Saturday, June 12, 2010

"So What Was Written on Your Hands?"

I'm slowly making my way back into working out, all thanks to the close monitoring of my running coach/athletic advisor/fitness trainer/nutrition expert/whatever-you-want-to-call-that-trained-athletic-guy-at-my-company-whom-I-ask-questions-from-afar.

My feet were pretty sore on Sunday after the marathon, and on Monday I had some lingering pains in my shoulders and lower back, probably from not watching my form and taking the easy way out of strenuous movement. By Tuesday the pain hit my legs and I spent most of the day working with my swollen feet elevated. By Wednesday I felt 100% back to normal, even though I knew I was not. My blister is slowly healing as I keep clipping off dead skin, and I have a new development: my big toenail on my right foot is falling off. If Mark Remy is right in saying that losing a toenail is a rite of passage, I think I'm officially a runner!

My running coach advised that I not run for 10 days after the marathon, because, even though I may feel fine, there's a lot of muscle tears and damage I am not necessarily feeling. Getting back into training too soon could cause further damage to my muscles, and could even lead to sprained ankles, twisted knees, or other more serious injuries. He has also given me a list of foods to eat and things to drink that are high in antioxidants to promote recovery. Any excuse to drink more coffee is a good enough reason for me.

I'm taking his advice seriously since I want to get back into doing some fun summer races (I was asked to join a 5-person half-marathon team on July 4th; man I hope we have matching costumes!) without needing too much time off, and yesterday I had his blessing to go on my first bike ride. I made a short 5-mile loop to the grocery to pick up a few things. Tomorrow I plan on heading to LA Fitness for the first time in what seems like eternity. I went a few times to use the sauna and relax my muscles during my taper, but I can't wait to leave some real sweat in the gym.

Sadly, my coach advised me to not work out for more than 30 minutes and at no more than 50-60% of my max, and that just seems kind of pointless to me. While I don't run to get a workout -- I run because I love it, and the workout element is an added bonus -- biking at an easy pace seems like a waste of time. What he wants me to do sounds like merely keeping my joints moving, rather than using my body to any degree of real labor. I'm sure that's exactly what he's going for.

Lately I've been thinking about how I feel fine to run and I'm seriously itchy to get back into it. It's really hard to hold myself back when when I see people jogging the Greenway. This has made me curious why some people need weeks to heal, whereas other people run marathons every weekend and never need any recovery time. What do you guys do to heal after strenuous workouts? How much time off to you feel you personally need? When do you decide to push through the pain, and when do you decide to take a break?

A few of my candid race pictures showed that I had words written on my hands. Since I look down when I run, I did this to remind myself of a few things.
I grew up as a left-handed gymnast, but I am definitely not a left-handed writer.
  • I tried to remind myself that the 2010 Minneapolis Marathon (MM) was my race -- I was drawn to it at this time in my life, and I was born to run it.
  • It was only 26.2 miles. And yes, that is definitely a long, long way to run, it was nothing compared to what other people do. While I was thinking specifically of ultramarathoners and people who do 26.2 miles as their warm-up, I also thought of it in a way that some people never get to run a marathon. So many people have much larger battles they power through every day, and I'm so lucky that I get to do "just 26.2."
  • "Enjoy" and "smile" are things I wanted to do during the entire experience, and "dig deep" is what I repeat in my head so I don't vomit everywhere ... especially as I pick up my shuffle near the finish line.


  1. I'm *way* too antsy to follow the "ten days off" advice (it's true, I'm the devil on your other shoulder...) and in fact have never taken more than two or three days to recover, even after a hard effort/big race. Having said that, though, you won't find me running big miles right away, more like 2 - 5 for a week or two. I cross-train at a normal level pretty much immediately.
    I look forward to pics of your half-marathon costumes! :-P
    And, OMG, I LOVE Mark Remy! Do you have his book? I literally LOL'd through the whole thing!

  2. Hi A,
    I think that it is awesome that you wrote things on your hands for inspiration! What a fantastic idea:) You are so lucky to have had a running coach....just a wee bit jealous here!

    When you trained did you use Hal Higdon's training plans? If you did what program did you go with? Was it the Intermediate? How many 20 milers did you bust out before the race? Just curious...wondering what to do for my training. I am currently doing the Intermediate I plan. I just put myself there because of all of the halfs that I have run.

    I will talk to my hubby about the Red White and Boom. If we have nothing going on I will be there right next to you attempting to run the damn thing in 1:50:) Enjoy the rest of your weekend A!

  3. Cool reminders! So do you still have a big grin from your accomplishment? You should. Have a great week and have fun getting back at it!

  4. Very awesome! I love that you wrote that, no matter how hard you tried to look away, there it was in your face! This is huGe! You say "It's nothing compared" nu uh girl, your crazy right there! This is EVERYTHING this is your first marathon, I hold it right up there with first steps, its HUMONGOUS, less people will run that then will.. You know? And you did, " Been there done that" you can totally say that :)
    This was a enormous accomplishment and you won! (because you rock naturally)