May 27, 2014

Marathon recovery & revenge

Post-marathon week

The first week after the Vancouver marathon I did not run. I walked every day, as is usual, with our dog Luka, about 45 to 60 minutes. Initially I stuck with flat trails.

I was busy on both Monday and Tuesday, with hectic work days that included finishing Graham E Fuller's book Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East, followed by going to school in Vancouver both evenings. My energy level was better than I had expected. My body felt OK: while I needed to descend stairs with usual post-marathon caution, my quads were in relatively OK shape.

On Wednesday evening I went to a so-called therapeutic yoga class aimed at the hips -- absolutely perfect timing.

On Friday, I had a deep tissue massage -- by then my muscles had recovered enough for the masseuse to do some good work that I might not have enjoyed so much a few days earlier.

On Sunday I went to a (my first) yin yoga class. Again, this felt like it was exactly what my body needed. (The same day I bought a copy of The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark, a book my teacher had -- food for another post some day.)

Second post-marathon week

This week I did two doggy walks a day, as Tim was away, so about 90 minutes to two hours of walking each day. Walking is great active recovery, and there are some beautiful trails near our house.

On Monday, eight days post-marathon, I went for my first run, an easy jog around the 'hood of about 5k. It felt nice. No watch of course.

Wednesday had another 90-minute class of therapeutic yoga, this time working the psoas, a muscle where a lot of our (conscious and subconscious) stress and tension resides. In my case, the right psoas seems to attract all my worries and seems perpetually tight.

Friday I did my second run, about 10k. Easy of course. No watch.

Sunday brought another yin yoga class -- and I made sure not to miss it.

Third post-marathon week

On Wednesday, I did another run, about 8k including 4 short pickups, followed by another therapeutic yoga session focused on the hips in the evening.

On Friday I ran 11K including eight 100m striders. On Sunday I ran about 65 minutes easy, followed by a yin yoga class.

Fourth post-marathon week

On Monday (yesterday) I woke up with a neck so stiff I could not turn my head to the right. Thankfully my masseuse had time to see me later that day, and she assured me I'd be fine in a couple of days. She also "flushed out" my legs, "just in case," smiling as she knew what I was considering.

***

Part of my recovery involved thinking about what I wanted to do next. I never have a shortage of  (fresh) running goals in the back of my mind--after finishing a key race it is a matter of choosing one, the one that excites me most at the time. For the past few years, the Sub-3 marathon has always won out.

The day after the Vancouver marathon, I already thought of running another soon, real soon. As soon as Calgary-or-the-North Olympic-Discovery-marathon-on-June-1-soon.

A revenge marathon. A marathon done close to a previous one so that the runner can capitalize on the same build-up, a two-for-one kind of deal.

While I had celebrated my Vancouver finish, I was convinced that my result there did not reflect my fitness. I checked some online race calendars; there was another marathon on June 1, in Spokane, Washington. It was a small race and one I had looked at earlier, because of the course profile.  

"If you want to run fast, you have to choose a fast course," Triathlete Tim has repeatedly told me. And he was immediately open to the idea of a June 1 marathon, with one caveat, "first see how you feel in a few days."

To be continued...

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