Marathon Recovery

Hey kids, we’re 5 days post-marathon. My thoughts?

1) I wasn’t as sore as I thought I’d be. That’s not to say I didn’t have to slowly lower myself into a sitting position for the first 48 hours…but the thought “OMG Do I have quad nerve damage?” didn’t cross my mind like it did in 2009.

2) I was more tired that I expected. I think this was partially due to the nasty cold that settled in my lungs and sinuses on Tuesday. I slept from midnight Tuesday until nearly 2pm on Wednesday. 14 hours folks!! And then I took another nap between 4-7pm, before heading to bed again around 11pm.

3) I didn’t feel quite as victorious as I’d hoped. Sure, I set a 20 minute PR and beat my “A” goal time of 3:20, but the type-A part of couldn’t help thinking “Could I have broken 3:15?”, “Why didn’t I run faster in the final miles?” “Should I have paid better attention to my training, shoes, racing weight?” There a million un-answered questions and while I’m trying to be happy and satisfied with this race – for a competitive runner, the self doubt rarely ceases.

4) I underestimated the amount of free time I’d have this week. My thoughts – I won’t be running, so of course I’ll have time to stay late at work (busy season!), co-chair the auction committee for the CPTC benefit dinner, write witty blog posts, catch up on housecleaning, plan a party for Saturday evening, and spend time with all the friends I neglected during marathon build-up. Umm. A bit ambitious to say the least. I did manage to wrap up my volunteer duties and knock some things off my to-do list at work, but other things were pushed to the way side (weekend party, time with friends, un-wrinkled work clothing…). It’s been nice to have a break from running and workouts, but I think that running makes me MORE productive if that makes sense. I’ve sort of felt “off” all week. Although that could be my sinus infection talking…

I guess the point of this post is to share my discombobulated feeling with you all. I miss running. I miss my schedule. I miss having time to blog. (Cue the waaaahbulance). But next week should be better, so thanks for sticking around 🙂

Before I leave you with some gorgeous marathon photos (HAH! I think Brightroom actually TRIES to take unattractive photos of me…), I thought I’d share some of my tips for reducing the post-marathon blahs. Maybe next time I’ll follow my own advice.

  • Running 26 miles suppresses your immune system, so don’t be surprised if you come down with a cold. Try to schedule a low-key week following the marathon (i.e. no crazy trips or big events).
  • DO plan something fun to keep your spirits up – maybe a pedicure with your girlfriends on Monday, pizza and beers with your family on Thursday, etc.
  • Don’t even think about running or exercising for AT LEAST 4 days. I’m serious. I’m actually planning on taking a full week off. It’s better to rest now, than be sidelined with an overuse injury in a few weeks. I know what I’m talking about, yo. It was called January-November 2009 (or the year of the cranky hamstring/IT band).
  • Continue to eat healthful foods (your muscles are repairing themselves!), get enough sleep, and keep active. While I don’t recommend running right away, easy walking and stretching is a good way to loosen up sore muscles.
  • Don’t freak out if something hurts. Any nagging injury that you had (or didn’t know you had) before the marathon might make an appearance. But better now than before the race, eh? Baby yourself – ice, foam roller, stretching, etc. It’s normal to feel post-race aches and pains, I promise!

And nowwwww, the Runner’s Kitchen in photos!

Umm, 42,ooo+ runners make this race crowded. For the entire 26 miles. Luckily I know how to drop some ‘bows when necessary.

Somewhere in Harlem. Oh hey, arm swing. Let’s work on that form, shall we?

At 40K. I am rockin’ my FIERCE face. Too bad the dude behind me looks like he’s out for a jog in the park.

Mile 25. Running for 3+ hours is hard. Wah. At least my arms aren’t goin’ crazy.

Oh hai! I finished. Let the 1 mile death march to baggage claim begin!

Coming up on the blog – my running plans for the rest of the year, 2011 goals, and what I really think about marathons. Stay tuned!

How do you feel after a big race? Disappointed? Accomplished? Antsy?

  • Ah, the post race blues. They’ve got you good. For the first day or two after a race I feel great, all sparkly and wonderful. Then no matter what, the adrenaline and endorphins wear off and I feel suddenly depressed, questioning my race, forgetting the joy and usually feeling like a fat cow from edema but ravenously hungry despite less miles. I have learned to recognize it, laugh at myself and just roll with it. Starting to look at the race schedule to plan a new event helps, but I think keeping yourself distracted, busy but also recovering is key. Hang in there, next week you’ll be past it!

  • Haha love it! I did a similar post with my Brighroom pics last night:
    Can you believe their PRICES? LOL

    I’m rounding out the 9+1 plan and qualifying again…I figured I’d defer to 2012 and take a break, but since I finished in 4:09, beating my 4:30 goal by a landslide, I’m anxious to see if I can break 4:00 next year! We’ll see…

  • Antsy for SURE and wishing I hadn’t been stuck in a giant wad of people and could have run faster 🙁 already plotting how to get my short distance runs until 8min mile pace and becoming a ‘real’ runner! 🙂 The pic of you with your medal is AWESOME!


