Well, I knew it was there all along actually. But yes, my Achilles heel is my Achilles heel. It has brought me down. Undone. A non-runner am I.
There have been further minuscule signs of improvement in it over the past couple of weeks; I even ran a few km on the treadmill a few nights ago (somewhat painfully).
But today I finally got around to going to see the highly recommended orthopedic surgeon in Hatsudai (thanks to Numasawa-san for giving up her yoga to come and help interpret for me). The doctor did a lot of head shaking and saying, "You really should have come in when it was first sore. It is too late to do anything now. Even top runners stop running when they get Achilles soreness...yadda yadda yadda." But he was also very understanding and sympathetic. He basically said if I get it better to come back and tell him how I did it because he doesn't really know what to recommend except complete rest ... no elliptical, no bike ... swimming and weight training, sure, but nothing that puts the Achilles through repetitive stresses. I respect him for what he said. It wasn't borne out of ignorance because he said cortisone, bah, you don't want that because it will weaken your tendon and it will snap. Operation, well, it might work and it might not and you can't run for six months after it. He himself had an Achilles operation and it didn't work, so he was not falling over himself to recommend it. He basically said you just have to suck it and take the time off. As long as it takes. Which was OK because it just reaffirmed what I had already set my mind to do. But his stridency about the complete rest was going a step further than I had been able to bring myself to do. I am going to keep up the heel drop (eccentric contraction) calf strengthening though. I asked whether anti-inflammatory creams would be worth trying and he said yes and prescribed one.
He took an x-ray too, by the way, and it clearly showed the thickened lumpy bit in the tendon, not that I needed an x-ray to know it was there. But something new it showed was that right behind the tendon in line with the thickening there was a bit of bone protruding off my heel bone. He thinks that is probably contributing to the pain, so that is a bit of a worry as it is not going to just dissolve.
So, that's it folks. No Ohtawara this year. No Tokyo Marathon next year. No trail running on sweltering summer days followed by swims in the river at Musashi-itsukaichi. In short, a bit of a bummer.
The great challenge is now to see if I can keep up the motivation to exercise at the gym and whatnot, because just a couple of evenings of that really bites into work/family time so much more than when I was getting up at 5:30 three or four mornings a week and logging
100 km a week of running -- so much of my workout time was done while the family slept.
Anyway, that's where I am at. Updates will follow as and when I can.