Sunday, March 13, 2011

After the Marathon, Then What?

Seven days and counting I haven't run a single step. My "hold-out-as-long-as-I can," self-imposed rest and recovery is going rather well, if I may say so. I am forcing myself to rest even though by the fourth day after the marathon, the soreness was gone and I could have run an easy six.  The old Aileen would have gone out between  8-12 miles today.  With temps today in the 60s, it's not easy. It's only noon, the day is young. There's still a chance I can break my streak.  My legs are itching to run.  In a weird way, I am missing the soreness and the ungraceful descent down the stairs with co-workers giving me their quizzical yet concerned looks, "What happened?"

Experts say for every mile you raced, you rest a day. So if you ran a marathon, which is 26 miles and some change, then you have to rest at least 26 days.  As my fitness increased over the years, I have broken this rule at least eight times in the past, with no dire consequences.  Considering the bumps in the road I've had in training earlier in the year, I've had to make some serious adjustments, with respect to rest and diligent stretching. With this newfound appreciation for staying injury free and heading to the start line healthy,  I am still amazed at some folks who can break this rule. I know of one such person who has been running for years, who clearly is so fit that he is the exception. My friend, Rich, ( whipped out a five miler the day after Napa. Not only that, he continued with another five miler the day after that--which, in the running world is known as DOMS day. DOMS is short for "delayed onset of muscle soreness."  Usually the second day after a grueling race you will feel worse than the day before.  It's like the peak of the soreness pains. The top elites, don't surprise me if they are running the next day.  They've got a recovery teams in place. From massage therapists, to gizmo's like "space legs" (a pressurized suit to speed the body's ability to flush out imflammatory products that reduces swelling) and ice cold dunking barrels--they have most of everything to bring their muscles back to normal in as little time as possible.  Without the of state of the art help, normal Janes and Joes like you and me just have to go through it the normal way.  With Rich's ability to run the day after, without any gizmos--is simply amazing! Maybe he's got good genes? I don't know.  Hats off to you RunSpittle!

I will have to admit that I can't go the distance of resting 26 days. Seven days will have to be my cap.  Fearing that the Oakland Marathon might sell out early as popular marathons have been selling out, I signed up as an early bird. Unknowingly, I put myself in a quandry.  Being injured was not in the cards when I signed up, but I'll just have to make the most of it. The best thing about Oakland being only three weeks to Napa is that I am once again in the taper period.  I'll run 8-10 next Sunday, one week before the Marathon on the 27th.  You are probably asking, why so close? The simple answer is, Oakland is my hometown. I wouldn't miss it for the world.  Last year was the inaugural race and the experience was just phenomenal.  I would even go as far to say that is was like a miniature ING NY Marathon experience for me. But I will save that topic for my next blog. When I ran Napa and Oakland back to back last year, I couldn't be any happier with my results.  I will be closely following my same schedule. It worked last year, I am hoping it will work again this year.

Goodbye to my Brooks Ravenna: It was good while it lasted.
I am a little sad: It's time to retire my shoes that had accompanied me to my PR in NY and the rain soaked ups and downs of Napa. The threads are bare and, as equally important, the cushioning.  I've put over 500 miles on it--a hundred more than I had planned.  I was a bit superstitious. I thought of it as my good luck charm in NY so what's one more marathon?  My old kicks wore out its cushion in Napa and left me with blisters. Time to go old pal, thanks for the memories.

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