Chocolate Factory Loop: 5.7 mi (+428 ft); 9:57 pace
Seven Loop: 6.8 mi (+1,166 ft); 11:29 pace
Town Loop x2: 4.2 mi (+252 ft); 8:58 pace
Weekly Totals: 16.7 mi (+1,846 ft); 2:53:52 on trail
This week was about healing the hamstring and developing patience, challenges that I seem and hope to have met with success. It wasn't as much about sitting still and feeling a new restlessness, as about considering what this means for my as-yet brief running career and about actively helping the healing process. A hamstring strain isn't the end of the world by any stretch, but because it is a remnant of a youthful injury, I had a few moments of panic, albeit mild, that my relatively new endeavor might be hindered by a chronic aggravation. The question of how chronically susceptible I am to this specific strain remains unanswered, but the rest period this week along with pro-active treatment has taught me that discipline in the short term will likely produce results in the long run. If I can remember that on my coming "long" runs, the lesson will certainly be more than metaphor (i.e., this isn't new wisdom to me or anyone, but something I've particularly not been good at applying to personal health).
Desna provided much of the pro-active lesson for getting started again. When I returned from Texas, I was focused on the four days of rest, looking forward to being back on the trail on Thursday. But Thursday's trails wouldn't come without some careful attention to the legs. Des insisted on cycles of massage and ice, carefully working adjacent areas and then letting the ice do its trick. I expect she soon tired of my showing up with a bag of ice asking for daily therapy, but her experience and magic were felt as the tightness and swelling abated. Thursday was an easy run, and relatively slow, though I'm always relatively slow while enjoying the miles (that'll be changing I hope; the speed, not the enjoyment). Paid close attention to things in the engines, but pain never appeared.
Friday I had an appointment with Jon my PT at Peter Barbieri's Physical Therapy. On my flight to Texas I had considered canceling this appointment because we had moved away from the back pain of a few weeks ago - certainly a combination of PT, running, and the series of stretches Jon had provided. I reconsidered cancelling as soon as the hamstring had presented its strain. Friday's appointment focused on the injury, and Jon worked me over pretty good. Only rarely manipulating the injury area, he was aggressive with other connection points and associated muscle/tendon groups (there's probably a better anatomical term). We finished the session with some ultrasound therapy to continue breakdown of any scar tissue. Des had recommended I ask about the ultrasound and Jon said it would be a good idea in this case. My legs felt amazingly beat up and worn out Friday night, like I had been on one of my longer trails. But I woke Saturday to two crazy things -- my legs felt great and new snow had arrived.
I couldn't wait to get on the trail, trying to beat the snow which couldn't decide whether to stick or simply blow away. So after cutting and storing our June supply of firewood (a true oxymoron), I sought out a new route in Seven Mile Canyon to avoid the brunt of the big winds that had delivered this late-Spring snow. Jon and Des had both advised me to take it easy, keep it below six miles for a couple days and then use the 10% rule to get back some distance. "If it feels OK, do what's comfortable," were Jon's last words of advice. So, of course, I picked Seven Mile Canyon! It's not really seven miles long, but it gave me a new route to try and I indeed ended up at 6.8 miles with some good, safe walking while climbing about 1,100 feet in the trail's middle section. Felt great the entire time, with Tephra bopping along beside me (her paws are saying they're ready too!). We kept a generally slow and smiling pace for the duration. Although I tire of the snow-burdened Spring (it's basically June), I was relieved that careful healing works and I can return to the peaceful exhilaration of the trail. I began to see an answer to my first question; I can keep going and will keep going with help and care.
It is still snowing today, Sunday, as we watch the Memorial Day weekend blow away in another cold low-pressure weather system. The week to come doesn't look much better. After the Seven Loop yesterday, I only had three quarters of a mile to reach my first goal of a lunar century (100 miles in a month). I could easily do that just checking the mail, as Des told me; or I could get it Tuesday on my first weekly outing. But I thought it might be nice to get this in less than 30 days so that it would be comparable to other months, besides February, of course. I had to stick to the pavement around Virginia City, but I got out in the insane mixture of blue sky-snow, beautiful but come on. Four miles on my little Town Loop to get to the century mark. An early goal reached and I'm thankful to everyone who has taught me to enjoy this, encouraged me to continue, and kept me going.