I ran my first Ultra Marathon on Saturday and I learned so much that will not fit into one epic recap so if you are tired of hearing about it you may have to skip the blog this week ;)
If not then well today I wanted to talk about post race and how I am physically feeling after it versus how I felt post marathon.
First, it is an entirely different feeling. Running on trails, or sand as I did I never feel as sore in my legs as I do after a long run or marathon on pavement. After and well during my ultra I was obviously tired, but I did not feel like I did during the marathon. When I was done I could still walk around and I headed home and soaked in my warm epsom bath for almost an hour. This is my long run recovery routine and I stick with it: soak in epsom salt warm bath for almost an hour, then wrap legs with arctic ease for 1 and a half hours, then sleep if possible ;)
I did not get the sleep part but the bath and wrapping worked good. I felt great the rest of the day Saturday probably being on that runners high helped. On Sunday morning I woke up early and went to the gym. There I did 50 minutes on the elliptical for 5 miles. I always try to walk, jog or elliptical the day after. I find it gets the lactic acid on the legs moved out and keeps my muscles from tightening up. I know the protocal for most people is rest and I respect that. I tried it when doing half marathons and I have found that makes the pain worse.
You see when you are training you are running a lot of miles and moving every single day. Your muscles and body are used to it. When you rest completely your muscles stiffen up and tighten, for me it takes twice as long to recover if I do not move around the night after and next morning post race. It just is what works for me.
After that on Sunday I just did normal stuff and I felt ok. Kind of sore, like in a I had a kick ass workout sore. Not the I can barely walk I ran a marathon sore. I was happy. Actually ecstatic. I know now that running on trails is tough mentally and physically but it is nicer to your body in some says than pavement.
Monday morning I woke up and felt sore. My feet ached in a way I was not used to and my core felt like I worked it out a bit. I guess this is the difference. My legs feel ok, my hips are a bit sore. I have no trouble walking up and down stairs like I did for a week post marathon. I have no shin and calf pain like I do post long pavement run. I found myself saying well this is not so bad after all. Monday night I was able to get on the elliptical for an hour and then do some core work and weight training for my upper body for 25 minutes.
I did notice I am hungrier than usual and I probably burned more calories than I am used to when just regular running. I have been adding in extra protein here and there and eating clean, its a delicate balance because I want to maintain a lower racing weight for Hyannis in 4 weeks. I do feel good over all and was surprised that I am not that sore.
I ran this morning a beautiful 7 miles along the Potomic River here in DC and I felt strong. Managed to finish it in an hour and 4 minutes. All in all I am happy with the way recovery and training for the Hyannis Marathon is going! Just a few weeks away from it now and I am keeping my focus on that sub 3:35 BQ goal :)