Happy holidays to all my readers! It's hard to believe, but this month marks four years of blogging! Thanks to everyone for your continued readership.
Last Thursday I was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendonitis, affectionately known by runners as "post-tib," in my right leg. I know exactly how it developed. When I was fighting Achilles discomfort, I wore heel lifts during my run, and my heel lifts slipped around quite a bit in my shoes, stressing my right posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the leg and basically connects the arch to the calf muscle. It is a key stabilizer of the lower leg. When the tendon is inflamed, as mine is, you often feel pain in the ankle and up the inside of your calf. If the injury is ignored, eventually the tendon may fail altogether and the arch collapses, often requiring major surgery. If the injury is treated early, the prognosis is good.
My doctor, who is a foot and ankle specialist, recommended that I shut down completely for two weeks. That means no running, walking, cycling or swimming. The two-week shutdown started last Friday and will end on January 6th. In almost eight years of long-distance running, I've never experienced a shutdown quite like this one. When injured, I've always been able to cross-train. But not this time. I'm set to begin physical therapy sometime next week.
Fortunately, my leg seems to be improving, thanks to lots of rest and icing. The pain in my ankle is subsiding. The discomfort and stiffness in my leg is still there, but it's improving. I'm hopeful that by January 6th I'll be ready to resume running, albeit gradually. I've been in contact with a few runners I know who've had this injury and they all said it gets better with rest, ice and time.
I'm sure to lose a decent amount of fitness during this two-week shutdown, and that indeed is unfortunate. But it's fitness I'll quickly regain with patience and perseverance.
As with many things in life, I see a silver linking in this two-week shutdown. It'll allow my body to heal and hopefully all the lingering issues I've been dealing with--achy muscles, an achy Achilles, etc.--will heal, setting me up for a great 2012 racing season. However, a PR effort at the Georgia Marathon on 3/18 is now pretty much not going to happen. I may still run the marathon, but without any expectations. Ultimately, what matters most to me is being ready for the Leadville 100 in August. I still have lots of time.
Here's to a healthy 2012 racing season!