Monday, March 3, 2014

Recovery Should Be Respected

I fell victim the last couple weeks to the jealousy of watching everyone around me bounce back from the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler. At least I thought everyone but me was recovered. People started putting in miles that I would save for near peak week. First time 100 mile finisher friends ran the Cowtown 50K. Back to the grind. Back to training.

Meanwhile, I've been struggling to recover. A week ago Saturday I had a full blown meltdown. I was supposed to hit the trails, but I couldn't find a sub for my run group, so I went to the pavement group run for North Texas Runners to lead off the group. With Cowtown Marathon that weekend, we had a small group of about 20, and no one was my pace.

6.2 miles alone and I was miserable. I fought for a 13 minute pace when my easy pace would normally be 12 minute miles. The pavement felt so hard. Everything hurt. Everything was tired. Nothing in me wanted to be there.

I've had unusual stress the last two weeks between family in the hospital and a rare business trip of Steve's. 

I had thought I was "recovering" this week. I had worked out the last 6 days but never much at a time. Although a hard strength workout Wednesday had wiped me out.

So that Saturday afternoon, I broke down and cried to my husband. Nothing had felt good since the race. I didn't feel like I was recovering. The 6 miler that morning felt afterwards like I had run 20 miles. I laid down and took a one and a half hour nap after this meltdown. Big sign I wasn't recovered.

But how could I not be recovered? I was reverse tapering. I was doing smaller miles than my friends out there. 

Week 1 post-Rocky: 0 miles
Week 2 post-Rocky: 10.5 miles
Week 3 post-Rocky: 23 miles

But I needed more rest. So I changed the plan for this past week.

This Past Week

I focused this week on happy shorter runs for my mental and physical recovery. I tried to seriously listen to my body and not force it. Donnie backed off the intensity in strength training. Jeremy backed off the intensity of the running workouts.

10 hours, 9 minutes. 32.5 miles.

Monday: 2:04. 4.4 miles. I had 1 hour of strength training (lighter load, slow focused movements), then I hit the trails for 4.4 miles and convinced Lesley to join me. We took it super easy and walked a couple 10 second breaks in there.

Tuesday: 0:00. I went to the sports chiropractor and found out that I was kind of messed up everywhere, but I wasn't acutely messed up anywhere. That knot on the inside of my calf was making my adductor annoyed. My feet were annoyed. I had fascial adhesions all over my lower legs. A Graston treatment later and my pain tolerance was worn a little thin, I had a headache, and I felt like I'd expended energy. I chose to forego the run. I couldn't nap midday, but I rested in bed for 30 minutes.

Wednesday: 1:59. 5 miles. I woke up wanting to run that day. I took that as a good sign. It was 28 degrees out. A cold day after the last week's warm weather. I had zero interest in bundling with a million layers. And part of this recovery is enjoying the run right now! So I picked a great show on Netflix and did an easy 5 miles. Afterwards I was overjoyed. It actually felt pretty easy. I'd forgotten that feeling over just the last 3+ weeks! I also had 1 hour of strength training.

Thursday: 1:05. 4.85 miles. I hit the trails again with Aubrey this time for 4.85 miles. I never do trails two weekdays in a week! Easy pace and felt good again. Although afterwards, I was a little tired.

Friday: 1:37. 2.8 miles. 1 hour strength training. Back to the trail. I wanted to go, which is a great sign. After a 2.2 mile loop, my left foot started to hurt a little (I've been rehabbing plantar fasciitis), I felt a little tired, and I knew that if I got back home quickly, I could squeeze in a short nap. Listening to my body, I did a shortened second loop to do 2.8 miles. I had to check myself a few times to make sure I wasn't just being lazy. But I know I need to listen to these signals right now, and I'd rather err on the side of easing back more slowly.

Saturday: 0:00. Took it easy, spending lots of time with family.

Sunday: 3:24. 15.5 miles. I went to the Atoka A-OK 25K trail race in Oklahoma with Lesley. We had a lot of fun in freezing temperatures. Race report to come. I did set a 22 minute PR in the 25K distance.

And Where Am I Now?

I'm feeling pretty okay. I have 4 weeks until Gorge Waterfalls 100K so I can't imagine we'll build my mileage much longer, but I hope to get in some good miles this week again. I'm learning to respect the recovery. I want to get back to feeling 100%, not limping along at 60% for weeks.

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