Just Move

trail_raceSometimes, the hardest part of running a marathon comes after the race. This is especially true if the race went the way you’d hoped. You’re partially on a high from the experience, but you’re also in this weird place. You need to recover and will likely lose a bit of fitness in the process. It leaves you wondering if you’re ever going to be able to repeat that performance again – let alone top it. If it didn’t go your way, some part of your existence was devoted to marathon training for the past few months, so it’s almost like losing part of your identity.

In the past, this post- marathon phase was a tough pill for me to swallow. Two years ago, when I ran my previous PR, I jumped right back into training. How could I take a break and lose fitness? I was going to run another PR in the fall and run a sub-3 hour marathon. I didn’t have time for rest. My heart and mind were on board, but my body rebelled. The cycle continued over the past two years and I got the same exact result, time and time again. Further from my PR, injured, and frustrated. Finally, in November after my rough day in Indianapolis, I’d had enough. I took a bunch of time off, came back refreshed and finally capable of chipping away at my PR. So this time around, I don’t feel like I’m losing part of my identity at all.

I never truly embraced recovery before, and some may argue that I still don’t. I started running again this past week. I’m still frequenting the pole fitness studio. I’m incorporating easy strength training and got back on the MYRTL train to avoid future injuries. I’d argue that it’s different from what I did over the past training block. It’s active recovery, and it’s all on my own terms.

I’m not beating up my legs Hansons-style, and I’m only doing whatever I feel like doing. But I am doing something. I can’t help it – I’m not one for sitting still. Sure, I can camp out on my couch for days like a boss and set some serious PRs in a Netflix Marathon, but I don’t feel good after doing that. I did a lot of that from November through the beginning of January. When I started training again, I was miserable. I treated my body like shit, therefore I felt like shit when I got back “on the wagon”. This time around, I’m not following any kind of schedule but I am embracing “movement”. I’ve vowed to do something everyday, but it doesn’t matter what it is. I’ve decided that my theme for May is to “just move”. I can decide what that means everyday. No solid plans.

In the midst of active recovery, copious amounts of cooking, and couch time, I also began planning. I don’t think too much about fall races until my spring season has ended, but I have a good idea how I want things to go down. When I began my 50 state conquest, I started with small goals. Make it to double digits – check. Make it halfway – check. My latest conquest is to check off all states east of the Mississippi River. That means I’m looking for marathons in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.

I’ve weighed a bunch of options, and I’ve come up with a rough schedule. There are lots of shorter distance races planned as part of my training, but as for the marathons…the Southernmost Marathon in Key West in early October, followed by the Madison Marathon in Wisconsin in November! It’s still in the planning phases and I’ve got to make all of the necessary travel plans – but it’s looking like I’ll hopefully be checking off those two states next. Anyone interested in joining me? I’m traveling with my mom to Key West (we plan to visit some family in Ft. Lauderdale while we are down south) and with my friend/training partner, Kathy, for Wisconsin.somokw-logo-copy


In the meantime, I do have a few late spring/early summer races on my schedule. First up is next weekend – but it’s a trail race! It’s the Jacobsburg 10 Miler. I’ve never run it before and I’m excited because I truly enjoy trail racing. I’ve stayed off the more technical trails (like the game preserve that I love dearly) to avoid falling, but now I’m ready to get out there again. I love trail running for building strength, and I run a few low key trail races each year.

I’m going into this race with a “race for fun” mindset. I really just want to get out there and run the trail. A friend asked me to do this race with her and I couldn’t say no. She ran her first race last summer before her wedding and loved it (the Race Street Run, remember that one?). On her honeymoon in Costa Rica, she was white water rafting and a tree fell on the raft (real life) resulting in a fracture in her tibia – which was the easy part of the injury. The blow caused compartment syndrome in her leg and she needed a double fasciotomy (literally sliced her leg open on both sides) to relieve the pressure. She could have lost her leg.

