My 24 year old daughter and I are very close to finalizing our plans to do a series of long, back to back runs in the central USA this summer beginning June 1st. But first I have got to get an injury behind me; or at least get the problem more clearly understood.

My Achilles Tendinitis flared back up yesterday after a 2.5 hour run and I spent all this morning hobbling around because the damn thing hurt so much. I had thought that the icing and the Arnica tea were doing the trick but I think I discovered in this very short video www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgHoePuZaPw that I might have been only treating the symptom (the painful spot in my heel where the Achilles tendon connects to the bone) and not the cause. It is always humbling to realize that you’re not as damn smart as you thought you were.

So if this video is right then the cause of the pain is from an overly tight calf muscle called the Soleus. The Achilles is being strained from being too tightly pulled by the over tight Soleus. The solution is to loosen the Soleus and its fascia by doing the ‘rolling pin’ exercise as shown in the video. Supposedly doing the exercise 3 times a day for 2 minutes does the job. And I sure hope so.

My first stop before going to language classes was to pick up a rolling pin in the Mercado. And the first thing that I did when I got home this morning was to do the exercise. And just like the video suggested, the rolling pin would find that tight ‘hot spot’ in the muscle, and it sure enough did.

I would have never believed it. My calf muscle didn’t and doesn’t feel tight but tight it was. I guess what made it deceiving was that you would expect the entire muscle to feel tight. And I had never heard of a ‘hot spot’ in a muscle before.

Other than the betrayal from that single miserable tendon I feel tip top. The cardio is good. The bottoms of my feet are finally healed from all the brutal punishment that they took running the rocks through the Calzonuda; the hills called the Big Panties.

So I am ready. I just need to get this Achilles problem fixed.

But truly, when I think about it, I see what a pussy I am. Marshall Ulrich in ‘Running on Empty’ chronicles how he cut slits in the back of his running shoes to accommodate his swollen tendons all the meanwhile running 52 straight days and the 3000 miles across the United States. He sucked it up and ran with the pain and he was my age (57) when he did it 5 years ago.

And what about Scott Jurek? In ‘Eat and Run’ he tells stories of running ultra-marathons with things like a twisted ankle, another race (150 miles) with a broken toe, and then I think it was the Hardrock 100 that he ran the entire 100 miles with torn ankle tendons. And oh, yeah he won all those races.

Well, it would be very easy to rationalize that those two men were top athletes and I comparatively speaking, am only a mere dilettante. So why would someone like myself, a former office slave, want to subject himself to a month of what could be endless pain and suffering?

Three reasons: One – This might be the last time that I get to spend an entire month with my favorite person in the world. Two – Nobody is buying my damn running sandals and it is time for someone other than myself to see how truly awesome they are. And three – I’ve really got nothing better to do (and I like to run).

And who doesn’t like a road trip anyway?

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