Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rest, Recovery, and Reflections aplenty


Rest. Recovery. Reflection. It's part of the process.

So this weekly wrap will be a bit on the boring side...because I have not been doing much other than recovering from last weekend's ultra. (by the way....in case you have been under a rock in recent weeks, I did a 12-hour ultra a week ago ...recap HERE )

As is my typical Monday, I did sneak in a (not-so-quick) #nevermissaMonday run. It actually felt pretty good to be back in my running shoes, albeit for only 10-ish minutes. This recovery is not my first rodeo, and I know I'm not as recovered as I'm feeling (thank you, Beautiful Endorphins!).

A short #nevermissaMonday run in some of the Ultra swag 
I promised myself I'd take some time off and be a good girl. Granted, I'm still doing my July Daily Challenge stuff (most days), but I've stayed out of my running shoes. After all, I have the Route 66 Marathon happening in November...which means training will officially start soon. It's best I start the training cycle fully recovered, right?

Like most big races, this ultra left me in a thick cloud of endorphins (seriously, even after an entire week, I don't feel like I've landed back on Earth yet). I had some stiffness in my hip flexors Sunday morning (the day after), but Monday was low-key. I didn't really notice much for DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) until Tuesday morning....but the aches and pains were at the absolute minimum.

Keeping the DOMS at bay...foam rolling and compression!
Usually when I do an especially long run (or race), I don't notice any any after-effects until a few days later (you know, about the time I start thinking I've escaped any after-effects). My biggest post-long-run annoyance is water retention, which is (ironically) usually a sign of dehydration. I have skinny, bony ankles...so if there's any swelling, that's the first place I notice it. I did notice some slight signs of "cankles" on Tuesday and Wednesday, but nothing like I usually experience.

I really got lucky with the timing of my recovery because the weather this past week was very hot and humid....I didn't have much guilt or remorse staying inside. I met up with a friend on Wednesday evening, and we went for an hour-long walk. You know it's hot when you return home from "just" a walk and look and feel like you just ran a marathon (can you say, "sweat equity?").

a few stretches before my hour-long walking sweat fest
The endorphins certainly had me in a state of awake & alertness (and some blissful giddiness as a bonus). As noted, my ultra began at 11:00PM on Friday evening, and concluded at 11:00AM Saturday. There was a campsite to dismantle, congratulatory high-5's to share, good-bye hugs and a quick shower before I met up with my sister for the journey back to Iowa. I dozed off for a couple of 10-15 minute snoozes, but that was it. Upon returning home, I did a quick unpack/repack and got into the husband's car for another long drive to his hometown (family reunion).  I didn't even sleep much in the car, Sunday afternoon, on the way back home. Throughout the week, I slept very soundly every night, but still awoke at my usual time (5:15-ish). I was pleasantly surprised how life resumed without any glitches following the 12 hours of my ultra. I kept waiting for the "crash" (and state of zombie-like existence), but it never came.

Anything (recovery-wise) I did differently? I'd say the only thing I did (somewhat) differently is the use of compression socks instead of my usual compression sleeves. I did wear compression sleeves after I finished my race....Saturday afternoon, evening, and most of Sunday as we traveled home. Sunday evening, though, I switched to full compression socks. As mentioned, I anticipated Monday and/or Tuesday would be the expected arrival of the DOMS and subsequent swelling....so I opted to go with full socks to keep my ankles fully supported. I didn't wear the socks during the day(s), but did wear them to bed every night for most of the week. It may be a coincidence, but given the extreme humidity and adverse conditions (with the weather) and LACK of post-race swelling, I think the compression socks helped substantially.

I finally ventured out Saturday morning for a 5-miler. It was horribly hot and humid already at 6:45AM. The angry hammy was still a bit grumpy, but for the most part it cooperated. I never know if it's just an injury/issue I will always have or if the humid weather brings out the worst of it. None-the-less, I returned home looking (and feeling) like I'd just been submerged in a nasty pond.

Post-5-miler....glowing and glistening all over the place
A friend also talked me into (without much coercion) meeting up a bit later for an hour of water walking at the pool. I had never "water walked" and was amazed at how hard it was (I hope I didn't look as awkward as I felt!). I could actually feel sweat running down my back while IN the water.

So, the Ultra feel-good mojo is still in my system. It truly was a great experience, and I'm thankful how it all played out...at the event itself and with the recovery. And, I'm already thinking ahead to 2017 and returning to do the 12-hour event again (#truth).

