I admit it, I underestimated the toll the 50km trail run on Sunday was going to take on my body. I thought I’d be back out running after a day or two. And sure, maybe I would have been if I had trained properly and methodically for the event, but we all know that didn’t happen 😉 .
I tried to go running on Wednesday morning but my left ankle was still sore. It was swollen like a puffer fish on Sunday after my run so I iced and strapped it for the night. By Monday morning the swelling had subsided so I knew it wasn’t a bad injury. I know I stood in a big hole at about the 20km mark in the race and that it hurt my ankle when I did.
However, it’s not a soft-tissue injury because I didn’t feel feint afterwards. My body has this crazy response to strains and sprains: I feint. I always have and probably always will. It’s good in a way because it means I can easily distinguish between injury and hurt or fracture. I know there’s no fracture in the ankle because it didn’t hurt when I put ice on it. For me, it always hurts like blazes when I ice a fracture. So the ankle is just sore from over-use (I traveled over 110km in 5 days last week) and probably bruised from stepping in the hole.
So, on Wednesday morning I enjoyed a delightful 3.6km walk around my neighbourhood during which I stopped to smell the wattle flowers. On Thursday morning I again went for a 3.6km walk along the same route. The route includes some nice long up and down hills so I felt like it was a good recovery work out.
On Wednesday evening I got a massage that focused on my legs. That was wonderful and I felt like I had new legs afterwards. I’ll definitely be doing that again after my next race.
This morning I did some gardening. I am preparing my vegetable gardens for summer. I have five or six vegetable beds. I totally rested one bed this winter and it was full of weeds, which I had to pull out this morning. I also failed to mulch the beds I did use this winter so they also had lots of weeds growing between my crops. This morning I pulled out lots of the weeds so that I can top the beds up with extra topsoil tomorrow (the beds are built on clay so I will keep having to add topsoil until they settle). I also got a good upper body workout when I used a hand saw to cut through timber sleepers that I am using as barriers between the beds.
I’ve also put a lot of effort into my nutrition this week. I have been re-reading Born To Run for weeks now (I just pick it up and randomly read a few pages every day or two) and have also been reading a lot of online material about ultra trail running. The thing that keeps coming up is the importance of nutrition. I’ve never been a fan of ‘fake’ food like supplements and gels. But I fell into a bit of a trap of relying on them for my nutrition.
This week I’ve eaten vegetables every morning for breakfast, getting in my full five serves before work. I have been raiding my garden ‘supermarket’ for broccoli, sugar loaf cabbage, leaf amaranth and herbs, and have been supplementing this with some shop-bought carrots, capsicum, mushrooms, sweet potato and onions. I’ve been mixing them with nuts, eggs, quinoa, calamari and tinned tuna for protein. No, I’ve not had this exact mixture every day but that’s what I’ve been selecting from.
I’ve eaten mixed nuts and a piece of fruit for morning tea every day with a few digestive biscuits we happen to have in the office. For lunch I’ve eaten baked beans, lasagne and today I’m having vegetarian burritos. For afternoon tea I’ve had two pieces of fruit and, if hungry, a glass of Sustagen with oat milk. For dinner I’ve eaten vegetables with every meal and have eaten two vegetarian dinners this week.
This increased intake of fruit, nuts and vegetables has left me feeling really strong and healthy. I am sure it’s also helping me recover well. I’ve reduced my intake of sugar and have increased my water intake, starting every day with a glass of tap water and drinking herb tea (from my garden) with breakfast. I don’t know why I let my diet get so out of hand when it really is no effort (or increased cost) to eat well. I even switched from white to brown rice and loved it.
It’s not that I’m switching from omnivore to herbivore. But I do want to eat more vegetables and fruits, rather than meats and sugars. I was a vegetarian for a year back in the mid-2000s and it didn’t work out so well for me. I lost too much weight and was lethargic all the time. However, with hindsight I can see that I wasn’t eating the right things. I wasn’t getting enough mix of food and was relying almost solely on eggs for protein. I ate white rice and white pasta, and really only ate leafy vegetables and beans. This time round in my reduced meat reliance I am even forcing myself to learn to eat capcisum, one of only two vegetables I hate (the other is eggplant and no amount of trying is going to get me to like it).
I’m excited about my 10km run tomorrow morning and 6km run on Sunday afternoon. I have a small program that I’ve downloaded from the internet. It shows me how many kilometres I should be running if I want to safely increase my mileage. I am determined to at least follow it for weekend long runs and to help me from over training (I am sure I ran too much for my body the week I bought my Vibrams and that that’s part of why I’ve struggled this week).
I’m glad I’ve take the full 5 days off because it’s helped me enjoy my 50km achievement and has given me time to refocus, refresh and regather myself for my next adventure 🙂