Blessings - Scott (aka Skutr)

  4. 4

    Darryn said,

    April 3, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

    Wow a 100 miler. You truly are an inspiration. I am 5 months in and yet to get back to any running, let alone a 50 k.

    Which 100 are you doing?

    Darryn

  5. 5

    dfoss said,

    April 4, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the inspiring post. From where we are its nice to know what it can be like after this long wait doing boring exercises and couch sitting is over. Looking forward to one day counting increased miles instead of baby steps.

  6. 6

    eastcoastrunner said,

    July 1, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

    I haven’t posted in a long time…I have to go find my password in order to get into my blog to update. But I thought I’d just post a quick note about my 100mile trail run @ 14 months post-op.
    Well, we’ve had a LOT of rain in New England. Rain= MUD. Mud= lateral slipping and sliding , which is still the one place I where I still struggle with my AT. The mud at this race ranged from ankle deep to mud/water thigh deep–it was tough! I am happy to say that I ran the race without tendon pain. I didn’t finish the 100 miles–I missed the cut-off at 75 miles to continue on (the mud slowed me down TOO much and I couldn’t make up the time) There were only 64 people who finished out of 192 starters, so I really don’t feel too badly. It was the trail conditions and not anything else that caused me to not make the 100 miles. I had a little AT swelling, and the tendons on the front of my foot were also swollen, but mostly I think it held up well. I’m still trying to recover from the distance of the run, so just short runs in the past 2 weeks and everything sort of hurts, even my AT a bit!

  7. 7

    lodinpdx said,

    July 1, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    Eastcoastrunner,

    CONGRATS!! Oh I can not wait to run!! I live out in Oregon and we have lots of running trails. I have to say that I have always been a bit of a mud weenie and my friends make fun of me for that. I guess I will have a built in no mud excuse for at least a little while!

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