Friday, January 13, 2012

Marathon Recovery

If you have followed me for the past few months you know I like to run, a lot.  I averaged 65+ miles this past training cycle and peaked at 75 miles.  I run six days a week and hate my required rest day on Mondays.

While running on Sunday, my legs were on fire.  Not once did I feel any hip pain.  At the end of the marathon, I was tired, but I don't remember thinking, wow my legs hurt. That feeling went away the second I crossed that finish line.

I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin, squealed when I saw my time (my finish line video shows the squeal), and stood still for the first time in 3 1/2 hours.  Oh wow, did it hit me then!  Last year, I remember not being able to stand up straight after the race and it hit me again this year.  My lower back, my hip, the tendons behind my knees.  Everything hurt, immediately!  The marathon shuffle had begun.

I got my medal and hobbled for some water.  I had to get to the side of the coral to try and stretch my legs.  I was laughing and smiling, so the medical staff were not concerned with me.  Instead, they were trying to shuffle us out of the coral.

Now, I know, if people don't move, there will be a back-up.  I saw this at the Army 10 Miler in October.  I crossed the finish line and stood in a hot packed coral for 20 minutes to get water.  But, I needed to stretch!  I don't understand why races make the finish line area so big.  So the shuffle to the VIP tent had begun.  I was almost out of the immediate finish line area when I asked where I could get ice.  A volunteer pointed about 100 yards in the wrong direction, I told her, that wasn't happening.  Luckily, someone not far heard me and pointed that the tent just around the corner had ice.  Oh thank you!  So, I iced up, took a few Tylenol and headed the 1/4 mile walk to the VIP tent.  Erin, my savior, had claimed 2 mats and I was finally able to stretch.  The 20 minutes of stretching were incredibly painful, but very helpful.

After my sister finished (in an amazing 4:35!!!) we began our walk back to the buses and then the hotel.  It was slow going and my legs were not happy.  I decided to soak my legs in the pool at the hotel because I couldn't quite complete my walk to my room.
Do you see that sun?!

After a 5 minute soak, I finished walking and wrapped my legs in Arctic Ease.  Oh Arctic Ease, I love you.  Like I have said before, Arctic Ease is awesome for icing without freezing you.  I sat in the Arctic Ease for about 20 minutes and could finally move a little bit faster as my legs weren't quite as tight.
Tweeting & Absolutely Exhausted!

I have to admit, the recovery from this marathon has been the worst out of any other marathon I have run.  I don't know if it is because I ran as fast as I did or if I went into the race with an injury.  Whatever the case, it took me four days before I could actually roll over in bed without hurting.  Two days ago, I wondered if I had totally gone backwards on all the Physical Therapy I had gone through.

I tried running on Wednesday.  I ran/walked 3 miles in 40 minutes.  It was terrible!  I wanted to cry while I was on the treadmill.  Now I wasn't going to cry because I was in pain. Running didn't hurt as much as it was frustrating.  After my run, I went into the house and tried stretching my legs.  I got stuck on the floor.  My pubic bone/hip pain was out-of-control!  I finished my stretching because I knew I needed it, took some Advil and went to bed.

Yesterday, I woke up in a little bit of pain, but it was getting better.  I stretched again and took some Advil.  By the end of the day, the pain was almost gone.  I got on the floor and tried doing my planks with toe touches and I could do it.  Sigh of relief!  My hips had strength again.  It wasn't easy but I completed my long workout that I got from my physical therapist followed by more stretching.  I went to bed and could finally roll to my side without feeling like someone was stabbing me.

Today, I am pain-free!  My girls and I had a dance party before school, dancing to my marathon playlist.  I was so happy to have my legs back.  BUT, I still haven't run again.  Mentally, the lack of runs is killing me this week.  I know I have 2 weeks before Boston training starts so I am letting my body rest.

I have had to stay off of dailymile this week.  I can't see everyone running amazing miles at amazing paces.  I am jealous!  I want to run, but I know I shouldn't.  I have been injured way too many times in the past, and I know that I will benefit more from resting than from running on broken down muscles and inflamed tendons.  So I am not a runner this week.  I am sitting on my couch.  I will read, I will watch TV, and I will play with my kids.  I will not lose speed by taking time off, I can only get stronger.

Do you have a hard time listening to your body?  Do you ever get jealous of runners on Twitter, dailymile, and blogs?  

19 comments:

krissy murphy said...

Good post, Robin. I think it's good to share these feelings because we all experience them but not many people want to talk about them. It is very hard to take a rest day when you want to run and even HARDER to recover!! Kudos to you for sharing your thoughts and tips!!

Jennifer M. said...

You go girl! Amazing. REst you deserve it! I have not run this week at all. But I really took it easy on Sunday since I paced my brother in law. My knees finally started hurting (after my fall in the half) around Tue and Wednesday. They were throbbing. I hope to get on the bike this weekend. Feels crazy not to run but I know my body needs recovery! I know yours does! Way to go girl and I really enjoyed meeting you on Saturday it was so fun :) Jennifer Martin

runningforthekitchen said...

man thats tough, but im glad youre feeling better! you NEED this time off, especially with BOSTON training so soon!

Jess said...

