Over the past seven weeks, the phrase that keeps repeating itself both in my head and in my blog is "lesson learned".
It's a little humbling how much I have yet to learn about this whole long distance running thing. As my running friend Darlene said the other day - a marathon is much more than just twice the distance of a half marathon. And so, every week (every run) I learn something new.
About my body.
About what it's going to take to drag my ass over that finish line.
The latest lesson has to do with the importance of recovery days. We are told over and over again by Benny that we need to do a 30 minute recovery run on Wednesdays and Sundays. We can replace one of those with a bike ride if we prefer.
I have been dutifully doing my Wednesday runs and my Sunday bike rides. Every week - no matter what.
I figured he knew what he was talking about and so I would do what I was told.
This weekend - I ran 26k on Saturday. It went really well. After my typical 5k warmup where my body throws everything it can at me to make me stop (nausea, aches and pains etc etc) - it gave up and settled in for the long haul. The 5k to 22k stretch went surprisingly well and, while I was pretty tired during the last four, my body still had enough strength to carry me through. I felt pretty proud of that run.
Afterwards, I hydrated, stretched for an hour, took an ice bath (by the way, is it normal to climb into a freezing cold bathtub full of ice, melt the ice and bring the water up to a comfy temp within about five minutes??) and ate well. I bounded around for the rest of the day with no aches or pains to speak of. Yay.
Sunday there was a duathlon in Grimbsy that Doug was doing. I wanted to be there to cheer and take pictures so I skipped my Sunday morning bike ride (gasp!). I toyed with the idea of cycling at the crack of dawn but decided to sleep in instead. I've been doing so well, what difference would one missed ride really make?
The race was great and Doug did a fabulous job.
I, on the other hand, was slowly falling apart. As the morning wore on, my calves were getting tighter and tighter - making it hard to walk. I went to find Geoff who (lucky me) was at the race working his chiropractic magic. He did what he could but I was still having trouble. My hips were tight, my quads were tight. By the time we got home, going up and down stairs was getting awkward.
Apparently, those Sunday morning bike rides have been having a greater impact than I even realized.
Lesson #244 learned.