Sunday, April 12, 2009

Armed for Battle- Week 23 Summary

So this achilles injury is a much tougher foe than I thought. I know the seriousness of achilles injuries. I've probably read about 100 websites about them ranging from what causes them, what it can become, what to do to get rid of the pain, to forums of others who have similar injuries. This has been a tough battle. It's tested me mentally and physically. It's not easy knowing I'm in the best shape of my life but without being able to run and bike the fitness level has no doubt dropped and will continue to until I'm 100% healthy. I took 4 days of no cycling from last Saturday through Tuesday. I saw Dr. Kaminski three times for ART treatments and was feeling very healthy. I was confident the achilles was healed. I had no pain doing any of the exercises to test it. On Wednesday I rode 15 miles and felt fine. Thursday was so nice out I decided to test my strength in a time trial on the bike. I warmed up and then rode 12.6 miles out and back as hard as I could on my time trial bike. I averaged 25.8 miles per hour which was faster than I've ever ridden that distance. Last year I did the same course in the middle of June and averaged only 23.4 mph so I know I'm WAY ahead of where I was. Unfortunately after the ride my achilles swelled back up more than it has yet. This injury is proving to be my biggest obstacle yet. I've now armed myself for battle to beat this opponent.

I've decided to rest as much as it takes...the frustrating part is that I can feel better to find out after a run or ride that it's not better. I've decided I need to get this better now before the big races start in June, July, and August. As much as I'd like to race in two weeks and do well in Memphis in May I need to take the time to rest now so I can race and train without pain this summer. I've had to look back at last year to remind myself to be patient. I am 30 lbs. lighter than I was a year ago. I didn't do my first ride or start running or swimming until late May. I'll continue to get ART treatment to help defeat this opponent. I also received some good information from Olympic silver medalist Simon Whitfield of Canada about making some adjustments to my bike shoes and saddle to take some stress off the achilles. I'm an avid follower of Simon's blog and knew he had an achilles injury not long ago. I shot him an e-mail not expecting to hear anything back but within 15 minutes he responded with some very good information about bike adjustments and possible causes for the achilles pain from biking. It was exciting just to hear back from a guy who was a silver medalist! I've also armed myself with an achilles tendon strap and a shoe lift to wear the first few weeks back once I'm healthy enough to start training. The biggest thing I'm doing to beat this opponent is staying positive. My biggest race isn't until late August. Although I'm losing fitness now I'm also getting rested up so I can train hard through the summer while remaining fresh. I started training November 3rd and knew that would make for a long season. With the extra rest I don't have to worry about being tired by summer's end. I may be able to race longer into the season. I'll look into racing at the US Open in Dallas, TX in October. I will also look into my first 1/2 Ironman the week after Chicago. This is a distance I may have more success in than the Olympic because the swim isn't much longer and the bike and run are much longer which play to my strengths. Lastly, this injury is forcing me to work more on my weakness...swimming. I swam 14,200 yards this week, my most in over 3 months. I can feel my technique getting better and that will pay off this summer. In total I trained 11 hours this week. I'll continue resting and healing up with hopes of running pain free a week from now. I know God has great plans for me and this is all part of His plan to make me faster, and tougher mentally in the long run. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!


Bruther said...

I've dealt with my achilles flaring up for the last three years. Finally resigned to the pain and just try to work around it. The bike doesn't aggravate mine, but running does. Sorry to hear it.

TJ said...

Jeff, Tim Jansen here...I met you at the pool yesterday...we shared a lane for a workout. You taught both of my kids, David and Elizabeth. Found your blog and thought I'd comment on how much I am impressed with your performances to date, and your commitment to making it as a Pro. I feel bad for you regarding your injury...but know that you will come out the other side stronger and better prepared. Having a chronic hip problem, I can tell you I know very well what you are going through. Much of it is mental...and a positive attitude will pay big dividends. After talking with you a bit yesterday, I am sure you have a great attitude. Wishing you all the best this season! Tim

Jeff Paul said...

Thanks Tim! The words of encouragement mean a lot. Good luck with your summer training! Hopefully I'll see you again in the pool soon!