03 May 2014

Extreme Tapering

"I'm gonna finish this race on my hands & knees if I have to."
- Kathrine Switzer
Ever since I ran the Rockin K, I’ve been dealing with some pain in my right Achilles tendon. Usually, I just felt it in the morning, not during the run itself.  As of a couple of weeks ago, it’s been nagging me on runs as well. I dealt with some Achilles tendonitis early in my training last year, but it went away once the summer pacing season was on and my training wasn't as intense.

Having it show up as I’m still ramping up my training in anticipation of two tough 50 milers has been a bit anxiety inducing. I’m sure it’s due to the hillwork that I’ve been incorporating into my training since the Rockin’ K. I wasn't dealing with it when I was just doing speedwork. Doing both speed and hills has exacerbated the inflammation. After my last long run a week ago, I finally stopped running altogether to give it a chance to heal.

As I did last year, I ran a portion of the Quad Rock course, this year with my new pal Cat, who I met at Salida. I’ll be staying at her house next weekend and she’ll be running the 50 miler with me. She’s been feeling under trained due to life stress piling up on her right now and was happy to run at my pace as we covered roughly 17 miles of the course. We gabbed like a couple of schoolgirls the entire time. What a great day. I do love those tough, gnarly trails at Horsetooth but my Achilles was screaming at me by the end.

didn't run a step for a whole week, just opting to ride the bike a few times for 90 min. I decided to try a shorter “long” run up in Denver with another new pal, Kristin at Deer Creek Canyon. She’ll be running the 25 miler at Quad, so I’ll see her next week too. The 90 min course we had less than 2k of vert I believe  -- my Garmin pooped out on me so not sure exactly – but the Achilles were aching before I finished the long climb up. I’m still feeling the pain today every time I get up from sitting or lying down. So, I’m back to no running for a couple of days before I do some flat, easy runs.

Not the way I want to do a taper, but saving my Achilles from further damage prior to the beating it takes at Quad is what I’m shooting for here. Since Jemez is two weeks later, I suspect I’ll be either resting, biking or doing easy, flat runs before then too. (sigh)

In the meantime, I’m taking Joe Uhan’s advice from this piece he wrote for iRunFar back in 2012 to get myself back where I need to be after Jemez.

On a brighter note, here’s some of the lovely snaps I took from these two fantastic run with my new trail buddies.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Deer Creek Canyon

If you're a fan of Gray's Anatomy, you may have heard this hauntingly beautiful cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World", by Joy Williams (formerly of The Civil Wars) last month. Ever since the recording was released on You Tube, it's been going viral. Here's your chance to enjoy it too. You're welcome.

Happy Trails,



  1. Hope you can get it turned around, Shelby. Back when I was dealing with Achilles/calf issues in March, I'd roll them out with the stick every night and it worked.
    I finished QR with Cat last year, very intense racer!
    See you in 3 weeks!

    1. Good idea, Steve. I'll get the trusty stick out and see if it helps. See you in 3 weeks!