Post Race Recovery and Mile Dedications
My Half Marathon
The first emotion I felt was relief that it was over. My eyes did well up when I crossed the 11 mile mark, when I realized that I was almost done but I soon got over the need to cry. The people at the finish line who gave me the medal would have wondered if I had broken down. They were strangers.
They would have understood though
With fingers trembling in excitement, I text my husband, my mom and some close friends and well wishers a picture of me, with the time I took to complete the race. While my friends and husband celebrated with me, my mom commented on how red I looked.
“Did you finish first?’ , she asked.
No ma, I finished in the 1,246th place of the total 1,292 who ran, the 576th woman of the 606 women who ran and the 45th woman of 47 who ran, in my age group.
By the time my husband had driven to the stadium to pick me up, I had had something to eat and drink. When I got into the car, my head was pounding and I felt nauseous.
In hindsight, the nausea may have been caused by the surge in blood sugar from the chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk that I had consumed.
As soon as I got home, I ran a warm epsom salt bath. I had been soaking in salts after every practice walk in the last two weeks and I knew that it helped my muscles relax. My husband had cooked a brunch and as soon as I had eaten, my head felt better too.
I was starving and quietly ate the high-carb food served because I was ‘rungry’ and I had to quickly replenish all the energy that I had burned that morning.
I vaguely remember staring at my finishers medal in disbelief the rest of the day.
Before I went to bed that night, I had a combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol to help with the pain and discomfort that I expected to have the next day. My husband massaged my sore calf muscles with a Hemp CBD salve and assured me that I would be ‘as good as new’ when I woke up the next day. I had also been using a topical magnesium oil for muscle soreness / cramps I was experiencing and I liberally sprayed it along my calves. I popped my daily dose of a potassium-magnesium supplement that I was taking regularly.
I had experienced cramps in my legs due to dehydration and mineral deficiencies, was familiar with the discomfort and I was doing everything in my capacity to avoid them.
Despite the salve, the pain killer, the topical spray, hydration and mineral supplements, I was not prepared for the DOMS when it hit the next day and that stayed on for the next 72 hours.
My home practice of Yoga with Tim is what saw me through till I got back to routine.
Despite my attempt to be mindful and present on what was happening on the day, I continued to process hundreds of thoughts during my run.
I have an ankle pronation and fallen arch and have been using an orthotic support for my shoes. I made conscious effort to be mindful of how my feet landed on the ground as I ran.
The thoughts were primarily about the people in my life who have been supportive of the challenges I took upon myself. I had begun to envision the contents of this blog post, as I ran across the 11th mile of my run. Truth be told, if I didn’t have support from the people in my life, I would never have ventured into a lot of adventures.
My LCHF journey pops up as a shining example.
Having finished the half marathon now, here are some people to whom I would like to dedicate my 13.1 miles:
The first 5 miles to Maxx: No surprises here. If it weren’t for Maxx, my faithful cardio partner of seven years, I won’t even have started on this fitness journey. It was Maxx who encouraged me to go on these fabulous walking adventures, discover new routes, walk extended distances with appropriate breaks for rest and water, whatever the weather, conditions of the terrain or traffic.
Mile 6 to 8 to my family:
To my husband: Not once GSR (my husband) questioned my ability to take on this challenge. He knew I was preparing for this mentally, for over seven years. We share the same enthusiasm for walks and yoga and they are predominantly what we plan to invest our time on, post retirement.
To my daughter : Even though she never explicitly says so, she approves that I keep fit. If a teenager talks about it on Snapchat to her friends, it is validation, don’t you agree? She is on a fitness journey herself and making huge strides everyday. I am very proud of her!
To my mother: My best friend, my strength, support, the optimist and naysayer all rolled into one, who believes in me and gives me more credit than I deserve. Her prayers and wishes have always worked for me.
To my mother in law: I may be more modern a daughter in law, than what she would have approved of for her son, but she has stood by me in all the choices I have made in the last twenty seven years. On the eve of my run, she sent me an inspirational forwarded message on WhatsApp (incidentally I discourage her from sending me any, but she doesn’t heed to my request). The message was about a Hindu chant to overcome challenges. During my run, I remembered to chant the mantra under my breath and it helped me navigate the distance without fear. (Thankyou, ma)
Mile 9 to 11 to my friends: You know who you are, my chosen family, you, who make me laugh a little louder, cry a little lesser and live a lot better, you, who care about my everyday, what I cook, eat, do with my time, you, who wish well and support my decisions and stand by me, you, who accept me for the way I am, flawed and all.
Without friends, life would be one long boring journey.
I am blessed to have friends from childhood who spoil me with attention, friends from school and college who take the effort to stay in touch and friends from different countries that I have lived at, who make time for me when I visit. Bless you all!
Mile 12 to 13.1 to me: If I had not been determined to complete the challenge before my 50th birthday, persistent with practice, or committed to finishing what I had begun, this whole run would never have happened.