On the Road Again

RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME POST-MARATHON this afternoon. This was by design – Coach Marie had labeled my training calendar Monday through Friday with identical instructions: “No Running!”

Hey, Coach's orders!

Even had I tried to run, I wouldn’t have gotten very far. I had no lingering pain and was walking normally by Tuesday, but there was no spring whatever in my legs and knees. I also reluctantly skipped Aikido; I would have focused overmuch on not getting hurt, which meant I would likely have gotten hurt. Besides, it wouldn’t have helped. All the sites that cover marathon recovery stress that muscles need time to repair themselves, and restarting training too early will only lengthen that process. Rest is best.

But today I was cleared to begin running again. My calendar read 3-4 miles easy, if I felt up to it. I did, and naturally felt I could do a bit more, so I set up a two-mile loop followed by a three-mile loop, for five in all. If something didn’t feel right, I could cut it short after two. I wore my regular running shoes instead of the minimalist Kinvaras, as I thought the extra padding would provide a bit more foot support. It was a reasonably warm day but blustery, with strong wind gusts, and running mile 4 uphill into that wind was challenging; I figured I was breathing harder than I had at any time during the marathon. But all went well, and the final mile downhill with the wind was worth the push the mile before.

So all is set to begin getting back into a regular schedule. Next race is the Holiday Hustle 5K on December 3 (my birthday), with a goal of a new PR (personal record), and if possible, finish in under 20 minutes. As that requires an average pace of 6:26 per mile or better, and I’ve only run one mile at that speed so far, I have some work to do. But we’ll see how much all that summer marathon training has helped toward this goal.

P.S. I haven’t had time to set up a marathon gallery yet, so here are a few more photos from last Sunday. (Click on the images to see enlarged versions.)

Funny shirts appeal to me, so I took a number of these photos. I was really surprised by how many runners ‘make a statement’ with their shirts. See below for another example.

All unclaimed or discarded clothes are collected by race volunteers and donated to charity.

One popular way to handle cold race mornings is to bring an extra shirt you don’t care about, then pitch it after you warm up. At the Martian Invasion of Races in March, where I ran the half marathon, I saw castoff hats, shirts, and gloves in the road the whole way. I found out later what happens to them (see caption).

A lot of runners were running for a charity or some other cause. The race packets even had a special sign you could pin on that said, “I’m Running For…” with a space to fill in whoever you wanted to honor.

Any suffering we may be subjecting ourselves to during a marathon is temporary, and we have the freedom to stop running if we want to. May I never take that for granted.

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