Man, you are a killer runner! I can't believe you can run six days a week and log that many miles and your legs don't hate you! I wish I had that endurance! 4, maybe 5 days a week is my max, and that's pushing it - and my miles aren't anywhere near yours! What's your secret?? Is it the artic ease that does the trick? I need all the help I can get before I face my first marathon in the fall!

robinbn said...

As a blogger, it is hard to admit that I can't run, because I like the positive feedback. It is also hard to admit that I am jealous of people running. I always want to read when others are in my shoes so hope this helps.

robinbn said...

Thanks Jennifer! I loved meeting you guys and can't wait to meet again in the future. Your friend's story of qualifying for Boston went through my head a lot on Sunday, please tell her how much she helped me mentally that day.

robinbn said...

Thanks. :) I know you know how hard it is to stop running when you just want to run. Your posts have really motivated me to listen to my body.

robinbn said...

It took years for my legs to get used to the mileage. You will be amazed at what your body will do for you during training. I'd love to run sometime with you this year.
And Arctic Ease is great! I don't use it enough, but icing really does help and for me it is easier than ice.

jessica (pace of me) said...

Ok -- I can so relate to this. It is really tough to take this break, especially knowing you have another marathon to start training for in a couple of weeks. I love love LOVE racing, and it is so worth it, but recovering from racing isn't my favorite part about it!! This past fall I was training for MCM and I made a mid-cycle, last minute decision to run the Lehigh Valley Marathon on Sept 11 (about 6 weeks before MCM) because I had a shot at getting a 2012 BQ if I ran a marathon before Sept 12 in less than 3:45:59. It was an emotional decision, maybe not the smartest, but I wanted to go for it. I ran a strong race until mile 17 when I started getting awful intestinal issues and wound up walking the last 6 miles because there was literally no place to use the bathroom. It was a heartbreaker. I finished in 4:09:55. I KNEW I could run a sub 3:45 at MCM but I had to take the time to recover before getting back into my training program. All of my friends who didn't just run a marathon were heading out for their regular training runs and I wanted to jump right back in with them, but I couldn't! My body was simply not ready and it was really tough for me to accept that. I went out for an 11 mile run 5 days after my marathon and my legs were screaming at me - my body was not ready to be training again so soon. I went for a few VERY slow runs, foam rolled like crazy, rested and hydrated as much as I could. Two weeks later I ran a 16 mile long run (slower than normal) and then by three weeks out I was back to my good ole self and rocked a 22 mile long run (in a time that would have crushed my Lehigh Valley Marathon time) and was back to my normal training schedule.
Now, having gone through that, I am smarter. When I pick a race to run, I am going to remember that I will have to honor the recovery time necessary. And as much as I might hate it, I have to stick to it. It is just a part of the sport and we have to respect that. There are tradeoffs and we have to do our best to embrace the rest and recovery time our bodies need.
Hang in there -- if you really listen to your body and rest up, you will be back at it soon -- stronger than ever, I'm sure!!!! :o)

Tina @ Best Body Fitness said...

Thanks so much for sharing the recovery thoughts and pain since I plan on running my first full this year. I am trying to soak up all I can learn!

Laura said...

I was wondering how you were feeling this week! Yes- that was one of the hardest parts of my marathon, the forced rest afterward! But you are so right-- you will only be stronger for it. Hope you continue to feel better by the day, and can soon get some easy runs in!

Samantha said...

Amazing race girl! You are such an inspiring runner - I'm not sure my body would be too pleased if I ran as much as you do!

I'm glad you're resting though - you need to take care of that hip, and revel in the glory of your second BQ! You are a complete superstar!

runningforthekitchen said...

im glad i can help you listen, feel better!

Amy said...

Happy to hear that you are on the mend. It's got to be hard to listen to your body, take a break, AND stay off the computer - wow! You have willpower ;)
I've never used the Arctic Ease. Are they a one use kind of thing? And do you use them instead of an ice bath?

jshade77 said...

I definitely have a hard time taking time off. I think a lot of us are Type A and a bit obsessive, so it kills us to not keep going. I also miss the mental outlet that running is for me. You are so right though, you won't lose your speed, you are just giving your body the time it needs to recover :-)

Michelle said...

Oh man - marathon pain is so intense and different than I expected! I agree that it's really frustrating. You THINK you should be back to normal after a day or so and for me the pain lingered (especially in my quads). Artic Ease sounds much more sensible than an ice bath. Though I think the ice bath helped me with my recovery it was NO what I wanted do after running 26.2 miles!

Penny said...

I have a hard time taking off - and I'm not running the miles you do. I hate how my body feels those first few runs after a race - regardless of the distance - for whatever reason (assuming it's the push of the race) my legs feel like lead for those first few days. Congrats on the awesome time and rest up - Great Job!

Heather McAllister-Winkler said...

I have had a really hard time taking off. I've been basically out for more than 100 days (not that I'm counting!). I've run 3 times each with a set back after. I do get jealous of everyone's dailymile posts,blogs and races but it also helps me remember why I'm taking time off so I can get back to running. Great job on your race btw!

Sara - Words to Run By said...

What you did is amazing! I don't blame you for taking time off!! I have also had a hard time recovering this time. It got SO hot on Sunday, I think that really took a lot out of me. I wish I could be back at the pool this week too! :)