Got done visiting with the ENT (ears, nose and throat) specialist not too long ago. My submandibular gland is still swollen, but it seems to have receded some since a week ago and is certainly less painful (in fact, I'm totally pain free now). Basically have to play it by ear (and nose and throat...see what I did there?) for a few months. If I have a recurrence of pain or the inflammation simply doesn't go away, then surgery is probably a definite. Otherwise, it will hopefully clear up on its own given time.
In any case, I'm back to running and it's about damn time I started focusing since I'm a mere 26 weeks away from Bighorn. So far away, yet so close. I hammered out 11 miles in two separate runs yesterday, which means my mileage for the day exceeded my mileage from all of last week (for some reason, I didn't feel much like running when I was in agonizing pain or drugged up with Vicodin). My second run yesterday was a 4.8 mile jaunt up Lookout Mtn. The mountain appears to be totally snow free when viewed from town, but of course I found some hidden snow fields once I got up there. Really, though, the snow was pretty minimal and was packed down well, which makes for pretty decent running. The fact that I was running outside in shorts just a few days before Christmas is fairly remarkable in itself. And, I was pleasantly surprised that even after all the time off last week, I was able to run the entire runnable route yesterday, albeit slowly. I say "runnable" route, because there's a bit of rock crawling required just before the summit. That stretch might be runnable by someone with mountain goat genes, but not by me. It's even warmer today (52!...on December 20th!), so the plan is to hit the Tinton Trail just outside of Spearfish after work to assess the snow situation there. Alas, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, so whatever the conditions are now, they are certain to change in the very near future, but I'm determined to tough it out and do as much trail running as possible this winter (even if it requires snowshoes). If I'm going to survive Bighorn, I don't have much of a choice.