Back in the Saddle Again…

Fat Old Rocky - I can relate....

If last January I made reference to Rocky IV and getting fit in the dead of the winter, than Sunday began my imitation of Rocky Balboa (VI), where a fat, ancient Rocky takes baby steps to eventually regain his mojo.  It’s amazing how long it takes to get in race shape, but how fast it can go away….

After quite possibly the least productive doctor’s visit last Tuesday, I was left with the knowledge that I should take some prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and give my achilles a “little” time off.  X-rays showed that there was not any calcium/bone buildup in my heel, which was a good thing, but didn’t show much else (shocker).  The doctor also used her 4+ years of medical school and all her time as an intern and understudy to inform me that I wasn’t very flexible and should stretch more.   Eureka!  Why didn’t I think of that!?!

Luckily I ran into my normal doc and my go-to physical therapist in the next couple days, and in my opinion got a better diagnosis in the parking lot than I did in the office several days earlier.  In a nutshell it seemed like less was better, but they thought that the odds of avoiding a rupture were in my favor.  Flat surfaces were better than hills, bikes and ellipticals would avoid the impact angle that aggravate the condition.  Treadmill in the pool would work like a charm.  That pretty much put me on a “fish or cut bait” schedule, so “fish” it was….

For the record, after a Budweiser and peach cobbler bender Saturday night, I officially tipped the scales 13 pounds heavier than I was for the world meet and Harrisburg Mile.  Some of that was certainly liquid bloat, but I was avoiding the scale during my down time for this very reason.  Ugh – looks like I let that slip a little farther than I would have chosen – is there a Clydesdale Division at 5th Ave?

Sunday was Day 1 of Operation Crash Course.  Got in the pool for 45 easy minutes – have to start somewhere.  Went to work that afternoon, got to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Milwaukee for an evening and a day.  6 miles on Monday morning on a trail behind their house, have definitely had easier runs but I guess that comes with a big layoff.  Think I have only run about 3 or 4 times on land since the world meet not counting races and the accompanying warmups and cool downs, so I definitely have my work cut out for me.  I’ll have to go back and check out how things went last year, as I was kind of in the same boat – laid up, pool-heavy training, fighting the clock (calendar) to get ready for 5th Ave.

I think the risk will be worth the reward in this case, so hopefully the achilles will hold up and I can get ready for and be competitive for a couple of the fall road races I have had on the schedule for quite a while.  I plan on being as smart as I can, but realize that there isn’t a lot of ‘middle ground’ on this – I’ve either got to shut it down entirely or slowly but surely get back to where I was 6 weeks ago.  I think I can do that and not overdo the foot – I’ll be on the track and trails some, but there’s also going to be a ton of gym equipment and even more HydroWorx miles.  And some stretching, of course….


About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
This entry was posted in 5th Avenue Mile, Aquatic Fitness, Competitive Races, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Running, Running Injuries, Water Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Back in the Saddle Again…

  1. Good to hear things are back on track, or at least on their way to getting there. Your Achilles issue sounds like the one I’m dealing with. FWIW, I bought an AirCast for $70 on Amazon about a week ago: I wear that during my waking hours to eliminate much of the Achilles movement and it seems to be helping. I’m still running, but being cautious; and of course, I’m not running with the AirCast on. 😉

    • Nick Berra says:

      I’ve thought about the boot – been wearing a “night splint” to bed to keep the foot bent. Don’t know if it works or not but I know it bugs the heck out of me and is usually removed in the wee hours of the night. Still have my fingers crossed…

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