Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Day After

Yesterday I ran the Pinkney Marathon. Today I have been sore, like after other marathons I've run. Kind of painful going up and down stairs, for example. This morning I treated myself to a massage at my chiropractor's, and the massage therapist was amazing, finding sore spots I didn't even know existed. I still felt sore afterwards, but it was a relaxed sore.

I decided to bike to work. I almost didn't. I almost told myself it would be easier to drive my truck and just recover from the race. But no. The weather was fine, and I would be using a different set of muscles, and more importantly, I knew I could do it. Therefore, I should do it. And, I was fine. The worst part was that the bottoms of my feet were (and still are at this writing) a little sore and raw, even in my VFFs.

I spent the afternoon sitting down at my desk, which may have had something to do with my next decision: When I got home, still sweaty, I thought, hmm....I wonder if I actually could run? How bad would it be? If I'm going to be running a 100 miler in July, I need to be both pushing myself physically, and getting used to performing while sore and tired.

So, I exchanged my bike shorts for my running shorts, and donned my Luna huaraches, telling myself I'd just do one of my short mellow runs: the loop around Ella Sharp Park. Just stick with pavement, and go into baby-step mode.

Hard to believe I was trying a run when I could barely walk down the stairs out of my apartment, but once I started trotting in the parking lot, my body shifted. Yes, I was stiff. Yes, a little sore (especially stepping on rocks! I swear the parking lot is the toughest surface I know). But, I was running. Really short steps, feeling a little ridiculous at how slow I was going. But I was going.

I got out into the park, just trying to maintain good posture, but a strange thing started to happen: my body loosened up, and I found myself not doing the penguin-waddle, but instead a regular light run. Muscles still sore, especially when I went down a hill. But, not bad. Then I passed one of the trail signs and I thought hmmm...why not?

And then I felt like I was running the race all over again, with fatigue and soreness, but neither impossible to bear, and in fact I felt great. Again, baby-steps, not trying for speed, but attaining a good feeling of smoothness, muscles warm, as I navigated the twists and turns. And none of those killer rocks from yesterday either!

The end of that trail, a mile maybe, comes back out on the road, where I had the option of finishing the loop on pavement, or....the Hedgerow trail which parallels it. Well, at this point, why not? Why not more trail?

And at the end of that one, I felt like I could've even gone further, if I'd really wanted to push myself even further. But, dinner called. I finished up the park loop, and headed through the parking lot. I think around two and a half miles. Maybe three.

Lesson learned? That my body can perform, can run, through soreness and tiredness. That it in fact likes running, even when sore. That I like running, even when sore.