Monday, 21 January 2013

Recovery from the marathon – and it’s not just physical

Time for a blog update – can’t have me running a marathon and….that’s all there is folks. A bit like going through 3 months of birthing classes, where they talk about all the preparation for childbirth, and once the baby’s arrived they wash their hands, job done. Where are the lessons about how to change a nappy, bathe the little creature, not freak out every 5 minutes and check they’re breathing, how to deal with sleep deprivation, how not to lose your marbles with the innumerable well-wishers, advice givers and endless talk about babies???? Now I’m not comparing running a marathon to childbirth (well I am really) but there are some similarities – have we heard mothers say “I’m never doing THAT again” only to have another child a few years later? Well I’ve said “I’m never running another marathon”, approximately 2 metres after the finish line, and for about three weeks leading into the event. Was that a tad premature?

The book I used to prepare for the marathon was “The Non Runner’s Marathon Trainer” by David A. Whitsett, Forrest (Run Forrest Run) A Dolgener and Tanjala Mobon Kole. A book based on the successful marathon class offered by the University of Northern Iowa. A sixteen week, four-day-a-week workout plan which focuses on the psychological aspects as well as the physical. Therefore the program prepares you mentally to keep going once you’ve hit the notorious “wall” as well as getting you into physical shape to run 42 kms. If you are interested in getting a copy please follow the link here to The Book Depository, it will cost you no more than going directly to their website, but I will receive 5% of the purchase price which I donate back to the featured charity of the month (at the moment all income from my affiliation with them is going to be donated to our Oxfam Trailwalker team, where on 19 April this year, myself and three colleagues are walking 100kms as a team, yep 100kms each starting and finishing together).
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
As mentioned above the book focuses on the mental as well as the physical aspects of running a marathon, so this blog entry is about both the mental and physical recovery.
Closest I got to Cathy Freeman

Physically it is now nine days since I ran and my ankles (especially my right one) are still sorer than slab of beef which has just been put through a tenderizing machine. The right ankle pain is where the shin meets the ankle and as each day wears on it becomes increasingly difficult to walk, which does draw a few laughs from my fellow office workers. The only one who copped an earful was the larger gentleman who called me “soft”, my retort went something along the lines of “when you run a marathon I’ll take your advice” (I blame the mental tiredness here). I’ve seen a myotherapist, who did go especially soft on me this time around, and a chiropractor (twice) since the run but still no pain relief (without doses of anti-inflam drugs) so I’m off to the physio today to see what else I can do to reduce the swelling besides RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation – see I sound like a pro now). Besides the legs the rest of me has pulled up quite well, the upper back, shoulders and neck were quite sore but a couple of chiro visits have sorted all that. I’m hoping I can get the legs right soon as I would like to go out for a trot and need to prepare for my next long run or even train for the 100km walk.

Onto the mental aspects, and I’m sure there are a lot less views written about this side of the event. I spent the good part of 30 weeks preparing for this event, with the last 4 months being the intense ones, involving a raft of mental training (not to mention those ridiculous 30km training runs – who in their right mind goes for a “training run” that takes 3 and a half hours????), therefore I have had a single focus for six months. I am going to run a marathon.  A quote form the book mentioned above:

Training and running for a marathon is not a single event; rather, it is an experience. It is a discovery of self that will forever change your perceptions, perspectives, priorities, and possibilities. You will meet yourself at what you thought were the boundaries of your potential and endurance and watch in awe as they evaporate to reveal only open expanse. To know that the only boundaries in life are those which we create ourselves is a discovery which can not be taught – it must be experienced. For once you have seen the view from the mountain top, living a life of voluntary blindness is no longer an option.

Big bloody boots to fill once you’ve run the bloody thing… physical and mental energy has been mutually focussed on one goal and I followed a very structured program in order to achieve that goal….so what now???? At this stage I’m going to let the body recover, plan and train for my 100km walk, and assess the possibility of running another marathon. This may not come about, I will continue to run and I may stick to the “easier” 21km half marathons where I don’t hit the wall, but then again there are so many things I could have done differently – rest better beforehand, relax and recuperate afterwards, be in a familiar place, are just two examples of a myriad of things, maybe one day I’ll put them all to the test again.

In the interim I will be keeping this blog up to date with our 100km training efforts and if you feel like throwing a few dollars our way please visit any donation however small is most welcome and I’m also proud to announce that our employer CGU Insurance has agreed to match our fundraising $ for $ (up to a maximum of $1,000) – most appreciated CGU>

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