Today was the first run after the half marathon. I purposely waited because it not only put me back on my usual routine, but obviously the legs/hips/knees/feet needed a couple of days off. I was really feeling tight last week, and it continued on into the race Sunday. Yesterday, I actually got in the pool and swam about 3/4 of a mile and felt great all day, so obviously that's what I should have done last week too. Its really not like me to miss a week of swimming. Lesson learned.
Today's run was just going to be short--it ended up being only 2.5 miles--to see how the legs felt and worked. It was fairly warm again (54 degrees at 6:30 am), but pretty breezy. I wore tights and was glad I did with the wind, but by the end of the run, I no longer needed the gloves I had on.
I was surprised at how good my legs felt. I only did my short loop and then an extra block, because it just didn't seem long enough to be out, but it was better to leave something behind than trying to struggle through something longer if I wasn't ready.
This weekend, I plan to continue on with my long runs, but cutting back to just 1 1/2 hours, instead of the 2+ I had been doing, at least for a couple of weeks. My next goal is to train to run longer without needing to walk. Not that I expect to be able to run nonstop a whole 10 miles or more any time soon, but I think I can easily get back to at least 6 miles with some work.
On another note, did anyone happen to see Marathon Challenge on PBS last night? It was a NOVA show. I saw it advertised looking at the marathonguide.com website. It reminded you of the Biggest Loser show. Team Nova, as they were called, were all sedentary, nonathletic types, randomly selected to train for and run the 2007 Boston Marathon. NOVA would train them for 40 weeks resulting in the running of the marathon. One of the coaches was Uta (Take the Magic Step) Pippig, 3 time winner of Boston. Before starting their training, they first had to undergo testing, including body fat measurement, and a VO2 max test. One of the women actually had 46% body fat! All but one tested either fair to poor in the VO2 max test (including a 21 year old woman); one actually tested superior. He obviously was an untapped talent, because this guy, while he had been a runner in college, had not run in 20(?) years. One woman also had a medical condition that had caused her to become not only sedentary, but gain 70 pounds. They were not going to use her at first because of a possible heart problem, more than likely due to being what they termed "morbidly obese." But she persisted in begging until they finally let her take part.
It was very interesting not only to watch these people go from their first steps to being able to run a full marathon, and watching their progress, injuries, setbacks, etc., but also getting a lesson in how the body adapts to the addition of exercise, and in this case running, into your life. "The first day you exercise [run], you are healthier than the day before." That's how dramatic one day of exercise can affect you, so you can see how continuing on a day-to-day basis is only going to enhance your health. They showed how your ligaments and muscles become more fluid after just a few months of training, and the old saying "use it or lose it" applied here. I can see definitely how that applied for me last week, not doing as much because of thinking I should taper, and yet an increased amount of inactivity actually led to stiffness I hadn't had in a long time.
What was interesting to note, however, is that none of the women lost any weight except the one already 70 pounds overweight. She actually ended up losing about 50 pounds, was the most highly motivated, and, as it turned out, fastest of all the women. The reason for this was also given, but it gets too technical, and I'm not going to go into all that.
All but 2 of the original 12 completed the race, and that was due to either chronic or recurring injuries (shin splints, stress fractures). Of the finishers, the guy who started out with the superior VO2 max came in fastest, with all the women finishing over the 6 hour mark. It was so great to watch how happy, jubiliant, incredulous they were when they finished. It was worth watching just for that. After the race, they again were all retested for their VO2 max levels. All tested excellent to superior!
So keep exercising people, because even one day is better than none!