Monday, I walked to the ART therapist and back and enjoyed/suffered through the manipulation, massage, stretching, and releases. My leg was definitely in much better shape after last week. So, we discussed how I'd stay on this strengthening, stretching, rolling, and very light running plan for another couple of weeks and then see if I could start to increase the mileage.
The first run of the week was an easy 3 miles @ 11:11/mile pace on Wednesday so that I wouldn't feel like a complete sloth due to a day of flying to the east coast. Thursday, I did half an hour of strengthening, stretching, and rolling and then ran 3 miles with my father in law on his favorite hilly loop @ 11:59/mile. My leg let me know that it was not thrilled with two runs in 2 days on the last mile, but it held up and didn't hurt too much afterwards, so I took it as a good sign.
Friday was a full rest travel day unless you count lazily walking around the all inclusive resort from bar to dolphin show to bar to restaurant to bar before an early bedtime. I love using hotel points for all inclusive resorts -- the good ones (great locations, views, facilities, staff, good restaurants with menu ordering, mid-range name brand alcohol included, availability without too much advance reservation planning, etc.) are pricey enough that I find it hard to justify paying real money for them. But points? Sign. Me. Up.
I'd hoped we could fit in a dive at La Musa, the underwater museum, but E had a cold and it was raining, windy, and overcast for most of Saturday. (As a new diver, I'm slowly learning that there are even more variables out of your control when planning diving vacations as compared to other travel -- you have to book your lodging and location in advance and just hope that you don't have congestion or poor weather or poor seas. Note: If you do have unexpected sickness and weather, it really softens the blow if you're at an amazing all inclusive resort.)
Instead of diving, we took advantage of the gigantic onsite gym and did a mile of elliptical warmup followed by an hour of weightlifting, which is the first time we've ever done this activity together. It could have been ugly, but it actually went quite well. We alternated the various recommended leg weight exercises from my ART therapist with upper body and core work. Thankfully, we kept the weights low, so neither of us were particularly sore the next day, but I had forgotten about how weightlifting makes me SUPER HUNGRY. Thank goodness I could find calories galore around every corner. The rest of the day was spent on lounge chairs under palapas in front of the Caribbean Sea, reading between dips in the ocean and, of course, lots of drinks and food (teppanyaki lobster for dinner!).
Sunday, I hit up the gym for 3X5 minute 1% treadmill ladders from 6mph up to 6.4mph interspersed with walking recovery and the assigned strength/mobility for my leg. It was the first time I've run "fast" without pain in a couple of months, so that was good.
It's been interesting to experience how we travel now, vs. how we traveled before the Sabbatical. First, we didn't really do any true lazy beach vacations on our year of travel. Here, experiencing this awesomeness, we're both wondering why we didn't. Lazy beach vacations are wonderful!
This is a short enough trip that I pre-booked all of the hotel nights fairly far in advance. But I didn't book any of the transportation between the hotels. Upon arrival, we got off the plane and navigated the hordes at the CUN airport, briefly evaluated the transfer options, walked up to the Super Shuttle desk and ordered a pre-paid private transfer from the airport to the hotel and return transit from our last hotel to the airport.
The private transfer simply meant that a Super Shuttle employee filled out some paperwork, then grabbed a taxi from the front of the line, directed them to us, and paid them directly with some sort of voucher so we didn't have to wait in line or haggle over the price. The only downside was that on the way to the cab, the Super Shuttle employee turned our receipt over and started pretending to need to know our ages and other personal information about us -- ahhh, the scam/hustle is strong in this culture, but so is politeness, so a quick explanation that I didn't want to answer any more questions shut that down. I had been fairly certain we could manage the details by the seat of our pants without too much trouble for much less than advance booking would cost, buy you never can be sure, so I was thankful that it worked out.
The rates at our resort for transit to Cozumel were $60 per person and up. I was fairly certain we could do better, but that was our back up plan in case we needed it. Sunday AM, after my workout and before we fit in our last all inclusive lunch, I did a little online research and found that we could take an ADO bus from downtown Cancun to Playa Del Carmen for something like $4 each and walk to the ferry to Cozumel which is $8 each. So, we hopped in a cab ($13) to the bus station, waited in line to buy bus tickets (note -- typical Latin America, the online purchasing system had less availability and didn't work as well as the humans at the station), bought tickets for a bus departing in 15 minutes, tossed our big bag in the luggage compartment, boarded the perfectly comfortable air conditioned bus, half-watched the Spanish dubbed version of Mirror Mirror en route, arrived in Playa, retrieved the luggage, bought ferry tickets for a ferry boarding in 20 minutes, took the ferry to Cozumel, grabbed a cab ($6), and arrived at our dive resort just in time for 2-for-1 happy hour (less than $2 per margarita? We'll take 4, please). After 2 days of all inclusive splurging, we were more than happy to be in a lower budget option where we had to pay for all we chose to consume.
4 months of Spanish immersion and 3 months of Latin American culture immersion have made the day-of travel processes in touristy Mexico relatively unconfusing - which was definitely not the case before last year. There is so much less information online here than we expect in the US. Historically, that would have made me apprehensive and I would have booked online more than a day in advance or even gone to the station to confirm the schedule and buy tickets the day before. Now, I have a general sense in Latin American cultures that it'll all work out, one way or another, even in the absence of detailed Internet information, which is one nice benefit that I hope to continue to enjoy in the future.
Finally, I thought last week was low mileage, but this week showed me that I just wasn't trying hard enough. The grand total in my spreadsheet is 10.8 miles with only 7 of them running. Here's to hoping the downtime coupled with all the other stuff is pointing me in the right healing direction and to better diving luck in Cozumel!