Thursday, June 08, 2006

En vacance

Sorry for the long dry spell in posts. For some of you, this was probably reminiscent of the early days of my blog when a monthly update was the best a reader could hope for. I should be back to posting two to three times a week again now that I am back home. My vacation will last through Monday morning, and then it's back into the trenches, so I will try to make the best of it until then.

The family vacation. Challenging with a two year-old and a five month-old, but still a great experience. We will certainly look forward to the chance to take trips with the kids at every age, and we will always look forward to getting settled back at home with them after a few days in a new, strange place. We visited San Diego, California where we discovered the hills are steep and the food is best when it's cheap. The Sea Lodge at La Jolla Shores Beach was home base for a few days of relative relaxation, where we had a beautiful oceanfront view thanks to the good folks at Expedia. We paid for the $199 special, but got the $349 room due to overbooking. The upgrade included enough extra space for the kids to have their own crib corners, and a full kitchen for making paper plate pasta dishes that rivaled, and some would say exceeded, the haute cuisine that San Diego had to offer. I was able to do some out-and-back running on the beach, which was a total of 1.5 miles long. Running was nice on the compacted, fine-grained sand, but I could only take so much of the repetition, and soon headed out to the La Jolla hills. I spent some time running around the Birch Aquarium / San Diego State University campus area, which was really difficult. The hills were immense by anyone's standard, one that I measured climbed 330 feet in just over half a mile. Nothing to Lance Armstrong, maybe, but certainly hors categorie for me. Going up, I was generally around 7:45 pace, and coming down it was a struggle to hold back 6:00 miles. I wouldn't want to train here regularly, but if I did, I would probably need titanium hip and knee replacements in a few years, as well as daily massage and a steady supply of morphine for my quads.

As far as the running goes, I'm glad to be home.

We didn't take in the San Diego Rock-n-Roll marathon as we had planned due to the logistical impossibilities of marathon day traffic and the short window of opportunity available due to the kids' needs. We would like to have seen the elites run by, as well as Mike, but it just wasn't in the cards. We were able to meet up with blogger Mike and his running pal Jeff for a bite to eat in downtown San Diego at the Cheese Shop, one of the few places we ate at in San Diego that I would actually recommend. It was here that I shared, in retrospect, some bad advice with Mike, telling him to go out at 5:40 pace in the first few miles to really shake things up. The advice was bad, but the pastrami was fantastic.

I am officially done with physical therapy. What a f$@king joke. I have good insurance, but it is still going to cost me nearly $400 for the 10 or so treatments I received. I would feel better about the whole process if I thought it had helped, but it didn't. I think the money would have been better spent on half a dozen really brutal massage sessions. I haven't had pain now for over three weeks, but I still have knots forming and a burning sensation in my right calf every couple of days, usually following a harder or longer effort. I'm just getting started on the stengthening exercises, and I have backed off my mileage quite a bit in the last 10 days, but so far I have the same issues after a four miler as I do after an eight or ten, so I'm going to be treating it day to day with massage, ibuprofen, and as much running off the concrete as possible. It's just a thing now, like a neuroma, a black toenail, or any other of a number of chronic impairments that runners have. It will be my constant companion, like the travel size bottle of scotch I keep in my waistband to ward off the demons while trudging down the sidewalks in the wee hours.

Not a lot to report as far as running due to the above mentioned reduction in mileage. I ran once a day in San Diego from four to eight miles, usually with a couple of faster miles thrown in due to the downhills. The hill work was good, and I didn't elicit any complaints from the calves the whole week. That was the goal, so mission accomplished. Yesterday was my first run back on home turf, and it was good to be home. The first mile was very comfortable in just under 7:00, which generally means a steady stream of 6:00 miles, plus/minus 10 seconds, is on the way. Ten miles passed in 1:00:25, and with the exception of two miles on grass in University Park, they went by with little perceived effort. It's good to be home.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike

Good to have you back Eric. It was great getting to meet you and the family, and thanks for the smart advice about going out as hard as possible for the marathon. Are you sure I was supposed to run the first 4 miles with ankle-weights? That seemed wierd but you're the boss. Maybe it was the cheese.

I think at this point you're right about the calf. Just forget about it, it will remind you if it really needs attention. Good 10 miles at 6min pace.

6/08/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mark

ahem, you gave marathon advice to Mike? Mike listened? wait, have you run a marathon? okay, it's a joke ;-)

good to see you are back running at a fast pace

6/09/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Fatboy

Welcome back. It's great to see a flatlander marvel at the "immense" coastal hills, and muse about titanium hips and knees. They are steep, though, I'll give you that.

It's too bad your therapy didn't go better. If you've got any therapy money left, I'm totally behind the deep tissue massage. Increasing your lower leg strength through hill work and increasing uptempo work, should help get you over the hump (or lump, as it were).

6/09/2006 07:07:00 PM  

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