A Case of Post Marathon Blues?

I’m totally doing some self diagnosis here. But I think I’m getting a case of post-marathon blues. I told this to my husband and he laughed, he said “it’s B.S”. (trust a guy who works with kids to use a “proper” version of a swear word). Hey I don’t think it is. Why else would there be 11400 results on google?

So yes, I’ve been feeling a little down the last few days. Not as motivated. I’m sure the lack of running is not helping. Nor is the (almost) unexplained knee pain that had me decided to take a few days off running. But I can’t blame it all on allergies or car problems now, can I?

I think that going from the rigid marathon training for four months, followed by the runner’s high, followed by well, almost nothing, is mentally hard. Where do I go from there? While I would love to sign up for another marathon, I know it’s not in the books for this year. Bad timing for us. And let’s be honest with myself. While I would love to cross another 26.2 finish line, I’m not sure I want to put myself through the rigorous training so soon. I’d like to enjoy running for running. I want to feel the joy of the trails. I want to run more often and spend time running with my husband. Running for a marathon is a big time commitment. You think, breathe, eat marathon.

I’m hoping my knee feels better by next week. I’m ready to train for a fun 15k. I’m ready to shrug off the marathon blues and just feel the joy of the run.

How do you deal with post race blues?


Post Marathon Recovery

We’re now a little over ten days after the marathon and I’m still supposed to be in recovery mode. It’s both relaxing and weird to have such  low weekly mileage. I’ve been attempting to follow the McMillan Running recovery program. And yes, attempting because I’m not always doing such a good job at it.

I remember when I first looked at it, before the marathon, I was just thinking there was no way I would only run 20 minutes right? Ha! I quickly found out that past 20 minutes of walking in the first few day, my muscle hurt. I should probably say that I was also crazy enough to go back to Mill Mountain and the true summit of Roanoke Mountain the afternoon of the race. Yes I went on a mini hike the same day I ran 26.2 miles. Did it hurt? A little. Do I regret it? Nope, it poured the next day and I would have missed it altogether.

But I did avoid to run until 3 days after. My first run was scheduled for 20 minutes and that is exactly what I did. I was completely ok with it. I wasn’t hurting per say, just sore and fine with taking it easy. The next run after that was an easy one too, on trails with my new trail shoes, perfect. Both were around a 9:30 pace. But not the third…

Nope, I made the mistake to pick a trail run which while short turned out far more technical than I expected. While on the trails I had a blast. Jumping up and down, walking where needed, speeding where I could. My average pace 10:14. Once would think that’s taking it easy, but it really doesn’t take into account the trail itself. I almost twisted my ankle a few times and my husband actual sprained his. While I felt fine at first I realized all the ankle twisting had actually pulled on the knee. It’s not a make you want to stop running feel, but I definitely did something. I’ve been stretching it and it’s getting better, but looking back I think that trail was a mistake. My muscles were better but still weakened by the marathon. I should have stuck to easy known trails.

I still probably run too fast on most of my runs, but I just can’t help myself. It’s hard not to when you feel good.

Recovery Week 1: 12.36mi

 Day  Run  Miles  Time  Pace
Untitled (Trail)

I’m slowly going to continue to increase my mileage. I miss the long runs. I miss the trails too. Plus I need to start getting my body back for the Biltmore Kiwanis 15k on May 20th.

Now I just need to resist signing up for another marathon. I’d love to run another one but with some recent car repairs it would not be a sound financial decision.

20 Going on 22

When I look at the Blue Ridge Marathon elevation course, I feel lucky I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don’t see how I would train for it if I lived in the flat lands!

I debated doing a 20 miles trail run for a while. But ultimately I realized it would end up being way harder than the marathon itself (at least the one I had in mind), and I need to keep my legs for the race. So my last really long run of the marathon training would be on road again. I decided to go up the same way I did my 20 miler but add an extra hill after it to simulate the Blue Ridge Marathon course. This is how it turned out:
The elevation gain isn’t as much, or as steep but I think it gives me a good feel on how I will feel on race day. Now I did not have 22 miles scheduled on my training plan, nor did I plan to run that long. I was thinking about running somewhere between 20 and 21 miles, especially since I had additional elevation. Well it turns out that the road mapmyrun was showing me going to Patton Mountain Rd was not one. Nope, it was a steep driveway, and it stopped. So I pretty much ran an insane uphill for nothing other than training purposes.

