Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spiridon Didn't Do This

The bike trainer isn't so bad for an hour, hour and a half. It's especially not so bad outside in the sunshine instead of downstairs in the basement gloom.*

But I'd rather be running.

I've backed off on the running the past 10 days. Since Feb. 11, I've run just twice, the 10-miler in San Luis Obispo and then a 10-miler on the soft chip trail of Glendoveer this past Wednesday. I almost convinced myself, after the Glendoveer run, that I could barge through this injury, if you want to call it that, without reducing my mileage. I'm still almost convinced. Almost.

What ails me is a little mysterious. In many ways it's the same thing I experienced in the fall and early winter of 2008: pain on the outside of my left ankle, just in back of the knobby ankle bone and spreading down into the heel and up into the Achilles tendon. Back then, two different doctors offered vague non-diagnoses, agreeing only that my Achilles appeared healthy. Since then, I've learned about trigger points and it's abundantly clear to me I have some issues in my left calf. When I work the trigger point in there the ankle/heel/Achilles loosens up beautifully.

So I've been doing a lot of trigger-point work and the run at Glendoveer was, like, 80 percent trouble free. I ran it pretty hard at points, too, with several miles at or under 7:00/mile on a very soft, slow track. That's what had me almost convinced. But the evening after the run the tightness and slight aggravation when getting up after sitting down was still evident. It made me afraid, and I haven't run since.

With 10 weeks to go until Eugene, I figure now is the time to be cautious. I figure—well, I hope—that a few days of extra rest here will allow me to put in some serious training weeks in March, crunch-time for a May 2 marathon.

The bike trainer is my salvation when I can't, or won't, run. I can work up a sweat, work the legs. Sure it's an entirely different sort of exercise and not even close to being an adequate replacement for running. You don't become a better runner by riding a bike trainer. However, you might not become too much of a worse runner by riding a bike trainer.

Next week I'm getting back to running, to see where I stand. A stretch of hard/easy/hard/easy all on soft surfaces. (In fact, I may not do another Eugene training mile on concrete or asphalt. It was a 16-miler on that shit that caused this flare-up.)

*On a sunny, 58-degree afternoon, why not go for an actual bike ride? Welcome to the life of the single dad. Plus, in an hour on the bike I can give myself a much better workout than an hour on the streets. I did some killer short intervals and a period of hard steady spinning. It was great.

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