Recovery after a marathon is long and something that needs to be respected. For the most part I've been feeling pretty darn great but have been taking it easy. In order to reset a little and let my body rest I'm taking some downtime. This means less weekly miles and maybe some more cross-training. It's tough for me to really get into cross-training as much as I'd like to, but I know in the long run it'll make me a more well-rounded athlete and stronger. I've really only just begun intensely training 6 months ago so if I can get my shi*t together and hit the pool, elliptical (ugh), or take a yoga class then I'm off to a start. I did buy a groupon last month for 30 different classes at a choice of 12 different studios until February 2013. Only 3 of the locations are close to me and they're yoga studios, but for $20 I figured it couldn't be a bad investment even if I only get 10 classes in. So goal number one is branch out and cross-train.
Food has always been a struggle with me. I'm a foodie and I love fresh veggies and healthy whole foods but the past two weeks I feel like I've been eating SO much. Last week I tried to shut up that voice and told myself it was okay because I was eating for the marathon. This week I gave myself a couple days pass to refuel, but I'm well beyond that now and need to get things back in line. Calorie-wise I'm not even really topping out but I know what works for me and what doesn't and anywhere close to 2,000 calories doesn't when I'm not running. At the beginning of this year I used an app on my phone to monitor food and that helped me figure out how much I was consuming and what worked. I really don't want to get back to that and if I keep to goal #1 I won't have to, but I need to step it up a little. I also need to quit my sugar addiction that I somehow gained in the last week before the marathon. Ugh. Ahhh, the holidays and sugar! This is probably the ONLY reason why I don't like living near my immediate family. Hah! Goal number two would be watch my diet, work on cutting off most sugar and get back to cooking every meal. This weekend I stocked up and have been making stuff for the week!
Along with rest I need to go into a little more detail on my running plan. I'm cutting back. Must cut back! Pretty much my entire left side of my body could benefit from rest. My calf tightness is almost non-existent but I can tell with more miles it would come back. I've been diligent about the stretch for that at least. The hip flexor pain I felt during the marathon came back today on what would have been a short quick 2 miler but turned into one and then one limping back. Oh my god, I have no idea how I ran through that last weekend! It certainly made me remember why I wanted to quit for those couple miles. I've got some good stretches for that but it's the sitting at my desk/at home that kills me. I went for an easy 6 mile run yesterday and then proceeded to spend most of my day watching movies in my living room. My futon is comfy but so bad for my back/hips! I need to suck it up and get back to regular proactive stretches and back to the strength training, because when I stop the core exercises I start to fall apart. So I'm saying it again, less miles! I've been hitting about 115 miles a month, with September being 135, so I'm aiming for ~80 for the month of November. Short runs during the week and one long run on the weekends. My next race is December 16th (half) and I would love to PR but my top priority is to cut back miles, rest up and not hit any speedwork for at least 2 more weeks. Goal number 3 is reduce, rest and strengthen the core.
Future marathons! Most people say you shouldn't run more than 2 marathons per year. Ahhh, it's kind of crazy that I'm even thinking about it but I've got a couple races in mind for next fall. I want to get my name in the hat for the lottery for St George but quite a few friends are running Chicago. If I tried to run Chicago though I could likely get Erin to sign up too! Registration doesn't open until February so I've got a few months to think about it and also see what may be financially feasible. Big Sur is only happening because of my tax return. St. George sounds amazing but I wouldn't know until April or May. Failing both of those I'd absolutely run the Gorge marathon again. Chicago sounds like fun but I'm not sure yet if I want to do a flatter less scenic urban marathon. The crazy big crowds sound nice but they also sound a little irritating. Especially the Port-o-potty lines, ick! Maybe my tune will change in a couple months though.
I always thought the people that ran ultra's were inspiring but a little nuts. I've thought about future running plans and realize I'm really a distance runner. I'd like to race another 5k but right now if I did that I don't know if I could hit below 28 minutes. I'll improve with time but it's the longer races that I vibe with. I remember the first time I ran Lacamas last year, my first half, how much I loved running in a race for longer than an hour. Since the marathon is truly a test of mind and not just physical endurance, I had a surprisingly more invigorating and uplifting experience than I thought I would. I didn't go into it thinking I wouldn't want to do another, but I thought I'd feel ready for a break after. Maybe I don't because running is so new for me but it's going to be tough for me to not fall back on logging miles on my feet.
I've been a details girl forever and not exactly a very good 'big picture' person. I get caught up on silly details and it's a downfall of mine. Running right now and kicking it back up in a couple weeks to long 12 - 14 milers would be instant gratification, but big picture says remember to focus on Big Sur! Focus on different exercises. Big picture says time off means you'll come back stronger. There is some trust I'm putting in this process though that is hard because I've not experienced it before. They say that building back up mileage is much easier in subsequent training cycles so I'm putting faith in that and hoping it's true. It's mentally a lot easier for me to just stay in a uber-trained stage, but realistically (physically) for me right now that isn't gonna fly. I'm not a well oiled machine, I'm still trying to figure out how to put the machine together.
As it stands I don't plan to run anything longer than 13 miles until the end of December/early January. I've not figured out my Big Sur training plan yet because I know I won't have someone to run all those miles with. I'm joining up for the year with the Get Fit Live Fit group again, but they changed their name to Run or something. They'll certainly be people to run with there but I'll just be 7 weeks ahead of everyone as they're training for Vancouver USA marathon in June. The 2 season session is $200 and it's pretty much the only thing I'm hoping for Christmas! It's been such a boost having this group around so I'm really looking forward to next year!!
I signed up for the Shamrock run next year! I'm running the 5k again because I'm pretty sure it's going to be the day after a 20 mile run. Hopefully friends or family will come run the race with me again but if not it'll still be fun. Since it was my first 5k in 2010 it's a race that I don't really want to miss. I'm debating Race for the Roses. I really love the race vibe but I don't think I can afford paying for another race that I won't really be able to race. I'm not a big fan of the course either but it's a lovely event. As for other races, if I can I'm hoping to run the Foot Traffic Flat at Sauvie (there is a marathon option and it's scenic and flat but I'm pretty sure I'd die in the heat), Lacamas and the Eugene Women's half. Eugene is flat and I really like the course. There is actually a half there in 3 weeks that is the same course that I'd love to do (it's also $30!) but it's probably a bad idea. The cost sure is tempting though!
I'm hoping to swing time off after Thanksgiving so I can go visit Kim and Cliff again. They're running a Turkey trot 5k that morning that sounds fun but I'd rather stay over the night of Thanksgiving. Mmm pie! Ahhh, goal #2! Alright, this is turning into a bunch of rambles as I've kind of lost my train of thought and am too lazy to edit back and find a better ending.
Goodnight family and friends! I'll leave you with a picture from the last half I ran. I like this one actually! Funny because the race sucked. My pictures from the Gorge are okay. I have a super blurry screenshot from a video of me finishing that I'll post too. The non-blurry picture really isn't that much better but maybe I'll buy it when I have $25 dollars to spend on a picture.
This one is tiny too because I only paid $14 for a small version and I cropped out some people:
And here is me finishing the marathon! I thought I threw my hands up higher but I guess not! Heh!