What I’m Up To (and Insertional Achilles Tendinosis)

Been a while since I posted. I’ve got good news and bad news to report.

The Bad News

Back in the Fall I received a curious email from a post on Sportsvite. Sportsvite is a place where you can find sport teams to join, and teams can look for players. Most of the teams are former or current college athletes who are looking for athletes of similar skill level, be it soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. I signed up a year or two ago and forgot about it. Every few months I’d get an email from someone begging me to be on their hockey team or softball team, and when I’d respond with “I’m in my 40’s and have never played that sport competitively, but I’m in decent shape given my age and will hustle”, I’d always get the same response back, “No thanks. We’re looking for experienced athletes.” Amazing how their original tone of desperation changes so quickly.

Eventually I got an email asking me if I’d be interested in playing soccer. The first time I ignored it. A few months later I got a similar email from the same person. This time I responded stating that I’d never played but would love to. To my surprise, I was told to show up at a regional soccer training center and be ready to play. No experience necessary. I show up and the place is fabulous, and next thing I know I’m on a high-quality turf field with a bunch of 25 year olds. My team sucked and we never won. The other teams were filled with former college soccer players. Regardless, I loved it. So much so that when the season ended I made an inquiry with the center asking them if they have a league for older players. Sure enough, they have a “Men’s Over 35” league. Perfect! So I sign up for the ‘house team’. We suck, but it’s a good group of guys. Problem is, I was only able to play twice before having to temporarily retire…(more on that in a moment).

In the Over 35 league I was one of the faster players. Skill-wise I was average, on my team (again, since this was the ‘house’ team we’re not talking all stars here – anyone who is good eventually gets scooped up by an established team). Anyone who knows me or has read my posts regarding Crossfit, knows I have too much ambition and competitiveness for my own good. So I decide one day that, in addition to the Starting Strength program I was doing, I would kick up the cardio big-time to help my soccer game. So, after doing that day’s Starting Strength routine (heavy barbell back squats, some presses, and power cleans), I jump on a treadmill and ramp up the incline. That day I forgot my normal ‘running shoes’ (a pair of minimalist but still pretty well padded sneakers). A couple of minutes into the jog I feel a slight pain building in the back of my right ankle/heel. Like an idiot I keep jogging. About 8 minutes in I know it’s getting worse and worse and is not normal, so I stop. That night it got worse. And for the next 2 weeks it didn’t get any better at all. I start looking around on the internet to figure out what it could be. Basically, my achilles was sore as hell. Especially in the morning but pretty much all day. The only time, during that 2 weeks, where it didn’t hurt was when I played a soccer match (bad idea), because I stretched the living shit out of my legs/ankles before playing. Looking on the internet the prognosis was sketchy. Basically, stretch and stretch and hope to hell it goes away. Eccentric stretches/strengthening, etc. I decide this is too important to screw around with and I go see a sports foot/ankle specialist. He x-rays it on the spot and then tells me I have insertional achilles tendinosis, and says it’ll probably be fine in a few weeks but if not call him and we’ll try physical therapy.

A week later and it’s no better. I am concerned and call and tell him let’s not wait – let’s get the ball rolling on the physical therapy. He agrees and so I started that a week ago today, going twice per week. Every day since then I’ve been doing a serious mobility routine, which I’ll share in a separate post. Honestly – after a week of it I’m thrilled in that my squat depth and mobility overall have improved immensely. But my achilles is still sore when I first wake up in the morning, or after sitting for a little while and then standing. It’s not pain – it’s a soreness, and it goes away after a few minutes.

So What’s the Good News?

The good news is that the physical therapist did quite a bit of diagnostics on me and told me what I have been told by numerous specialists/coaches already: I just may be the most inflexible dude on the planet, and it’s holding me back physically. I told him I’d been doing a lot of barbell squats, etc., and after struggling for close to a year now in trying to get my squat depth below parallel (or even parallel comfortably) he is now working with me to fix it. And a week later my squat depth is drastically improved. Last summer, when starting Crossfit, I did 50+ squats per day (usually more) for 60 days just to try to get it right. I saw some improvement at first but then nothing. A week of these wacky stretches he’s got me doing and I am not way better than ever and am optimistic.

During today’s PT session I made it clear to him that I’m getting very worried that this achilles problem is not going away or getting better. I *love* the stretches and am back to working out hard (no running, which is fine with me) so it’s no longer holding me back from anything aside from soccer. He assures me that it will go away but will take time – likely a few months. That sucks. I was originally told that this was a “couple of weeks” injury. He didn’t make me feel any better when he said I’m one of the lucky ones and that my injury isn’t anywhere near as severe as most who have it. I guess I should be happy about that.

That’s all for today. I have a few post ideas and will write more this week. Been a while.

Some miscellaneous stuff

Had some emails asking me about my weight. Honestly, I think they’re from angry vegans who hate this low carb/pro dietary fat approach and want to “expose it” as some kind of fraud. I’m happy to report that I’m holding steady at 189lbs. It fluctuates of course, but always within 5lbs. I took about 5 weeks off from any exercising due to the achilles problem and my weight didn’t budge, but I lost a lot of muscle tone. And I just felt like garbage. That’s the main reason I work out – to feel better. It certainly doesn’t do anything positive for me in terms of my diet and, in fact, makes my eating tricky. I have to make sure I have the fuel needed without overdoing it. And when you exercise hard you get hungrier – your body wants to compensate. I’m working to get that back now.

How is Starting Strength Going?

Let me say this: Starting Strength is great. And if I can get my mobility/squat depth right, I’ll be doing those lifts again. But I now have to spend roughly 40 minutes on just the physical therapy stretches/movements daily (I’m supposed to do them 3x per day!) that I’ve decided to take a break from SS for now. Twice a week, starting today, I’m going to do a full-body kettlebell routine. For once, I’m going to pick something for which my body type is seemingly perfect for – swinging kettlebells.

My PRs on SS are presently at:

Back Squat: 205lbs x 3 (I could go heavier but I have no spotter,and when you can’t get to parallel in your squat it’s downright not good to have that much weight on your back)

Deadlift: 255lbs. I am certain I could get to 300 quickly but, believe it or not, there just aren’t enough weights at my gym! At least not all in one place. But, no excuses, I need to man up and setup in the main weight room area. It’s full of machines and so people will get annoyed with me for taking up a big space by deadlifting, but oh well.

Power Clean: 135lbs – but my form was off. I’ve since reset my form (after watching more video tutorials about it) and have been going at around 100lbs with perfect form.

Like I said, I’m going to take a break from a strict SS program for a while.

How’s Your Cholesterol/Lipid Test Results Nowadays?

I’ve had some emails from readers who came to this site by way of one of its more popular posts – my lipid test results from a while back. Everyone wants to know: how are your lipid test results after doing low-carb long-term?

I haven’t had them tested since late last year, but they were similar from the original post except one thing: my HDL went up, which is fabulous. I’m now in the 70s. I meant to post the complete results at the time but forgot. Definitely will next time.

 

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