I’ve previously written about running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, but focused mainly on the run itself and my experiences with it rather than its effect on me and its repercussions for me. I wanted to focus on those other aspects that weren’t part of my previous ruminations.
Immediately following the run was exhilarating. I had completed my longest run, received a medal and was wearing a Mylar cape that i was handed just past the finish line. Tired and mildly worn out, I could feel the strain in my shoulders from hold my arms too tight during the race and some pain in the arch of my foot. In anticipation of any forthcoming pains, I stopped by the massage tent for 20 minutes, where a professional sports masseuse worked me over.
After the massage, I wandered the make shift tent village before returning to my hotel to wash up. The aches in my foot and shoulders faded to be replaced with pains in my thighs and calves. Walking around Downtown Orlando, and later Downtown Disney, with my friends Andrew and Lisa helped from keeping my legs get too stiff in the chilled night air, but steps and curbs were assuredly not my friends that day.
Sunday was a day i chose to spend at Universal Studios Orlando in order to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think walking around all day was good, as it kept my limbs moving and didn’t feel much pain until after dark, when temperatures fell and I felt I needed to soak my legs to help warm them up.
Monday was spent at the Magic Kingdom, where I again spent the day constantly walking, and dodging the rain, until it was time for me to go to the airport. With two days passed, and my legs starting to feel normal again, I was proud of my achievement and glad the pain had passed, but I still chose not to run again until Friday, when I injured myself doing a short run.
Feeling fully recovered and rested, I finally took my first run the Friday after the race. I ran about four miles at a relaxed pace, and when I was starting to cool down, I felt a sharp pain in my back and had to step walking. I made my way home slowly and rested most of the weekend. It was days before the pain fully subsided, and in an act of caution, I waited an entire week plus the following weekend. The subsequent four mile run was far more successful and I’m keeping a more relaxed training regiment for at least a week to make sure I am fully healed and because my next race isn’t for a little while.
I have thought about the things I did after the race and what I could do to avoid as much pain on my path towards full marathon. The first problem for me was being in the last corral for the race, so by the time I started running, no matter how much warming up I did, it was inconsequential by the time my group started an hour later. Hopefully my now registered time of 2:22:30 will move me up enough to help. After the race, I should have spent time stretching. I am sure the sports massage helped, but I could have done more myself both after the race and hours later. The other thing I feel I could have done was drink more water after the race and all weekend. I made sure to drink a bottle of water and eat a banana after I passed the finish line, but I should have continued to drink water all weekend, which I neglected to do.
The race was a great achievement to me. I went from zero to running a half marathon in 11 months. I ran 13.1 miles (or 16.94 miles according to my Nike+) for the first time in my life and it was exhilarating, but I didn’t know what a strain it would have on my body. Now I know and can account for it for my future races, including the Disney Coast to Coast marathon and my first full marathon.