OK, I think this is the last one. Maybe. Don't hold me to that. There will be a lot of blogging in the next few days. Bad = no job. Good = extra time.
Part of my marathon strategy is to check in with myself in the higher miles. I planned to do this at mile 18 at Shamrock. That's the point where I usually hit the wall. That's also near the point where you can switch from long-distance race mindset to shorter race mindset and start counting down the miles. Just 8 more miles, then a 10K, then a 5K. Yeah. Didn't happen. I didn't need to. I was comfortably cruising at mile 18. Seriously cruising. The pace felt sustainable, almost effortless. My form was good. I was mentally on it, even though this was a very isolated stretch of the course. During the race, I don't even think I was aware that I had planned to check in with myself at mile 18. It was still all systems go. Same thing at mile 20 where I knew I was under 8:00 overall. It was a perfect day.
The hardest part of the marathon was not the marathon. Really. It was the training. It was getting out there every day, even if I didn't feel like it or the weather wasn't cooperating. I have NEVER felt that way about a marathon before. RnR Mardi Gras was tough in the last miles because my quads hurt so badly. Cox Providence and Chicago were mentally difficult races. I learned how to (not) address dehydration at Chicago, but I also learned how to (not) manage my mental focus correctly. Those were vitally important skills for Shamrock. Who decides to sign up for another marathon literally on crossing a marathon finish line? This girl did. See, it couldn't have been that bad.
My recovery after Shamrock was relatively easy. Not quite as easy as Chicago, but not too far off either. Score. I stayed on speaking terms with stairs. I had many hot dates with my foam roller. I was back running 4 days later (minimal soreness, yay) and back to my normal speed in a week. No, I am not fully recovered yet. My yoga class a couple days ago showed me that I have lost some flexibility. That's OK. I asked a lot of my body. I am not terribly surprised it pushed back.
I have to gear up to run another marathon in 18 days. That certainly has an impact on my recovery. Just keep moving.