Three days without discomfort = reason to be optimistic. I credit ibuprofen, a second, more rigorous and productive massage in Mammoth (I took it as a really good sign that my therapist was working on Meb later in the day--"your competitor," she said--we laughed), and ice bathing in the local creeks. Sitting in the waters (I've tried Mill Creek now, too), I start to imagine myself a boulder or root wad. Creek bubbles bounce around my legs, and catch in my quivering hairs. Yellow cottonwood leaves wrap around and stick to my thighs. If only I could stay in longer than 15 minutes (without fear of hypothermia), I could be all gold in a few weeks.
I have to admit I was pretty surprised/overjoyed Friday when I was able to jog 60 minutes without any symptoms. I started with a mile or so of walking in Mono City, then, to attempt a run, I drove a short ways to the relatively flat stretch of Hwy 167 between 395 and Wilson Creek. Most unfortunately, this stretch is less than a mile long, so I felt a bit like a rotisserie chicken turning under the cold fall sun, as I jogged back and forth. I was also holding my breath, as it were: trying to stay focused on my form, keep from speeding up, and stay alert for any sign of ITB unrest. The ice age tufa that stand in a row across the road, like hulking linebackers, proved worthy distraction--they have for months now. They're such interesting shapes--a natural Japanese rock garden. (Zen football players?) I called it a day after 60 minutes, about 4.5 revolutions, and headed down to Mammoth for a session of "bodywork."
Yesterday, I did the same, but 5.5 revolutions worth. Today, for adventure, I drove to mile ten on Hwy 167, where there's a relatively flat 5-mile stretch. It rained off and on much of the day, so by heading east I also may have avoided a few more droplets. After parking, walking, and starting up, I ran at just under 7 min pace to the "MONO 167 12.5" mile sign, u-turned to the 8.5 mark, etc, etc. Though I haven't been running fast, perhaps psychologically this straight and narrow pavement running has helped prepare me for the long blocks of NYC. And it was stormily gorgeous out there, however chilly. The Sierra was draped with raincloud, but the sun seared through, briefly, in scattered rays and, as I drove away, rainbows.
I think I'll always remember Hwy 167 as my injury runway. When I had a pain near my achilles in late June-early July, I ran out and back on it ad nauseam. Then, I was after the pavement--to avoid sand. I suppose I still am, but I'm more concerned with flat terrain--no rocks, and little grade--and there's not much around the Basin beyond 167, other than 395. Tomorrow, however, I might try a hill or two, and maybe stray off asphalt. I hope to try a workout of some sort mid-week.
10 mi, 70 min; Hwy 167 from the 10 mile marker
Week Total: 37 mi/4 days
Saturday, 10/16: 10 mi, 75 min; Hwy 167, close to home
Friday, 10/15: 8 mi, 60 min; Hwy 167, close to home