May 6, 2015

Marathon recovery and food poisoning- how long is recovery?

It has been 16 days since I ran the Boston Marathon and I still feel so sluggish.  Last night at my group practice, I ran about 4.75  miles and it seemed so hard.  I think when you skip running for a couple weeks for recovery, it can seem more difficult when you start back.  Add to that the high temperature and humidity and it was a tough run for this girl. Obviously there are certain things to expect coming out of marathon training cycle.  Some of those include:

1. Slower paced runs the first few times back on the pavement  Intellectually, this is something I understand, but when it happens, it is disappointing, especially during what should be short nice paced runs.  Getting speed back for shorter distances will take some time, and obviously patience is needed!

2. An increase in appetite  I am always ready to hit the pantry for snacks almost all day long for many days after a marathon.  There is no scientific data on this, but I did read recently that Meb had gained some ridiculous number of pounds (I believe over 10) by the time he was only one week post Boston.  Unfortunately, I am still trying to gain back the weight I lost during my food poisoning/marathon race effort. While I could dig into sweets and salty chips, I am trying to keep my food choices smart ones. However, I do eat a larger bowl of ice cream every night for my dessert.  Since ice cream is a good dairy product this is a good choice correct?  True story. Last week, we visited Boombalati's for a post dinner ice cream treat.  While waiting in line, Tom encouraged me to not get a single or double, but a triple.  He said, "wow, that is only 80 cents more than the single.  I walked out of the place with over a pint of ice cream in this massive vessel, held with both hands.  A woman was walking by, took one look at me and the gigantic bowl and smiled and said, "But you are skinny!"

3. Lots of free time  Obviously I have more free time than most since I do not work. But this is one of my favorite parts of a post marathon month.  Cutting back on training, either the gym, running mileage or other activities is always very welcome in my book since I am usually exhausted after a big race.

Every runner has different routines that they follow post race.  I was surprised at how many people were out running the day after the Boston Marathon wearing their race shirt.  I'm pretty sure they did not give the shirt away and they indeed had run the marathon!  As a low mileage runner, perhaps that is a reason it takes me longer to recover from a marathon.  It seems like it should be quicker, but an older body also needs more rest.  Add in stupid food poisoning and the time lengthens.  A physical today should give me more insight into what to expect this weekend in California.  My goals for the Pixie Dust Challenge are still to be determined!




26 comments:

  1. I"m sure the combo of the food poisoning and then running Boston just did your body in. Give yourself time to bounce back. You will. Meanwhile, enjoy your ice cream!

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    1. thanks Wendy. I am doing my best to stay calm and run on!

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  2. You are the third person i've known of this year to get food poisoning during a big race weekend.

    The time thing is the only thing that was making me hesitant to sign up for another marathon. I kept thinking that maybe I should give up something else that I spend time on, but I just can't! I thought the other day about how much free time I would have if I did not blog...lol. But we enjoy it! -M. PS good luck at your physical today.

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    1. Wow, I only know of one other person with the food poisoning mess. I do love the training, especially since I run the long runs with my group., We have an amazing time solving all kinds of problems big and small!

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  3. Whew girl...I can't even imagine recovering from a huge marathon AND food poisoning all at the same time! Marathon recovery is hard enough as it is...and no, I'm not one who's out there running the day after a marathon. It definitely takes a few weeks for me to feel back to my normal running self again. Have fun in Cali!! :)

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    1. Thanks Karen. We are excited for our first Tinkerbell race weekend.

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  4. Pam I can't even imagine recovering from that sickness AND running a marathon! Luckily this weekend is a Disney race and can be all about the fun for you!

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    1. We are excited Mindy and it will be fun to just run through those DL parks. The 10k is awesome!

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  5. Its hard to recognize the need to slow down after running a major race, especially running it sick. Soon enough you'll get your speed back. Hopefully you aren't planning anything speedy this weekend for PDC and will be able to just enjoy the races!

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    1. Unfortunately I always feel the need to do well in races, but my coach and I had a chat last night so hopefully I can keep myself in line and follow her guidance!

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  6. Food poisoning can really take a toll on your body, and combined with running a marathon, that's definitely a lot of recovery needed. I hope you enjoy the ice cream and your time in California!

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    1. Thanks, it should be a fun weekend with my best running buddy!

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  7. Food poisoning (on top of the marathon) is a lot for your body to recover from. You'll bounce back soon. Just enjoy Pixie Dust. You don't have to prove anything to anyone. Lots of luck!

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    1. Thanks, it's good there is nothing to prove but secretly I would like an AG award. Disney does a good job with them!

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  8. its so hard to take it slow after racing but you have to take care of yourself. I was in a similar situation after princess. I ran the 5k, 10k and half and felt great but then had a stomach virus that lasted for 3 days and then flying back home-I was so dehydrated and weak. it took me a solid 10 days after princess to recover to even be able to run without feeling blah. and you're going to have so much fun at PDC this weekend!

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    1. Oh Juliana, I did not realize you had gotten sick after Princess. I think our bodies are definitely prone to illness after race weekends.

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  9. After I ran Goofy in 2013 (also my first full), I remember that my legs felt fatigued for a few weeks. They would really sore and I went about normal life and rode my horse with no problems, but there was definitely a nagging fatigue in those muscles. Running took a lot more effort.

    Strangely, I was incredibly sore after NYC, but I didn't experience that lagging fatigue. I guess every race has a different aftermath!

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    1. Yes, I agree. I was far less sore after Boston than my other marathons. Perhaps the elevation changes made the difference.

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  10. It took a few months for my speed to return. Before I ran the marathon, I remember clocking a 23 something 5K in the summer heat while training, and a 1:54 in a trail half marathon. I felt pretty bad in general for about 10 days, and after that, running was rough for about a month.

    You should definitely give yourself some grace with it- first, you had food poisoning before the marathon, so you were already a little more compromised than usual. Second, it was a hilly marathon and we don't really have a lot of hills so you used different muscles. And really... you ran a marathon and it's about 4 times harder than a half! I would say to give it another week or so and hopefully you will be feeling better.

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    1. I'm trying to be smart about the speed but I want to do well this weekend. I will see how I feel and then decide how much to push during the races.

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  11. I usually take 2 weeks off, and I definitely feel sluggish once I start moving again, but it usually comes back pretty quickly. I hope you are back to your old self soon!

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    1. thanks, I hope to do a decent job racing this weekend. My best running will be along so that will help alot!

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  12. Yes, the slow return of the speed and crazy appetite. I always forget about then until it happens and then I am mad.

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    1. Yea, I always forget about the appetite thing too. This time it really doesn't matter after the food poisoning.

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  13. I have a feeling that food poisoning is one major contributor to your not bouncing back as fast. I have a friend who can't get the energy or desire to train again for a month after a race. I've got a few others that take a week off... I think it is different for everyone. I do go running the day after a marathon, but it is a light run, or if I have a hiking trail I will go for a short hike. For myself I have found it helps me recover faster. But you know everyone is different, and a lot of it comes down to how hard you pushed it, and how much of a toll the sickness took on your body:) In your case I'd just say listen to your body and rest as you need, you'll bounce back into it eventually and then you can resume your training for all of the other awesome races you have coming up later this year!

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  14. Hope recovery has been treating you well! Love the story of Tom encouraging you to purchase a triple :) Looking forward to your Disney recap - looks like you both had a great Mothers Day weekend!

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