In other news:

I have been overwhelmed with well wishes from so many peeps! Thank you, to all of you, for all of your support and encouragement through this amazing endeavor. For example:

**One of the gals on our team sent me this tag to commemorate the event

It says, "Xmas in July 2016" (Thanks, Jamie!!)
**Another teammate gave all of us ULTRA RUNNER car magnets

It's official!! (Thank you, Maggie)
 ** We also received "recovery kits" (from one of our gals from last year)
Everything we needed for the ride home.... (thanks, Teri!)
**And we all know I have an affection for dragonflies...

Inside the card it says, "You did it!" and it came with the adorable dragonfly clip (Thanks, Barb!!)
The flowers in my yard have been loving all the hot and humid weather...I especially love all of my lilies!

Aren't they beautiful???
Yes, I wear athletic tape to keep my arches feeling good (and my heels happy). Sometimes the tape matches my outfit.

Fashion before function....but not necessarily in that order

I can always count on Max to keep me company when I'm lounging on the couch

Isn't he cute, perching atop the couch like a cat?
And, lastly, check out the size of this cucumber from my garden! Yowza!

Something tells me I may have waited too long to harvest this monster...

So, that's a wrap. Have you ever had a surprisingly easy recovery from a challenging race or training run? How many days off from running do you give yourself for recovery? Do you ever have issues with swelling/water retention after a race or long run? Have you ever had a garden?

I'm linking up with the lovely ladies Holly (from HoHo Runs) and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin ) for the Weekly Wrap. This "little link-up" has become a major weekly event that I look forward to each weekend. There's all kinds of great reading from LOTS of bloggers. Do head over and check it out!!





47 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a huge cucumber! I'm glad you are still on a running high from your ultra! I felt like that after my marathon. I've had a few races where I thought the physical recovery would take longer but surprisingly I wasn't sore. I think the mental recovery from me always takes longer!

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    1. I hadn't checked on any of the veggies in the garden in awhile...and the husband and I did a weed-a-thon...and couldn't believe what we found. Apparently, the hot & humid temps last week was just what the cukes needed

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  2. Gah. You are making me want to run Route 66! It's a favorite. I'm so glad you didn't have a major crash or case of DOMS. I can attest that water walking is tough -- if it's anything like pool running. Look at the sweet things you received from your friends! That's awesome. Each time I've worn my SLS3 socks to bed, I've had to take them off halfway through the night. I think it has to do with the neuroma in my foot because I've always worn sleeves without problems. Thanks for linking, Kim.

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  3. Rest and recovery are so important! I'm a big believer in compression socks too! I haven't been wearing them in this summer heat, but I probably should.

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    1. I wear the compression sleeves year-round, and the socks are kind of hit or miss. I think they have a "cooling" effect, so I don't mind wearing them to bed or for races in warm weather.

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  4. I like compression sleeves for running (but not in this heat) and socks for recovery. In fact, my ankle was aching a bit Saturday. I gave it some heat, wore my compression socks, and it was fine the next day. But that was just 7 miles, of course!

    I take my recovery seriously, though. I take a week off after every half -- even if I have another one coming up soon.

    And yes, I have had bloating sometimes. Either I haven't hydrated well enough, or I've eaten TOO many carbs beforehand. Such a delicate balance . . .

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    1. The carb/hydration balance is tricky...and I still struggle with "getting it." I think I was well-hydrated for my ultra; the fact that my post-run swelling was minimal certainly made me feel like I mastered the "balance" for that event

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  5. Ooooh I was this close to signing up for Rt 66 last year. Then I sort of forgot about it. Too bad I've already got a November marathon that needs attention. Sounds like recovery is going great! Perfect timing to rest up (and walk!) in all this heat.

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    1. bummer....it would have been fun to have another gal pal in Tulsa with me ;-(

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  6. My recovery post Big Sur was a breeze--probably because my training wasn't very hard! Glad you are feeling so well.

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    1. knock on wood, it's been going well. My hammy "region" is still a bit suspicious, but that's what I've known (and lived) for the past few years. Onward!

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  7. You are a superwoman - congrats on your Ultra!!! You definitely deserve the time to rest and recharge. It is funny how dehydration leads to swelling - it's one of the mysteries of the human body I'll never understand. I haven't been wearing my compression socks much since the weather has been so hot and humid, but they are super helpful. Yay for Rt 66 - I've heard rave reviews!!!

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    1. Dehydration certainly is its own animal LOL It keeps us humble!

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  8. Big believer in rest and recovery so yay for you! Your dog is adorable.

