*sigh* Okay. At the behest of Dietician, I am bowing out of the Atlanta marathon on October 30. When I told Dietician I had scheduled the ½ marathon for October 2 and would run the full marathon October 30, she literally laughed at me and told me I was crazy. It wasn’t the best idea to her. She said my body wouldn’t have time to recover from the ½ marathon and then get geared up for the full marathon. I disagree; I think it would only take me a couple of days to recover from the ½ and I’m very already very close to marathon mileage. But I thought maybe, just maybe, the diplomas lining her office wall might mean something, and maybe I should follow her advice.
In any case, Sundays are still my long run days. I ran 19.14 miles today at a 8:43 second pace. Why I’m running 19 miles when I have no full marathon to train for is a topic for another post. It’s excessive, I know. But in any case, my long runs are times when I think and meditate.
(Another favorite spot of mine. It's on a bridge over a golf course.)
And just like last Sunday when I compared a marathon to recovery, more similarities hit me again today.
When running today, one thing I noticed was how when I stop to refuel (eat my Gu gel or drink my Powerade), it is always so hard to get my legs running again. I stopped at mile nine to refuel and when I hit the resume button on my Garmin and started to run again, my legs weren’t having it. I even stumbled a few times before my legs obeyed my brain and got me back to my running pace.
I pondered how recovery is similar to this. When I stop in my recovery or slow down, when I miss a meal or a snack, it is so hard to get back on track. This past Spring and early Summer were prime examples for me. I started missing meals, not fueling for runs, and ignoring the advice of my treatment team. My recovery was glad because it didn’t have to work hard anymore. It could take it easy. But when I tried getting back on track and doing the things necessary for a healthy me, it was damn hard. My figurative legs wouldn’t move. I had rested in my recovery too long and it showed. But after considerable effort and lots of stumbles, I finally found my recovery legs again.
Another thing I noticed on my run today is how my pace slows down when there are no other runners around me. It’s not that I’m tired or feel I can slack off since other people can’t see me; it’s that there are no other runners to keep me motivated. When I see other people on the trail, it’s like a silent competition. I think to myself, She’s still running. Maybe I can keep going, too.
(I think I was a little sweaty when I had my post-run fuel. What do you think?)
Recovery is similar. When we are by ourselves, when we cut ourselves off from other people, when we don’t have the support of a treatment team or friends, our recovery can slow down and lack the encouragement we need to keep on going. I know this very well.
For example, there is a recovery group that meets on Wednesday and Saturday where I live. I’ve noticed that when I stop attending these meetings, it’s the first sign I’m on my way to relapse. Without the support group, I lose focus. I lack encouragement, motivation, and determination to keep on going like my fellow support groupies. But when I attend my meetings, I’m filled with resolve and purpose to be active in my recovery and keep on metaphorically running for my recovery.
So don’t slow down. Don’t stop. Surround yourselves with others, on-line or in real life, who are like-minded and focused on recovery and getting better. Recovery IS a marathon. And as cheesy as it sounds, you can make it, one foot in front of the other, until you reach that finish line.