Post Ironman Texas Recovery & Plans

In Racing & Training by jonibuck

I can’t believe it’s been almost three months since Ironman Texas.

It’s been a busy three months.  Jason was offered/started a new job.  We went on a week-long vacation and then turned around and spent a weekend in Galveston.  I organized a fundraiser.  My cat died.  I had a birthday.  We got two kittens.  When writing this post I went searching for good pictures to include and didn’t really find any. So it’s a practically photoless post. Sorry.

Recovery has been more difficult than I expected, a testament to how incredibly hard the event is on your body.  It’s been three months and I’m still not back to normal.

As I mentioned before, I was back up and running 48 hours after the race but that first month back was tough.  Three miles, a few days a week, was a chore.  I wanted to run but my body felt like it had been beaten with 100 tiny meat mallets.  My lungs and the little muscles between my ribs were shot.  I may not have been sore but I was TIRED.  It took a full month for me to have any significant pep-in-my-step.  And two full months to regain my energy.

While I was training, my body went through some pretty significant changes. (1) I had some tightness develop in my left knee and in the bottoms of my feet thanks to the 10 GAZILLION hours I spent on my bike. (2) My resting heart rate went from a normal in the low 50s to the upper 60s, which was concerning, to say the least. (3) I gained a significant amount of weight, most of which was muscle but some of it showed up as fat during the taper because – let’s be honest – I COULDN’T STOP EATING.

Recovery from anything and certainly from something as strenuous as training for and completing a full distance Ironman is about letting your body heal and return to normal.

My body is slowly healing.  My resting heart rate went back to normal almost immediately.  In the three months since the race, the tightness in my feet has disappeared but the tightness in my left knee is stubborn and is still hanging around. Though it’s improving, I still feel it occasionally.  I also have a nice black toenail that doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon.

Unfortunately, in the month following the race my Ironman appetite didn’t disappear.  Shocker, right?

I spent the entire month of May trying to explain to my stomach that it didn’t NEED second lunch. Unfortunately, my stomach didn’t listen and I gained a solid 5 pounds, ON TOP of the weight I had already gained during training.  That 12 pounds of muscle I put on seemed to trade itself for fat and I saw my muscle definition disappear almost as soon as I crossed the finish line.  When it was all said and done I found myself at 139 pounds and unable to pull my shorts up over my thighs.

NOT COOL.

(Yes, I know my “heavy” is someone else’s “skinny” but you have to remember we all have different bodies and different perspectives.  I am especially sensitive to changes in my body composition because of my past struggles with weight.  I share in an effort to be completely transparent.) 

I’ve spent the last 6 weeks watching what I eat and I’ve lost about 10 pounds.  I’ll be happy to get rid of a couple of more pounds and plan to leave it at that.  My body seems to operate pretty well around 125-127 pounds so that’s what I’m shooting for.

Oh and remember those washboard abs?  Gone.  🙁

I went for my first swim 2 weeks after the race and I’ve been in the pool several times since then but I’m still not on speaking terms with my bike. My bike is still hanging in the garage. The Honey Stinger waffles and chews leftover from the race are still in the bento box – I’m sure they’re all melted by now.  It’s still covered in a sticky, nasty, combination of dried Gatorade and road grime. When I’ve forgiven it for what it did to me on the Hardy Toll Road, I’ll get it back down, clean it up and set it back up on the trainer in my gameroom.  Now is not that time.

I still haven’t done a run over 9 miles.  I’m hoping to rectify that this weekend.

I keep getting asked what my plans are and I don’t have a good answer.  I’ve been going hard for 3 years. Always having some epic, somewhat unachievable goal hanging over my head.  First it was trying to qualify for Boston, then it was training for/running Boston, then it was Ironman Texas.  Though the break from running to train for IMTX helped me overcome some severe running burnout, now I’m just plain tired.

For now, I’m going to run because I love running. I’m gonna enjoy spending time with my friends and make up for some lost time with my family both of whom I all but ignored during Ironman Training.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be training or racing, but it does mean I won’t be doing anything stupid this season. I’ll save the stupid for next season.

I do, however, need something to focus on so I registered for the BMW Dallas Marathon in December.  Shortly after I started running in 2010, I registered for this race, then it was called the White Rock Marathon, but I was unable to participate because I found out I was pregnant with my daughter halfway through training.  It was supposed to be my first marathon, instead, it will be my 8th.

I am also planning on running Rocky Raccoon 50 mile and Wildflower 50k in the spring.  Though I’m not actually registered for either of these races yet, they’re on my schedule.

Three months has FLOWN by.  I’ve always had an event bucket list but it only had three things on it. Boston, Big Bend, and Ironman Texas.  I always figured it would take a good portion of my life to complete them, not two years.  Now that those things are done, I feel a bit lost.  Like I have no purpose.  Nothing to look forward to.  The post-race depression has hit with a vengance and doesn’t appear to be backing down anytime soon.  If anything it’s getting a bit worse as time and people forget exactly how big of a deal to me it actually was.

I won’t forget though.  The aching knee and the toenail are my souvenirs from the race – along with my finishers shirt and hat.  Annnd backpack.  And water bottles.  And pint glass.  And sweatshirt.  And sticker for my car.  Everyone will know that I took my body to the brink of what is healthy (and responsible?)…even the guy stuck in traffic behind me.

SHAMELESS PLUG:

In other news, I’ve started taking coaching clients for the upcoming season, and as the summer has progressed I’ve found myself writing more and more training plans.  Yay!  I love coaching.  I love helping people AND I love running.  Coaching is the best of both worlds for me.  Using my knowledge and experience to help someone overcome an injury or achieve his/her own impossible dream gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.  So, if you or someone you know is looking for a coach give me a shout, I’ve got a couple more spaces to fill!