Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Scenic Byway Half Marathon: Part III, Post-Race Pain

Need to catch up? Read Part I and Read Part II.

I paced the race crowd, partially delirious, with big I-am-trying-to-hide-it-but-not-really sobs. I usually feel a little wobbly after races. I think the adrenaline I had been running on for 2 hours continued to pulse through me even though I had quit running. The "podst-run high" is an amazing, near euphoric feeling and I love it. I started to peel my way through the crowd a bit to head towards my family. They were about a half mile away from the finish, so I had to look for them a bit.

When I saw Pete, the overwhelming finisher feeling that was diminishing took over me again and I sobbed as he squeezed me. He was proud of me. I could tell in his face. Pete and I should have run a half marathon together. We both took a serious commitment to running this Summer. However, his aching hip flexor was not up to par in time for the race. I am sure part of him wished he could be there, too, but he never showed that feeling to me in any way, if he did. Proof again, I married the most awesome man on the planet.

I saw my Mom behind Pete pushing James in the stroller, smiling with the "I think you should sit down?" smile. Not because I looked terrible, but because my Mom has worried about me since I first started on my running adventure. It is too hot, it is too cold, it is too far, it is too fast, it is too dark, it is too sunny, it is too populated, it is too deserted... She (and my Dad, too) has reminded me, in the best way, to always be careful when I am running. To pay attention to everything going on around me and what is going on with my body because I could hurt myself! I still feel bad the few times this 95 degree Summer when she called me on the phone to see what was up. "Oh, I just got back from a run." I would say. I am pretty sure she got mad at me a few times. Proof again, my Mother worries the most about me because she loves me more than anything on the planet. I am the luckiest girl alive to belong to a Mom like mine.

My body was feeling great right after the race. I had to get my bearings straight to walk like a normal person after having running form for so long. Other than the normal little aches, I was appreciating the stillness and looking forward to something to eat. I think I started to get hungry around mile 6! My family and I hung out at the race site for a while, but I was starting to worry about the hour drive back home. I often feel pretty sick after long runs, and I wanted to get going to "pay for my run" in the peace of my own home.

I said goodbye to Pete as he drove our car home, and my Mom and I rode together with the kids. We chit-chatted about the race and other things, once we got within 10 minutes of home, I started to feel seriously ill. I dropped my Mom off at her house and called Pete to tell him I would need help getting the kids into the house. Pete was standing in the driveway as I pulled the car in and I am not even sure if I killed the engine I ran into our house so fast!

The next few hours was a torturous event of a typical runners tummy trouble. I couldn't even eat.  On top of feeling like I had the flu, I hadn't properly stretched after my run and the hour long car ride did a number on my recovering muscles. I ended up straining my groin (which I injured before the race but I made it considerably worse running 13 miles) which still bothers me, three weeks later. Later that night, I couldn't walk. I remember telling my Dad on the phone I wasn't sure if I was able to make it to church the next day.

I know now, for future races like this, to plan on taking the entire day to recover from a race. I felt pretty guilty leaving the kids to Pete all day with no warning. I had no choice. I couldn't do a single thing for myself! It was worse than coming home after having our children. I told myself that night, I will never need to run farther than 13.1 miles. I thought at the time, the recovery is just not worth it!

Funny thing is, by 6 or 7 o'clock, my tummy trouble was non-existent and I started to feel hungry. I hobbled around trying to help Pete as much as I could. I sat on an ice pack all night and ate like a pig. The next morning, with a still pretty sore groin, I felt nearly back to normal. I put on my Sunday best and went to church like any other day. Well, with a little limp.

I can't prove it, but have a feeling in my gut (literally!), Gatorade or similar sports drinks make me sick. I was having a rough few weeks this Summer of post-run tummy troubles and I cut out sports drinks after some Googling about it giving runners more trouble than help. When I was running through the mile 11 water stop, I knew I should not be taking the Gatorade. I was hitting such a huge wall, I hoped the sugar would help get me through the last 2 miles. I was desperate. I am sure my tummy issues were from running so far, but I have to think maybe the Gatorade had something to do with it, too.

I have said a million times in the last few months, if I knew last June my running was going to turn into such a huge obsession for 5 months, I would have taken better care of my body from the start. I would have stretched more, lifted some weights, eaten better, and drank even more water. If I had committed the extra effort to my overall fitness, I would have been in even better shape to handle a half marathon. I am sure some of the minor injuries I have had with increasing my miles in preparation for the race, would also be less. I have it my brain to achieve my fitness goals, but I need to remember my body needs training to uphold them.

Ok, if you are still reading, let's break down the race:

Time: 2:05:45
Pace: 9:36 per mile
Place: 95 out of 177

My RunKeeper app quit at 12.25 miles (or two hours), so it adjusted the last mile. The app keeps pretty awesome track of splits. I remember looking down at my watch and seeing many miles finishing around 9:18. My best mile was mile two and I remember trying to get through the muck of runners, so I wasn't running directly next to, behind, or in front of another runner.

Even though I exprienced an adequate amount of post-race pain, I will definitely run another half marathon, someday. I feel my running goals, for the present, have been fulfilled and I am happy to take a month or two break from my usual routine. I still stand by the fact: I am a better, healthier, happier person when I am running. The last few months have been such an amazing and life changing journey! Thank you for reading!

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