Friday, July 3, 2009

Marathon Preparation and Recovery

Try Something New Every Day – Day 8 and 9

I guess I did ok with my marathon preparation and recovery, which is still ongoing, because I don’t feel too bad today! I’m tired and I have some muscle fatigue in places but I’m able to function fairly well so far today!

Day 8

I spent most of the day working and trying to figure out what I needed to do that evening to be ready for power walking my marathon the next day. Turns out I would have been partially right on what I needed to do to get ready but I would have been fairly well off on what I needed to do to recover. As I learned, the night before a marathon you need to eat a balanced diet as normal with a little more emphasis on carbs. Actually, this should be done about the whole week beforehand but I didn’t know that. I would have ate a ton of pasta and been done with it but that’s actually a bad idea. You really don’t want to load up your digestive track with extra food before heading out on a long run. After I realized my nutrition plan was off I adjusted and then readied my backpack with food and Gatorade, along with extra socks, shirts, etc. I then went to bed early to make sure I would get enough rest. It was the first time I had ever prepared for a marathon and it was fun but I was nervous that I still wasn’t ready.

Day 9

I woke up early, showered, ate a small breakfast, finished packing, then got Harry up to get him ready to go to the babysitters. I kissed Harry and Jessica bye and told them that I loved them and that I hoped I survived to see them again!

I had planned on running as much of the 26.2 miles as I could but I realized that I had severely underestimated running with a backpack. I really didn’t want to wear one but there would be no aid stations on this run and I had to have food, and more importantly water. During the whole day I didn’t get to run much at all. I had planned on power walking a lot of the course but I quickly realized that it was going to dominate my day. This would make it easier in some ways and harder in others. My body would probably have it a little easier but I would be out much longer than I had hoped.

I started walking and the miles went down fairly easy and I was enjoying the long walk. However about 11 or 12 miles in I started fatiguing and starting to hurt a little. I had never walked this far before and my knees were not really happy with me. I made it to my workplace and refilled my Gatorade bottles, ate, and took a short break before hitting the road again. One mistake I realized I had made was in making it an out and back course. On shorter runs I don’t mind it at all but 26.2 miles is tough and having to look at the same scenery both ways was boring. I needed anything I could to take my mind off of the ache in my body and walking a course I knew like the back of my hand didn’t do the trick. The rest and food had helped and I felt pretty good through the first few miles. However after that the ache crept back in for another few miles. It felt like every inch of my body hurt for a couple of miles and then for the next mile or so something set in and I felt unstoppable like Superman! I was so pumped up and was making good time! That lasted for a little while but gravels in my shoes intervened and I lost that feeling while dumping my shoes. I tried like heck to get it back but every step got harder and harder. My knees ached so badly. My right ankle felt like it was sprained and my feet felt like they had huge blisters. The only thing getting me through was my iPod and the thoughts of knowing how this accomplishment could inspire others and myself on to bigger and better things. People have been letting me know lately that my words are inspirational to them and that feels so good! However some of the things I write are to keep myself motivated as well. I never want to go back to being the out of shape, overweight, near alcoholic, that I was at one point so I push myself daily! All of these thoughts kept running through my head so I kept telling myself to fight through the pain and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Finally after what felt like forever Rural Retreat came in to view. I thought I would be relived but I knew I still had almost two miles to go. Normally two miles would be nothing for me but that day it might as well have been twenty. Knowing that my home was within reach though I couldn’t stop. I eventually reached my street and I knew I would be able to sit down in one tenth of a mile! I reached my door, stumbled to the phone to let Jessica know I had lived, and made myself a big glass of chocolate milk!

I was so relived and happy to have outlasted 26.2 miles of ache and pain but I knew I still had things to do before I could really rest. The chocolate milk was a good start to recovery as it is a great blend of carbs and protein but the next step was going to be tough. I knew that the next recommended step, a cold bath, would be almost as hard as the course itself and I was about half right. Normally I can’t stand cold water and it was tough yesterday but after all of the pain I had put up with it wasn’t as bad as I thought. To be honest with you I didn’t think it would do much but it really did relive a lot of the pain in my aching muscles! Once I had submerged myself for a few minutes I made myself something to eat and grabbed a big glass of Gatorade to get my hydration back up. I ate and drank quickly and then laid down for about an hour. I felt ok when I got up and managed to go get Harry and hang out with him until his bedtime. I spent the rest of the evening eating and relaxing before going to bed about 9PM.

I knew that 26.2 miles would be tough but I had no idea how truly far it was. I have a whole new respect for anyone who makes it through that distance let alone races it! As tough as it is I’m determined to renew my training and one day race it myself though. I recommend to anyone if it’s ever been a goal of yours, start training now. As tough and painful as it was yesterday I learned a lot about myself yesterday! I feel so much stronger now both mentally and physically and I can’t wait to see what else I can do!

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