I passed the lawnmower test this evening. That is, I walked behind my lawnmower in the warm, humid Florida air and my Achilles (injury #1) was fine. It's been just fine walking, including going up stairs. Even better, the ball of my left foot (injury #2) is improving. I forgot about it until I was done mowing. It had sustained some kind of impact injury, possibly from dashing across a parking lot in the rain in my work shoes about 10 days ago. Bad idea! Looking in my journal, I've traced my Achilles problem to the road run following my 11 mile trail run in May. According to this source and others, running on sand can aggravate your Achilles. That presents a dilemma as the trails around here (north central Florida) are sandy and quite soft in some places. Hills are also tough on the Achilles, and I had been running hillier courses too - in fact I noticed the problem on hillier road courses during the week with my fleet-footed local running group. The articles also referred to Achilles injuries as common in less flexible middle-aged runners. Ouch! Time to do more stretching - can't do anything about my age. I like the line from Indiana Jones: it's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
This wasn't the extent of my cross training today. I also fit in a spinning session, going slightly harder than last week, and my Achilles was fine, and my left foot was no problem.
I also completed Week 2/Day 1 of the hundred pushups training program: 12/12/9/7/max (21). I'm not claiming great form. I'm taking 2-4 minutes of rest before the max effort (equal parts rest, psyching myself up, and helping kids with something around the house). The psychology of this is interesting. Each time on these max efforts, I've felt like 5 or so is probably all I can do before I start, but I refuse to stop until the arms won't go, and I've managed to exceed the minimum each time (granted, I was doing some pushups once a week before this program). Maybe it's the rock 'n roll music. Andrew's blog got me started on all this (100 pushups, not rock 'n roll) and he's doing well. Ellie has also signed on. Anyone else game?
I hope to get back on the roads and trails soon. I'm eager to run a 4-miler on the 4th that I've run twice before, but it's somewhat doubtful now. I hope my biking is safe on my Achilles and this strange forefoot problem. If anyone has any experience coping with these things and has any cross training ideas, feel free to chime in.