The Aftermath

It’s been a few days since Jacksonville and I’m still all giddy about it. Who’s that smiling over there? Oh RIGHT, it’s me. :-) Of course, with every marathon there’s the “after” part so I thought I’d talk about a few things I forgot to mention and answer a couple questions I’ve gotten.

Michelle @ Michelle Does Germany asked about the PR Thing

Even though I didn’t mention the race on the blog, I still would have told you all about it afterwards – PR or no PR. I thought I could do better than Savannah and I just needed to prove it to myself, so I took out all the stressful factors to see if it would make a difference. I would have no problem telling you all that I suck at marathons and am a complete loser if Jacksonville went in the crapper. And really, if Jacksonville went badly, I would always know that things could be worse than having a bad race. Like needing one of these.

Tapering

I guess you can say I tapered only because I haven’t been running much since Savannah in general. I did one long run on the weekend and one junk run during the week. I didn’t do any speed or tempo runs for over a month because honestly I don’t think they’ve done anything for me during marathon training. I didn’t taper my cross-training at all. In fact, my hamstrings were still sore on race morning from a Crossfit workout on Thursday but I wasn’t worried about it since that was the case with most of my training runs.

Recovery

After Savannah, I had knee and shoulder pain. It took a good 4 weeks for both of those problems to go away completely. While I had shoulder pain during the marathon in Jacksonville, it stopped once I stopped running. In the 2 days following the marathon, I had some groin pain and calf and ankle stiffness. Oh, and when I was trying to figure out what muscle was hurting, hubs tried to convince me it was called the “leggus extendus.” Awesome.

(source)

Today, everything feels back to normal. Two day recovery? I’ll take it! But I’ll still take a week off from running so I can recover completely.

What I did differently

Instead of my pre-race salad that guarantees no poops, I ate a bunch of random appetizers that I never normally eat and then I molested a chocolate fountain. I wouldn’t normally choose to do that (except the chocolate fountain part) but that’s how it worked out with our holiday plans.

I skipped my oatmeal for breakfast and had a half of a PB&J instead because it was easier at the hotel. During the race, I ate half of a PB&J and took a Thermotab every 5 miles (except mile 25). In Savannah, I fueled every 4 miles which was too much for me. I also took Ibuprophen before the race instead of aspirin.

Amy @ Army Amy asked if I’m ready to run another marathon

Yes! I want to run Jacksonville again someday. I also want to run a Chicago race since it’s my hometown and I haven’t been back since I was 17. Another marathon might have to wait for 2013 because it takes a long time to train and it’s hard to devote the time to all those long runs. Right now, I want to focus on getting faster for my upcoming half marathons and Jacksonville has totally inspired me that I can do it. So, I’ll be back to speed runs soon and I hope to break my PR with one of my races in March.

(Photo may or may not be “enhanced.”)

Angie @ The Bitchy Runners mentioned (on the blog’s Facebook page) that the Jacksonville Bank Marathon was mentioned in Runner’s World.

Runner’s World magazine named the Jacksonville Bank Marathon one of the 10 best marathons for competitors looking to run their “best 26.2 ever” in the January issue. (source)

Even Runner’s World knows that race is the JAM. :-)

Did I miss anything? (I’m happy to answer any questions.)

Are you getting excited for tonight’s American Horror Story season finale? :-)

The Post Marathon Post

So, that marathon thing happened. It’s basically all I can think about for the last 3 days. I’m never like this with half marathons, so I guess running a marathon is a pretty big deal to me. Who knew? So, here’s what’s been going on since Saturday.

First Thing I Did When I Got Home on Sunday

Recovery

I recover quickly from long runs. I do a lot of cross-training, so I’m going to go ahead and thank Crossfit and weight lifting for that. The day after the marathon, my knees and legs in general were pretty sore. I could walk fine once I got going, but when I got up from a seated position or out of a car – that posed a walking challenge.

