Monday, January 18, 2010

medical report and injury scare

I'll start with the good news:
Up until yesterday, I felt like I was making fine progress and was much better off than I was 6 months ago at the time of my last medical report.
-4 out of the 6 ratios are within the normal range. Tissue sodium fell from an off the scale reading of 89 down to 51 (ideal is 25-30). Tissue potassium fell from 20-15 and is now in the normal (not ideal) range.
-Despite the fact that I stopped supplementing with zinc, manganese and chromium, none of those values changed significantly. Zn and Mn actually rose slightly (only Mn is normal).
-Tissue copper rose from 1.2 to 1.6 and is now within the normal range.
-The adrenal fatigue ratio (Na/K) is 3.4 (normal is 2.5-4.0) so I can't get much better in that all important area. That one is most important.
The two ratios that are outside of the normal range are very bad. They are also 2 of the 3 most important ratios and have to do with thyroid and adrenal function. Both are significantly overactive to the point in which it is causing significant energy loss and poor connective tissue healing, which has left me vulnerable to injury. Neither ratio improved significantly since the last test. The adrenal hormone ratio, which is different from adrenal fatigue got slightly better while the thyroid got worse so figure it's a wash overall.
The only thing I can do is increase my Lithium dosage but even that may not be enough.
The injury scare:
My achilles tendon is very sore. It actually hurts to walk and it is a little bit swollen in a localized area. Some of my readers will tell me that I was asking for injury all along with my intense training, which included pushing too hard on easy days. Part of me agrees and part of me disagrees. My response is that with few exceptions, my easy runs were in the 7:45-8:00 range, which is at the fast end but still in the range prescribed for someone with my 5K time according to the McMillan calculator. Second, the intensity of the runs seemed to be within my capacity. Third, since the McMillan calculator is designed for 70-80 MPW athletes and I am only running 50-60, it's okay to be a little fast. Runners who train at 80+ should be slower.
I have managed to avoid a running related overuse injury for the first 3 years of my comeback. In fact, outside of a couple of freak sprained ankles, I had not had a running related injury since 2001 and even that one was directly related to my hyperthyroid condition.
Here's what did go wrong:
First, as stated in the medical report, my body is out of balance and I truly thought that my thyroid and adrenal hormone ratios would be better so I was more vulnerable to injury than I realized. Second, the fact that I had tried a couple of new approaches this past week that didn't work caused even more stiffness and further stressed my connective tissues. Bottom line, if I was in balance, these workouts would be a breeze. Third, when my tarsal tunnel flared up a bit, I ran through it thinking that the new approaches to treatment would solve it as it had in the past. Fourth, when I first felt the achilles pain during my cool down, I did not stop immediately. That was very stupid.
Where to go from here:
I do have some localized pain but my entire body is sore, especially the calves and groin area. When I bend down to touch my toes, I can't get much more than halfway between the bottom of my knee and my shoe top. Stretching my groin actually causes my lower abdominal muscles to hurt. Therefore, I am still holding on to hope that 2-3 days off will do the trick. If I had localized pain while the rest of my body felt great, then I would know that I am really injured, not just extremely sore. The more time that passes without improvement, the bleaker the situation becomes. That said, even if by some miracle, my AT heals and I am able to run well by the end of the week, my dream of a 3:10 BQ in 2010 ends here. Aside from not stopping immediately during yesterday's cool down jog, there's not a lot I regret. The one thing that I will change is the 3-4 mile recovery jogs at cool down pace will be replaced by a day of complete rest. I know that it will require 60 MPW to get into BQ shape and as of now, my body simply cannot handle it. In running as well as anything else in life, you never know what you are capable of unless you try your best. I had to try and I have failed. The only way that I will change my mind about a December BQ attempt is a medical report with everything in the normal range next time. That seems unlikely. When I turn 34 in 2014, I still believe I will be at my peak and the BQ standard will relax to 3:15 at which time, I might try again. Part of me wants to quit marathons altogether and just focus on the 5K-half marathon distances where it is possible to get good results on less than 50 MPW, presents less risk of injury and is not as time consuming.
Self-pity part:
Why did this have to happen now after my last hard week before my trip to Texas after which I would begin tapering for Mercedes? Couldn't this wait until the summer or at least after Mercedes? Of the 4 planned races, Austin was the one that I least wanted to miss with it being a blazing fast course and a chance to see a HS buddy. I wouldn't be too upset about missing Mercedes since I ran the half last year and already have an unofficial marathon PR this year. After Mercedes, I would have taken a week or two off then ran a half in Atlanta for fun on a tough course so it's not that big of a deal to miss that one either. In April, I've got Nashville and I feel good about being able to do that one.
All of that said, I have been through a lot worse than this so even if my worst fears about this injury are realized, I am confident that I will come back and PR again.

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