lessons learned

lesson number one: I’m officially calling off my 100M attempt in November. just not enough time at all to properly recover (more on that in a moment), train, and taper. I’m going to email and ask/beg for a deferral for next year, although I’m expecting a big fat No, You Dummy. Oh well. That lesson has certainly been learned. Don’t sign up for big races too far in advance.

lesson number two: my recovery – or lack thereof – from the 50 miler. Well.
I took two days off, I think, then started back into just really short distances – nothing more than 6.5, though they were all pretty much tempo/quick runs. Then on Friday, I made the genius decision to run the 20 miles back to my high school to talk to the cross country team. I should have known better. I really should have. But… hey, my calves were feeling mostly not too tight, my feet weren’t too sore anymore, and my Achilles was only a little painful and stiff in the morning and only made me limp a little. And so what if it was all pavement? I had my PureFlows. Those have cushion, after all…
Well. I’m sure you can all see where this is going. Six miles in, I was questioning my decision just a little. Twelve miles in, I realized it had been a stupid idea. Eighteen miles in, I was cursing myself for being such a massive idiot, that it has been an absolutely TERRIBLE idea, and WHY HADN’T I LISTENED TO MY BODY?!?
You see, ever since the race, my motivation hasn’t quite been what it should be. Plus I still had lots of minor (sometimes not so minor) aches and pains and various stiff things going on, but my thought process was something along the lines of: “Yeah, it was 50 miles, but… it was just 50, it’s not like I did 100, and hey, I’m young and healthy! I’ll spring right back! And besides, I just love running SO MUCH I couldn’t possibly take a week off, let alone two! I feel GREAT!” So I ran. I did listen, once, when I went out for an evening run and was forced back by a rather stabbing pain in one of my heels after just four minutes. But other than that, I pretty much figured I’d just run through the pain and everything would work itself out.
And that did work, partially – the pain/stiffness in the back of my heel and lower Achilles does seem to ease itself out as my muscles get more warmed up and stretched out. But the problem is my joints, particularly my ankles (which is what was bothering me/my downfall in the 50M). When I ran back home yesterday, on all that pavement (flat, hard, unchanging surface = opposite of trails), on sore, damaged legs and feet, and on pretty worn out shoes, the result was a lot of pain. Not quite as much as during the race, but enough that I found myself making mooselike grunting noises in an attempt to distract myself from it. (Didn’t help.) The last two or three miles were slow, sore, gingerly shuffled miles, and I knew that…

1. …the 100-miler was most certainly not happening.
2. …I should definitely not have run 20 miles that day, that I was absolutely not recovered.
3. …you need to take enough time off after races, or whenever you need it, despite whatever I’m Awesome mindset you may be in at the time. Not taking time off doesn’t do any good, and will probably do harm.

So yes. The results of all this are that I’m forcing myself to take at least one week off, maybe two. It all depends on how I’m feeling, both mentally and physically. Running should be fun, and for the past week, it’s been an internal struggle just to get out the door to run an easy five or something. That alone should have been a strong hint that something wasn’t quite right with my running and me. I’m hoping that after my break, I’ll be re-energized  remotivated, and ready to run once again.

peace love and running after an acceptable break!

PS. A note on talking to my old team. Although I only recognized a few of the faces there, since many of my younger friends have graduated, it was really nice and actually fun getting to talk to the kids about my adventures in running and how I got to where I was. A couple of them told me that they thought what I did was just so cool and inspiring, and a couple more said they wanted to do a marathon someday. One brave young soul even said he might do an ultra. (He has no idea what he’s signed himself up for.  :P) So that was pretty cool and rewarding; I love it when I think I’ve made an impact on someone for the better.


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