Today has been an interesting day, leg-wise.
I woke up about 3am incredibly thirsty. The good news was that I had anticipated this and put a water bottle on my bedside table. The bad news was that it required me to roll over, and when I did, my legs were on fire.
The muscles in my legs, it turns out, are not amused by the choices I made yesterday.
A couple weeks ago, I decided that I was going to really take it easy this week. My official plan was to run a 5K today, and then take one week off. I wanted to give my knees a chance to recover, for one thing. The nagging pains that have bothered me the last couple weeks are likely due to overuse, and the only real cure for that is to take some rest. For the last few weeks, of course, I couldn't afford to take time off, but now I've got a little bit of a break, and I figured it was time to recover.
While talking with my mother (also a marathon runner) after the race yesterday, she recommended that I simply walk the distance today, rather than running it. She said that it would give me the opportunity to use the muscles and break up all the lactic acid and other pain-causing elements, while not stressing the muscles further. Boy, was she right.
I went to the gym to just walk on the treadmill. I was having some issues with stairs and inclines in general, so the idea of running anything resembling a hill was not a pleasing one. With some difficulty, I staggered onto the treadmill and started it up.
After about a mile, I decided that two miles would be more than enough. I mean, my legs hurt a lot, but they were moving pretty well. I even did a little bit of speed-walking just to mix it up, but it got boring quickly. To make matters worse, I managed to do this little exercise at the worst part of the cycle of SportsCenter. They spent half an hour discussing NASCAR and the NBA, two leagues that I do not care about, other than Go Bulls.
The good thing was that I had decided beforehand not to run, because I couldn't have done it if I wanted to. Even the quicker walk (a whole 4.5 speed) was a little more stressful than my legs wanted to tackle, and I only did that in very short bursts. If I had gone into the gym expecting to run, I would have been severely disappointed. In fact, given the state of my muscles, I probably wouldn't have even made it to the gym.
As it was, I completed my two miles in a very slow time, and was able to head back to the apartment happy with the progress. I was planning to rest all day tomorrow as well, but I think I'll see how I feel when I wake up. If I'm in good spirits and not altogether broken, I'll probably go get in a couple more miles and a good stretch.
All in all, I'm taking notes about everything that hurts and how long it takes to recover. My quads, hips and the lower hamstrings (at the knee) are causing the majority of the trouble. As the day has gone on, I've had better luck with walking, and on a flat surface, you can hardly tell I ran a marathon yesterday. My only real issue is going down stairs. This has always been odd to me, but when your legs hurt, it's easier to go up stairs (which should be harder) than down them. Today, I needed support to get safely down the few stairs with which I interact, but everything else was well within my power.
Once I'm back to strength, I'll give myself five days of not running. I'll probably do some biking and, if the weather holds, I might even take a dip in the pool. I figure that some low-impact strength work is a good way to build up the muscles around the knee without aggravating it too much.
Then, I'm going to take the list of everything that went wrong with the marathon, which I'll put into a post later this week, and go to a running store to figure out what I can do better next time. Clearly, I need to develop a stronger race plan, but there are many technical things I can do regarding my training and equipment to make that plan easier to follow. Every race should teach me something, and this one taught me a lot. The hard way.
It's even more important now, because I've got my eye on the horizon. If all goes according to plan, I could have three more marathons to do before the end of this year, one on each coast and one a little closer to home.
So for this week, it's recover and plan. I'll detail my strengths and weaknesses from yesterday, and I'll give my overall review of the Livestrong Marathon, for what that's worth.
So much to do, and so much time. Life is good.
Indoors / Treadmill
2 Mile Walk