Saturday, October 10, 2020 – Lebanon, Ohio
Since my last race back in March, I have focused on training consistently while monitoring the status of many road races. At times I fell into periods of overtraining, using workouts instead of races to prove my fitness. Forced out of my comfort zone, I invested in technology such as my first GPS watch (Coros Apex) and the Stryd foot-pod, which have provided great insights into training load, stress, and recovery.
After aggravating an old achilles injury back in August, I took some down weeks to try to recover and I felt it was time to rip the band-aid off and test myself with a race. The Already Loved Trick-or-Trot 5K provided the perfect opportunity to do that. I figured I could go out and run an honest effort without the stress or pressure of a big race. My goal was to run conservatively and shoot for around 5:10/mile, and then let loose on the third mile if everything still felt okay.
I felt good for the first two miles, things were flowing and I felt relaxed. There was a downhill/uphill during the second mile, which I took conservatively and maintained a steady effort over the hill. On the third mile, a straight shot to the finish with all turns and hills behind me, I felt my right achilles tendon tighten up and the pain was severe. I’ve been managing this injury since 2018, and I really wanted to get a race in, so I made the instant decision to finish. It was a difficult third mile but I decided to hold the pace and consider the damage afterwards.
In hindsight, I probably made the wrong decision, but racing forces you to think and act swiftly. The damage to my achilles was obvious as I could not run, or even walk normally, after the race. I got out of there quickly in order to regroup, put some ice on the tendon to reduce the swelling, and ultimately to jump-start the process of healing. After limping along with this injury sustained back in August, I realized it was time to address the issue head-on and get back to a place where I can resume training injury-free.
I have since resumed Physical Therapy at Mobility Fit, where I spent a lot of time in 2019 overcoming this same injury. They’ve helped me heal, improve my running form, and to strengthen other lower-leg weaknesses. It’s a humbling place, but a place that has been a consistent starting-point for my success.
Next thing on the schedule will be getting healthy so that I can resume training this winter and racing in 2021. Let me know what you’re working towards – drop a note in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram @ohloru. Stay safe, stay healthy, and smash that next race!