So I had to go around the mountain. Patton Mountain Rd played with me again. I was at a fork, to the left I could see a dirt road to the right a real road. Now mind you I was in a fancy million dollar residential area up the mountain so by logic I figured the dirt road was a driveway. Nope again. I ended up on town mountain road (not where I wanted to be) having to back track my steps and ask directions to a nice dude with a smartphone. Well that road was hard to find, but it was so worth it. It was gorgeous, lines with rhododendrons, pine trees and other trees and the dirt was a nice rest on my joints.

Because of the detour I rerouted my course and went straight to the next hill. Let me tell you. I walked! Not all of it, but I walked several sections. I’m glad for this run ultimately because it made me realize that in a marathon, there is a time for running and there is a time to walk and give a break to the legs. I plan to walk some parts of the marathon course with no shame.

Even with the detour my run turned out to be 22 miles. Am I glad I took extra water or what? I was pooped by the time I got home. As I started walking I could feel some painful cramps (or was it just the lactic acid build up) hitting my legs. I took just long enough to put some gatorade and ice cubes in a container and sipped it as I cooled off. I followed it by a cold leg bath and a recovery smoothie (banana, frozen blueberries, GU recovery powder, greek yogurt). And took the rest of the afternoon as an opportunity to sit on the deck and do absolutely nothing productive thank you very much.

Breakfast 2hours prior to running: sesame sprouted bagel, almond butter, banana, honey.

Run fueling: 1 GU Roctane, 1 handhelf waterbottle, 1 water amphipod, 1 Gu Brew amphipod

Stats: 22.05mi, 3h32’17”, 9:37 pace

Gear: Drymax trail socks, lululemon skirt, brooks shirt

20 Miles and Getting Lost Is Worth the View

When I commented for a chance to win an entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon. I though my chances were limited but I figured why not? When I received the email that I won an entry I thought “Shit! I’ve got to train!”.
I wanted to run the marathon. But I wasn’t sure I could. My longest run had been 15 miles and months ago and while I somewhat maintained half marathon level I also had to take some breaks and was actually in the middle of Christmas vacation, at home, in France, eating my weight in French food.

So I approached this a little differently than my half marathon. I didn’t tell as many people that I was training for it to start with. I also took the approach that I would train and see where it would take me. I have to say, the training has been going fairly well. Oh I’ve had unpleasant runs, don’t doubt that. But so far my body seems to handle it well.

My training called for one 20 miles run on week 4. However I spoke with a running friend who told me she followed the same plan and felt it would have been better with two 20 miles run. At that point I had limited options to add it, but it sounded sensible. So on week 5, I replaced the 13 miles run by a 20 miles run. My first ever.

I’ve also done most of my long runs on trails because it’s something I enjoy more and find more challenging. However the Blue Ridge Marathon is a road race. I knew I needed some long road runs to test my body and my gear. So I mapped a course going from West Asheville to downtown, then up the hills behind the Grove Park Inn going back by way of Montford. I packed gels, water, Gu Brew and directions and went my merry way.

It was a beautiful day and the run would have been a great run had I not gotten lost. Ok not lost lost, but unable to find the road I was supposed to take. Lesson learned: when exploring new routes, can’t hurt to drive them first! I had to call my husband for directions, like me he thought the road would be easy to find. It wasn’t. In the end he directed me a different way. While it got me back on the loop I did miss some of the elevation I was counting on. But I did have a beautiful view over downtown Asheville so I can’t regret it too much.

But overall it was a good run. So much easier than my 18 miles trail run. Less elevation changes helps! I did really wanted some cold water in the end. I almost stopped in fact, but with only 2-3 miles to go I just pushed it all the way back home. I surprised myself in finish in 3h 10mns 19s. One minute faster than I ran 18 miles.

Recovery included a smoothie with GU recovery, greek yogurt, frozen raspberries and a splash of juice. I realized it’s hard for me to eat solid food after a long run beyond 16 miles. I also plopped myself in a cold bath for lack of icy creek. Given that I still pulled an 8h shift at work after that I felt pretty happy with myself.

Tough 18

My training plan called for an 18 miler this week. Due to working 3rd shift I had to work thins around and make it happen this Wednesday. I’m working 3rd shift tonight, and the next night followed by a weird turn around. There is no way I could have run this on Saturday. I plan to sleep in and maybe to my tempo then.

