Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Post-Race Blues and My New Adventure

If I had ever heard or read anything before about post-race blues, I didn't pay attention. It had never happened to me. I mostly experienced euphoria after my races. The kind of elation that made me talk incessantly about my race and energized me for a least a week afterwards. 

Well, I'm here to tell you: post-race blues is a real thing!

After arriving home late the night of the race, I talked through its entirety to Bill on the phone while he was driving home from their weekend of riding. I needed him to know all the details and he needed to stay awake. 

After that, our weeks were chock full. Concerts, graduations, field trips, a wedding, a wedding reception for Aunt Denise and Uncle Roy, a hare scramble and more. (All of this is a major reason why I didn't blog about my race or anything else after- there was no time to.) Unbeknown to me in all that business was something lurking below the surface as my body tried to recover.

At first, I thought I was just tired from running the race and the fourteen hour drive and having to go, go, go right after. But it wasn't until I was sitting in the parking lot, having gotten groceries, nearly in tears for no apparent reason that I wondered if something was truly the matter with me. I notified my coach of my emotional state, my lack of hunger, my overwhelmed feelings, and my restless sleeping. (Keep these all in mind. They will make a reappearance in another post.) She explained to me that all these things were normal after a race. I was experiencing post-race blues. It was a sign that I really did leave it all out on the course. Yay for me.

Except now what? Coach explained that, similar to postpartum blues, my body was going through hormonal changes from all the effort and I should eat as I can, sleep as I can, and try to carry on normal life as I can and it will all work out. 

There is a lot of relief when you find out you're not really crazy. 

I slowly built my running back up but didn't have much drive in me. I'm okay with down time. I think every runner should have off-seasons. But the thing was, I didn't know what to do after my recovery time was over. I had just raced my two biggest dream races. Where do I go from here? Do I race smaller races and try to get faster? Do I build up this new middle ground of 13 to 17 miles? The first option didn't really appeal to me. I spent too much time tackling tough terrain and climbing stair after stair at Ledges State Park to let that go now. The middle ground was a pretty good option but didn't get my juices flowing enough. What to do? What to do?

Loess Hills
Looks like I had a little trouble staying away from the mud after the races
Then one evening while running with some trail running friends, my coach mentioned a race in Omaha which was to be at the end of October. The distances choices were 5, 10, 20 or 31 miles. She casually mentioned that she thought I could run the 50k (31 miles). I kind of stared at her. She thought I could convert the difficulty of my Spring races into distance for the Fall race. I went home feeling a little tremulous and a little tingly. 

A burning sunrise is good for the soul
A few evenings later, after scouring the web for information and checking calendar dates, I sat all casual-like at the kitchen counter and nonchalantly mentioned to Bill that I was thinking of running this race called the GOATZ 50k, which is October 26 and doesn't conflict with any hare scrambles, homecomings, and known happenings and that is only three hours away and that also a bunch of Turkeys were going and that my coach thought I could do it and I've been wanting to run a 50k and I thought this year would be a good time to do it. (Oh my word- just typing about how I really wanted to do it but was trying to be open and cool about it with Bill still gives me the butterflies. Also, the race is less than a week away now.)

Obviously Bill agreed or I'm being completely defiant, which I'm not but let me clarify my statements in my run on sentence above.
  1. GOATZ- Greater Omaha Area Trail Runnerzs 
  2. No conflicts- If you'll recall, I ran the Zumbro race and it turns out it was the same weekend as prom and we hadn't planned on Audrey possibly going to prom her sophomore year and my mom came down to help out. Etc for all scheduling conflicts.
  3. Seven hours one way for a race is quite a long way and takes a toll on the whole family. After dealing with the stress of Superior, I'm going to take advantage of the closer races.
  4. Turkeys- also known as (Luke really loves to say a.k.a. by the way.) the trail runners group of the Des Moines Capitol Striders. These are my trail running people. They've run the races I've wanted to. They don't think I'm crazy for running trail. They keep inspiring me. I love them a lot!
  5. If something came up and Bill couldn't come with me, I would have a ride to the race with my fellow Turkeys. I don't like driving home by myself after a hard race. I worry about fatigue and being safe.
  6. I wanted to try a 50k but didn't know if I could do it so soon into this new trail running journey and especially this year but my coach really thought I could do it and that's what I needed to hear. 
So this is the part where I got really happy, and smiley, and hand-clappy. And also a little pukey. But mostly happy, smiley and hand-clappy. 

I entered a local 5k race last minute which gave me a nice burst of adrenaline and with that, started planning my Summer and Fall running and racing. 

Written 18 weeks ago 
 Catch up with all my training long runs here: 15 miles, 16 miles, 11 miles, 18 miles, 20 miles, 22 miles, 14 miles  


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