TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Aftermath

I was on a high after finishing the Saddleback Marathon.  No injuries.  I didn’t even ache.  As the day progressed I began to feel nauseated.  And my quads began to stiffen.  I couldn’t sit for too long.  I had to walk around.  I took a hot bath.  I did chores.  By the time I went to bed, I ached head-to-toe.  I slept in pain, hardly able to even turn myself over as I slept.  I didn’t have the strength.

The day after the race I had to keep moving.  Though I still felt nauseated, I felt good overall.  But I couldn’t sit for more than probably five minutes without stiffening up.  I foam rolled all of my leg and hip muscles with excruciating pain.

On the 2nd day afterwards (Monday), my cell phone did not register the time change and I accidentally woke at 5 AM instead of 6.  It was this day  that depression hit, and it hit hard.  I sobbed, I felt hopeless.  Postpartum depression?  Nope.  Postsaddleback depression.  I went to the gym, pedaled 17 miles, did some weights, stretched like heck, did some back and ab work then worked those glutes on the roller like mad.  I felt like I had to get in shape, like I was sick and tired of glute issues, etc.  I felt weak.  I felt sad.

When I first started racing (not that long ago), I was a road runner.  At first I finished toward the back of the pack, about the bottom 25%.  I worked my way up into the the top half, occasionally the top third.  That was on the road.  That was when I raced with hundreds, sometimes thousands of runners.  I felt glad about these accomplishments.  Then I started trail racing.  And I plummeted to the back of the pack.  On the long-distance trail races especially, I was coming in way less than the bottom 25%.  But I ALWAYS said, it’s about finishing with me, not about time.  Somehow in my postsaddleback depression, that changed.   And I set my mind to a new goal – break through the bottom 25% barrier at Calico 2011.  I’ve got a few short months.  And I figure the only way to do it, besides train, is to run more bursts up those hills and  to strengthen, strengthen, strengthen through exercise and diet.  AND I CAN’T GET INJURED!

Anyway, back to that day 2, sleep was miserable once again.  I ached from head to toe.  I slept with a heating pad.

On the third day after Saddleback (today), depression only slightly lingered.  I was off to the gym again this time for more intense cardio on the elliptical.  I skipped the weights, did some ab work, stretched and foam rolled like heck again.  (For those unfamiliar with the foam roller – it’s a cylinder piece of hard foam that you lay and roll your muscles over.  It works like a massage, loosening up tight or achy muscles).

So here I am 3 full days past the most difficult trail race in my life, and I am finally recovered.  That is recovered mentally and mostly physically.  Though I still need to move around a lot, I can sit for extended periods without stiffening up.  Progress : )

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