Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Road to San Diego -- Tucson, Arizona (Part 1)

(Day four continued) Arrived in Tucson around 4:00 p.m. Weather is actually pretty nice for this time of year, perhaps 91 degrees. As the sun began dropping, the evening air really cooled off. Went for my last medium-long run before the marathon. Did 10 miles through neighborhoods in East Tucson, 5 miles into the sunset and 5 miles back. Running feels very good -- not even a hint of last month's ITBFS, or last week's tight hamstring. Slept very well that night. Tommorrow is a day off from running.

Day five, Memorial Day, was a low-key day, recovering from all the driving (and last night's 10-miler). Tried hitting some of my old favorite haunts, but many of them were closed for the holiday (Rainbow Guitars for one). I've begun learning and studying the European jazz music of the great gypsy traditions (Django, Rosenbergs, etc.), and a great Arizona used book store, Bookman's, yielded a decent guitar chord book and a compendium of Django Reinhardt solos with analysis. Next, a stop at PDQ used records turned up several great gypsy jazz CDs. Headed back to the house with swag in hand and spent several hours picking out some new chord shapes, changes and swing tunes on my new guitar. Yes, I brought my new guitar along on the trip, hoping to get a lot of good practice time in. (Also hoping to catch the Hot Club of San Diego while in California!) A relaxing barbecue with family capped the evening.

Day six began early. I was up and out on the road by 6:00 am for a 5 mile run. After 2 miles of easy running did a bit more than a mile at marathon pace (8:00 miles -- hopefully!), then some quick pickups/accelerations over the next mile followed by an easy cool-down mile. The rest of the day included visits to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the San Xavier del Bac Mission. The day was a bit hotter, almost 100 degrees, and a frozen Eegee's drink really cools you down. The evening included dinner at La Parilla Suiza -- fantastic Mexico City style food.

The Road to San Diego -- New Mexico

Day one was one big long drive. Kansas City to Taos, NM. Roadside Mexican food in Springer, NM that evening was dissappointing. Arrived at the campground around 10:00 p.m. and pitched the tent in the dark. Pretty cold that night -- I would guess the temperature was in the thirties. Sleep did not come easily.

Day two in Taos was quite nice. After cold cereal and Turkish tea for a late breakfast, spent the early part of the day poking around art galleries in Taos. Discovered a place called "Wired?" -- great coffees, T2 internet access, and the best bathroom in Taos. As clouds were rolling over Taos, went for a 6 mile run through town. After a mile or two warm up, began bounding up and down hills, coasting through neighborhoods of quaint authentic adobe homes and more modern "pueblo-style" stucco'd wannabe's. The rain started just as I finished my run. After a stop at WalMart (Evil Empire!) for a warmer sleeping bag, and some groceries, followed by dinner, had a nice, sufficiently warm night and plenty of sleep.

Day three began with cold cereal and instant espresso (not bad!). After another hour or so spent at "Wired?", headed out of Taos. Stopped at the Ranchos de Taos, the most photographed and painted New Mexican church of St. Francis of Assisi. The almost abstract nature of the building is always impressive. Drove on into Santa Fe. Picnic'd near the Plaza in the center of Santa Fe, and snooped around a few shops there as well. Discovered a little French antique shop with the most amazing hand-blown Venetian glass light fixtures, and almost next door, the Wyeth-Hurd(?) gallery (a print of Andrew Wyeth's, "Sarah's World", hangs in our living room). As the day was getting on, headed on down to Albuquerque. After checking into the Super 8 on Coors road (keeping costs down), went for an easy 3 mile run down Coors road. Let's just say this section of Albuquerque is not exactly runner-friendly. Discovered a great Mexican restaurant on Gibson Rd. "Cervantes" served up some of the best Mexican food I've had in Albuquerque (the prickly-pear margarita was pretty good too!). Slept very well that night.

Day four was another driving day. Headed South on I-25. Picked up some extra-hot salsa in Hatch, took the cut-off to Demming, and headed West on I-10 to Tucson, Arizona.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Heading for San Diego

On vacation now. We'll be driving out to Arizona first, and then on to California for the San Diego Rock N Roll marathon. No time to chat now, gotta go pack. Will start updating this blog again regularly starting Sunday evening.

Rock and Roll!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Now (ITBFS) Injury Free

My dad passed away on Feb. 28th. Drove out to Arizona for the service and to be with family. The following weekend, on Sunday morning, I went out for a 17-mile run. The weather was perfect. The last 4 miles including running up and over Thunderbird pass in NW Phoenix. Not a bad hill, but after 13 miles a bit taxing. Later than afternoon, my brothers and I decided to play basketball (in honor of Dad, a high school basketball star). An hour and a half later my knees were killing me. [That's right, idiot! That's why we stopped playing basketball 12 years ago. Remember? It was hurting my knees.] I still had some pain that night, but by the next day all seemed fine.

The following Friday, I began driving back home. I covered about 1300 miles in 2 days. I drove it all myself and when I got home on Saturday evening I went out for a short run. Three miles into it, my right knee was hurting. I figured it was just the driving and didn't even think about it until the next day when I tried to go 18 miles. It was hurting after about 6 miles, and by 14 miles I was in serious pain. I somehow got through another 3 miles to get home. Serious knee pain. Right knee on the outside. A bit of research and I deduced it was Illio-tibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS).

Long story made short: I cut my mileage in half for a week. I went to a message therapist. I began stretching religiously. I iced my knee. The following week my long run was 12 miles -- I stopped and stretched every three miles -- I could feel the injury, but never became painful. The next week I ran 18 miles -- I stretched about every six miles, I could feel it tighten up but again, no pain. The next week was 20 miles -- I stretched at miles 10 and 17, no problems. The next two long runs (18 and 22) were great.

Catch these things early, don't let them progress. For ITBFS don't get depressed, you can beat it -- cut mileage in half the next week and no hills, stretch that IT band, ice it, and ease back into your running (stopping to stretch anytime you feel it tighten up).