Monday, June 7, 2010

Do Over, Please

I'd like to forget last month. 

Actually I know that I should remember it well and pay attention to the lessons of it.

As I sat on the train on May 3rd I thought I would take a week or so "off" and then be able to capitalize on all the strength and stamina that results from 18 to 20 weeks of training. Such fantasies smacked right into the reality of what I did to my body on the day before. 

I won't say that running 26.2 miles is nuts but it turns out that it truly messed up my body something fierce. This past month has been a wash of frustration and, not pain, but soreness coupled with very low levels of motivation. So great the frustration and so low the motivation that even working through Higdon's post-marathon recovery plan was beyond my capability. In the month since Eugene I've run 85 miles. There are some lessons here and I've only just begun to pay attention instead of maundering about how hard this month has been. 

  1. Get a massage ASAP after the event (My mistake was to wait a bit too long trusting on my own ability to stretch, yoga, and self-massage)
  2. Eat better (OK, OK, this one should be a given and, for the most part I've done OK but there is always room for improvement as I do love pizza and bagels a bit too much.)
  3. Wait to race (What was I thinking trying to race the Cougar 5-miler in May? Everyone has permission to dope-slap me when they see me next. It was an OK race but the first real indication that my legs were still played out.)
  4. Stop comparing myself to all the "real runners" out there in the Th8tas, my running forum team (I am not an ultra (yet) and may never be so why waste mental energy and angst trying to contribute to the weekly mileage. Every mile run is a mile run, a fact that I should not get to complaisant about.)
  5. Remember fondly how good it felt to put in a 20-miler on one day and then race a half-marathon the next as a way of boosting mood (Careful though as this could be depressing too.)
  6. Remember that running is supposed to be good processing time and therapy of sorts (at least it has been), a good way of working out work angst (and boy has work been angsty lately). Use that when things get rough.
  7. Don't push it. (I am getting old and things are not bouncing back as well as they did in the past. Be patient, it'll happen.)

Took me a while to think of all this and, though much of it is obvious, it is freeing to both realize it and to articulate it. Much of this misery has been mental so the "naming of it" has been remarkably freeing. 

Time to lace up my kicks and head out there again, this time with a smile on my face . . . 

Summer awaits! :-)


PuddleThumper said...

I know this month has been tough for you and I'm glad you've figured this all out. Marathon recovery is different for everyone and you need to figure out what your body is telling you. But I'll try dope slapping harder next time. ;)

rpd said...

Dope Slap Away!

Question is, will I remember all this? ;-)