This week I have come to the assumption that (for me at least!) marathon training is easier than this post marathon recovery lark, and I quite possibly have been through more emotions and struggles this week than I went through in the previous sixteen weeks of my marathon training. With Berlin Marathon now completed, my thoughts have also begun to turn to the 'what next?' question, and happily there was some good news on this...
MONDAY: after Sunday's Lincoln Half Marathon my body had returned to aching again - thankfully not as bad as after the Berlin Marathon the previous week, but it was noticeably sore again. Despite this, I still made a return to my Body Pump class at the gym, and after missing classes during the last few weeks of my running adventures, it hurt.
TUESDAY: everything hit me today - I felt like a zombie and even my colleague commented I looked dazed. I think the last few weeks had truly caught up with me in an almighty crash. Every muscle in my body ached and even the simplest movement seemed a struggle, with my right shin being particularly painful. I groaned getting up from a chair at work and another colleague pointed out 'Alice - haven't you just ran a marathon, a half marathon and returned to the gym in the space of about a week - what did you expect?!' A valid point! I rested today.
WEDNESDAY: the rest seemed to have done my body good and I decided to try a steady 5 mile run before another stint of Body Pump. During the run my shin was fine, however pain seemed to slowly radiate down to my right foot and the tendon across the ankle - great!
THURSDAY: 'I am going to go to a Body Attack class tonight instead of running to try rest my foot' I messaged my friend. 'Great plan Alice' was her sarcastic but sensible response. I knew deep down she was right, but that's a little insight into the madness of my own logic sometimes! The class was cancelled it turned out (a good omen!), so I opted for the slightly more sensible option of an easy 4 mile run instead. It was very slow, mainly because my foot was still sore and my hip flexor was now twanging, and that all bothered me too much to push anything further.
FRIDAY: with foot pain and now a new IT band niggle to add to the mix, I rested again.
SATURDAY: it was parkrun's 13th birthday today and I really wanted to run, especially as I had not ran parkrun for a few weeks, again due to my other recent running pursuits! I just hoped my foot and the remainder of my body would be ok. I proudly donned my apricot coloured Lincoln parkrun vest (see images) and ignored the small amount of nerves that bubbled inside me as I stood in the masses at the start. My first lap of the three loops felt surprisingly almost normal, and I did not feel any need to slow things down.
As the remaining two laps progressed though it grew tough, weirdly my legs seemed alright, but pushing my body at pace seemed a bit of a shock to the rest of my system and I sometimes felt like I was gasping for air! I was amazed to finish in 21:20 despite all of this, which is among some of my quicker times, although I was absolutely shattered in the finish funnel! Happy Birthday parkrun!
SUNDAY: my mum had messaged me before the weekend and said she hoped I was not experiencing too much marathon withdrawal symptoms - 'I'm fine' I lied. Sunday emphasised my post marathon blues, another feature of this week, the day feeling like a massive blank canvas without the excitement of a planned long run (I do really love marathon training!), let alone a race to complete. My friend and running buddy was in Chicago for the marathon and I longed to be there with her, ideally running, but I would even have taken supporting just to be caught up in the marathon bubble again. I had to make do with a tracker app and a solo long run as I waited for the race to start. I ran 12 miles, the first half which felt good, and the second in which I felt my legs noticeably fade, with my overall average pace at 8.30 min/mile. I then settled down to proudly 'watch' my friend tick another of the World Marathon World Majors off the list. Live streaming the coverage made me feel sick with nerves for my friend; it was agonising not actually being there, and the next few hours would prove equally as emotionally testing for myself as I followed her tracker dot around the course map.
Amid the madness there has been some good news this week - I got a place in the London Marathon for 2018. After years of ballot rejections, like many, I had no expectations of making it through the ballot this year and had already been discussing other Spring marathon options or potentially running for charity again. You can imagine my delight as I came home from work this week to be greeted by a slim red envelope with no rejection jumper bulging from inside. I jumped around my kitchen in sheer shock! The London Marathon is special to me and to be able to run it again is like a dream - I feel incredibly fortunate.
So that's the big 'what's next?' As for the next few weeks - a smoother ride than this week would be great for a start!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...