Today was supposed to be my first step-back long run during my Ironman 3-week taper. Last week during my 18 miler, I was envisioning myself the following week only doing one loop at Waterfall Glen (a ~9.6 mile crushed limestone trail in Darien) and feeling great that my run was over after a short 90 minutes. Needless to say, my Achilles/solius/whatever the heck is going on with my heel had other plans-thus, the extra time in my day to start this blog and actually complete a second post within 2 days ;)
This evening, I was browsing the forums of Slowtwitch (a triathlon forum that is truly almost impossible not to watch during training for triathlon events-specifically long course) when I stumbled across a post entitled "Asics GT-2000". Since these are my running shoes, I clicked on the posting, only to find the original message to look something like this:
"Anyone having issues with ankle/achilles soreness after runing a few hours later or next morning? Especially those that ran in 2170's or the asics comparable models before. I never had this problem before running with the new shoe. So I was wondering if it was a effect from other injuries or the new shoes."
As I continued to read, I found responses such as this one:
"I've been a 15 yr Asics GT21...guy. Think I started at 2010 in the early 90's. Went to pick up the new 2000's a few weeks back and the guy at Dick's said people are returning them in record numbers. They were even on sale, mid season, which is apparently a sign of poor sales. Lot's of complaints apparently and injuries. Really sad, actually. LOVED those shoes. I moved over to the Brooks Pure series and really like them. However, I have narrow feet and they fit me nicely - no blisters even on first distance run. He also confirmed that many Asics faithful were moving to the Adrenaline 13."
I" believe the heel to toe ratio dropped from 12 to 10mm from the 2170 to the 2000. It shouldn't be enough to affect things, but small difference can tweak the body.
Every now and then a shoe model is changed enough so it doesn't work anymore. We've sold the 2000 well thus far, but have heard of quite a few loyal 2170 wearers that haven't liked it."
It went even further than this. It took one google search to find that there were similar forum posts on runnersworld.com, beginnertriathlete.com, etc. I couldn't believe it. It didn't seem like my answer would come so easily. I've been a loyal Asics GT 2100 series wearer since I started running in 2004, because I've never had a problem with the shoes (unless, of course, I went too long without changing the pair-which has happened far too many times to someone who religiously tracks miles).
This morning I spoke to a friend that is convinced my problem is likely my soleus being far too tight-which I still believe is the case for multiple reasons. She was not the first person in the last week that suggested this could be my issue. I went for a deep tissue massage from Bernie Conway at 140point6 Massage Therapy and he quickly suggested my soleus was very tight and I needed to start working on it ASAP. But I have to wonder, am I experiencing this issue due to that 2mm drop of the heel in the GT2000s from the GT2170s? I've felt this tightness most of the summer, and I've been running in the GT 2170s since early June. My mileage has slowly increased throughout the summer, and with every week came more tightness.
When runners experience injury, it is typically due to some sort of change. A change in training, speed, mileage, terrain, frequency, shoes, etc. What was bizarre to me was that I had not changed anything this year-I approached my triathlon training build the same way I'd done every year, rotated terrain (a mixture of crushed limestone/treadmill/road running), continued my frequency, did not do much speed work at all (hammy can't handle that with the heavy mileage), increased mileage following the 10% rule, etc. Like I stated earlier, I am not new to this running game so I know the smart way to approach training. This is why I was so frustrated by my current situation-until today. Today I felt I got some answers-from learning to stretch my soleus appropriately (who knew?) to hearing about this shoe issue-who knows what the problem really is. What does matter is that I am not sitting here sulking about it. I am taking the steps I need to to get me to that starting line on September 8th. I found an old model of the GT 2170s online and ordered immediately. My stretching/icing routine has become as important to me as my running workouts. I'm hoping to get out on the road in the morning with an old pair of my 2170s to see if that actually helps my situation. I'm taking whatever precautions necessary at this point; getting to the start line WILL happen-I just need to make sure I get to that finish line as well!