Some things never change, but this MUST

At yesterdays run I had a few niggles. Not very apparent, but I still felt them. I did all my best not to focus to much on them, but I felt that I needed to slow down in the end.

It’s all so strange. They seem to come all randomly. Sometimes I just stand still and don’t move at all and there it is.. And when I walk around it doesn’t show. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m warmed up or not either..

It’s not on the achilles, more somewhere at the joint, but I can never feel any pain when I search for it with my hands. Nowhere.. I’m all confused. If I didn’t know better I would think it had something to do with nerves..

I’ve read around, and I seem to have insertional achilles tendonitis. It’s not so common to recover from with physical strengthening. But I did find one medical study suggesting the heel lifts on a stair could help in some cases. The important thing was to lift with the load on the good leg and lower with the bad leg.

I’ve seen many photos of achilles tendonitis, both on the mid-section and the insertional ones. I have no visible swelling or thickening – and, like I wrote above – I’m not tender to any touch, hard as soft. So it can’t be that severe.. Only – it won’t go away.

What is insertional achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendinopathy: Treatment strategies – a more medical article on how to attack the problem

Tue 12 July – Easy run in fuzhou

41:04 – 8.12 km – 5:04 min/km – 150 in avg hr

Yet another run

Back in Fuzhou. I will write a post about the weekend – but this is solely for the running and injury.

The day after the Fridays run I thought I would feel something in the morning. Amazingly I didn’t. I persisted in my strengthening exercises of the achilles. The icing was a little hard these past two days though, but I have been trying to keep the foot elevated as often as I could. It’s not always appropiate among newly met friends 😉

No niggles during the Saturday either. Not even in the morning.

Today I ran when I came home to Fuzhou – in the afternoon. It started raining during the run – heavily. But it was quite refreshing compared to the usual climate. They say it’s supposed to rain quite a lot in the beginning of the summer here, but at least I haven’t noticed..

No niggles at all during the run either. So now I’m up to 4 days without a single trace of it. However I get easily tight in the calfs – especially the right one, where I’ve been having the problems. I try my best to stretch it away – I do know that it’s a symptom to Achilles Tendonitis.

Moving on..

Sun 10 July – Easy run in fuzhou

46:23 – 9.47 km – 5:08 min/km – 166 in avg hr

Gotta keep going

Me and Coach have been talking now. I’m going back to running every 2nd day and not even one hour. He says I need to relax, stay positive, find consistensy and not think too much. It’s hard at times like these. When nothing seems to help. But I will try.

So now I’ve had one day of rest. I Did my run just like we had talked about. No look at the watch, no run after pace, time or heart rate. Just run. I’ve done some strengthening exercises for the achilles and calf muscles which feels good. A lot of stretch, icing and elevation of it too..

Strange is, when I ran “relaxed” without looking I noticed afterwards that I had been running at a quite high pace. The only thing that was tough was the breathing – but it always is here in this climate.

Like every time I don’t have any niggles during my run. It has just shown a little in the morning and sometimes when I walk up stairs during the day.

stretched and iced 2 times afterwards now, it’s time to sleep. Tomorrow I’m going to Quanzhou where Marco Polo were..

Fri 8 July – Easy run in fuzhou

43:41 – 9.11 km – 4:48 min/km – 156 in avg hr

So tired of this injury

This morning I felt something in the achilles again. No pain – just something. And something is too much. I thought I was through with this now. Two weeks without even a trace, and now it might be coming back..

I really don’t need this. I guess noone does, I’m just so tired of it. I spent the day stretching the calf muscles and achilles several times thoroughly. I decided to go running still, but I only did 30 minutes. I stretched before and immediately after. I also applied ice for 10 minutes after it.

I suppose I will have to take it easy another week.

An unintentional change

At this mornings run on the streets of Fuzhou (I try to always run in the morning when I come home from a nights work here in China) I had a change. Just before the run I decided to run without the music in my ears. I don’t know if it was that. Presumably not. Anyway, when I started running I also decided not to look at the watch to keep up my pace or down my heart rate. It felt a little tough, the run. Not tougher than the last one, but hard enough. Actually I tried to copy the last run I had two days ago. It was almost the same route too. This time were not as many stray runs, since I explored a new route the last time so now I knew better 🙂

After the run, however, I took a look at the watch. The run was only 55 minutes long, but I didn’t care. Strange was that I had run at the pace 4:35 – over a half minute faster than the last run. And stranger was that my average heart rate wasn’t higher than 159 – lower than the last run.

