Recovering, and setting new goals

“Really,” I said Saturday afternoon after the race, practically bragging, “I’m not even that sore.”

Famous last words. At dinner, I noticed that my ankle was feeling kind of cranky. When I stood up after a two-hour movie, I noticed the weird stinging sensation on my thighs that indicates 13.1 miles is, in fact, long enough to need Body Glide. And when Steve hugged me, I noticed that even my lower back and abs were kinda sore. Oof.

Truly, though, as the queen of injury prevention, I take post-race recovery seriously, starting immediately after the race. Within minutes of crossing the finish line Saturday, I drank an Odwalla Protein Monster (get the vanilla kind — tastes a little like a milkshake) and ate a banana to replenish carbs and protein. I kept moving for a while, then I stretched, even though I desperately wanted to sit down.On the way home, still wearing my mylar blanket tied around my neck, we stopped at Giant to get a huge bag of ice for a dreaded-buy-necessary ice bath.

The FIRST half-marathon training plan I followed is pretty specific about rest and recovery. After an all-out half-marathon, which this certainly was for me, it suggests less-intense workouts for two weeks following the race. Fine by me! I took yesterday off, will swim today and plan to run easy tomorrow.

I’m focusing my energy on two things: taking care of the little aches and pains that cropped up during the race (more on injury-prevention tools later in the week), and setting new goals. Next up is the George Washington Parkway 10-miler on April 26. There will be other races to follow, but the one I’ve got my eye on is … wait for it … the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25! I got an early sign-up coupon at the half-marathon over the weekend, so I rewarded myself for the good finish my signing up for the marathon yesterday.

This will be my second full marathon. I finished my first, the hilly and hot (but still awesome) Nashville Country Music Marathon,  in 4:34 in April 2007. My main goal for this one is to cross the finish line with no significant injuries. But I’d also like to improve my time. The McMillan Running race time calculator says based on my half-marathon time over the weekend, I ought to be able to run a 3:50 marathon. This seems a little fast, but I’m gonna set an early, seemingly do-able goal of finishing in four hours.

My 16-week training program officially doesn’t start until June. But it assumes you can run 15 miles from the get-go, so I’ll be keeping my mileage up and generally staying in training mode until then. I’ll also be trying to run a fast (for me) 5K — perhaps the Silver Spring Earth Day 5K on April 19. I’ll keep you posted, but keep checking in here for suggestions for running routes, training tips, cross-training workouts, race reports, sports-nutrition info and playlists I find helpful as I accomplish my next set of goals.

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