The way I see it, the best way to recuperate fully from a marathon or any other major life event is to have a plan. Even if the plan is to not have a plan.
I knew I would take one solid week off from running after the Buffalo Marathon. That was about all I knew.
Funny (and kind of annoying) how vacations – from running, from work, from school, whatever – always zip by before you’ve even had the chance to realize you’re on vacation at all. I enjoyed my week off, though. My running shoes slouched idly in the “basket o’ shoes” by my front door; my running shorts snoozed in another basket; I’m pretty sure my sports bras went on a Caribbean cruise. Meanwhile, I was busy.
The rest of the visit to Buffalo, post-marathon, went wonderfully. My family and I hit some stellar local restaurants, visited Niagara Falls, and generally enjoyed the heck out of each other’s company. The return to Albuquerque was a looong day of travel (thanks, Tropical Storm Beryl!) but it couldn’t dampen the weekend we’d just had.
Once I got home, it was time to play catch-up. I caught up on sleep. I caught up on email, since I tend to avoid that stuff during vacations. I caught up with friends over multiple fantastic meals. The first was a dinner at a place I’d never been before called the Nexus Brewery – Albuquerque people, if you haven’t been, go immediately! I will say “20-ounce beers” and “fried chicken and waffles” and leave it at that. That meal was followed by a fabulous backyard cookout, and then by brunch at Savoy (again, Abq people, go; I recommend the house omelet). Ahhhhhh.
I also caught up on good old-fashioned couch time. Watching “Band of Brothers” for the third time? Yes, please! Making the employees of Netflix earn their paycheck? Yes, again!
I know lots of people feel restless/guilty in taking time off from running after a big race. I say it’s the perfect time to catch up and re-connect with a more elemental form of exercise: walking. Talk about shoes sitting idle: I think my hiking shoes had dust on them when I yanked them out of the shoe basket, and not the kind from a trail. I went hiking in the foothills two days in a row. We were overdue for a visit, those trails and I, and not the running kind, but the leisurely, pause-for-water/scenery-breaks-whenever kind. The kind where you see bikers and runners breeze by and think “Ehhh, let ‘em go.”
I’m taking baby steps back into running. I ran three miles today, buffeted by an easterly wind, which I can only interpret as Albuquerque’s way of saying “Ha, I knew you’d be back!” And I’ll probably go on at least one run when I’m in San Francisco this weekend to do still more catching up – this time with my brother, his wife, and their brand-new baby boy.
Sometimes playing catch-up is exhausting and stressful. But other times… it is so, so good.
P.S. Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post!