I’m terrible when it comes to stretching and foam rolling. So I didn’t do either after the marathon. I did take a rather long ice bath and I wore my Zensah compression sleeves after the marathon and the entire next day. The second day, my inner thighs were a little sore so I stretched and foam rolled (a little) and after that, the soreness was gone. So, I’m sure if I stretched and foam rolled after the marathon, my recovery would have been even faster. But damn. Stretching is so boring. I’d rather sit on the couch and count the popcorn on the ceiling.

I’ve even gone to yoga classes before and I can’t relax in those. All I think about during the class is how many minutes till it’s over or what I could be doing that is more fun than yoga – like visiting a screen door factory.

Running

I haven’t ran or worked out since the marathon, which is unusual for me. Unless you count lifting the fork to my mouth as an activity, then I’ve been very active. Three days might be the longest voluntary non-workout period I’ve ever had that wasn’t during a vacation. Basically, I get home from work and take a nap. Then I wake up and watch TV for a couple hours and go right back to bed.

After the first recovery day, my knee felt back to normal. I hope to get in a short run today or tomorrow just to make sure it’s ok. Or I might go grocery shopping instead. Or sleep some more. Nothing like a marathon to suck all the productivity out of you when you get home.

Race Adrenaline

You know how everyone tells you how you’ll do great on race day because you have that race adrenaline that will keep you going? Race adrenaline stresses me out. I think the reason my training runs were better is because I don’t have that pressure to finish. When I’m in a race, I have to finish and that pressure can really bring me down mentally. Once I’ve checked out mentally, something I enjoy becomes a chore instead.

Next Up with Training

I have a bunch of half marathons lined up right now. I’m really looking forward to the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll half. I’m going to run that race for fun, not time. I want to dress up somehow and I’m planning on leaving my Garmin at home. I’ve never run a race without my Garmin or at least the Runkeeper app on my phone, so I may have a panic attack. But screw it. I want to see how a race goes without it. I have plenty of races coming up that I will run for time.

Will I run another marathon?

If you asked me before I ran Savannah, I would have said hell no. If you read my post on what I’ve learned from marathon training, I was not enjoying getting fat, missing Friday night’s out with my friends, and any run past 18 miles. Now, I will definitely run another marathon and I will make my goal. Savannah still makes me sad. It’s so annoying that I have to prove something to myself, but I do. Now, I’m trying to decide if the race is going to be sooner or later.

The Taper Post

Tomorrow morning is my last long run until the marathon. My group and I are doing 8-10 miles and I could not be looking forward to it more. My GOD, I just want to move. This taper shit has got to go.

I received an email from our training group that had this gem in it:

Remember to taper cross-training activities as well. Drop the weight training and any other aerobic cross-training, like spinning, stair master, etc. You can continue with stretching classes, Yoga, or Pilates but be VERY conservative.

Nice. So I can’t do weight training or Crossfit. But I get the go-ahead on the two things I hate the most.

(source – all images)

I wrote some things I learned about marathon training awhile back and now I thought I’d write the things I’ve learned about taper.

1.  Tapering makes me feel fat.

I’m not saying I am fat, but let’s face it. I’ve gained weight during marathon training. Five years ago, I lost 25lbs and now I’ve gained 15lbs back. Not all of that is from training and I know it’s my fault but tapering really puts a new spin on making you feel like shit. Usually I can go for an hour run or do some Crossfit and I’ll start feeling pretty good again. Now I can’t do that. I’m not fishing for compliments here and don’t want them, I’m just stating a fact: I’m heavier, I can see it in the mirror, I can feel it in my tight pants, I can feel it in my running speed, and it really effects how I feel about myself. During taper, I can’t do much about it.

2.  Tapering makes me feel lazy.

You know what I do when I can’t keep my normal workout schedule? I sit on the couch, do nothing, get depressed, and eat. This is directly related to #1 of course. I want to work out but I don’t want to screw with the training plan when I’ve never run a marathon before. Some people love the laziness of taper, some people don’t need to taper at all, and some people think full marathons are for crazy people but I’m learning what works for me as I go. I really want to make Savannah a great experience and I don’t want to do anything that might ruin that. At least I know someone else is going crazy with me.

