MCM 2013: The post-mortem!

I’ve always thought that using the term “post-mortem” with a reflection of an event is kind of odd, since in the literal sense I am very much still alive (woohoo!) and the event isn’t strictly a living thing in and of itself. But it kind of makes sense, I guess, if you think of it in terms of having enough perspective on the event to be able to objectively analyze it. That, and the event is now history, something to be remembered rather than anticipated.

So, this may not be the most interesting post to people who aren’t me, but maybe you’ll find something of use in it if you happen to be reading. Also, I put pictures at the end, so if you get bored, you can scroll down to those for a good laugh.

For my recovery this time, I took five whole days off of running and any other physical activity that was not scaling stairs or shuffling after a bus I was about to miss. On days one and two, I felt sure that this was a good decision. On day three, I still felt that it was a good decision, but I could feel the soreness in my legs and joints going away for good, and I started to get that itch again. On day four, personal-life-things took an acute turn for the not-so-good and I was really regretting my stubborn decision to not go for a run even though I was very stressed out and craving like mad the endorphins from exercise. My legs were not sore, so I was itching quite badly to run, but I told myself “no”. Day five was 3x worse than day four, but I had a light at the end of the tunnel: on day four I’d set up a day-six morning run with the friend I’m pacing through her first half, so I knew I’d be getting out and chasing endorphins by the next morning. One of these years I’m going to make it a full seven days between “marathon” and “run again”, but this is not that year.

The run itself was a warm and cloudy 9.5-mile jaunt in about 1:40, which is about right for my long runs, so at least it looks like friend and I have about the same pace, which is good. I think she started out too fast, though, since by the end she had slowed down a lot and was not feeling happy. I’m trying to think of ways I can subtly steer her towards a slower start that don’t involve taking off from the start line at a half-jog, so if anyone has any suggestions (and no, loading her pockets with rocks is not going to work) I’m all ears. My own legs hurt a little by the end, but it felt fantastic to run again, both for the sheer motion and the endorphins. I’d told myself to stick to 8-9 miles, and accidentally overshot to 9.5, but I felt like I could have gone for at least another three or four.

On Sunday, I’d planned to run an easy-easy recovery 5 miles, but then I realized that I had not slept in and failed to run and been lazy and given Saint the pleasure of my company on a Sunday morning since… um… early June. Fuck that, I said, and rolled right back over and ignored the alarm. I have no regrets. 🙂

I was back at the gym this morning for some cross-training, and tomorrow I’ll ease back into the running-weights-Tuesday-Thursday and running-Wednesday and rest-Friday routine. Saturday morning I’ll go for an early, easy 11.5, and then Sunday I’ll aim for an easy-recovery 4.5ish.

Okay then! With that out of the way, commence the 2013 MCM post-mortem, which I have labeled “NOTES TO SELF”.

– I had zero, none, zip, zilch! stomach issues throughout the race at all; not even any feeling of having to poo, which was odd (but very much welcome!). This could have been due to a lack of water consumption on my part, but I did eat my usual pre-race cereal and finish it 2 hours before the race began (instead of finishing 45 minutes to an hour before running), so maybe my stomach had time to process it properly? One hour before the race began I ate a snacky bar, and all was well. I also sipped on water before the start, which turned out to be ok, so it’s good to know I can do those things again if I need to.

– Being on my feet as much as I was the day before the race (waiting in line at the packet pickup/expo for an hour and change, spending a lot of time walking to and from Metro stations and my hotel and places nearby) might MAYBE have fatigued my legs somewhat. My next marathon takes place the day after the local 10-miler WHICH I SWEAR I WILL RUN ONE OF THESE YEARS DAMMIT, so I plan to volunteer at the race for the second year in a row. However, I know now to look into volunteer opportunities that involve a lot of sitting down. 😛 I was at a water stop last year, but that was a good 3-4 hours on my feet, so that’s a no-go, which sucks since it’s a lot of fun.

– 3/1 long runs (run the first 3/4 slow and gradually speed up over the last 1/4 of the distance) should probably be written down on my training calendar so that I actually adhere to them at 3-week intervals. I think I started doing them early on in my training, and then by week 9 or 10 they sort of fell by the wayside, That may have contributed to my lack of strong finish.

– Running by feel is a good thing. I may honestly never wear a watch when I run ever again. I’m used to it now, so I can’t imagine going back. (Yes, this means you have to return the Garmin you got me for Christmas. Awww!)

– So far, day 3 after the marathon was the one on which I was the least sore, but having said that, future self: TAKE TIME TO STRETCH RIGHT AFTER THE RACE IS OVER, DAMMIT. Getting good sleep (at least 7 hours/night) and eating well (lots of extra protein) also worked well for me.

– Day 4 was when I got the itch to run again. I am telling my future self to ignore it. Wait until day 6. I REPEAT: WAIT UNTIL DAY 6.

– IMPORTANT: Try a two-week taper next time. Three might have been a BIT much. Maybe do a 22-miler 2 weeks out, and go from there?

– Not lifting weights the week before the race was a good idea. Do that again next time.

– It’s still okay to drink a beer or two the day/night before the race, but maybe no more than two. The beer lunch was a lot of fun, but it might not have been exactly the best idea.

Okay then! Post-mortem done. Pictures you want, pictures you get.

Because I am too cheap to buy anything from MarathonFoto before they reduce the prices heavily, here’s a link to the page that has my pictures:

Last but not least, here are the pictures Saint took, in chronological order!

I somehow COMPLETELY missed this guy’s sign, which makes me sad because that’s a reference to one of my favorite movies (“Better Off Dead”, if you’ve never seen it BUT YOU SHOULD):




























I saw a sign similar to this one at mile 7, and I had to actively avoid focusing on it as I passed it in case my bowels understood what was going on:




























Saint found this guy’s outfit amusing. Also that he stopped to stretch in that spot:




























Hey look, it’s me! Right around the mile 17 marker, and feeling great for it being that late in the race. You can see my grandfather’s pin on my left side (though it’s on the right, here):




























Around the corner, this is me making my confused “why are you running after me to take pictures?” face (the scaffolding on the Washington Monument behind me is coming down this week, btw):




























Finally, one last shot before we parted ways to meet at the finish:




























That one would have come out pretty well if not for that silly sign blocking half of my torso. 😛

That’s that, then! Happy Monday to you. 🙂




4 Responses to MCM 2013: The post-mortem!

  1. piratebobcat says:

    Haha, looks like you were all smiles!

  2. Congrats! You inspire me! I wish I could do a ‘walking’ marathon – my running days are over (due to knee issues) but I’m jealous of your training and your fabulous fun day success. And I love your smiles!

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