The Beauty of Triathlon

Today is day three of my Plantar Fasciitis flare up from last week.  Friday was really painful… the pain transferred all the way up my calf and made it tough  to walk, so that killed the run and strength training I had scheduled.  I could probably have pulled off the strength training, but figured it was better to stay off my feet.  Thanks to some great suggestions for home remedies from the tri community and WebMD, I was able to start recovering some mobility and flexibility pretty quickly.

Saturday was planned for a ride and run.  I knew the run wasn’t going to happen, but thought I might be able to make the ride work.  I hobbled around a little in the morning, and decided a full day of rest was probably in order.  Even though cycling doesn’t put the same impact stress on the foot, I was concerned the repetitive motion might aggravate the calf muscle.  So, some more ice, a little golf ball massage on the right foot, and another day of rest.

This is where the beauty of triathlon comes in.  Today was scheduled for a 6 mile run, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen.  That left either cycling, swimming, or strength training to salvage something for the weekend.  My first swim of the week was scheduled for Monday morning at the city’s indoor pool.  Because of the Memorial Day holiday, the pool will be closed tomorrow.  That made swimming today a perfect choice.  Do my swim a day early, and I could still get a workout in and salvage the swim.  Off to the pool.

The swim went very well.  I did a ladder workout of 5 X 50 yard warmups, then one set each of 100, 150, etc, working my way up to 300, then reversing the sequence.  I finished a total of 2100 yards in just under an hour, focusing mostly on keeping my head level in the water and keeping my legs from sinking.  I still don’t know what a good measure of swimming speed/efficiency is, but I feel good about my progress since I started last November.  As recently as February, it took me about 3:20-3:30 to swim 100 yards, including any rest breaks between laps.  Today’s workout averaged 2:50 per 100 yards… a roughly 15-20% improvement.  If all I did was run, my workouts would be over until the PF was cured.  Because I have swimming and cycling as well, I can continue to pursue my fitness goals even while  I’m injured.

I’m going to hit the bike tomorrow morning for a 20 mile ride on the local roads.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the road bike for a while.

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4 Responses to The Beauty of Triathlon

  1. elisariva says:

    Keep at it, you are an inspiration. Hope you foot recovers quickly.

  2. bgddyjim says:

    I’ve got some stretches that will help your PF posted on my site – search plantar fasciitis in my search window, should be the first one that pops up.

    To cycle through a tight calf, slow speed fast cadence and drop your heel at the bottom to stretch the muscle – worked like a charm for me. Good luck.

  3. Are you on any cholesterol medication? Two yeas ago I had a serious problem with Plantar Fasciitis — it took a Sports Medicine Doctor a while to figure out that the cause of my problem was Simvastatin (Zocor) — a cholesterol lowing medication. The sad thing is that I didn’t need the drug to begin with — my family practice doctor put me on it as a “precaution” since my father has heart disease. I’ll never take ANY statin drug again! the side effects are horrible to athletes.

    • Chasing Fifty says:

      I’m not on any cholesterol meds (or any meds at all, thankfully), but thanks for the suggestion. It’s amazing how complex the interactions are between commonly prescribed meds and our bodies… too many unintended consequences for me! Unfortunately, I think my root cause was trying to stretch a couple of pairs of running shoes beyond their useful service life…

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