Last year following the completion of my first marathon on May 5th, 2013 my husband and I attended a friend's wedding on the following Friday. The wedding was in Delaware and since it was on a Friday evening, we decided to drive the following day to Ocean City, Maryland to stay one night at the beach. We packed our running shoes, because I wanted to run one week after the marathon and we also knew we would probably feel a bit guilty from consuming large quantities of seafood and Thrasher's french fries. I had spent three years living in Salisbury, Maryland and sometimes I would drive to the beach for a relaxing run on the boardwalk. I was really looking forward to this run. The beach, after all, was where I started running road races. What I envisioned was a short, easy 3-4 mile run with the sound of waves crashing and the smell of the ocean air. This seemed like a realistic expectation since I had just ran 26 miles the week before. Four miles should be easy, right?
We started off slowly and all seemed well until I got to the half mile mark. I had extreme foot pain in my right foot. Still, I thought it would probably dwindle away the further we ran. I was just getting warmed up. Once we hit the one mile mark the pain had intensified and I was in tears. I told Bobby I couldn't go any further and I needed to turn around and go back.
We turned around and started walking back. I used a combination of walking and jogging to get back to our hotel. That's right; I had to walk and jog my way back. Last week I did 26 miles, this week I could barely do two miles.
Finishing a marathon had made me feel like superwomen, but this short and painful run had quickly brought me back to earth. While this run was one of my most humbling and painful runs, it was also an important one in which I learned a lot of lessons. I haven't forgot those lessons. During this run I realized that I was human, not immune to injury and my body was in need of some rest from running.
Using those lessons from last year's marathon recovery run I decided to be more realistic in this year's post marathon recovery. Instead of having a set date of "you should have run again by now" I decided to run again when I felt like it. I didn't give myself a deadline. Instead I ended up running a week and half after the marathon and it felt great! It was a short 3 mile run on my treadmill without any pain or tears.
I also decided to use my vacation during the last two weeks of May as complete rest from intense exercise. After four months of marathon training and Crossfit I knew that my body needed it. I knew that it would be good for my body. Plus, we did so much walking on our vacation I was still getting exercise.
Now I'm getting back into the swing of things. It hasn't been the easiest thing. I was really nervous to even just go back to the Crossfit gym after not being there for two weeks. My first workout back was intense and I spent a large part of it gasping for air. I was slow; really slow. In fact, I had the worst time that day for the workout. But I was ok with that. I was happy I just showed up that day. I know it will get easier to go back from now on.
This past weekend Bobby and I also did a 5k. This was my first race since the marathon. I wasn't sure if signing up for the race was a good idea since I hadn't ran in 3 weeks. But I knew it would get me motivated. The course was really challenging with a lot of hills. I ended up running one of my slowest times, just over 30 minutes, but under the circumstances I was really happy that I a) showed up for the race b) ran the entire race and all the hills and c) came close to be under 30 minutes on a difficult course.
Even though my performances last week were not personal bests by any means, they were the best efforts I had in me for that day. Looking ahead, I would like to run a 5k each month this summer. After logging lots of miles for the marathon I'm looking to get faster at shorter distances races. I also would like to improve at Crossfit. In the next couple weeks, I'll be figuring out what skills I would like to master over the summer. I know that resolutions are popular in the beginning of the year, but I tend to do goal setting throughout the year. In the beginning of the year I set a goal of having a personal best in the marathon. That goal was very large and time consuming. Now that I've accomplished my marathon goal I'll be working on setting new goals for the summer. What about your goals? What are you looking to accomplish this summer?
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.