26 miles – Hurts so Good

Yesterday’s long run carried me 26 miles.  For the first time, it finally occurred to me why it’s not so common for people to run that far for regular leisure.  While basking in my enlightened moment and pushing painfully through mile 24, I also realized I was truly in love with distance running even though I found myself questioning whether I had pushed myself too far too fast… again.

During the last 3 miles, the real aches and pains made themselves at home – my quads rhythmically aching, Achilles screaming with each step, and my knees wanting to buckle with each push-off.  All this “suffering” just to prove to myself that I could make the distance.  No medals or cheers at the end of this 26 miles, just my own knowledge that I was capable of not just doing it again, but doing it faster.  I finished with a time of 4:01:51, and now I am certain I can achieve 3:40 with just a little more work.

The soreness and tenderness of my quads and knees really began to set in 4-5 hours after the run.  I stayed hungry all evening and ate whatever I wanted.  I wasn’t really that tired, just sore and lazy later in the evening, so I did nap on and off and ice my knees.  Surprisingly, this morning I don’t really feel much sorer than I did last night.  I filled up this morning on a big bowl of chocolate-cinnamon proatmeal and have a day of shopping planned.  We shall see if the fatigue and DOMS finally hit me while I’m out and about today!

My plan now?  Take 2-3 days off from running and heal up good.  I think I’ll do a couple days of split-routine upper body weight training just to keep myself busy and throw in some yoga on the 2nd or 3rd day depending on how fast or slow I recover.  Then if all goes as planned, I’ll start some slow recovery runs and walks on the 3rd-4th day followed by recovery jogs of 3 miles the rest of the week.  Then I’ll reevaluate my strategy for the next week.  In the meantime, I’ll assemble a game plan to focus on cutting back my finish time.

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