  • It took me a few days before I finally realized the accomplishment I had done finishing a marathon (that is, once I got past the self-deprecating thoughts of why the heck didn’t I go faster? why didn’t I fight through the pain more? etc., etc.) So yeah, first disappointed, then accomplished, now antsy. Great job – your pics looked a heck of a lot better than mine did let me just say 🙂

  • love the pictures! after i finish a big race i feel like your #3. the questions of “could i have done better” are always on my mind. annoying because i know i just need to bask in the glow!

    that’s not to say i don’t celebrate it though (and i do quite a bit of non-hydrating that night — gotta make up for all that refraining during training, no? hahah)

  • CaitlinRose

    Haha, race pictures….brightroom just emailed me pics from a half marathon I did in San Francisco the same day as your marathon. I am now rethinking everything I thought I new about myself as a somewhat-athletic-looking-person. ugggghh.

    As for post-race blues: I have been running marathons since 2006 (3:30 avg), but this past weekend was my first half. I signed up a week before and didn’t train (well, I never “train”, I just go out and run when the mood strikes). I don’t run with a watch, nor were times posted, but I felt like I was flying! I expected my time to be around 1:35 or less, so when I got home and learned via internet my time was 1:38, I was crushed. Majorly blue. Not content.

    Ah, runners are a strange breed.

  • Great tips for staving off the post-marathon letdown. Keeping busy with fun plans the week after is huge… mine were mostly in the form of restocking all my depleted glycogen stores with delicious dinners out!

    Definitely can sympathize with that feeling of mild disatisfaction and “what-ifs” even after having an outstanding race and shattering a PR. You really rocked it though. Rocked it! Thanks for sharing your marathon training/journey; it’s been very enjoyable and insightful to read.

  • Love those pictures! Especially the medal one 🙂
    I think it is natural to have a slight comedown after such a big buildup, but I am sure that after that has gone away you will be back to feeling immensly proud of yourself 🙂

  • I can’t believe you are anything less than thrilled with that time! While I can relate to a bit of the “could I have run faster?” feelings, like you said you set a 20 minute PR and shattered your goal time…that’s pretty incredible! And you have many more years to keep improving if you want to. Congrats again, I think thats amazing.
    After a race I feel amazing — not only that I finished the race but for all the hard work I put into the training. I do have some trouble adjusting from the structure of the training program to pretty much having no structure, but I’m getting better at it.

  • Congrats! 3:18 is unreal! You should be very proud 🙂

  • The guy behind you in that picture is gorgeous! I would buy because it’s good of you…and him.
    I can understand that runners are hard on themselves but hope you also enjoy the amazing victory!

  • I love your finish photo! And you were lookin’ pretty fierce during the last couple miles. I’m kind of doing the same thing as you regarding the race – dissecting every portion, every split, etc. While I had a great experience and loved every second of it, I’m already thinking about what I can do during my next marathon and training cycle. I’m antsy to get back, for sure!

    Hope you’re resting and recovering well!

  • I love your finish photo too 😀 I cannot wait until I run a full marathon, but that will most likely be after college for sure. Can’t wait to hear about your races and goals for 2011!

  • just keep telling yourself that you are AMAZING 🙂 it’s interesting to read about each person’s subjective experience. running is so relative. times/paces and how we feel about everything.

    i am DEFINITELY more productive when i work out… even now with my ridiculous schedule. if i can fit in a workout i feel revved up to do a better job on everything else i have to do that day. i think taking a shower has a lot to do with it, lol.

    great tips. and great photos!

  • I think you look HAWT in your photos. Especially number four. That is my kind of race picture. Looks like someone is mid whip. Anyway, I am VERY excited to hear what you think of marathons. Unshrouded opinions are the bests.

  • Sorry you have the post-run blues! You did AWESOME. Enjoy resting 🙂

  • Love the pictures! I have yet to have a race picture where I don’t look like a massive goober.

  • Hey! Sorry to hear you’re not feeling so well! Enjoy some very, very well-deserved rest, you’ve trained super hard and it’s so heartwarming to read you SMASHED your goal.

    It’s also refreshing to read that you were experiencing post-race doubts. While your time is crazy awesome and I think you should be beyond proud, I’d been feeling the same way these past few days and I felt ashamed for all the what-ifs. I’m excited to read your coming posts, and if you’re willing to share, it would be great to read your tips on how to build mileage after a marathon. You always give great advice.

  • Irena

    You had an amazing time! That is awesome. I ran NYC last Sunday as my first marathon (second race ever with Grete’s Great Gallop half marathon a month before). I qualified for Boston which was my goal. I have been experimenting a lot with food like beets, kale and other root and leafy veggies aimed at improving VO2 max. Also, learned the value of a steak for recovery purposes (iron deficiency is really common in endurance athlete’s due to loss through urine, sweat, GI, diets typically with lower amounts of iron and foot strike hemolysis). I swear by potatoes as my pre run fuel with ketchup and salt. Def enjoyed reading your posts as I can relate. Swimming after also has been great with recovery (as well as stretching, massage and sleeping with compression socks)

  • Megan

    i think you’re a STAR.

  • you are a rock star.

    you looked amazing post-race. i mean, after my marathon, i had to literally force a smile. you are smiley smiley, which i love. can’t wait to hear what you have in store next – feel better and have a great rest of the week girl!!!

  • I don’t think those are unattractive photos at all! You look so focused! It’s easy to let the self-doubt take over, but rest assured, you are an amazing runner- we all think so!

  • Great pictures!! And, I see what you mean about the hot dude. He looks like he just stepped off the set of a Preferred Stock photo shoot. Except for the dorky compression socks.

  • How do you feel after a big race? Disappointed? Accomplished? Antsy?

    Antsy for recovery and onto the next race and planning out 2011 goals