Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tired Feet and New Spring Growth

After countless weeks of wind: strong wind, cold wind, windy wind, slow wind, and downright nasty wind, I have begun to notice signs of Spring. Real Spring! Not that smokey-hazy-pollen-ridden-wind-swept reality that it has been of late. But Spring...the kind where seventeen different shades of green can be seen as the new leaf buds emerge from their hunkered down curls.

Box Elder beginning to leaf out.

The season where the new spring shoots dive straight up into the air like green swords before unfurling their languid leaves and blossoms into all their beauty. The Spring of nursery rhymes and rhythms where the sight of shoots, buds and blooms invokes a ramble of repeating verses tumbling through my head.
This past Saturday I completed my longest run to date. (I find it amusing that if it had been a mountain bike ride, I would have considered it a "short one.") As I willed myself to continue for the last 1.2 miles, my feet were graciously looking forward to the effort being over. An amazing, and highly recommended 12.8 miles in Bandelier, however, was worth every minute! We ascended the South rim of Frijoles canyon and followed the rim west to the Upper Crossing of Frijoles canyon. Then we descended all the way down the canyon back to the Visitor Center.
Looking West along the Frijoles Rim Trail.
The scenery was stunning! Having never been above the Alcove House (Ceremonial Cave) I had to sometimes simply stop and gawk at the amazing cliff lines that rise straight from the streambed high into the air.
The "Narrows" within the Frijoles Canyon.
The long, gradual climb along the Frijoles Rim trail allows for unmatched views of the ruins within the canyon at the start, and the variety of plants and trees that weather the open and exposed regions on the mesa top. The climb starts in Pinon-Juniper woodland, extends through the recovering portion of burned area from the La Mesa Fire of 1977, and then enters Ponderosa forest before the descent into the canyon. All the way down the canyon I was continually sighing my Ooohss and Ahhhss at the first sightings of my favorite plants--stinging nettles, columbine, chickweed, valerian, clematis, horsetail, and yarrow.
Columbine blooming in the canyon bottom.
The multiple river crossings were lessons in balance and I was continually shocked to discover that I had none each time I had to slow down and work my way across the specifically-placed boulders to ease the progress. As my dear friend and future acupuncturist said, "Running makes you blood deficient, and blood deficiency makes you dizzy," which was the best reason I could find for my lack of any sort of balance at each crossing. Considering she joined in on the run, I figured she knew what she was talking about!
Clematis Vines in the Canyon.
After miles of elegant cliff lines, rock-hopping river crossings, a few surprise hill climbs, and amazing views, I finally reached the Alcove House and was suddenly bombarded with the throngs of mid-morning Saturday visitors. Where I had been previously listening only to the sounds of the river, song birds, the rhythmic pounding of my feet on the dirt, as well as my own gasping, I began hearing the happy chatter of kids walking the trail for possibly the first time, and all the other people making their way up the trail and the ladders. This last 1.2 miles was the most arduous for me, as I knew that the end was near, but I still had to finish that last bit of trail that I knew so well.
The tired-foot treatment began the next day, to allow for all potential muscle swelling to subside. I lit some moxa for moxibustion therapy for my feet and ankles. Holding the moxa rolls close to skin (but not too close!!) helps to increase blood circulation. Remarkably, all soreness in my feet disappeared after about 20 minutes of using the moxa. I was very impressed! This is something I will continue to do between now and shortly after the BIG race I've signed up for--the culimnating event for all this running training I've been doing. Then it's back on the bike for me!
Moxibustion, Traumeel ointment, nervines for the tired muscles, Eleuthero and Rhodiola for stamina, and lots of hot-tubbing and rest!
A solid start to the spring and summer!


Jimbo said...

So how did you do in the Big Race?

Chrysanthemama said...

Glad that's over!
I didn't go as fast as I had wanted to, thanks to a strategically placed blister on my second littlest toe. It's actually remarkable that something so small can cause such discomfort!

But overall, it was a fun event, is very well managed, they had lots of great post-race food, and all the participants seemed happy!

Oh yeah...and my bib number for the duathlon was 234.

You took some great pictures of the JMTR, btw!