My Achilles Heel

May was a month of kicking some butt initially, however, it ended on a bit of a down note for me. First, I found out I have Raynauds syndrome. It is new to me and while it explains so many things, it also gives me much to think about. I researched the heck out of it and came up with very few resources for runners. Essentially it causes loss of blood flow to the extremities, i.e. fingers and toes. I cannot tell you how many experiences this explains in my past training! More to come on this for sure.

Next, I had two sets of visitors to my home. I wanted to spend all of my time with them. This made it difficult to eat the way I normally do, and to follow the routine that supports what I do. They were in no way responsible for me going off track; I willingly side-stepped my plans. I find that this is the hardest part of training. Justifying my time training to other people, when they did not ask me to do so. My family is very supportive and it is all in my head and certainly something I continue to struggle with.

All of this ended in me getting sick. I am a constant braggart of my plant fueled immunity to such trivial illnesses like cold and flu. Ah, how the mighty fall. Not sleeping, eating, or training in my usual ways, I ended up losing the last week of May’s training plan due to a nasty bug. I spent time off of work and away from what I love. It was a sharp reminder that I am not invincible, and that I need to be careful I don’t over-extend myself.  I am bummed, but have rekindled my commitment to meeting my training targets. So, there’s that.

This desire carried into my 22km long run on Sunday; I was determined to “get back at it.” This was particularly true since Coach wanted me to run that 22km on Saturday. I prepped by getting plenty of sleep the night before, and eating a decent day of food. The run started out well and as I ran into St. John’s, I realized that I was pretty close (aka. 10km away from) Quidi Vidi lake. I love running on trails so I made the snap decision to continue through the city on a trail system I love. It was a good route and I had it in the back of my mind that I could call someone (thanks Melissa!) to come get me.

When I got to QV, the temperature dropped from the comfortable 8-10 degrees to around 2. The fog monster was rolling in and most of the walkers I was encountering were in heavier Fall jackets compared to my light technical shirt. Immediately my hands began to stiffen and I was losing sensation. This has happened to me so many times in the past, but I would just, literally, shake it off. Often, I could be seen running with my hands held by my thighs trying to get feeling/warmth back into them. SIGH. This time I knew the difference. For the first time, I ended a run based on a health concern. I was 2km short of my goal. I made my way back to a nearby grocery store and huddled in the entrance to call for a ride and to try to warm up.

To round out the month, I awoke on Monday with a sharp pain in the back of my right ankle. Crap. I am now doing passive heel drops twice a day to gently coerce the darn tendon to listen. After tonight’s run, I will be icing it as well. I have been running in minimalist shoes for about 3 years and have not had any trouble, so I don’t think it is that. I suspect the time off and jumping into a 20km run did the trick. I certainly will be monitoring this.

So many new things, and it all can be overwhelming. All I know is that getting back to a good routine of eating well, getting proper sleep, and sticking to my training plan will assist me in keeping my feet and getting me to my ultra marathon goal.