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    1. Yes, rest and recovery is big. I don't take it lightly ;-)

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  9. After all the work you've been putting in recovery is A MUST. Great job on you accomplishments. So great!

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    1. thanks!! I have a tiny bit of guilt not running much at the moment, but I respect that rest/recovery is a key part of the process.

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  10. What a fun card you got!! :)

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  11. Those flowers and that cuke! Good gravy. I am a big believer in compression after, rather than during. And to wear full compression socks rather than sleeves (unless you are wearing a skirt, and then you just make sure you can't see the sleeves through the fabric). We will definitely work on hydration strategy with you. Now, rest up, keep it light and easy and happy, and we will get started soon enough!

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  12. Glad to hear your recovery went so well!
    I tend to always go up a few pounds after a really hard workout, it is strange, I guess muscles are holding the water.
    Physically I don't usually see swelling though, unless i have pushed my foot too hard. That is my nemesis.
    The bumper sticker is nice!

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    1. I routinely see the post-long run puffiness, but it's probably because I'm not re-hydrating enough. Once I"m done with a long run or race...I'm done (not much for hunger or thirst)

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  13. Whoa! That's some cucumber! Nothing like hot and humid weather to make us stay on track with recovery!

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    1. I about died when I saw the cucumber....there were several big ones, but this one was the prize winner.

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  14. That cucumber...I saw it on Instagram and was amazed! We tried growing veggies last summer and had terrible luck. Hopefully next year we'll get a good plan!

    I'm glad you had a relatively easy recovery from the ultra. I do wonder if compression socks help with recovery, sometimes they seem to work for me and sometimes they don't! So sweet that you got so many lovely gifts from friends.

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    1. I think compression helps with recovery, I especially can see (and feel) a difference. I don't notice that it does much for me performance-wise during a race/run, but I know it can't hurt.

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  15. Sounds like you're recovering pretty well! I've never water walked, but I imagine the resistance of the water makes it a challenge!

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    1. oh gosh...the water walking was tough! Granted, I'd run 5 very humid miles earlier, and this was the heat of the day (11AM) when we were water walking. I really felt awkward...my arms were moving faster than my legs and I constantly felt like I was out of sync (and probably looked like it!)

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  16. Those are major cukes! I immediately thought of how much juice a cucumber like that could produce. I love how you incorporate a scientific approach, almost, to the running (not almost, really), but it gets turned and altered by every day life, and as a result, you have these incredible experiences along the way. Cool, isn't it?

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    1. Absolutely....my running is constantly affected by what's happening in my non-running life (and vice-versa)

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  17. Ultra marathoner...congrats! I always try to focus on recovery after a race - being kind to your body post race can make a world of difference.
    That cucumber is massive!

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    1. I agree...recovery is key! And, I know my body is never as recovered as it feels (especially only a week post-run)

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  18. Congrats on your ultra! That is an incredible accomplishment.

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    1. Thanks!! It feels so good to have it done ;-) It was a great experience!!

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  19. Yes it's important to start a new training cycle rested and recovered. That is a huge cucumber!!

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    1. Isn't the cuke crazy?!? I immediately thought, "Hmmmm...I wonder what Deborah would do with this..." ;-)

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  20. Great job, Kim! So proud of you for enduring the Ultra! Looking forward to lots of miles to come!

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    1. Thanks, FrIeNd!!! I"m looking forward to many more miles as well ;-)

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  21. I sure do love that new sticker! Wow! You do take care of yourself now. You so deserve some pampering !
    I love your flowers, I sure wish I had a green thumb! When I see people that can grow beautiful ones like this I think of my sweet grandmother. That lady could grow anything! I sure do miss her!

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    1. Oh, rest-assured (pun intended LOL), I'm taking care of myself. Very limited mileage for now, but plenty of cross-training to keep me active ;-)

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  22. Nice sticker lady! I am cucumber jealous! My pineapple are doing well, my tomatoes look like skittles! LOL! I am recovering quicker and quicker- is it all in my head perhaps? Enjoy your week!

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    1. this recovery feels easy.....until I try to run. It's been slow & robotic, but it's also been horrendously HOT so the energy is a bit lack-luster.

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  23. Wow, that's quite the cucumber! And I too am a big believer in rest after a major race. Kudos to you for getting your rest on!

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    1. I have been resting like a queen (well, sort of LOL). My hammy is still a bit angry, but it's on the mend.

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  24. HUGE congrats on the 12 hour ultra!!! WOW! I am going to read your recap!! Wishing you lots of easy, slow recovery. Take care of yourself, esp. in the heat :)
    I love colorful athletic tape too!!

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