Sunrise on the Mt. Whitney Trail: Photo by Amy Wind
Running: 7.02 Miles, 1:07:31, 9:37 Pace
Other Non-Running: 4:45:00
Arkansas Traveller Recovery
A lot of you have been asking about my recovery; how are you feeling, what do you do after a 100 miler and when are you going to start running again? Here's what I did, what I SHOULD HAVE done and how I'm feeling:
Sunday and Monday: Immediately after the race (15 minutes) I jumped right in the car as I'd been dreaming about a shower for about 15 HOURS. I kept nodding off during the 40 minute drive but didn't feel too bad, that is until I tried to get out of the car. I could barely lift my legs as my hip flexors were trashed! It took me a while but I made it to my room on the 2nd floor (always request a ground floor room) and straight into a warm shower to clean up before lying down; I didn't eat or drink anything. I knew better and did a lot of things wrong here but didn't really care; I wanted a shower and rest so I skipped some important steps. I should have walked around a bit after the race, LIGHTLY stretched, and then after about an hour jumped in the car. Once at the hotel I should have taken an ice bath before my shower to reduce the inflammation and then a lukewarm shower to clean up followed by consuming some complex carbs, protein and drinking water to start replenishing my body and flushing my system out. Typically after a long run I'll drink Endurox along with eating a Clif or Odwalla Bar. We drove back to STL that night and only stopped twice along the way to get out and stretch; once again I knew better but we all just wanted to get home. Once home around 9:00 pm I ate a chicken breast, brown rice, ice cream, took some vitamins and 4 ibuprofen's and went straight to bed and slept until 10:30 am Monday. I slept like a rock and was VERY SORE when I first got up; I could barely walk but forced myself to get out of bed and within about an hour everything was working again. By mid-afternoon I was moving around pretty well.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Went for a 30 minute walk Tuesday evening, rode the stationary bike 30 minutes Wednesday evening, 1 hour of Yoga Thursday and a 40 minute walk on Friday evening. During the week I increased my protein intake by eating 2 chicken breasts instead of one, having a protein shake every morning and eating something every 2-3 hours with a good mix of protein, carbs and healthy fats. I continued to take 8 ibuprofen a day (4 in the morning and 4 at night) to combat the inflammation along with vitamins and Joint Command to encourage joint recovery. Monday was my only sore day and by Wednesday I felt like I could head out and run a marathon; of course just because I felt good doesn't mean there wasn't a tremendous amount of damage that still needed to be repaired. No matter how good you feel you MUST give yourself ample time to heal after an event such as this.
Saturday and Today: Yesterday morning was my first run since the race and I headed out to Chubb Trail for a 7 mile run with Andrew; guess we didn't get enough of each other last weekend! I was fine through the first 3.5 miles but then my left calf started cramping up and I developed hip bursitis on my right side. I was running too fast and too far because I felt good going into the run; I should have listened to my body and slowed down when things started hurting. After the run I showered and went home to take 4 ibuprofen and go to an hour long yoga class. Today I didn't run at all and did an hour on the elliptical at the gym; this actually reduced the inflammation in my hip relieving the bursitis. My plan is to run 4 miles tomorrow at Queeny Park and see how I feel.
Regarding ibuprofen there are numerous studies that suggest that it is very hard on your kidneys and could cause permanent damage. Each of you must weigh the risks and benefits of using ibuprofen to determine for yourself if it is right for you. One of my good friends suggests using Bromelain, an all natural anti-inflammatory supplement, as an alternative.
Hope that answered the questions you had and then some. Please leave a comment or email me if you have any other ones that pop up.
Science behind my "2nd Wind"
I just finished reading the book Surviving the Extremes by Dr. Kenneth Kamler and stumbled across something very interesting and powerful especially in light of my race turnaround last weekend. In talking with other ultrarunners who have been at this a while the 100 mile distance (and beyond) seems to get easier with experience. Of course this is because they have physically trained themselves by putting in years and even decades of miles and also mentally they are prepared by knowing what to expect and how to handle the ups and downs. Dr. Kamler provides a great scientific explanation for this in his book of how we mentally strengthen ourselves.
"Testing the capacity for survival doesn't necessarily require being placed in harsh surroundings. All of us, whether living at an extreme or protected by an advanced society, are surrounded by emotional and mental, if not physical, obstacles. We spend most of our lives on the near side of those barriers, even as we long to surmount them. We take the easy way out, arguing, often with much validity, that to do so is safer or more practicial. If, however, we gather the will to cross over the obstacle, to confront the emotion or solve the problem, we gain strength from it. Telling the truth, making the sacrifice, doing the job though there won't be any recognition for it-these are mental exercises that strengthen will as much as physical exercise strengthens muscle. Such efforts actually form nerve connections in the brain that make it easier to overcome an obstacle the next time. Moreover, if we persist in the face of adversity, we often get a "second wind," much as an endurance runner does when he refuses to quit. The unexpected energy can carry us much farther than we ever thought possible and allow us to triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds."
Now, please go back and READ THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH AGAIN and start applying this immediately in your every day lives. By doing so you will train yourself to be able to overcome any obstacle that comes your way!
Rick Mayo's Race Report
Last night I was talking with a good friend on the phone and she asked "What did you do for 24 hours, listen to music?" Great question! Actually I only listened to my Ipod for about 1 1/2 hours so I had to think back to what was going through my head for the other 23 hours. When running a race of this distance you focus on how you're feeling (body scan from head to toe and internally), keeping your hydration/electrolytes in balance, following your fueling strategy and what you're going to need at upcoming aid stations. When you scan and something isn't right you then move into a solution oriented mode to figure out what you need to do to fix the problem before it gets any worse. If you are at a REALLY LOW POINT, like I was from mile 32 to mile 45, you start thinking about why you're doing this as you search for meaning and inspiration to push on. My friend, Rick Mayo (pictured above, finished AT in 23:33:22), wrote a great entry in his blog about the dialogue going on in his head. This captures what we're thinking and feeling better than anything I've ever read; nice job Rick on the race and the blog entry! This is a must read so click HERE.
The Trails and Tribulations Show
Ultrarunners Andrew Edwards and Kim Love-Ottobre have a new podcast called The Trails and Tribulations Show. The podcast features discussion on races, ultra race reports, interviews with ultra runners and people in the running industry, gear reviews, and all things connected with the ultra community. After reading my AT 100 race report, Kim emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in doing a phone interview with them regarding my recent finish at Arkansas Traveller and I said sure. I was quite honored that someone would approach me to do something like that and was very excited about getting to talk about the race. I also figured it would add another dimension to the blog and make the story come alive even more. So last Wednesday night Kim, Andrew and I chatted for about an hour about the race, how I got into ultrarunning, the Running4Recovery program and how running has changed my life. The interview will be up this coming weekend so please check the Trails and Tribulations website so you can download and listen to the interview. I would also highly recommend downloading the other podcasts available from the show as they are very interesting and entertaining. Thanks again Kim and Andrew for providing this great service to the ultrarunning community!
I have a lot of events and trips coming up in the near future and will fill you in on them next week. Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying this cool Fall weather!