Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Post Marathon Recovery

Post marathon blues? Yup, I got those too. But I think it's my body's way of telling me I'm depleted and need rest. I've been recovering amazingly well. I've been forcing myself to take time off from working out for this week--just stretching and walking. Ugh. I hate it. I'm itching to get my heart rate up. The fact that work is more stressful than ever and I'm moving doesn't help.
Immediately after the race, I downed a delicious smoothie, stretched and walked a lot. I was freezing, even in my tin foil blanket. It took forever to make it back to Union Square. We stood in line for the shuttle as the wind blew a fine mist upon us from the ocean across the street. I had planned upon an ice bath but by the time I got back to the hotel, I felt like an ice cube myself. Brent went to the hot tub to warm up. Even though it was probably the worst thing for me, I couldn't resist, and I followed him in. It felt wickedly delicious. With my belly full of smoothie and a turkey sandwich and my body warmed again, I fell into bed for a well-earned nap.
Brent took me out for dinner that night. Seafood and a heavenly brownie sundae in Ghirardelli's Square. I couldn't eat enough. My knees transmitted stabbing pain with every step as if 18 gauge needles had been stabbed through them. I had to hold onto Brent's arm and walk sideways downhill like a crab.
I dreaded waking up the next morning but surprisingly, I didn't feel too bad. It was tricky hopping off the shuttle at the airport. I had to use a lot of upper body strength and the railing to make it down the steep steps. After a massage that afternoon, I felt amazing and not nearly as torn up as I had anticipated. Again, I couldn't stop eating all Monday. It felt wonderful to down vast quantities of food and not feel stuffed.
48 hours later (Tuesday) is usually the worst. I popped out of bed and was delighted when I could walk about with no pain. I had none, nada, 0 soreness! Unbelievable. I forgot that I had run a marathon 48 hours ago and mistakenly broke into a lope, running back to lab after lunch (I prefer to run instead of walk to get to and fro). YEOWWW! My knees painfully reminded me that although I could walk pain-free, the needles of torture hadn't been removed yet. I wasn't ready to run.
I am pleased with how my first "stand alone" marathon went. My primary goal, especially after experiencing overtraining and such a long season, was to finish strong, have fun and want to do another one again. I'm signed up for Rock 'n Roll Marathon (San Diego) May 31st '09. Mission accomplished. I wish I could have gone faster but my body wasn't ready yet. It will come. Maybe on the next one. I think for my next marathon, if I want to increase my speed, I need to up my time in the weight room and do more on the bike for strength (this will also prevent injury). Also, I will include more speed workouts (weekly track torture sessions). Live and learn. Regardless, I had a lot of fun.
Lots of people have asked me how a "stand alone" marathon compares to an Ironman marathon. They are different as night and day. In an Ironman, you worry about pace a lot less. By the time you get to the marathon, you are somewhat delusional. All I cared about was getting to the finish; I didn't care when. It was much more of a journey, rather than a race. I also had much less pain in the Ironman marathon; my legs were completely numb. It was a blessing in disguise. My "stand alone" marathon was more painful for some reason. I was more concerned about pace; it felt more like a race. However, even though it was hard, it was nothing compared to the difficulty of an Ironman. In some respects that's nice because I feel like I have many many more marathons ahead of me, whereas an Ironman just takes more out of a person. They are different animals, and I love them both. My advice? Do them both and decide for yourself!
Time to enjoy my recovery. I can't wait to get moving again. I will probably swim and bike a lot to begin with and back off the running to allow my knees and legs to repair. Below you can find some useful links on post-marathon recovery. Other than that, it's time to enjoy my off-season! Which means....my annual season recap and next season's goals and planning is coming soon! As well as my YTD miles and comparison to prior seasons. Yippee!!! Lots of data to analyze!!!
smiling for the camera on the SF marathon course
Brent running alongside me for a few miles
getting through the tough miles

Post Marathon Recovery Links:


Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

That's great! I'm glad to hear you are recovering so well from the race. Awesome about doing Rock n' Roll in May. It's a great race - I crewed for Eric in his very first marathon there this year.

I can't wait until I am finally back enough to do another marathon. I'll get there...

Formulaic said...

YOur body needs to decompress and no wonder!

You had a great Mary and before that it was the Awesome job of a RD! Talk about tough!

And before that it was....

Get some rest, and you'll be back better than ever.

bunnygirl said...

I'm glad your recovery is going well. I've heard that a stand-alone marathon can actually be tougher to recover from than an IM. I believe the reason is that running is harder on a body and one is more likely to take that part easy in an IM, either by choice or by fiat.

Cliff said...

I hear you about the diff between IM and a mary. W/ an IM is all about getting it done..not so much about going fast.

W/ a mary...it is hard to keep that pace up...especially in the last 6 miles.

I just did a mary on Sun and I was telling my friend the IM is actually 'easier' as I don't have to push as hard.

have lots of rest.

triguyjt said...

enjoy the rest...but it think you'll be back at it pretty quick....

Mary said...

Just read the race report and this blog. You were tough! Great job. Now relax and enjoy the time off...you deserve it!

Eileen Swanson said...

GREAT job, now relax and recover, you deserve it!!


TRI Vortex said...

Sushi with a generous helping of wasabi usually peps me up after a big workout.

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