It's been two weeks since my first marathon. I've been doing a lot of thinking about running, but I haven't been doing much running. On my second run after the marathon, I had an angry IT band and foot pain after about 2 miles, so I decided to take a whole week off and cross train.
Yesterday I finally saw a PT and a new chiropractor who does ART. The PT confirmed what I've long suspected, I have a crazy right leg. The knee points in, the foot points out, the whole leg is bowed. She also found that my legs are slightly different lengths and my right leg is significantly weaker than my left. She sent me home with a bunch of the dreaded exercises, which I am to perform on one side only, in order to get my right leg as strong as my left. Clams with a resistance band, one-legged calf raises and mini squats and deadlifts, hip flexor stretches, etc.
I dislike PT exercises immensely, but I dislike not running more.
Then I saw Dr. V, the highly recommended chiropractor who specializes in ART and treating runners. She took x-rays, she hurt me, she was funny and she was great. I'm going back twice next week. Despite her offhand comments about my right leg, ("Whoa, that is weird!") I'm much more hopeful about getting back to running. She said my longest run in the next couple of weeks won't exceed 4 miles, and that's fine with me. She even said I could run this weekend as long as I kept it under 2.5 miles. Yes!
I'm so happy to be on the road to recovery. Soon I'll be back on the road. Wow, I'm all about these silly platitudes today.
So what has life been like after my first marathon? It's been good. Mostly I've enjoyed the rest and the school's-out vibe of not being "in training" anymore. The first week after the marathon, I didn't run or exercise at all for three days, as Hal suggests. On Thursday I did two easy miles and barely felt my IT band towards the end. I cross trained on Friday (bike) and tried running 4 easy miles on Sunday. That run did not go well at all, which is when I decided to take a week off.
This past week, I cross trained. I did interval training on the bike, I did the elliptical while watching Unbreakable (the most inspiring running movie ever), which kind of felt like running with all the runner POV shots. I kept up with my 100 Pushups workout, although it's getting really tough (and I'm only in week 2).
Okay I was supposed to talk about "life" and I just talked about running. Interesting. Let's try again.
Because I knew I was injured before I even ran the marathon, I wasn't too depressed about having to cut back. I know I'm losing some fitness, and I don't like that at all, but it's worth it to get back to running pain-free.
Recently, I thought back to running cross country in college. I walked on the team in my final year of eligibility, and I was the slowest girl on the "A" team, which meant running doubles. I'm not sure whether I wasn't fueling properly or whether doubles were just too much for me, but I got more and more tired as the season wore on. I got slower. And it reminds me of training for the marathon. For the first half of training, I was getting faster and I had tons of energy. And in the second half, I got tired (and sick) and injured. Did I do too much? Should I have taken more rest days? Should I not have upped my mileage at all in the first half of the training? Probably.
So will there be another marathon? I sure hope so. I definitely want to. I have to get my leg and foot healed, and I want to focus on some shorter races for a while to have some variety (and not burn out). But I absolutely want to run another marathon. For my first marathon, I just wanted to cross the finish line. Next time, I can't wait to cross the finish line in a time that I feel great about.
The marathon has changed me. I feel more confident and satisfied with myself. I am so proud. I learned so much about myself, both mentally and physically. And that, my friends, is worth everything.
Okay that's some life shit right there.
Here's what I have to say to myself before the Next Big Thing:
When you're training for a marathon, it's a long haul, and if you feel great at the beginning of the training cycle, that's great! Don't push it and try to do more because you feel great. You have a tendency to become "overtrained" without the normal symptoms of overtrainedness. You get tired and maybe, with or without MS, you have to work up to things a little more slowly than other people. So what? That's who you are. Know yourself. Be proud. Work with it. Go out and do something else reckless and hard and amazing.