Marathon recovery: Did I race again too soon?

Marathon experts and running gurus trumpet the value of post-race resting. Lots of them urge runners to take time off, perhaps calling for one day of rest for every mile (or five miles) they ran in the big race. Some advocate reverse tapering, with athletes gradually increasing their distances (and speeding up their paces again). Others simply suggest easing up a bit for a while and listening to one’s own body.

Toss MS into the mix, and well ... I probably should heed that advice better.  But sometimes it's worth the risk.


I kind of got off-track recently, while recovering from the Chicago Marathon, which took place nearly three weeks ago.

My intentions were good. I skipped my morning-after weight training class. I eased up on my training mileage for the following week or two.

Then I headed to Washington, DC, with friends.

I’d signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K, rather than the full 26.2, acknowledging that my body still needed some recovery time from the Chicago race. 

But things didn’t exactly go that way. And I’m honestly glad they didn’t.

Marine Corps race day arrived, along with crazy-heavy rains and strong winds that overflowed puddles and the Potomac River.  Runners slogged through ankle-deep (and higher) waters to follow the race course. It was a mess. Then the sun came out, bringing system-shocking humidity.

Runners were dropping like flies. Skilled, well-trained, fit runners climbed (or were loaded) into rescue vehicles.

Two friends and I completed the 10K and then checked in electronically on two others, who were slugging their way through their first-ever full marathon. One was tired and hurting around the midway point. She’d come back from major surgery (with complications), but she wouldn’t let any of that stop her from doing the marathon.

We 10Kers jogged to the nearest subway stop and made our way to that friend’s next mile marker on the marathon course. Once we spotted her, we tucked our 10K finishers’ medals into our shirts (to keep them from beating our chests) and fell into step with her to offer some encouragement for a mile or two.

The other back-of-packers at that point didn’t seem to mind our company, either.

We shared our goos and pickle juice and other snacks (along with shoulder taps and words of encouragement) with total strangers, as we all trudged along together. I handed one lady a tiny snack bag, with just 4-5 pretzels left in it, and she actually hugged me.

We made it to the final bridge, a dreaded gauntlet, not long before many later runners were swept off the course into buses. We outran the final pickup bus and passed the final turn-off, sharing a cheering roar with fatigued runners all around us.

But we didn’t stop there.

We actually ran almost a half marathon, accompanying our intrepid friend all the way to the start of the marathon finish line chute, before veering off to let her conquer the final battle alone and receive her well-earned finisher’s medal.

Our two marathon-entry friends completed their first 26.2 races. The other three of us totaled about 19 miles, between the two races, although only 6.2 officially counted.

All in all, the day was worthy of true celebration.

Today I’m a little tired. That was more than I ought to have done, so soon after my own full marathon in Chicago. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The glow on our friend’s face, as she beat the marathon dragon at his own game, was well worth it.

My next race is just under two weeks out. It’s a 10K. And I promise I will leave it at that.

Public domain image.

Feel free to follow on Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well. And I am happy to share my RUNDERDOG ambassador code for 10% off on Bondi Band Athletic Headbands, Accessories, and Fashions. (Simply enter the code at online checkout.).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...