Sunday, February 16, 2014

Recovery - What Happened AFTER Rocky Raccoon 100

After being timed out at mile 80 at Rocky Raccoon 100, at my first 100 miler attempt, I wondered what the recovery would be like. I'd seen some go back to walking like a regular human being again within a couple days. And I'd seen others with lower legs so swollen they could hardly wear shoes for 2 weeks. Some were back to active recovery runs a week later, and some seemed to take a 2 month hiatus from all active endeavors. Either way, I had already committed, via the lottery back in December, to the Gorge Waterfalls 100K race on March 30.

So two weeks post-Rocky, let's see what #hundiecovery looks like. Good friend Jeremy coined the term, I hated it as I also really dislike the word "hundie", but it is a great solid abbreviated term for what I'm up to. By the way, check out the tips for a first 100 miler that Jeremy wrote up after pacing me at Rocky Raccoon.

Here's the 100 miler recovery for me, separated into the categories of WORKOUTS, REST, TEMPERATURE REGULATION (huh?), MUSCLES, BLISTERS, and MENTAL.


First week I was completely off.
Second week... 5 1/2 hours of workouts. 10.5 miles, 1500 ft vertical gain.

I didn't cover major miles as I spent some extra time with family this week and was listening to my body on taking it easy while my calf and foot are healing, but I did two good hill workouts. One of repeats on a short steep hill:

And another of repeats on a longer hill to change it up.

Happy to average 150 ft of vertical gain per mile this week!

I went back to an hour of strength training 3 times a week with my trainer, which is my normal weekly schedule. Monday we went just middle-of-the-road in weight and reps. But I could tell it was hard. Benchpressing 75 lbs felt like benchpressing 95 lbs. Wednesday and Friday we focused much more on low weight and slow reps through the eccentric part of the motion.


Immediately after moving forward for 24 hours and 26 minutes, priority of course was a nice lovely shower. Then I crashed for 3 hours. After the long drive home, I slept another 2 1/2 hours, then had a normal  night's sleep. I went back to a standard (bad) sleep schedule of late nights immediately after, getting 6-7 hours of sleep and brute forcing it to get through the day. I made it three days before I snapped rudely to a few people I care about, and I realized I was completely exhausted. I had underestimated what being on my feet for that long would do to me. I crawled into bed Wednesday night and slept 11 1/2 hours straight. I've been working hard to get 8, sometimes 9, hours a night since, and this morning was the first morning that I wasn't a zombie waking up.

I have managed to continue to stay off caffeine (which I go off of a month before a big race anyway, but usually I go back on afterwards).


Huh? Yeah, basically I spent the week post-race shivering. I was so cold after the race. Steve would come home at the end of the day, and I'd been running the heater several degrees warmer than usual, and I was still bundled up. I wore my favorite hoodie (which I never wear because I'm never this cold) all over the place for a full week. It turns out it was also a terribly cold week in terms of Texas weather. Going outside with temperatures in the teens and twenties felt almost painful. That's one good way to know how fatigued I felt!


My legs had felt great at the end of the 80 miles. My undoing was my slowed pace from awful blisters. However, being on my feet upright for that long, the thing that really bugged me the week after was back spasms. I think my fibromyalgia also made this painful, as that's a problem area for me, and stress triggers a flareup of my fibromyalgia condition.

I've seen swollen toes and cankles in others' pictures, but I had ZERO swelling luckily.

My tweaks and niggles didn't really show up until about 9-10 days post-race. Then I could tell the outside of my right foot (peroneals) was tender, my left foot was trying to get plantar fasciitis going again, and the inside of my left calf had a big knot. Recovering these spots have been harder than I expected. Listening to my body means not a lot of running this week. The knot in the left calf at the top is some serious fascial adhesions that have to be broken up. The resulting added calf tightness is only making it harder to rehab my inflamed plantar. The sports chiropractor, Dr. Chad of Lifestyle Wellness Center, worked to break up the adhesions some, which means it's now covered in bruising and so sore. I'm rolling it and icing it daily. You can't recover this stuff overnight, so exercising patience.

It actually looks more purple than this now, but here's what the camera captured.


Ow, those hurt. It took a few days until I could put on shoes without the pain of the pressure of them against the blisters. Final count was 7 blisters, including my first nice big blood blister. I typically avoid lancing blisters if I can avoid it. And I avoid lancing a blood blister entirely, because there's a direct line to the blood system there - a great way to increase your chance of a blood infection!

However, the blood blister seemed to want to keep growing, and the skin above kept thinning, until I was sure it was going to explode walking across my carpet at home. :-/ So I handled my queasiness and drained that one after making sure everything was sterile and having bandages ready to seal it off from potential contaminants.

It took about a week for them all to heal. I was surprised how long they took to heal.


I thought at some point the sadness of not finishing the 100 miler would hit. But it never did. Aside from the 5-10 second crying outburst a half mile from the finish line of knowing I wouldn't make the time cutoff, I've felt pretty good. I had delayed picking out spring races until I saw how the 100 miler went.

So I race shopped. Including shopping for another 100 mile race. Coach felt confident that I could go again - I don't have serious injury coming out of the race, and I showed I was fit in this effort. So I've picked some fun races and goal races coming up.

Then late this week, I had a bit of a relapse. Am I ready to get training again? Ready to commit to another 3-5 months of hard training for the next goals? I know I'd like to drop another couple percent body fat, without losing any muscle at the same time. But I seem to be rebelling against the idea a little too while I wrap my head around it. Like a willful 4 year old, my food this week has not been good. And I chose helping my daughter on her science fair project instead of one workout last week. Time to get that out of my system pronto.


Still working back to the routine. I usually bounce back from races well, so this feels longer than usual for me, but I'm trying to practice patience. Which perhaps is not my best skill.

1 comment:

  1. So many people miss the whole point about attempting a 100 miler (or any endurance event that seems unreachable within one's capability). It is about doing something that you know you might not finish, that you give it your all. That you tried. It is the process of trying that brings out the very core human value. It is all that matters in the end. There's always another race, another chance to do it all over again. Congratulations and happy recovery.