Yesterday was my visit to my sport's med doctor. It went just as expected. The diagnosis was an achilles strain with all of the accompanying inflammation. He said I didn't have any big nodules or "rice krispy" sounds which meant I wasn't to a point where I needed to be concerned about a tear or rupture. We chatted a bit about a few options and my current situation. I made sure he was aware I'm only 6.5 weeks away from Louisville and doing nothing really wasn't an option. He agreed and said I would need to put in at least another 3 or 4 weeks of solid work before I headed into taper. After talking a bit, we decided to mimic the regimen I used when I battled with left Achilles problems before my first marathon. He gave me an Achillotrain brace to wear during everyday activity to ease the burden throughout the day. He also wrote me a prescription for a topical anti-inflammatory cream and a prescription NSAID. Basically I'll try to manage the best I can on my own and if conditions warrant, I'll go back in and see if there is something else we can do. He was honest with me and told me it would probably get worse since the mileage is going to be high. He said it may limit my training some, but he was confident I could manage it and get through the next few weeks. I have a follow-up with him about a week and a half before the race and we'll see if we need to do anything else before race day. He said it may suck and it may hurt, but I'll finish. Finish is my goal so that's fine by me.
Last weekend I also found a pace calculator and plugged in some mock times to see what I'd need to do to finish before the 17 hour cutoff. If I hit my goals for the swim and bike, I can still walk the marathon and get in under the cutoff. If all else fails, I'll walk it home. The key is just making sure I get in my bike mileage the next few weeks and am prepared for the 112 mile ride. Unfortunately, hills on the bike aggravate my Achilles even more so I'm going to skip the hills this week and just try to get in the 4.5 hours I'm scheduled to ride. The good news is I only have 6.5 weeks until the race. The bad news is I only have 6.5 weeks until the race. I'll do my best and see what happens. I'd appreciate all the positive vibes you can send my way. I know it's not going to be easy. No one ever said it would be though. That's one of the reasons I signed up for this race. Challenges make us stronger. Learning to adapt and persevere is key to our success. I'll learn from this experience and come out on the other end stronger and even hungrier to succeed.