long run recovery.

maybe i’ll never really learn – though after last saturday’s race, i felt pretty good. yesterday i met 5 great running buddies at the UW Arboretum at 8am to run two loops. for those of you who don’t know, the “Arb loop” is a perfect 10k, if you stay on their marked course.

anyway, i was, admittedly, a few minutes late. i hadn’t set an alarm and was hoping to sleep in – but i guess when you’ve been getting up before 6am most of the week prior, sleeping in on saturday means 7am. ok, i’ll take it. i pulled up to the Visitor’s Center parking lot at about 8:05 and jogged over to where Krista, Mel, Tim, Pat and Ryan were standing and they quickly greeted me with, “WHICH DIRECTION SHOULD WE RUN?”

i laughed and suggested we do a one loop in each direction. they all laughed and agreed and before we knew it, i think Tim and Ryan were off – choosing the first direction. we separated, rather quickly, into three pairs and Pat and I kind of took off. we chatted the whole way around and then joined the group and ran in a pack for the second loop.

i loved reading the write-ups from everyone on Dailymile afterwards. you can probably read them all through the links on my own review, so i’ll just link to that here. nonetheless, it was great to read and appreciate that we’re all on different levels and that we stuck together for that second loop despite our differences. it kinda made me feel like this:

so today, i actually did sleep in. until 8:30!!! but as soon as i rolled out of bed, i realized that i was a little less recovered than i thought. and as i type this, i realize though, that i’m not sore. maybe not at all. just fatigued and the heat isn’t helping me feel any less – umm, swollen? oh, and drinking my regular amount of coffee is making me feel a bit – well, wobbly. but i’ve got compression on and water at arm’s reach and i’m beginning to think that maybe a little shakeout run is in order.

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i love running. i love how it unites as it did yesterday and how it’s humbling me today. i love the doors and connections it opens and all the growing it allows. so, while i still might not be the best at figuring out the whole recovery thing, i’m glad for the reflection this day after a long run provides.

have a wonderful sunday!

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happy weekend!

usually, weekends for me are for long, hard workouts. 

last weekend i escaped town on saturday to race at dances with dirt about an hour away from home.

this weekend, i’m in door county, wisconsin and one of the things (besides doing a little work) that brought me here is to watch some friends race at sunday’s half iron-distance triathlon.

and while i sometimes (often) complain about having to own a car, i’m so glad it allows me these tiny trips.

i’m hoping to log some miles over the weekend….

but once in a while, i just need a break. to relax. and for me, this weekend getaway couldn’t come at a better time.

i got some good work done today. tomorrow i’m looking forward to spending a bunch of quality time with family. and on sunday i’ll partake in my favorite of the triathlon activities – SPECTATING!!

good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend!!!

recovering.

hmm, probably how i should have been recovering sunday evening (feet in the air)

now that i’ve been running for a while and runs that once seemed like “really long” distances to me are seeming a little easier, i think i sometimes forget the importance of recovery. that’s not to say that i didn’t feel like i needed it on sunday after the previous day’s marathon, but i rested and then i moved around a little and i thought i was good to go.

boy, was i wrong.

monday morning i woke up before my alarm after a bit of a restless night of sleep. this should have been warning sign number 1 that i wasn’t fully recovered. or that i hadn’t done the best job the day (night) before – sunday – really resting.

instead, how i was “recovering” sunday night…

nonetheless, i headed out for a short-ish and easy shakeout run. about three and a half miles. i actually felt good on the run and got ready and headed to work, but not before chugging my first cup of coffee. this should have been warning sign number 2.

about mid-morning i began to realize that my recovery from the time after the race to the current moment wasn’t quite adequate. i referred to this stage in my dailymile post from this morning as having my “big bright crabby pants on.”

g-chats to a friend were whiny and i was feeling irritated and irritable about just about everything. and i was also feeling a little irrational about all of it. i know it’s always worse in my head, but i really don’t like feeling this way.

so i headed home monday night, had a taco salad and two margaritas and stayed up later than i had hoped which meant i wasn’t any better hydrated come tuesday and while i got a bit more sleep, i did not wake up early enough before work to get in a workout. i was far less crabby, but on tuesday i was just plain old disinterested in running. i headed home from work, had some quick leftover dinner and some water and crawled into my bed.

i slept from just after 7pm to just before 5am this morning and felt fantastic. as an added bonus, when i woke up today, it was raining! i pulled open my windows a little and listened to the rain fall for about 10 minutes while lying in bed and then i knew exactly that i needed to do: run! in the rain!

i jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and was out the door faster than i’ve been in a while.

the run was fantastic. about a mile in, it started raining hard. then it cleared up through the middle of my run. and about a half mile from home a big bout of thunder struck and it began to pour. buckets of rain fell from the sky just as i was returning home. in the early part of my run, when it was raining initially, i ran into one other runner who looked up, grinning and said, “isn’t this fantastic?!” i shouted back, just as enthusiastically, “this is awesome!!!”

and i meant it.

you see, by monday afternoon, i knew i wasn’t had done a bad job of recovering and that i wasn’t yet recovered. the old shayla…the less mature me would have gotten upset about it. she would have beat herself up about it and about the margaritas and about staying up late and she probably would have tried to run yesterday even though it was 100-degrees outside. but that’s not me anymore.

instead, i listened to my body. i gave myself a break – a chance to calm down and to catch up.

sure i wish i hadn’t had the margaritas (maybe i wish i had just one) and i wish i had gone to bed earlier, but it’s all a part of life. i’m not perfect and i am not going to dwell on it.

sometimes i’m glad for the mishaps and for the opportunities to see where i could have done better because it means i’m still learning and growing and that there are things about my body and about my sport that i don’t know quite yet. that mastery is one of the reasons i keep going.

i mentioned a few of the things that should have tipped me off early on that i wasn’t recovered:

  • restless sleep (not rested, probably dehydrated)
  • chugging coffee (dehydrated, for sure)
  • being irrationally irritable (needing more rest and recovery time)

what are the ways you recognize when you’re not doing your best to recover well?

sure, it stinks to not make sure these bases are covered right away, but i’m glad i realized what was up by midday monday.

there are some steps i’ll be taking from here forward to make sure i’m treating myself better, like:

  • staying off my feet as much as possible the entire day after a long race
  • hydrating at least 1/3 more than i think i need to
  • …which may mean cutting out coffee and/or alcohol the day after a race
  • eating a few solid, nutrient-rich meals the day after a race
  • and generally, just giving myself a break (mentally/emotionally) for a day or two

what are the things you do to recover well after a big race?

last night’s nearly 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep followed by a pretty freaking fantastic run this morning remind me of the good that comes from taking better care of myself and listening to my body.

it’s all about tuning in.

as much as i love carpe-ing the heck outta some diem, it’s important to know when to back down a little bit.

recovering well is just as important a part of being the best athlete possible as the actual activity, wouldn’t you say?!