Recovery Times Are Getting Shorter

Another week is in the books, making it just 6-weeks until the New York Marathon. I had a good week of training. Not much to talk about for the weekday workouts other than strength training.

Mon, 9/17 Easy 40-min Swim for 1525 meters

Tues, 9/18 4.86-mile Run of 2-min pick-ups

Wed, 9/19 Easy 5-mile Run

Thurs, 9/20 4.34-mile Run of Hill Repeats

Fri, 9/21 45-min on the Bike Trainer 1-hr Strength Training

For various reasons I had to skip last Friday and this week’s Wednesday's training sessions with Trainer Dave. When we resumed training on Friday it had been 10 days since my last strength-training workout and I could tell. We met at my house vs. Seal Point because my car was in the shop so it was a simple workout of basic exercises - squats, push-ups, jack knives, single-leg squats, etc. It felt much harder than it should have and is a testament to me that I need to have more continuity with strength training. No excuses.

Also, because my car was in the shop, I had to cancel my Friday morning Spin and Yoga class reservations and just rode my Bike Trainer at home instead. Boring.

Sat, 9/22 17.02-mile Long Run

The big workout of the week was yesterday's long run. After last week's stomach issues I went cold turkey on Sunday and eliminated nut butter (almond and peanut) from my diet. It seemed to do the trick. By Tuesday I didn't have any more stomach issues.

In addition, my acupuncturist gave me some Chinese herbs to relieve stress and digestive issues. I do think stress also played a role in last week's fiasco. Seeing 15, 16, 17 miles on my schedule is daunting and I have to psyche myself up for it. And although my body seems to be getting healthier and healthier every week, I am still afraid of setbacks and relapses.

That being said, I planned out my route for this long run early in the week - to run along the usual Embarcadero route but add in the Golden Gate Bridge. But with the unexpected car issues I decided to nix those plans and save them for another day. I planned a new route leaving from my front door, running to Seal Point, through Coyote Point, then along the Bayshore towards Millbrae/SFO.

The run went fine. I stayed at a conservative pace (which is really hard to do), again afraid of overdoing it on these long runs.

I ran on all types of terrain - concrete, asphalt, packed dirt/sand, gravel, rocks, dirt. There were also pockets of the route that appeared abandoned. It occurred to me that if anything had happened to me, I hadn't told anyone where I was going. I got a little flack for that from my family. Another lesson learned.

I ran out for 8.5 miles then turned around and headed back. When I got back to Coyote Point I was almost out of water so I stopped at a water fountain to refill. Except none of the water fountains worked at Coyote Point. I went to THREE of them and nothing. The sun was already out, temps were rising and I was thirsty. I knew that I would not be able to make it to the next water fountain at Seal Point.

The only working water dispenser I found was a beach shower. So I used it to refill my handheld then drenched myself under it. It felt so good. I would need it because the rest of the miles were challenging.

I had not run this distance since May and had forgotten how tough they can be. As the miles ticked by I felt so drained, tired and achy. My hips, butt, hamstrings all ached. Not in an injured way, but how you would expect to feel towards the end of 17-miles.

Earlier that morning, before starting the run I had watched an NFL documentary on Ray Lewis of the Ravens. One of the things he said was, "To conquer pain you have to accept it and make it your friend." My thoughts kept going back to that during the last couple of miles and instead of fighting it, I just accepted it. It made it more bearable.

When I finally reached the end point, I was thankful to walk home instead of having to get in a car and drive. My car has a clutch and my legs would not have liked it.

When I walked in the door I drank some Tart Cherry Juice, Chocolate Almond Milk, ate a Banana, and did 10-min of Legs at the Wall.

Then I put on a sweatshirt and climbed into my first ice bath in over a year. It was more painful than the 17-mile run. My toes turned purple. It's a good thing the ice melted within 5-min because I wasn't going to last any longer than that.

I ate a few light snacks, then later had some lunch that I had picked up the day before. One thing that I've learned is to have food ready and easily accessible after long runs because I'm usually too tired to go out and get something to eat.

I rested for a few hours then went to Palo Alto and walked around for a bit. I took it easy last night (while watching the SF Giants clinch a playoff berth and the division title!). Today I woke up feeling pretty close to normal.

I’m finding that my post-run recovery times are getting shorter and shorter. This makes me so happy!

Wednesday and Thursday were the first days that I didn't feel the need to ice after a run. Of course I did, but it was more precautionary, than necessary. And after running for about 3-hours yesterday I feel pretty close to normal just 24-hours later. Being patient and conservative is paying off.

It’s been an amazing to witness my body recover from injury. This is perhaps the closest I’ve paid attention to the process and one where I’ve learned the most.