This is what the start of a really good 20-mile run looks like.
I honestly never thought “really good” and “20-mile run” belonged in the same sentence. Because I have never, ever completed a run of that length that didn’t involve wanting to die (a) at some point during the run, typically at Mile 17 or 18 or (b) afterward, when I can only walk down stairs backwards and can’t fathom wearing anything but compression socks and shoes with arch support.
But that changed last Saturday. I had a great, easy-paced long run, during which I practiced my nutrition strategy and worked on not starting too quickly. I didn't have any GI troubles. Or any feelings of desperation and/or woe, even though I ran the entire distance alone. (And no, folks, I don’t listen to music while I run. Because I am a paranoid weirdo who believes there are murderers everywhere, therefore I must remain alert!) And I actually had some steam left for a nice kick at the end.
The real problem was my recovery.
Because I basically did everything absolutely wrong. Pretty much as wrong as you can possibly imagine. Dear fellow runners, athletes and human beings: Do not ever, ever follow what I am about to describe.
My demise was due largely to macaroni and cheese. I was co-hosting a Mac Off (and yes, of course a guy came up with that name) in which 20 of us gathered to compete for the title of Best Mac. And since my co-host had to work Saturday, it was up to me to clean the house, make our entry, throw together two salads (to help alleviate any guilt from said mac), come up with stupid prizes, devise a voting system and otherwise prep for the party.
So instead of eating a lot of protein and drinking a lot of water, I proceeded to run errands that involved confetti, tablecloths and fake gold medals. In the hours following my 20-miler, I ate one small bowl of cornflakes with almond milk and a slice of pizza. And I drank maybe two glasses of water. Maybe.
And then party time came around, and I began the evening with very ripe, very big, somewhat high-alcohol Russian River Pinot. On the second sip, I actually said: “Wow, I already feel drunk!” As you can imagine, it only got worse. I believe I didn’t drink a single glass of water the entire night. And all I ate was one plate of mac because when I host parties, I get stressed out and can’t eat.
Let’s just say that I don’t want to see mac and cheese (or red wine) for a very, very long time.
As a result of my complete failure to recover properly from my long run, I was totally incapacitated on Sunday (and didn’t get to ride my new bike, which made me really sad), the entire right side of my body is bruised, I’ve been experiencing lingering vertigo and I feel compelled to apologize to everyone I know for things I can’t remember.
I haven’t felt this shitty since that time after graduation, when I thought it was a good idea to drink jug Sangria.
The moral of the story: Treat your post-run activities with as much attention and care as you treat your pre-run choices or you will really hate yourself, trust me.
Oh, and despite all of this, I still won the Mac Off. Go figure.