I’ve been dreading this one a little bit. It sounded scary. 18 miles, really? Sure there is still 8 miles to go to get to marathon distance, but still.
I woke up at 10:30, had a bagel with almond butter and honey. Unfortunately I was out of bananas so I had a glass of chia seeds (aka frog eggs in my head) with a splash of lemon juice and agave syrup.
I started running around noon, it was already 68F outside.

Now let me say it now, I picked a tough run. I knew it, it was on purpose. After all the Blue Ridge Marathon is tough. Not only is it a marathon (duh!) but it’s hilly, as in you climb 1200 feet in the first 7 miles. Not only that but there is a 500 feet climb starting at mile 17 too. So I picked a loop called Squirrel Loop: 17 miles, 810f of elevation change (that does not show in any way how much uphill and downhill are involved) and rated 18 out of 20 on the difficulty level. Yes please, call me nuts right now. Should I also say that I’m on the first day of my cycle? (Women will understand that one).

So tough it was. The first 5 miles are a straight uphill on forest road with the 810f climb on forest road. Then it’s downhill for about 2 miles. The first 8 miles or so I had cramps/side stitches on both sides, I though it might be what I ate at first, but now I think it may have more to do with my cycle. Anyhow, either I tuned it off or it went away by Mile 8ish. I took a break, texted my husband that I was about halfway. I couldn’t bear the though to tun the first crazy uphill of Sidehill trail, so I walked it. I ran on the trail all the way to Bent Creek Rd, then back uphill on South Ridge Forest Rd. I can’t say this is my favorite. It shouldn’t be called South Ridge but the Southern Roller Coaster. Seriously that’s all it does for miles.

Past the Apex I started wanting to walk. I took a mini break at some point and could tell my legs were hurting. But I kept on going, I told myself to walk when I would reach the uphill of Hardtime connector. It took some willpower! I alternated water with GU Brew and GU Roctane throughout my run. But by the end of the run, maybe around mile 13 or 14, all I could think about was the cold Emergen-C water waiting in the car. I swear that water is the only reason I finish running!

I finally reach Hardtime FR and the blissful downhill. Of course I had to add a loop around the lake otherwise the run would have been short a mile. It was tough. I just wanted to be done. I did walk the steep uphill of Hardtime connector but then ran all the way back to the car where I texted my husband that I was done, I walked to the bathroom. I could still pee but not much, I knew I was borderline dehydrated. I grabbed my cool drink and then jogged/walked to the creek were I proceeded to cool off as much of my legs as I could without getting my clothes wet. Heaven!

Now long runs recoveries call for eating within the first 30mns. I couldn’t. Just the thought of swallowing food made me feel sick. So I drank. I seriously thought that I might feel sick from all the fluids I swallowed. It turns out that I needed that water bad enough that it caused not problem whatsoever.

Once home I had a ripe pear straight out of the fridge. It suddenly tasted like the best thing in the world: sweet,juicy and cold. I did manage to eat a mini luna bar and helped myself to an other glass of chia/lemon/agave to replenish by body and provide some proteins. My next recovery choice was to set myself up for a nap on the deck, bliss! Once I woke up I stretched with the foam roller and told my husband he was in charge of dinner.

And now I need to have dinner and work third shift. I wish I could go to bed instead!

Two Weeks Off Lowers the Miles

Fall LeavesThis last Friday, most of my restrictions were lifted. While my Doctor didn’t tell me anything about running or not, the other restrictions that were lifted made me feel like I should go by how I felt.

While I wasn’t back at 100%, last week-end I felt good enough to go run. We were visiting my husband’s best friend and his girlfriend happens to be a runner too. She took me to the park and we ran together. It was a beautiful fall day. It was cold, but the colors were amazing and the sun was slowly warming things up. We only ran 3 miles but I felt good. No pain 🙂

I ran the next day but had a harder time, although I think that could be due to the higher temperatures that day and the pancakes I had had for breakfast before I made the decision to run.

10/16: 3 miles @9:17 pace

10/17 3.1 miles @8:27 pace

I know I’m not going to be able to go on super long runs yet, I’m going to have to build things back slowly because I do feel my body limits. But it is oh so good to run again, to get a little sense of normalcy. It makes it easier to cope with everything. It makes me feel like my body is healing and I’m recovering. There are days better than others but that’s ok. My new motto is one day at a time.