This happened in August, and the entire fall was a very difficult time for her. She started out in a wheelchair, then crutches, then one crutch – until she could walk slowly with no assistance. She returned to the gym in late fall, and began running again this spring. She ran six miles (the furthest she’s ever run – even before the accident) and wanted to do this race. There’s a five mile and ten mile option – she chose the five mile. She asked if I would do the race, so of course I signed up. I always wanted to run at Jacobsburg but don’t know the trails, so figured this would be a good way for me to explore. I’m not the best trail runner and this race is about my friend overcoming a significant injury and moving on. I’m looking forward to the change of pace!

What’s up next for you? Who’s recovering from a race right now?


38 Replies to “Just Move”

  1. I don’t know who would argue that you’re not embracing recovery, especially compared to your recoveries of the past. I mean what are you supposed to do, not exercise??

    Excited you’ll check off my state this fall, although of course I wish you were coming to MKE instead.

    1. I agree – where is the line with active recovery and doing too much? I don’t want to sit my ass on the couch for a month. That’s what I did in the fall and coming back to running felt awful for WEEKS until it clicked again. I want to avoid that. If for some reason the Southernmost thing doesn’t work out, I will come to MKE. My mom wants to visit her brother in Ft. Lauderdale, and the whole weekend just seems to make sense. My mom and I have never taken a girls trip together, so I’m pretty stoked on it!!! I was thinking of waiting until next year for Wisconsin, but Madison falls at the perfect time. I can also get a flight out of my local airport to Madison for much cheaper than I’d expected, so the convenience is there. I’m bummed that I will miss out on some Hanna time, though! Unless…you run it too 😉

      1. Sadly they don’t have a 5k option, but maybe I will visit! I’ll be posting about my fall plans soon but suffice it to say there are no races with double-digit miles in my near future. It would be fun to visit Madtown for the weekend.

        I think you are doing fine with your active recovery. Just move is a great motto! I think you went from one extreme to another and now you have found that nice balance 🙂

  2. Whoa, compartment syndrome is scary. What a crazy ordeal she has been through! I’m glad she’s able to run now. She sounds determined and strong and inspirational. Doesn’t surprise me at all that you two are friends! The race sounds like so much fun!

    I hate racing because I hate recovering. I need to sweat each day for my mind, for my anxiety levels, for all those things.

  3. Love this! I think you’re doing an amazing job of recovery. I think active recovery is generally so much better than sitting around and keeping your body moving helps so much with the whole recovery process. I also remember you telling me about this friend of yours – so happy to hear she’s up and running again!! That’s really exciting! I hope you both enjoy the race 🙂

    Also exciting to hear about your marathon plans although I think I’m out for those. Mine are pretty set in stone right now with VIA in September and Rehoboth Beach in December 😀

    1. I might make a surprise appearance at Rehoboth. I would like to run that half! It all depends on how the fall goes. I say that every year. Last year, my darn calf was the reason I didn’t do it!

  4. You do you, lady. I think you know yourself best, and I don’t think you’re overdoing the “recovery” phase at all. How exciting that you’re going to cross off two more states on your list! I could see myself maybe doing a half in each state, but a full in each state is way too much of a commitment, haha!

    1. I am really excited!!! I think the last 19 states are going to take me a lot longer. At one point, I could knock them out faster because I could drive to many of them, but now…flights…that gets pricey!!!!

  5. I think you’re doing a great job of recovery and that it’s something other runners should embrace after a marathon. It’s not like a 5K or even a half where you can just jump back into training, and besides… you had a really strong race AND a big training block leading up to it. Sometimes I think people forget that after a race you are recovering from that race but also from a lot of higher mileage and workouts you did before.

    It’s so fun that you’re going to run a race with your friend who was in the accident. It will mean so much to her and a lot more than just running a fast race would mean, plus you get to recover. I do agree that “recovery” doesn’t mean just sitting on your bum for 2 weeks (although you’re definitely entitled to some netflix time), but being active you probably won’t lose a ton of fitness! I bet you’ll come back to a training plan more rejuvenated, too.

    1. Thanks!!! I am really excited about the run. I am not sure we are going to run together because I registered for the 10 mile option, and she decided to consider the 5 mile option. But either way, I am excited that she is getting back out there. I’m not looking at it as a race, I want to learn the trails and support her!

