Happily, things seem to be coming together. I got a call back from a swimming instructor at Galter and had my first of three lessons last night. We worked on getting the hitch out of my breast stroke so I could be more efficient and I can now do a (really crappy) flip turn. With some practice I should be able to swim continuously without pausing at the ends of the pool very soon. I also learned something – the markings on the sides and bottom of the pool are there for a reason. The T’s at the end of the lane markers are to let you know that the end of the pool is coming up and the crosses on the end sides of the pool are to try to hit with your feet when you do a flip turn – good things to know.
I also had my first physical therapy appointment today at ATI-North Park. My therapist, Kristen, confirmed a gastrocnemius strain. After the initial exam she thought that instead of the TENS electric stimulation therapy that ultrasound therapy would be a better fit. So, I got the ultrasound for about ten minutes followed by a 10 minute Trigger Point calf massage (ahhhhhh……..so good…….). She outlined some stretches to do, gave me a giant rubber band to do some hip strengthening exercises (it’s all connected so it can’t hurt to build up all my lower body muscles), told me to keep icing a few times a day, and gave me the all clear to do anything that doesn’t hurt: cycling, yoga, weights, swimming, even elliptical which I’m skeptical about trying. She told me to not run at all for another week and then we can talk about how to start back up. I have three appointments per week for the next four weeks and hopefully by the end of that I’ll be back and ready to go full strength. That is all good news and I can definitely tell that the muscle is feeling better and that the knot is breaking up.
So here’s the El Paso half round up from a spectator perspective with info from my nephew who ran the race. Packet pick-up went very smoothly although the expo was kind of lame – not enough running product booths and too many art/pottery booths (???). There was a booth for an El Paso running club and they seemed like a nice group of runners and they had some amusing shirts for sale - ‘We’ve got the runs’ and ‘Run with us – it’s cheaper than therapy’ were the two I noticed. On race morning, parking was very easy – the race started and finished near the convention center so there was ample safe parking for a nominal $5. The temperature was around 45 degrees with little wind and not a cloud in the sky – perfect running weather. The start chute wasn’t crowded and people seemed to be behaving themselves and letting the speedsters go to the front. It was easy to get a spot to watch the race start out – only about 1000 spectators in total - and then it was a quick walk to a downtown hotel to get a cup of coffee while we waited for my nephew to finish. He predicted that he’d finish between 1:15 and 1:20 and he was right on the money – 1:19 and change garnered him 4th place (side note: I’d give my first born child to be able to run that fast just once). He said the course had some rolling hills which quashed his hopes for a PR and the air was VERY DRY but there were ample water stops. After the race he got a kind of cheesy trophy for winning his age group and they had bananas, chocolate milk, water and Michelob Ultra beer for the runners. There was an outdoor party area with a really good band if you wanted to hang around and I believe that runners could get complimentary massages. He said he would do the race again which, to me, says that I should sign up for next year’s race and keep my fingers crossed.