Recovery seems a blur now. I couldn’t sleep much at all the first night after the SJT “50K.” Every inch of my body ached. My arms especially ached, so too did my calves. A simple touch hurt. I walked down stair steps sideways to avoid aches.
I slept better the next day. Monday after dropping the boys off at school, I slept until 1PM. Every chance I got, I slept. Every time I laid my head down my mind went through the race. I found that pleasurable. And then when I slept I dreamt strange or disturbing dreams, dreams of my life passing before my eyes, dreams of family members who have died, or dreams of running, running, never-ending-running.
I didn’t even think of actually running those first two days after the race. Though I did some upper body weights, some hip and glute strengthening, a little foam rolling, even a bit of ab work. I kept wondering why my elbow hurt, then I’d remember the fall on that boulder.
Tuesday, was EMO day – emotional wreck day. My hubby said, “Recovery!” Perhaps. I went to work Tuesday so emotionally wrought it took great strength to put on “the act.” I managed. Then I got the call to sub a night class. I took on that job with my eyes aching from sobbing. Still, I was able to put on “the act.” And glasses, they do wonders for sobbing eyes. When I finally arrived home that night I went straight to bed. (Does anyone else go through this emotional day after a huge race?)
Today, Wednesday, was the day. After dropping our boys off at school, I had the morning all to myself. I set off for “sixish” “easyish” trail miles at about 10AM wearing my latest race t-shirt. On my drive there, a bird (yes a bird!) flew into my windshield. And the creature kind of flopped through the air toward the ground. I thought I had probably killed it – I was travelling about 40 mph and add that to the bird’s momentum – I don’t know how it could survive. I felt terrible.
I continued on driving, determined to get in a trail run. I wasn’t going to let a poor dead bird deter me. And I don’t believe in omens. I felt that if I didn’t get a run in today, I just may slide into a slump.
This is how it went: The weather was warm, almost hot as I ran down into Wood Canyon. My shoes felt too tight. I stopped twice to loosen the laces, questioning why my shoes would feel so odd. I also felt sluggish, as if my legs weighed 50 pounds a piece. I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing? Maybe I don’t want to be an endurance / trail runner anymore!” (Sound familiar? Does to me. I go through this after almost every tough race.)
Then I hit the trails to the loud sound of a rattlesnake’s rattler. I only caught a glimpse of its tail end. I stood there on the trail with a male and female mountain biker, all of us trying to get a better glimpse, the guy attempting to get it to do some more rattling by beating the brush. Then we started exchanging rattlesnake stories, and afterward, I set off, my legs still heavy, but my heart lightened by the trail.
I headed up Cholla Trail sweating profusely, not only because of the heat, but because of my recovery. I always sweat much more than usual on my recovery runs. I ran to the top of Cholla not thinking, but more feeling that I did want to be a trail runner after all.
I made the trip up only slightly slower than usual. I also spotted another snake in the distance crossing the trail. Picking up my pace so that I could get a closer look, it slithered into the brush. I got a close enough look at its tail end to know that it was not a rattlesnake. Stopping for a minute, I searched the brush so that I could i.d. the critter. It was a lovely, nice size garter snake. I’d say at least 4 feet long.
I took the side trails for additional elevation. Why? Because I’m crazy. Also, so that I could see the Pacific Ocean sooner than later. But I couldn’t see the ocean at all. Instead, I saw this – a lovely, “pillowy” soft-looking layer of clouds covering all that water:
I ran back at a faster pace. And I didn’t think about anything. Nothing. Nada. I did hear the sound of shuffling feet behind me and I picked up my speed some on the uphills so that I could leave that runner behind me. I wasn’t in the mood to let a runner pass me. Usually I don’t have a choice. But today, I could tell from the sound of his feet that the runner was tired, so I kicked it in (I know he was a “he,” because I peeked a glimpse behind me when I turned to run down Cholla).
I didn’t get much mileage in today. I didn’t get much training in today. But I got some trails in today. And that was lovely.
I don’t even know how to do a recovery run. How long do you wait before running? How many miles do you run? Ahh. Who cares. I got out today, finally, and ran trails again. That’s really all that matters for this recovery run..