It’s just a few days to the Cheltenham half marathon and I’m at the point where I’m ready for it to be over. I love running and will always run, but the very long distances needed to train for a half marathon are starting to take it out of me. That’s why I decided to only do one half marathon this year, rather than my usual two.
My problem is my recovery. Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have any proper recovery.
When my husband used to run half marathons, he would usually fall asleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon after a big training run. I don’t fall asleep. I don’t even sit down. I just carry on with whatever the day throws at me and whatever physical activity is required of me. Believe me, when the kids are around, I don’t sit down. I’m always on the go and on the move.
I sit down for just long enough for my freezing cold bath to run (proper cold, no hot at all), sit in it for 10 minutes, have a shower and then I carry on with my life.
For the first couple of hours, my head feels a bit fuzzy. I can’t really think straight and I don’t feel like I’m all there. I guess it’s dehydration or hunger. I do drink while I run, and I drink a lot when I get home, but it takes a lot of liquid to replenish what you lose over a 12 mile/ hour and 45 minute run.
I become fixated on things. Food mainly. But also drink, warmth and comfort.
When I need to eat, I need to eat NOW. And I need to eat what I want. It usually involves large quantities of cheese – either on pizza or jacket potatoes. I can’t wait for it. I go all irrational if I have to wait.
The same can be said of drinks. I drink a lot anyway and 95% of it is water, but after running I NEED Tropicana orange juice. In a bottle. I could buy a big carton of it and keep it in the fridge, but it’s just not the same. Needless to say, I could also buy a bottle of it and keep it in the fridge ready, but I never do. I’ve been known to drive round several shops on a Sunday afternoon close to closing time in a desperate and frantic search for Tropicana. If all else fails, I know McDonalds have it.
When I train in winter, I am hit by the sort of cold which goes through to my bones very soon after getting back home. I just can’t warm up (I don’t do the freezing baths in winter, I tried once, it just wasn’t possible). I go a little bit crazy about warming up. I can only wear certain things. I can’t wear jeans – they’re too cold and too tight. I have to wear tracksuit bottoms and hoodies (with the hood up). I will desperately search for the right bra – I can’t wear an uncomfortable one. Sadly, with the recent turn in the weather, the stupid cold has started hitting me already in August.
Once I’m wearing my comfortable clothes and have eaten my cheesy pizza, I’m back to being a sane human being again. By the afternoon I can barely remember that I even went running in the morning – my mind is clear and my body feels normal.
But I’ve had enough of those first couple of weird hours of recovery now. I want the half marathon over so I can get back to normal.