As it turns out, racing requires a period of recovery, while your muscles repair and everything returns to normal. The proverbial barn has burned down, and you have to start filling it with hay again. During that time, it can feel like you have lost all your fitness. If you are worried about that, all I can say is hang in there and keep working!
I also spent a few days this week with some bizarre stomach bug (toddlers, man!). That really put a damper on things, and took a huge toll on Saturday's long run. I spent most of the week running according to how I felt, doing injury prevention work, stretching, doing yoga, taking ice baths, and trying not to worry. Now that it's Tuesday, and I've safely made it through a very challenging tempo workout, I feel confident I am completely recovered.
|This photo was taken today (Tuesday, October 27). See? I'm fine now!|
Monday: Rest. The day after the race. We took our son apple picking at two different orchards, shopped at farm stands, and took the scenic route home from Chattanooga. A blissful, peaceful day.
[just imagine a lot of dreamy apple picking photos inserted here, which I can't do because 1) I'm not going to stick a camera in my son's face when he's enjoying the outdoors, and 2) I was too busy picking and eating apples.]
Tuesday: I got up and took my dog for a little jog, which was 1.6 @ 13:45. I want her to run a 5k this winter, and we are working into it. So, our usual morning walks have turned into little walk/run adventures, and she really likes them. I also went to use the fancy gym treadmill, set my watch to show heart rate only, and ran for an hour in the aerobic zone (145-168). It ended up being 6.3 @ 9:24. It felt okay.
Wednesday: Incredibly sore...like the soreness from the race was just starting to kick in. I just did a little walk/run session with my dog, which was 1.8 @ 13:27. Afterward, I felt loose and alert, almost like you would feel after a good cup of coffee and a stretch. I didn't do anything else that day except take Aleve. I also got my period, which...yeah. It's always so much worse after a race! Why is that???!
Thursday: 6 @ 9:09 in a local park. I had a work errand that took me across town and near a huge park with miles and miles of dirt running trails. I did two laps on the 5k trails. The weather was just gorgeous...hot, even. I stripped down to a sports bra and even got a little sun. The park was full of people who looked like novice runners, so I guess fall running season is finally beginning.
Friday: Sore, AGAIN. I tried to be patient and gracious with my body, and do extra stretches. I took my dog for her workout (2 @ 13:13, she's getting faster!) and didn't feel any better after. I decided to ditch my running plans and do a lower body weights circuit and my yoga class. Good call.
|Two pies and a buckle made with our orchard apples. Very therapeutic.|
Saturday: 10 @ 8:52. Disaster. This was my track club Saturday long run. It was a HUGE positive split, and the last two miles were rough. (I just checked and splits were 8:24, 8:51, 8:37, 8:44, 8:43, 8:46, 9:03, 9:03, 9:15, 9:19.)
A lot of things happened to make this a bad run. I woke up with stomach problems, and got dressed anyway. I did not check the weather and dressed too warmly (just to give you an idea of how insane Alabama is...I wore an actual shirt and it ended up being like 75 degrees and 99% humidity). I stripped down to my ragged sports bra and quickly realized I was VERY dehydrated. I wanted to stop for the bathroom, but the line was long (yep, a million people are out running and cycling on Saturday mornings). I noticed we were six miles into a planned eight-mile run, so I decided to suck it up. Mistake. I quickly realized my pace group didn't care about mileage, and planned to take the more scenic route in, which would add two miles. I had the option of 1) getting dropped and finishing eight miles by myself, or 2) staying with the group and running longer than I'd planned. Boo. I was so stressed about needing to pee that I didn't drink any water, and I didn't have any carbs.
Long story short, I actually hit the wall on a ten-mile run. I had no idea that was even possible. Like...what? All I can figure is that my muscles were so depleted from my illness and the recent race that I just bonked. It felt miserable, like all of my muscles were on fire. My ARMS even hurt. I made it back to the club house, though. Barely. I hung around for a while afterwards, chatting with a running buddy who felt similarly crummy and had also run the half marathon on Sunday. I ate a protein bar from my car as soon as I could, and had an actual ice bath at home (ew). I felt miserable the rest of the day, too. I could barely eat and didn't even feel like standing up.
Sunday: Stomach virus day two. Nope. I just took my dog out for her 2 @ 13:45. Which is no more strenuous than our ordinary walk. I made an executive decision that I was not going to be able to make my mileage this week. It happens. I'm just not going to push myself when I can't stay hydrated or fueled, because that would be counterproductive.
Totals: 30 miles of running (including some easy run/walk intervals with my dog), a weights session, a yoga class, and probably hours worth of stretching and injury prevention stuff.
Never fear...even though this week seems like it was a disaster, I am much, much better now! Thanks for reading, and have a great week.