This is the last I will bore you with the details but again, I feel its important. Its not so much a how to but rather it is more what I experienced and what I did about it. I hope someone is helped by it or, like in my last post, doesnt make the same boneheaded mistakes I made and they run a better race.
-Immediately post race-
As soon as I could I got some Recoverite in my system asap. It has always helped in the past so it was a part of my routine. I also had some chocolate milk as well www.hammernutrition.com/
If you didnt already know it, chocolate milk has a fantastic rep for being a good recovery drink.
I really needed to keep moving or else I would seriously start to stiffen up. I read that it is critical to keep moving after the race so that is what I did and it seemed to help.
this was torture but I experienced alot of benefit from my long run training. It made a huge difference in the level of felt inflammation and discomfort. My basic understanding of it is that the ice bath not only reduces the inflammation but also causes a certain amount of constriction in the muscles that will help move waste byproducts from the system. As this was the first 26.2 distance I have ever done, I have nothing to compare it to by not taking one but I will say that for my long runs, it made a HUGE difference in how fast I was able to snap back and start running again.
-Rolling out the affected areas-
Using a foam roller was torture so I switched over to the stick. The roller was far to difficult to use under extremely sore conditions. I found it very difficult to use it and maintain a level of control so the rolling action was not too aggressive (ie..painful) The Stick allowed me to have more control as to exactly how much pressure to put on the affected areas. Later on in my recovery, when I wasnt so sensitive, I switched up to the roller, no problem, but initially, it was too much.
The Stick, if you dont know already...
-24 hours after the race-
Frankly, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Walking was a privilege, not a right, in spite of my best efforts.
I needed to stretch in the worst way but as stiff and inflexible as I was, it would not have been a good idea to stretch cold muscles.
What really worked for me...
I made use of the hotels hot tub and pool. the hot tub served to give me the ability to passively warm up and relax the muscles. then while in the tub, proceeded to do some gentle stretching routines. This helped BIG TIME. Like night and day. I went from that to the pool which was a bit cooler. the hot to cool transition was like magic. I also used the pool to my advantage in that it gave me extra support so I did a number of water-assisted exercises such as lunges and more stretches, stationary kicking, then breast stroke and such just to get moving without the impact. It made a huge difference. After 2 sessions like that over a 48 hr period, I was hitting the mall and at least walking without having to stop to sit down every 5 minutes.
Between the pool and just walking, I made use of the hotels stairs to just do simple stair climbing with some assistance from the hand rail. It was hard work but I got through it and it made a difference in that I was exercising and keeping active.
I know this sounds bad, but the 48 hrs after the race were pretty tough for me. I have to be honest, it was those times I was second guessing everything. I also knew that this was all part of the process, some will do better than others after the race. This was just a tough time for me. I also knew it would get better soon and it did.
It also took about 6-10 hrs to nurse my appetite back to full swing as mentioned back in my last blog.
-7 days + after the race-
I have been walking but very slowly. My muscles were quick to come back but I feel soreness in my tendons, and somewhat in my joints. My muscles feel race ready and are kind of ancy. Walking is about all I can handle right now. In a couple of days I will try a easy jog on the treadmill. The plan right now is to use the treadmill as a safe way to get a feel for where i am at physically.
The benefit of the treadmill as opposed to an outdoor easy recovery run is that the treadmill gives me the opportunity to stop at any time and rest or sit down. If I'm outside and I get unsteady or start hurting, I'm going to have to make a call to get picked up. The treadmill is a much safer option right now until i know where I am at.
this is where I am right now. I feel it will only be a matter of time until i am back on my feet and running.
I miss it but for now I have to take it as it comes and heal up.
-Post marathon blues-
I have heard of it before but never really experienced it until now. I figured something would happen like this so I thought ahead. I had a whole list of goals and a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish after the race including being signed up for a half marathon coming up mid october. I did that a while back based on the info I had at the time being it only took about a week to get over a 20 mile run so i figured i would be safe with almost a month between events. if i have to walk the whole thing, i will, i dont care, i just want to get out there.
Having clearly defined goals has helped somewhat in that I dont feel adrift after the big event. After giving myself to one event all year and all that went into it, it was a little disorienting to see my goal hanging with all of the other medals on the wall, just another keepsake.
I am focusing on losing weight over the winter and we will see what the Spring brings. My goals are big enough that I cant do them at my current weight. I have gone as far as I can fitness-wise at my weight. the weight has to go. Once that happens, we'll start into triathlon but not until i feel my weight is acceptable.
Right now, having the goals has given me direction but that still doesnt take away from the blue feeling I have right now. I'll be ok but I am totally feeling bummed out.
I have learned that in order to succeed, you cannot be ruled by your feelings. Its ok and normal for me to feel this way but not to the point that it dictates what I do. The only way I know of to combat the blues is to take action and let the feelings follow. They will catch up eventually.
I dont mean to end on a blue note but this is where I am at right now. I pushed out all of this info out there, the good, the bad, the ugly and the stupid, in hopes that someone would be better helped as they go after their goal. Its not to make it sound like some grueling event and who the heck would want to do that?
Who?... I would.... it was the most worthwhile thing I have ever done for myself. sure it was tough, but I was made tougher. It was demanding, but i met the challenge. I have met the distance respectfully and succeeded. I will learn from the mistakes, accentuate the positive and do another marathon as soon as I am at a good racing weight.
I want to be able to keep up with the pace bunnies.