click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Recovery seems a blur now.  I couldn’t sleep much at all the first night after the SJT “50K.”  Every inch of my body ached.  My arms especially ached, so too did my calves.  A simple touch hurt.  I walked down stair steps sideways to avoid aches. 

I slept better the next day.  Monday after dropping the boys off at school, I slept until 1PM.  Every chance I got, I slept.  Every time I laid my head down my mind went through the race.  I found that pleasurable.  And then when I slept I dreamt strange or disturbing dreams, dreams of my life passing before my eyes, dreams of family members who have died, or dreams of running, running, never-ending-running. 

I didn’t even think of actually running those first two days after the race. Though I did some upper body weights, some hip and glute strengthening, a little foam rolling, even a bit of ab work. I kept wondering why my elbow hurt, then I’d remember the fall on that boulder. 

Tuesday, was EMO day – emotional wreck day.  My hubby said, “Recovery!”  Perhaps.  I went to work Tuesday so emotionally wrought it took great strength to put on “the act.”  I managed.  Then I got the call to sub a night class.  I took on that job with my eyes aching from sobbing.  Still, I was able to put on “the act.”  And glasses, they do wonders for sobbing eyes.  When I finally arrived home that night I went straight to bed.  (Does anyone else go through this emotional day after a huge race?) 

Today, Wednesday, was the day.  After dropping our boys off at school, I had the morning all to myself.  I set off for “sixish” “easyish” trail miles at about 10AM wearing my latest race t-shirt.  On my drive there, a bird (yes a bird!) flew into my windshield.  And the creature kind of flopped through the air toward the ground.  I thought I had probably killed it – I was travelling about 40 mph and add that to the bird’s momentum – I don’t know how it could survive.  I felt terrible. 

I continued on driving, determined to get in a trail run.  I wasn’t going to let a poor dead bird deter me.  And I don’t believe in omens.  I felt that if I didn’t get a run in today, I just may slide into a slump. 

This is how it went:  The weather was warm, almost hot as I ran down into Wood Canyon.  My shoes felt too tight.  I stopped twice to loosen the laces, questioning why my shoes would feel so odd.  I also felt sluggish, as if my legs weighed 50 pounds a piece.  I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing?  Maybe I don’t want to be an endurance / trail runner anymore!”  (Sound familiar?  Does to me.  I go through this after almost every tough race.)

Then I hit the trails to the loud sound of a rattlesnake’s rattler.  I only caught a glimpse of its tail end.  I stood there on the trail with a male and female mountain biker, all of us trying to get a better glimpse, the guy attempting to get it to do some more rattling by beating the brush.  Then we started exchanging rattlesnake stories, and afterward, I set off, my legs still heavy, but my heart lightened by the trail.

I headed up Cholla Trail sweating profusely, not only because of the heat, but because of my recovery.   I always sweat much more than usual on my recovery runs.  I ran to the top of Cholla not thinking, but more feeling that I did want to be a trail runner after all.

A Quick Pose on West Ridge Trail (top of Cholla Trail):

Running Park Avenue Nature Trail for some Extra Elevation:

I made the trip up only slightly slower than usual.  I also spotted another snake in the distance crossing the trail.  Picking up my pace so that I could get a closer look, it slithered into the brush.  I got a close enough look at its tail end to know that it was not a rattlesnake.  Stopping for a minute, I searched the brush so that I could i.d. the critter.   It was a lovely, nice size garter snake.  I’d say at least 4 feet long.

I took the side trails for additional elevation.  Why?  Because I’m crazy.  Also, so that I could see the Pacific Ocean sooner than later.  But I couldn’t see the ocean at all.  Instead, I saw this – a lovely, “pillowy” soft-looking layer of clouds covering all that water:

Top of the World:

I ran back at a faster pace.  And I didn’t think about anything.  Nothing.  Nada.  I did hear the sound of shuffling feet behind me and I picked up my speed some on the uphills so that I could leave that runner behind me.  I wasn’t in the mood to let a runner pass me.  Usually I don’t have a choice.  But today, I could tell from the sound of his feet that the runner was tired, so I kicked it in (I know he was a “he,” because I peeked a glimpse behind me when I turned to run down Cholla). 

I didn’t get much mileage in today.  I didn’t get much training in today.  But I got some trails in today.  And that was lovely. 

I don’t even know how to do a recovery run. How long do you wait before running? How many miles do you run?    Ahh.  Who cares.  I got out today, finally, and ran trails again.  That’s really all that matters for this recovery run..

My Activities cholla top of world out and back 4-18-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. amazing you are hitting the trails again so soon! keep kickin'!!

    1. Thanks Slomohusky. I'm still kickin'!

  2. You are amazing to run like that so soon after the race. Having said that I believe in no more than two days rest after a big race and hit the road or trails on day 3 again. I see this as recovery but also training for the really long runs of 50 or more miles (80k and up). Running on tired legs is an ultra runner's friend. :) I never feel down or emotional after races. Maybe it is because I'm already thinking about the next big challenge. Rest well Lauren!

    1. Thanks for your input Johann. Funny, I have only heard my girlfriends complain about the depression after hard races. I wonder if it's a hormone thing. I do like the idea of running on tired legs -- I'm working up to training with back-to-back long runs.

  3. That was a short recovery time after the race. Great return run; I typically stick to flat runs that soon after a race. I totally understand the hard time sleeping and emotional aspect; ultra running literally changes your hormonal balance so that can affect sleep and mood. :)

    1. It definitely wasn't an actual recover. I think it took me about a week to be back to normal. I really do believe that races like these do change my hormonal balance. Thanks for your input!