Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pity Party

August 19th, 2012.  Sometime shortly after midnight.  I begrudgingly offer up my wrist to the Half Pipe crew chief.  Tap out.  I'm done.  All this time and effort.  All the miles of preparation.  The rehearsal in my mind.  The day trips to Twin Lakes, Winfield, the Fish Hatchery.  For what?  For this?

One quick snip.  It's over.

Nearly two hundred days have passed since that sequence of events seared itself into my memory.  And yet the pain that decision has given me won't subside.  How I wish it was the only residual pain from that weekend.

My achilles had become fairly tender over the course of 2012.  It never begged me to stop, but I could tell it was there.  Nor was it the reason I dropped out at Leadville.  I didn't even have that much trouble with it when I attempted to start training again four weeks later.  But every run I went on last fall made it worse, to the point where I finally cried uncle in mid-October.  I didn't run a step for another six weeks and instead focused on rehab - heat, ice, ultrasound, stretching, and self-pity.  OK, mostly self-pity.

From August 19 to November 19, I ballooned to a full 156 pounds - nearly 20 more than I carried with me into Leadville.  Running sucked.  Not running sucked.  Thinking about running sucked.  Thinking about not running sucked.  Hearing other people talk about running sucked.

Over the course of the past month, though, I've seen glimmers of hope.  Running hasn't made my achilles any better, but it hasn't been getting worse, either.  I was able to hobble up Belford with Jake on Sunday.  Not much in the form of snow cover, but wind from the southwest wasn't pleasant.  It definitely motivated us not to mosey over to Oxford.  Up and down in 4:57, my 119th summit of a 14,000' peak.

There's a reason you won't find much snow here
Paying salutations to my friend, Hope Pass (the low point to the right of the sunny mountain in the center)
With the publishing of this post, my pity party officially is over.  I'm definitely not 100% healthy, and might not be for a long time, but I'm sick of sitting back and letting this own me.


  1. My achilles is, well, my achilles and I just went through this in 2011, lasted for over a year with varying degrees of sensitivity, weakness and undermined my confidence. Nothing seemed to help, but I eventually sought treatment and was using a strasburg sock at night and then elasticon tape at all other times (there is a very specific wrap job that helped me a lot when I ran). I would suggest seeing somebody about it, maybe even worth a trip to see Jeremy Rogers here in Louisville. Rest, ice, heat, stretching does not do shit unfortunately. Feel free to contact me if you need any help or info. Best of luck, hope to see you tearing it up again soon!

    1. My Achilles was giving me issues in 2012 and I think it was because of my Hokas. As soon as I got in stability shoes my Achilles got better (knock on wood). Or, it could have been that all this somewhat flat road running I've been doing over the past few months has allowed my Achilles to heal.


  2. Sorry to hear about all the aches that proceeded Leadville. Shocking it's been 200 days since that crappy weekend. Thankfully that shit's in the past and so glad to be looking forward to new adventures. Hopefully I'll see you in few weeks during the Fat Ass. Even if it means you run the JV course from your house.

  3. Sean: I feel your pain. Believe me. Even as I've finished the LT100 twice, my 2012 DNF left me with a lot of emotions. I gave it the proverbial finger, but then I realized I just had a bad day and need to go back. The best ways for me to move on were to 1) focus on a new race (Phoenix, which is in a few weeks) and 2) register for the 2013 LT100. With your Achilles issues, obviously you've had to take it easy for a while. Have you seen a doctor? Maybe physical therapy will get the problem behind you. I do hope you'll consider entering Leadville in 2013. The race is calling for you!

    Hang in there!


  4. Welcome to the start of your comeback sir. As a wise man once said "What does your soul need?"

  5. Guys, thanks for the words. Except for Brownie. Yeah, Leadville didn't end well for a few too many of us this year, did it? Wyatt...I don't think I'm done with the distance, but I am 99% to return to the mountain in my backyard this year. 2014 might be the year I tackle Pb again.