The Connection Runners + [workout plans]

MCM #9: If We're Talking Recovery, Call Me Lindsay Lohan

Saddle up, folks. Since I've got two weeks to recap, things are about to get crazy. You might even want to layer on the Body Glide. (Don't forget those awkward spots, either.)

Week 9 Recap
Monday: 3 mi @ 9:31
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 6 mi @ 8:43 (mile repeats; 1 warm, 3 @ 8:11, 8:20, 8:19 w/ 800 recovery jogs, 1 cool)
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 18 mi @ 10:21
Sunday: 40ish mi cycling
Week 10 Recap

Monday: 3 mi @ 9:51 (stroller)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 6 mi @ 9:21 (tempo; 1 warm, 4 @ 9:16, 9:09, 9:00, 9:17, 1 cool)
Thursday: off
Friday: walk 2.5 mi
Saturday: 20 mi @ 9:51
Sunday: walk 2 mi

A Smish-Smash of Notes
Whew. Just typing all of that made me tired.

These two weeks were also the first two weeks back at work. While it definitely hasn't been easy, I'm happy with how my training has progressed. My speed runs on Wednesday feel good, and getting them done before pulling out of the school parking lot makes me feel like a real winner. Oddly enough, though, I had trouble getting my shit together for my Thursday easy runs. I wussed out hard on both weeks, opting for nothing in Week 9 and a short stroller walk on Friday of Week 10.

Isn't it weird how you can bang out a hard or excruciatingly long run but have trouble lacing up for less than a 5k?

Marathon Musing
So if you take a look at my long runs, you'll notice how effed up they are/were. I've been poring over the stats on those runs, trying to figure out what happened in each. It's like I'm Mariska Hargitay on SVU, and my long runs are sad, sadistic serial killers still living in their grandparents' basement. (Maybe Ice-T can come wave his ponytail around and help me figure out the mystery.)

Two Saturdays ago, I ran a terrible 18-miler with an average pace of 10:21. I walked a lot. I repeated stupid mantras. I tried to slap my quads into behaving.

Last Saturday, I ran a fantastic 20-miler with a 30-seconds-per-mile-faster pace of 9:51. I didn't black out. I stayed calm. I only walked twice, and one of those times was to take down a Gu.

Weird.

If I didn't want to go all Mariska Hargitay on it, I'd chalk it up to bad run, good run. It happens.

But let's just say I got a cute pixie cut and wore a leather jacket and did weird things with my lips and really wanted to figure out what was wrong with the runs, so I thought about it pretty hard. Maybe I asked my partner Elliot Stabler about it, and he said, "Did you ever consider how you recover from your long runs?"

Ooohhh. There's an idea.

To be honest, I suck at recovering from long runs, often preferring to go all Lindsay Lohan on the process. Usually, I park myself on the couch for days afterward, wanting earnestly to do something about my recovery. But inevitably, I'm back to my old, wild ways, drinking (Coke Zero) and doing lines (of Cheeto after Cheeto). No judge or amount of media speculation can get me back on the foam roller.

What I looked like stumbling into my house after 18.

But after that disastrous 18-miler, I did two things I've never done before.

1) I took an ice bath. Well, if your idea of an ice bath = timidly dipping an inch of your body at a time into icy cold water with a few cubes mixed in, then yes. I took an ice bath.

I made Kevin document this feat because I may never do it again. It was so, so cold. And no, I'm not totally pants-less. I wore my bathing suit bottoms which, while totally fine for an ice bath, yielded an odd stare from the mailman when I went out to check our mailbox 30 minutes later.

2) On Sunday, Kevin and I rode in a local bike ride with our friends Liz and Chris.

We ended up riding nearly 40 miles, and though I was tired, my legs actually felt good. The ride seemed to loosen them up without any hard impact. The free beer afterward helped, too.

Monday's easy run only further relaxed my body, and by the time Saturday rolled around again, I felt a bazillion times better. Better enough, in fact, that I've accepted a starring role in the upcoming straight-to-DVD film, Mean Girls 2.

So was it the ice bath or the bike ride that led me to success on that 20-miler? Perhaps. It's hard to compare it to anything since I've always just disregarded recovery. The next few weeks may be the true test, as I prepare to ramp up once more (again to 18, and then another 20 before taper). We'll have to see if Lindsay can actually stay on track this time.

How do you recover from long runs? Do you notice a difference between runs when you don't recover "properly"?