I knew going in that trying to drag my chubby arse around a hilly course for 12 hours at Dirty Girls was going to take it out of me, but it's been almost three weeks now and I'm still feeling the effects.
My muscles get sore more easily, and the soreness lingers longer.
I get tired very easily during workouts - it's incredibly difficult to push hard, and when I do my heart and lungs protest loudly. I fatigue more easily overall, and when I'm done for the day I crash hard. From "more or less fine" to "useless heap of flesh" in the space of 30mins or less.
And, despite taking a full week off after the race and returning fairly slowly, running is still hard.
|Like, really hard.|
I know it doesn't help that I don't get enough sleep. 6hrs or less per night is not sufficient when you're truly bone tired. The heat warnings and even air quality advisories (due to the high heat and humidity trapping ozone and pollution near ground level) lately haven't been helping, either, nor have the extra pounds I've been carrying this year.
I also know I've shied away from my foam roller because things are still getting sore enough that I know it'll hurt like hell. I have been massaging things with my hands and some arnica gel, but I'm sure I'd be better able to tackle some of the deep tissues with an implement like my roller, a tennis ball or my Stick. I'm just being a whiner about it, and I really need to suck it up.
|Life's a beach.|
Lastly, I know that my usual recovery time from a big race effort is approximately equal to 1 week for every hour of racing. That means I'm only about a quarter of the way through the period of time it should take me to be ready for another big effort (even an all-out 10k attempt), and about halfway to the point where I can expect to feel more or less normal again.
But, I still feel like I'm failing, because I see all of my ultra friends going out and doing amazing things again like Dirty Girls never even happened. A couple of race reports even said they were barely sore in the days afterward, and went right back into regular training after maybe one easy week - generally less.
It took me 3 days before I could get up off the toilet without having to use my arms to push myself up, or pull myself up using the grab rail in my office washroom.
|And here's some pretty trail to get that image out of your head.|
Eight days after the race I saw that someone else I know who did the 12-hour day event put in 24km at sub-5min pace. I, on the other hand, was puffing my way through my very first run after Dirty Girls - a measly 5km at approximately glacial pace while we camped at Selkirk Provincial Park. My legs hurt from the very first step.
Last weekend I rode my bike (for the first time in ages) down to the market - an easy half-hour pedal. Then I went out to Guelph to run up the Royal Recreation Trail from Woodlawn to the GORBA trails, fart around in the woods for a couple of hours, and then met Tanker back at the Victoria Road trailhead. We hiked the Royal Recreation's side trails along the Speed River for 45mins to get back to the car, then jammed home so I could shower. Smelling much better, we walked about 2km from the house down to Riverside Park to hit Cambridge Ribfest, then walked back up the hill to get home.
|Unfortunately not on a trail as pretty as this one.|
Had to wait until Sunday for this.
By the time we arrived, I was toast. Completely and utterly spent.
That shouldn't have wiped me out that badly, and yet it did. While friends of mine who ran even longer and further than I did at Dirty Girls were tearing up the sun-baked hills at the Creemore Vertical Challenge, I was getting my arse kicked by what I'd usually class as a fun, laid-back Saturday.
|Ok, it was still fun even if it left me prostrate.|
After sleeping in the next day I was tired, stiff and sore in ways I just shouldn't have been. I still got out for another easy hour/9k at Puslinch Tract, because this was my last opportunity to do anything resembling back-to-back long runs before Iroquioa Trail Test next weekend.
|And who can resist the twin ponds at sunset?|
That, really, is my biggest concern. I knew as soon as I signed up for the Dirty Girls 12-hour that ITT was immediately downgraded from "goal race" to "just for fun 'cause I've never done it before", but that doesn't mean that I'm ok with walking the whole thing or taking so long that they've packed up the finish area before I manage to straggle in. After all, they're getting some of my favourite post-race food of all time - I don't want to miss out because my heart and lungs refuse to cooperate!
|WE'LL CUT YOU|
I've spent this week doing a couple of final tougher run workouts in the sweltering heat and trying to ignore the fact some of the 6, 12 & 24 hour Dirty Girls racers are currently ripping it up through the 7 grueling stages of Endurrun, preparing for another 100 miler at Beast of Burden or going full whack in the mountains of B.C. at the Fat Dog 120 miler (which had 2 extra miles added to it this year, just for giggles).
I'm just not that strong.
In an effort not to completely fail at the Iroquoia Trail Test 34k next Saturday, I'm going to try to take things a little easier this week. Actually dust off that foam roller, and spend some more quality time with my pillow.
And, maybe I'll stay away from looking at how much ass my friends are kicking (while wishing them all the very best in their amazing endeavours) - just to try not to feel so weak and pathetic.