I don’t know if it was good or bad, I will leave that to coach. But I do know that I didn’t think that I was able to keep a high pace like that with such a low heart rate in this heat, which by the way this morning laid at 26 degrees.

A nice change, though

Thu 23 June – In fuzhou

55:17 – 12.07 km – 4:35 min/km – 159 in avg hr

 

Closer to genuine China than this is hard to get

The village of Liuji, Fujian ChinaThis weekend I was invited to follow a coworker and his Chinese wife, Sunny,  to her home village. What an adventure! The village had 13 houses and all who lived there were rice farmers – her father as well. They live such a different life from the one we do. Before I came there I tried to imagine what it would be like – I was so wrong still. It showed that it wasn’t possible for me come close to reality.

They were very loving people, the food was fantastic and we sat the whole evenings eating, talking, drinking tea and rice wine – just having a wonderful time together!

Yesterday we also went to see the abandoned village where Sunny grew up. She was 15 when they built the newer village, which is situated 2 km closer to the closest town, Masha, and has roads going to it. The abandoned one lied up among the mountains with only narrow trails going to it. Most of the houses there were torn. We also took a trek up in the dense bamboo forest. Here mother, father and sister had found berries growing on a tree, and the next minute they were all up 5-10 meters in a tree shaking them down.

Later in the evening we went the closest small town and we also visited her old school. It was crazy! A huge amount of people gathered up around us in almost no time and followed us everywhere. Here in China you get used to people staring, but this was something completely different. Sunny said it was probably the first time they saw a Westerner ever. I hope I have a good picture of it. When we ate at a barbecue place in town some of her teachers joined us. Very warm and nice experience!

In the morning today I went for a run. It was so hot! It wasn’t when I started, but as time passed the sun became hotter and hotter in no time at all. But it was a nice run. I sweated liters afterwards though. Then they made me honeywater from her grandmothers homemade honey. I knew that I would be exhausted of the running, so I didn’t run neither by pace or heart rate – just after what I could handle. That was also because I wanted the run in the mountainous rice-field landscape to be a special experience rather than to run and look at the watch all the time

Another thing – no pain this time either.. I am really happy about the change 🙂

Sun 19 June – easy recovery run up in the mountains and rice fields of Masha area, China

11.09 km – 5:26 min/km – 162 in avg hr

Have to fill in here, since it took me some time to get the gallery set up I’ve done another run 🙂 This time back in Fuzhou. No niggles this time neither. Feels just great!

And please, excuse my nakedness in the pictures of the gallery. It was truly hot outside and I really needed it 🙂

Tue 21 June – In fuzhou

1:06 – 12.68 km – 5:15 min/km – 150 in avg hr

New steps in Fuzhou

Yesterday I had a nice long chat with coach. Among other things we talked about my injury and what I need to do to get it better. One idea is that I might need to let go of it phychologically – stop focusing on getting better and instead trying to enjoy the running. The other thing is to work on it physically, for example with stretches and strength training..

He also made me aware I should be running at at least a pace of 5:00 min/km, no slower. If I hadn’t injured myself or had the stressing time of becoming father again he thought it would’ve come by itself in between winter and summer. As it is now I have to go there myself.

So earlier today, around 16.00 I went out. It was 33 degrees and steamy.. After running for 30 minutes I was sure I couldn’t complete the whole hour. The heat was just too much. Maybe also the fact that I increased my pace with 20 seconds per minute in a leap.

The sweat was pouring. I ran bare-chested, which by the way was very liberating. In Sweden I never get the chance to do so, but here in China many people run bare-chested. And the staring looks I get even with the shirt on, so that shouldn’t keep me from doing it. It’s like this – half of the people I meet stare uninhibitedly – half of them smile as they do it and half don’t. Those who don’t look at you like you’re some kind of freak :D. This is not just because of the running. It’s like that all the time here. Not that much in more international cities, though, like Shanghai. They’re more used to foreigners there. Here most people don’t know a word English, except maybe Hello which some of the young people shout after you nervously once they’ve passed by you and gathered the courage.. Then they laugh out loud 🙂

Anyway, after 35 minutes I had run a lap.. Then I was so exhausted I thought I would only be running for 10 minutes more. But after 5 minutes, when it was time to turn around, I instead found myself doing the lap – only a shorter one. I ran for 52 minutes, exhausted and fatigued.. It took me an hour or so to get back on track.

