There’s more? Yes, the marathon doesn’t end with crossing the finish line. There are things to remind me of this feat (besides the medal and t-shirt) still plaguing me days later. Here’s a recap of some things going on in the minutes, hours and days after the race.
I have to get my shoes off. I’ve decided they’re the reason for all of my pain. I’ve never gone through an entire training cycle and the race in the same pair of shoes. But I did this year. And I’m paying for it. So the shoes come off and I step as gently as I can around downtown Austin. I’m trying to text all the people concerned that I’m injured, stuck, dying or collapsed on the ground due to the tracking system. I have a few immediate thoughts as I’m wandering downtown trying not to stiffen up –
- Like I’ve said before – never ever ever ever again. And I tell as many people, even strangers that. Therefore, I can’t be the only one held accountable for keeping me from signing up for another one. The responsibility is on about a hundred other individuals to remind me how I feel right after a race.
- I keep my socks on, both for the safety of my skin and because I’m afraid to see the blisters underneath. Afraid too that my feet look as bruised as they feel. So the black socks stay on.
- I’m pretty chilly, and pretty sweaty. The entire downtown had a pretty sour smell going on. But people were cheerful and congratulatory. It was a beautiful day.
Later that afternoon
I mentioned earlier that Sharon and I met the marathoners for dinner and drinks at Chuy’s but first we had some wind down time at my apartment. She hopped in the shower first while I completed my Distance Challenge Circle of magnets.
6 for 6 – a 10k, a 10 miler, 2 half marathons, a 30k and a marathon.
That was a huge relief. Hell, I hobbled around for probably an extra mile before finding the tent to pick up my magnet after the race. And it was like life’s biggest accomplishment sticking that marathon magnet on with the others. Then, I sat down to ice my knees that were suffering the most of all the body parts. Socks still on.
After the icing, I finally pulled them off. The damage wasn’t as bad as I thought! No bruising but two fresh blisters under each pinky toe. And one blister over blister over blister on my left foot. It was the size of a bunion, right where a bunion would be too. But I have all my toenails still, and no broken bones!
Sharon sits on the couch and I decide to roll out the legs. (You can read her reaction to that here). It hurt so good. I can stand it about 30 seconds on each side of the leg before I give up. Finally I hop in the shower. I feel like my muscles are warm enough to try to stretch out and manage to touch my knees. I hop out, dry off and head to my very favorite place to be after a long run. Bed. Sharon naps on the couch and I drift off for post-marathon slumber.
Later that afternoon
Getting dressed to hit the town takes about 32x as long as it usually does. And there’s a lot of groaning, moaning, ouching and sharp inhales as we both hobble around the apartment. The worst thing for me right now is my knees. They’re stiff. They’re sore and they hurt like hell to extend through. But we both know there’s still fun to be had in Austin, and it’s best to keep moving anyway.
I adapt by going down stairs backwards, and up in sort of a sideways fashion. There’s a lot of arm assistance that’s usually not there for standing up and sitting down. But we make it. And I’m sure we’re a hilarious duo.
Easing the pain just a bit
Sharon and I head to Jo’s for a little bit before dinner and enjoy sitting at their outdoor bar, talking about men, watching the dogs go by and reflecting on parts of the race. One of the other perks of running 26.2 miles is that ordering a mocha doesn’t seem like such a big deal 😉
Yummy yummy mocha
I like to wear my medal around after the race – not to show off that I’ve done it but because a lot of others do too. I try to say congratulations to my fellow runners if I see them, and sometimes we get into conversations about the race. It’s a fun community to be part of, and no two people have the exact same race experience.
We turn in for bed pretty early and I’m wiped out. Sleeping is hard because of the pain in my knees, and now my hips but I make it through the night. The toughest day is still ahead.
Day 1 Post Race
“I don’t want to stand up!” I say to Sharon as she makes our tea. Today is a day of trying to limit the sit downs and stand ups. Walking is a little painful in the muscles and a lot painful in the legs. I try to roll but my biggest muscles – quads, glutes and hammies – are sensitive to touch so I don’t torture them for too long. Erin said she felt like she dropped more things and had to pee more times than usual, and I guess that’s how it always is. Or maybe we just don’t notice how much up/down we do in a day!
I break down and buy some advil. Normally I don’t like to take it but I’m pretty miserable so I get two bottles. I read the directions carefully to make sure I won’t OD, and then take the maximum amount possible. Relief comes for my knees! But there’s not a lot it can do for the tender muscles.
Our muscle professor is kind enough to tell the three of us that usually days 2-5 are the worst for downhill soreness – great, the worst is still ahead of us.
Day 2 Post Race
Luckily his prediction didn’t come true! I’m still tight and sore to touch in my muscles, and it’s spreading to my abs and my shoulders but mostly pain free in my joints. Day 2 is much better. And it’s a beautiful day. I even have the thought as I step off the bus to school with not too much pain – maybe I could run today. No way. Fleeting thought but it won’t be long.
I talk to a friend and supporter on the phone and mention that we’re all sort of talking about the chances of us doing another one. And just as I had hoped when I told everyone I ran into on Sunday that I would never ever do that again, he reminded me of that. But already the pain is forgotten!
Worse today than the physical pain is the emotional let down, and the delayed drowsiness. I’m in a fog from the residual exhaustion and mental draining. It took all of my efforts – physically, mentally and emotionally to get from my neighborhood to campus in the race on Sunday, the last 4ish miles. And I feel the effects of pushing it to the limit emotionally today. Accomplishing a big goal is an emotional peak. Looking forward to an event for four months, having all of your world revolve around getting ready for it and then it comes and is gone is a hard adjustment to make. Don’t get me wrong I am so glad it’s over. Accomplished. Finished. But, I’m sad and even a little cranky. The worst part is, the activity I would normally help myself feel better with, is unavailable to me.
So instead to help that along (and this started a little bit on Monday with Sharon’s company) there’s a lot of celebrating the accomplishment. We go out to eat, we get coffee, we go shopping (just browsing, no buying). We do all the things that training left no time for. We eat ice cream – hell I had it almost three meals in a row, including breakfast!
Yes, my face really is that red – sunburned from the run!
I usually like to give myself a few days to enjoy whatever foods I missed the most during training. This year it appears to be ice cream. We had Amy’s on Monday night and after Sharon left, I got some Ben and Jerry’s when I went to the store. But I am also aware that continuing to eat like this will not solve my crankiness, so it stops after today (and trust me, I crammed in as much “bad for me food” as possible!)
Day 3 Post Race
That’s today. Im still in bed writing this so I’ve no idea what my muscles will feel like with weight on them. I’ve got a raging sugar headache but that’s my own damn fault. But I get to look forward to exercise again! This afternoon I’ll go to a spin class and get some blood flowing to the muscles. My fridge is stocked with healthy food to help me to continue to recover over the next few days.
In all my spare time I plan to study a little harder, watch the Grizzlies (big game tonight against Toronto – hope we can beat Rudy and Co.) and play around Austin before the summer heat sets in. I guess it’s time to start looking for another race…..maybe a 5k this time ;)/
Part 4 – the final installment, comes tomorrow! Happy Wednesday!