  6. I feel like it’s been so long since I ran a race and completely failed at that recovery so I need to start thinking about that for my half in June. It’s great you are able to kock off more States!

  7. I think you are doing everything smart for recovery. That trail race sounds fun. I’m doing a 5 miler the day before and then going to a wedding otherwise, I might consider it.

  8. I think you are embracing recovery. I mean, it’s not healthy to not MOVE your body you know? You’re still moving but you took down the intensity. It’s all good. 🙂

    After my past two halves were I didn’t reach my goal, I definitely felt shitty and that I didn’t deserve my recovery. I felt like my performance was not adequate in the least . Man, I can be real nice to myself, can’t I?

    Luckily I had my mind on Via before my last dismal race performance and since training was to start in like 2.5 weeks, I was forced to take my recovery time because there wasn’t going to be another chance.

    By the way I had my first Hanson run today! 6 miles easy pace. Omg my legs felt like tree trunks. Running “slow” makes me feel so shitty!

    1. Running slow always feels so hard!!! But it really, really helps. I am so excited that you started your training!!!! I felt like I didn’t deserve recovery after Indianapolis but I was so burned out that I didn’t want to do anything anyway. We are so hard on ourselves!

  9. I feel the same way about active recovery and being in the off-season between cycles. It doesn’t mean I should do nothing, and if I enjoy it, why not do it? What a crazy story about your friend’s injury. I bet she’s going to love this first race back, and it’s cool you’re doing it with her. I want to do more trail running this summer too.

    1. Her story is INSANE. She ended up in a really good hospital in San Jose. You’d think healthcare in Costa Rica might be sketchy, but she apparently went to some hospital that is considered the best for “medical tourism” – like people go there for operations because its cheaper than the USA and really amazing. She got SO lucky!

  10. Sounds like you’re in a good place with this post-race phase. Best wishes to your friend. And I have the Maryland Half Marathon Saturday.

  11. You know what you’re doing and what works for you better than anyone else 🙂

    Your friends sounds like she’s awesome–resilient and super inspiring. Tell her I’m cheering for her from Arizona! (which btw, I wish you’d do a do-over marathon over here) Let me know your Georgia plans. I’ve been itching to run there!

  12. There’s an incredibly low key and kind of craptastic marathon in Mississippi in November – Mississippi Gulf Coast. I still recommend it, craptasticness aside, because it’s $35 and it’s near the beach and it’s an hour from New Orleans. So there are pluses. Just a thought as you look for your 50 states!

    1. So funny you should mention that- it’s actually the race I want to do in Mississippi! Have you run it??? I love that it’s near the beach – huge plus for me! I think the only other one I know of in that state is in the winter, and I try to avoid running any marathons in the middle of the winter!!!

  13. Fall races? I can’t even begin to think past SF in July. I am signed up for a half in October, but how serious can you take a race in costume? At least that’s my hope. 🙂 Considering the work you were putting in , I think your active recovery is working for you. 🙂

    1. Ahhhh a half in a costume sounds so fun! I am trying to do the 50 state thing and unfortunately have run out of ones I can drive to, so booking airfare/hotels/travel makes the planning process have to happen earlier these days! I haven’t even thought about summer races yet, lol!

  14. I’m terrible at recovery, which is why I don’t run marathons! I stick with the 5K because the distance is fun, challenging, widely available, and requires virtually no recovery time! Someday, when I’m more mature, I would love to conquer the marathon distance. 🙂

    1. I am awful at recovery myself. I did sign up for some races but short distances. I promised myself no real speed work until I start training again! I feel a little like a bull in a china closet and it’s only been two weeks. Eeeek.

  15. Jacobsburg is my favorite. You will love it!! It’s certainly way easier to run than the game preserve, but still so beautiful. I hope to run it next year!! :).

  16. Your recovery sounds like the right balance. You’re taking time off from hard efforts on your legs, but still keeping your body moving and being healthy.

    Oh my goodness, that is crazy about your friend! How freaking scary! I’m glad that she is okay now and that is so cool that you are running this race with her.

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