3.  Tapering makes me feel weaker.

Not only do I feel like I’m losing muscle because I’m not strength training as much, I feel like I’m losing my running ability from not running as much. I realize taper should have the opposite effect, but I worry about losing what I took so long to built up come race day.

So there you have it. Yeah, I’m freaking out a little bit. Maybe I’ve shed a couple crazy-lady tears. But I really am looking forward to Savannah. More than that, I’m looking forward to running shorter distances at faster paces and getting my half-marathon on again afterwards. And last but not least, I can’t wait to plow into some strength training and get my muscles back.

One more week till Savannah!

Things I’ve Learned from Marathon Training

Ok, so I’m only at the halfway point in my marathon training, but I think I’ve already learned some really valuable lessons from it. I was going to do this post right before I ran the marathon, but now is as good a time as any.

1.  Picking the Right Marathon

I picked the Savannah Rock n Roll as my first marathon for a few reasons.

  • I wanted it to be out of state so I had a change of scenery.
  • I wanted it to be in cool weather – so I chose a November race.
  • I wanted to run my first Rock n Roll race.

I met all my criteria; the problem is I didn’t realize at the time that I would need to train for a November race in the summer. The news often describes Florida weather as “dangerously hot.” Not ideal for training. Plus, it makes for some pretty craptacular runs that make you wonder if you can even finish a marathon in the first place. It was pretty dumb of me not to consider.

If I could do it all again, I would have picked a race in February so training could start in November.

2.  Picking the Right Training Schedule/Group

I chose a 3-day per week training schedule for a few reasons.

  • I wanted to do the least amount of running possible so it wouldn’t take away from my personal life too much.
  • I didn’t want to burn out during training.

While I love Marathonfest (the group I do my training runs with), they started training way to early. With Marathonfest, there is over 4 months of long runs each weekend. I’m half way through and I already feel like I’m ready for the race with one 20-mile run under my belt. Next time, I would only do 3 months of training. Maybe less.

3.  Running with Friends or a Group

I decided to join Marathonfest because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t do all my runs without some type of formal meet up. I love sleeping in and once it gets hot outside, I don’t want to leave the house. So, I’m really glad I joined this group. Before Marathonfest, I only ran on my own. Running with someone is so much better. I had no idea. Not only have I met some really awesome people, but it’s nice to be with others that are working toward the same goal. They encourage me to keep going when I don’t think I can and they tell me it’s ok to cut my long run short and try again next week if I’m really struggling.

Sometimes just knowing I will see my group every week is what helps get me out of bed at 3am when hubs is just going to bed after a fun night out.

4.  Being Committed

Marathon training takes away from your social life and other commitments. A lot. While I knew what I was getting into before I began, I didn’t realize how much it would suck. Hubs hangs out with our friends on Friday nights or does other fun things while I go to bed at 8pm. Then I get up at 3am to run while he’s just going to bed.  Unless your significant other is an understanding anomoly or lives in another town, just know that it will affect them as well. Not just you. You are taking time away from your family and friends, and chances are, they don’t like it and miss you.

If you cross-train (which you should), it takes extra time too because you need to work that into your schedule on top of your running. Most of the time, I feel like my schedule is all work, training runs, other workouts, and picking up around the house. I don’t have a lot of free time for relaxing.

5.  Gaining Weight

Running long distance does not mean you will lose weight. In fact, a lot of people gain weight during marathon training. Yes, you burn a lot of calories, but you also want to see how much is “all you can eat” at a buffet until they kick you out. I’m usually really hungry for two days after a long run. And that second day of hunger is a rest day where I’m not burning any calories.

Yes. Best to cut down on that parsley, fatty.

Of course, marathon training teaches you the importance of experimenting with running gear and fuel and a bunch of other things that I think half marathon training will teach you. But I’ve found these 5 things to be unique to marathon training.

Did I leave anything off the list? What have you learned from marathon training?