It feels like the injury lasted forever although it's only been 5 weeks since I first felt the pain in my achilles tendon. I just figured for the longest time it was achilles tendonitis which is a very common overuse injury to runners. What I couldn't figure out was why it hurt right away even after taking four or five days of rest. It also felt best in the mornings which typically isn't the case with achilles tendonitis. As it turned out I had a cyst on my achilles tendon. The ultrasound showed the cyst and when I went back to the orthopedic this week she aspirated it. For those who aren't familiar aspiration is popping the cyst with a needle and draining it. She said it wasn't very big and she wasn't able to drain much but definitely popped it. She put a little cortisone near the cyst but was careful not to inject it into my tendon as that can cause the tendon to weaken. The operation was on Thursday. The change in how I felt was instantaneous. You can compare the picture this week to last and see the swelling has gone down a lot although I still have a bit to go. I went for a ride Friday and immediately felt relieved to have absolutely no pain. As I told my wife, "I didn't have a sniff of pain" the entire ride. I got pretty excited about that and ended up riding pretty hard for 23 miles. Average speed was 22.1 mph on the training bike and my average watts was 271 for the ride. Saturday I rode 43 miles again pain free, and Sunday I rode 58 still without a hint of pain. Just like I had hoped for my legs are very fresh and none of the rides were very tiring. Along with the 124 miles I rode this weekend I also swam 13,400 yards and lifted weights twice this week. I'm far enough along in the season that I plan to keep lifting twice as opposed to three times each week. The doctor told me not to resume plyometrics for a few more weeks incase the tendon is weaker. Plyos are very high impact.
I plan to begin my running comeback tomorrow with a short run. If all goes well I'm hoping to get 25 miles running this week. After some serious thinking about my long term goals I decided not to race in Memphis in two weeks. The director of the race said he would transfer my entry to next year's race. I could have gone there and had a decent race but that's not what I'm looking for right now. I wanted to go race to the best of my abilities and without any running the past three weeks I decided the best thing for me long term is to get some quality training in that week without worrying about a race. I'm hoping this injury will allow me to extend my season into September and possibly October at the U.S. Open in Dallas, TX.
On Sunday I stopped in to Healthy Habits and the guys there gave me a really sweet package from Zipp, the company that makes the world's fastest bike wheels. I'm excited about the new Zipp products and will race in the Zipp jersey this year. I asked the Healthy Habits owner, Bruce Grell how they knew my size and he said they told him they were sending an XL because they run really tight. How tight??...I couldn't believe how tight they run! I probably better work really hard over the next month to get to "fighting weight" or I may not fit into this jersey! I've got more exciting products coming from Zipp and Healthy Habits I'll announce once they are in. I'm thankful to have these great sponsors helping me on this journey. For totals this week my training time was 14 hours. That number should start to climb now that I'm healthy. My first race will now be the Swing into Spring Duathlon in Davenport, IA on May 24. After that I'll be racing in the Elite wave of the Pigman Triathlon in Cedar Rapids on June 7th, and then back home for the QC Triathlon on June 20th and my first pro-qualifying race at Hy-Vee in DesMoines on June 28. I'm anxious to find out where my running is this week. I know my cycling and swimming are much better than they've ever been. I'M BACK. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!