Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recovery and Reflection

I finally ran my first run since the OT 50 today.  What was supposed to be a nice, easy, slow jog, turned out to be a bit faster than what I had planned.  I started out at a 9:40 pace, but mile 3 was 8:42.  Not really a recovery run by my standards.  Of course, if I was an elite runner who just finished running Boston in 2:08, perhaps 8:42 might seem like a sluggish walk! 

I took this past week to really recover from the race.  I probably could have run Wednesday or Thursday, but my feet were still pretty beat up and my little-heard-from-sensible-side told me to take the few extra days rest and be sure that I didn't overdue things too soon.

I will admit that I am in awe of the trail runners that I read about who run huge miles day after day after day.  They run 50 milers and 100 milers most every other weekend and some even every weekend.  I wonder if they are superhuman or rather, if I am just kind of a wuss. 

I also admit that running is a very selfish passion, and after a weekend away doing what I love to do, I find I must balance my wants with my responsibilities as a wife and mom.  This is another reason why I don't rush right back into running after a big race.  I just need time to get back into my vocation.

This race was most definitely the hardest race I've ever participated in.  The first half of the race was purely a mental exercise for me.  From wanting to quit 3 miles into the race to committing to the full 50 by running through the aid station, I had to keep my mind from the dark places that it kept wanting to descend to.  After Northshore, the race became much more about the physical.  Everything hurt.  Everything.  And yet, my mind was made up that I would finish even if I had to crawl across the finish line. 

I think I probably walked 35-40% of the race.  After the last time through Northshore, running was less frequent mostly because of the blisters on my feet.  As well, I just felt so empty.  I had almost no energy.  Even when I was in the aid stations, I didn't have the energy to make a decision about what to eat, never mind actually eat.  As I reviewed the race information from my Garmin, I realized that I expended approximately 4800 calories, yet I took in less than 800.  I think I found my reason for the lack of energy.

I would really like to move away from the Honey Stingers and Gu during runs and move to more food based nutrition.  A few nuts, an avocado, some dried fruit, etc.  The problem is how to carry this with me.  I'd like to rely on aid stations more and carry less on runs, but I also want to be able to have the freedom to rely on myself as one never knows what an aid station will or won't have.  And in the case of the race I just ran, being the last runner, or close to it, on the course, the aid stations were pretty much packed up by the time I came through the last two. 

I still have a lot to assimilate from this experience.  This is what I love about every race/run that I do.  Even the short ones can give me so much information.  I do have some decisions to make regarding the 100 miler.  I am not sure if I should have more 50 milers under my belt and try to come out of those feeling stronger and more in control of my performance than what I have with the 2 I have completed.  Thankfully, I do not need to make that decision now.  I will train as if I am running the 100 and decide closer to the date which way I will go.

For now, I will take another fairly easy week of recovery runs and then start gearing back up with the training. 

1 comment:

  1. Insightful post, Karen. All too often I lean to the other side, often over eating at the aid stations in fear of running on empty. It would seem we have similar issues and need to find medium ground.