Funny thing though, I didn’t get a single niggle in the right foot this time. Ealier I have noticed at some runs that I don’t get it when I increase the speed just a little. But I only thought I got strange ideas. Hopefully it will be exactly the same next run. But that time I will keep the pace a little slower. And also – run in the morning instead when it’s only around 25 degrees warm

Two weeks have passed – still feeling the injury

Some Chinese beer snacks, Chicken feet, grilled tofu and roased peanuts.. Yummy!

Now the two weeks of prescribed “every other day” running has passed and I still feel the injury. It’s getting better and better for every day that goes, but it’s still not gone. I’ve consulted Coach in the forum to see what he says about it. Should I go for the build up or continue running every other day. It doesn’t feel good that I run so little… I can feel that my body needs more again.

Here everything is about making life work out. Even going to the store buying milk, egg and bananas is a challenge – but a very nice one though 😉

I also love to try new and exciting things, both in food and experience. Here I can have a lot of that. One little example is their snack to beer – cooked chicken feet which are very spicy to chew on. Not much to eat if you’re hungry.

 

 

First run in Fuzhou – China

Late evening view of the West Lake in Fuzhou from my apartment

Now I’m in China, Fuzhou. I arrived here two days ago, very tired from the almost 18 hours long trip. I had only managed to sleep three hours during the flight between Helsinki and Shanghai. When I arrived here in Fuzhou we went out to buy things for the appartment I will live in and immediately after that we went eating. By then we almost starved to death. We went to a Japanese chain called Ajisen Noodle which is very nice. I have eaten there many times before and it’s never a bad idea.

Then we went straight to work. We work during the night between 11 pm and 3.30 am. During the very bumpy cartrip home I slumbered a few times. I wasn’t up for it, but when I came to the apartment I changed clothes and went running.

It is a special thing to run around in over 30 degrees heat right at dawn in Fuzhou. There are not many cars on the roads, but a lot of people in the small parks are doing their morning exercises which by us westerners seem very peculiar. Some walk backwards and clap their hands in front and back of the body. Some play badminton without nets or nets just stretched between two trees. Some women are rolling their hips and making strange sounds. I also saw a few who did the Thai chi – An ancient Chinese movement therapy. It was very sweaty because of the tropical heat, but still nice..

Last week I’ve been running every other day and the day in between I’ve been doing some bodyweight workouts just to keep the body, especially the legs, on the edge.

I still get niggles in the heel, but I feel it less and less. I hope I will have no problem at all after the two prescribed weeks.

The running I do is very relaxed, however I noticed that here in this heat I can’t keep my heart rate down as much as I could back in Sweden. I guess it’s only normal – it sure is harder to breath here

Positive news

When the pain wouldn’t go away in my foot I was very afraid that I had to be away from the running for a long time. Well, at least longer than I would want since I feel that I have worked so hard these two years I’ve been running to get where I currently am.

Yesterday I went to an orthopedic who was specialized in podiatry. We talked a lot about running – he was also a big fan of the sport and had been running 35 km per week for the last 20 years or so. After examining my foot he told me that there were no heat and neither a big swelling. He did find a small swelling within the heel, approximately 3 cm from the lower joint of the achilles tendon. So the way he described it it wasn’t on the tendon itself.

He also said that the healing process already was on and that I only needed to half my running for two weeks, preferably every other day rather than half the mileage every day. Then I could go back to my ordinary mileage.

Apparently it wouldn’t hurt to do my speed runs as long as I don’t feel it getting worse, according to him. Anyway, I don’t plan to do speedwork – just 1 hour easy runs and maybe a long run in the weekend.

So yesterday I could go out on my 1 hour easy run with a big smile on my face, happily knowing I didn’t do anything to harm myself. 🙂

One funny thing was that he commented my feet – that they were suitable for running, it was strangely awkward, but nice to hear. He said something like “These are good feet and joints – they are very good feet! Stable and strong” and at the same time he pushed and bent them in all directions. I couldn’t help but laughing  a little 😀

But he did say that I needed to stretch my calves and achilles tendons. They didn’t stretch so far and could be, he say they didn’t have to, but could be holding me back a little since they are fully stretch when my feet touch the ground hence not able to work fully during push off.. Or something.. I can’t say I understood everything he said.

Today have been a resting day and honestly I already feel better. I have been resting a little more than usual for two weeks now. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be willing to jeopardize the recovery by not following the advice..

In other words, yesterday was a very good day for me 😉