Recovery after my first 26.2 was a new experience for me. I realize now that's not surprising because the effort and achievement were bigger than ever before. But during the last two weeks it all felt unfamiliar and a bit unsettling. It's been two weeks since the race and two weeks since I have gone out for a run. Today was my first run since. Hard to believe. I gave myself the first week off without guilt. But the second week, I wanted to get out, I thought I felt physically ready to get out... but each morning my psyche would collapse like a two year old "No". Part of my wanted to force it, but you know how well forcing a two year old works... so I decided that my body must need the recovery time.
I did a little research and found that it is actually okay... and normal, to take this much time off after a big race. Especially at my physical fitness level (I said something about being out of shape to a friend recently and they basically told me that since I had just run a full marathon that I needed to stop saying that. Point taken). But the truth is I have a long way to go to get to the fitness level that I want to achieve and maintain.
As I had suspected, since my desire to get out there on the trail never left, one day I just woke up ready to go. That was today. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear Fall day. The trail dirt was packed down pretty hard from some recent rains (no mud, luckily). It felt good to be back out there. I tackled some hills that I normally walk and I didn't really feel a decline in overall fitness. I did feel a little awkward in the beginning but all the parts came together pretty quick and it all felt good. My dog was super happy to get back out there and had the zoomies, which always makes me smile. She really enjoys being out there.
So now that the spell has been broken and I'm back out there I can't help think of my new goals. For one, my 50k goal is getting pushed to later in the year. I definitely want to run a 50k in 2013, but when I wrote out the training schedule (to make it to the American Canyon 50k is Feb or the Way Too Cool 50k in March) it just didn't seem realistic. These last two months of the year are the busiest for my work, trying to fit in 20+ mile runs every other week during a busy professional season as well as the holidays... something would suffer. I definitely want to do the WTC50k but think 2014 may be a better goal, that way I can work on raising my fitness level during 2013. My goal in 2013 is to participate in some trail half marathons as well as another full marathon or two, and do my first 50k.
Training for my first full was all about covering the distance. I didn't pressure myself on speed or hills. I'd like to get more aggressive on the hills. Most of the trail races that I am interested in doing have quite a lot of elevation change. I need to be able to tackle them. The irony is that the hill I despised so much in the GHM is now going to become a tool to help me get better.
There was definitely a post-goal void of 'now what' that I went through. So much focus goes into this one event. Then it's over. I struggled with this strange feeling that I was experiencing and then somehow came across a blog entry that I really related to (by Brad Felds http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2012/05/im-finally-recovered-from-my-50-mile-run.html). Okay, so it's not just me.
Good. Now I can move forward. I'm really excited about my running in 2013.