Getting the Lead Out


While I’m usually an optimist and a glass-half-full kinda gal, I can also be the type of person who lives too much in the moment. I get in a mode where I feel the way things are right now is how they will be for-EVER. I can’t remember the way things were a year, or a month, or even a day ago….and I can’t believe life will ever be different. Like trying to get our twins to stay dry through the night. John is [usually] a pro, but Daphne still wets the bed occasionally. Currently, when I get up at, say, 2:24 a.m. to pee, I also rouse Daphne and plunk her on the can. I can’t believe she’ll ever get up and go for herself.

Turn the clock back to the 1990s, post-divorce: I went through a bad forever-now funk. I used to cry to my shrink, “I’ll always be living alone. In an apartment. In San Francisco. With no husband and no children.” Gee, in hindsight that scenario sounds divine! (Ha, ha).

 Now, every time after I run a race, I get like stuck in the present. My legs felt so leaden and clunky in the days and weeks after running Big Sur, I was in utter disbelief I ever busted out sub-9:00 miles, let alone even faster ones. I clomped around my neighborhood, feeling time pass like molasses. Songs that usually inspired fell flat, my routes seemed dull, and even the early sunrises failed to light up my life.

Experts suggest a runner should take off one day for every mile raced, which would mean no running or racing for about 26 days after a marathon. That’s not working for this workin’ momma: To paraphrase Allyson in RLAM, I need to keep the cuckoo bird in the clock. So I trudged and I trotted, but I thought I was deranged for considering another marathon this year.

Then, one Wednesday morning, I headed out. There wasn’t anything special about the run—it was drizzling, my nano was on Shuffle Songs, and my sports bra was soaked when I got home. Same old, same old. Except then it dawned on me: My legs had felt normal. My stride hadn’t felt labored or my footfalls heavy. I counted on my fingers the number of days it had been since my 26.2-mile effort and, sure enough, it was day 25 after it. Woo-hoo: A day early.

Late last week, I knew for sure I my brain was back to normal, too: I started daydreaming about where I’d go for a long run on Saturday. Oh, yeah, Sarah had her groove back. How long does it take your body—and brain—to recoup after a half- or full marathon?

9 responses to “Getting the Lead Out

  1. I didn’t realize how much of a post-marathon funk I was in until I climbed OUT of it recently! 🙂 It does feel unfair to go from the top of our game to hobbling around for awhile…but it helps to know that is part of the distance-training cycle.

  2. Oy, Laura, sorry to hear about the injuries. Yay for finally being off crutches, however. Best of luck with physical therapy. From reading your blog, I know you have more than your fair share of mental toughness and resolve to stay the course.

  3. this post inspires me. here i am 31 days post my last half marathon (with a 10+ pace even though I am NOT one of those leathery old ladies…who i think ROCK!) and i still am not running. of course recovering from a hip stress fracture and groin pull i guess i have a good excuse. but i have to say that the first two weeks i was so down and funked out imagining that i would never run again. i whined a lot about it too so my family tells me. now a month later i am FINALLY off crutches, cleared for walking and biking and swimming and doing physical therapy with a perky, young sadist and i am literally chomping at the bit to get out and run. i know when the doc finally gives me the go ahead it will definitely be slower than a 10+ plus pace but there will be no shame in that because i will…at last…be running.
    PS struggled with the same thing with 2 of my 5 kids and i promise you they do outgrow it and AAP backs it up saying children do not gain complete continence until around age 7 or so.

  4. Amanda–
    Sorry to read that life has thrown some hard punches your way in last six months. Glad running is providing you needed-solace. Our sport can provide such a needed lifeline.

  5. Oh man. It took me about 26 days to recover from my marathon in April! That is so weird! I wanted to run, needed to run, even tried to run but I felt like I had traded my Asics in for cinder blocks. But now, about a month post marathon I got my mojo back! I’m hitting up shorter runs faster than before! It feels so good! I haven’t gone more than 5 miles though (aside from the ridiculous half marathon I did one week after my full, BAD idea).

    Also, I find myself in the “OMG this is it, forever from now on…” mind frame too. I have had SO many tradgedies happen to me and my family since Dec and it is hard to imagine life without tradgedy right now. I know it could be worse, I pray it wont be. But running has saved my life, given me purpose, given me clarity. I am seeing it now more than ever…where would I be if I weren’t running? Crying in bed pretty sure, and that just doesn’t sound fun. I’d rather be running 20 miles! =) And so I shall!!!!

  6. I’m so glad you posted this. I’m still in the funk, and this morning felt like I had lead balloons on my feet. It wasn’t just me, my dog looked back a couple of times just making sure I was still there. Granted he was walking and I was running, but usually he can speed it up to a trot. I have a hard half in July, so don’t really feel the need to focus on speed, and haven’t signed up for a full since I promised hubby I would wait until July, but am feeling lost.

    Maybe I’ll surf some marathon sites, to get my mojo back. Have been considering doing Team in Training for Honolulu marathon, but the fundraising is so intimidating. Can’t wait to get the thrill back. Will be looking forward to other posts.

  7. I totally get you, Sarah! Is that feeling part of motherhood? IDK…I know when the humidity & heat turn the volume waaaayy up, like, um, NOW, in South Louisiana, my pace drops a lot…overall, I do fine, but when I look down and realize I’m running 10:something, I internally think, “This is is. I’m an old runner, like those leathery old ladies you see in races…” Thankfully, when it happened yesterday in fact, I went on to remind myself that it’s FREAKING HOT outside!!!!! Just keep moving!!! So, I did…it was all good. For me, after a marathon or a half marathon, taking those initial days off does WONDERS for my overall recuperation. I must admit I’m a little freaked out that I don’t have a full on the calendar for the rest of the forseeable year. I think I’ll do Houston again at the end of January, so that’s my saving grace…I can always shake out a half somewhere, even in Lafayette, Louisiana! Lastly, I’m so happy to know I’m not the only mom who gets up in the middle of the night to PEE!!!! I must say, I am the most hydrated person I know…I felt so good after the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon that, on the ride back to my hotel, I was internally rewarding myself with the New Orleans half…sorry for bouncing all over the place here, but I gotta go get my youngest ready for their “Pignic” to celebrate the completion of Charlotte’s Web!!!! Peace!

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